Day 7 – Monday, October 17, 2022 - Depart Seoul; Fly to Haneda, Japan; Transfer to Tokyo
The hotel had provided a boxed breakfast sandwich but we chose to have a little fruit and yogurt before taking the bus to the local domestic airport, Gimpo. Everyone was on time and the traffic was relatively light at 6:00 in the morning. Coming into the city, the traffic was already backed up for miles. Pam told us that many people have finally gone back to work in the downtown offices.
Pam helped us to check in and we all watched our luggage go through the scanner before we were able to pass immigration and then go through security. All of the attendants were young and very polite. We thanked Pam one more time for all of the help she provided and for her smiling manner during our stay in Korea.
We went directly to the gate and waited for our Korean Air, Boeing 777-300 to board. The flight crew arrived in their beautiful teal blue and cream colored uniforms. Because we were ticketed on a group fare, we were seated in the rear of the aircraft.
The two-hour flight over the East Sea went quickly as we watched our progress on the flight monitor. We were served a Korean style lunch about half way through the flight.
We arrived in Haneda, Japan at 10:50; after clearing the Covid process, immigration, and customs, we were ready to begin the second half of our adventure. The airport is about 40 minutes from our hotel in Tokyo.
Ken, our Japanese Trip Leader, met us all after we collected our bags. Our driver, the owner of the bus company, also welcomed us to Japan. Ken told us that we would have a large full-sized bus each day but probably a with different driver.
As we drove to the hotel, Ken told us about his background in business and then after retirement, he became a tour leader. As we drove, he pointed out the huge port and the industrial and storage areas, all built on reclaimed land from the 1970s.
We crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Going into the city of high-rise buildings, all built to be earthquake proof. Greater Tokyo has a population of over 12 million people. There was a light mist and most of the people were using umbrellas.
Ken was able to get our room cards, even though check in time was at 3:00 and we were a few hours early. We had time to check in, and then we all met in the conference room for a welcome meeting. Ken explained many of the Japanese customs and helped us to know about the itinerary for the next week.
At 3:00 we joined the walking tour of the neighborhood and traveled through very narrow back streets admiring the lush gardens, stone sculptures, and older homes. We even got to see the local cemetery and learned about the cremation ceremonies and how the region honors their dead.
Returning to the hotel at 4:45, we had time to start the journal and get a few things organized in the room. Our room is very compact, with just enough room for one person to be up and around at a time. The single rooms are very small and our friends told us they had a twin size bed with about a foot of space around the bed. We are learning that space is at a premium in Japan and not much of it is wasted.
Ken invited us to join him for typical Japanese pub food and a drink this evening. He ordered from the menu, chicken Yakitori, asparagus wrapped in a thin piece of chicken, tiny fried shrimp, eggplant with a soy sauce, a delicious salad, and wine, beer, or soft drink. We loved all of the dishes and this pub food was a wonderful introduction to Japanese delights.
Walking back to the hotel in the rain, we talked about how lucky we are to be here in this huge city and enjoy another day on this adventure. Although we miss Pam, Ken has been so welcoming and accommodating, we think we will be very happy with his leadership.
Accommodations: Dormy Inn Korakuen Hotel -- Meals included: B
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Mr. Victor Garcia Customer #673062
I love the photo of people walking on the crosswalk with umbrellas. It could be in a museum! Reminds me of the Beatles photo! Good luck on moving around the room and not bumping into each other!!
Sounds great! So interesting. We also experienced the very tiny but efficient Japanese hotel room; it's all part of the adventure!
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Very nice photos. I will probably never make it to Japan so it's nice to watch you both go through your journey. I have personal reasons and I'm now unable to travel like I used to. I am thinking of flying to San Antonio for the Day of the Dead celebration have you both been? Enjoy.
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...