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Narita to Tokyo April 13, 2010

Posted by Dru in Japan, Kanto, Tokyo.
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Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Narita to Tokyo” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-kZ

Arriving at Narita Airport can be a daunting challenge.  Not only will you probably be tired, if you don’t speak Japanese, it can be a small challenge to find out how to get into the city itself.  Unless you are rich, taxis are not an option.  There are three main routes into Tokyo.  The first is the Airport Limousine.  The second is to take a train, which has two options.  The simplest has to be the Airport Limousine.  When you exit the arrivals gate, you can usually find the Airport Limousine counter on the main floor.  There are several locations in both terminals.  It’s as simple as saying which hotel you want to go to, or what station.  The Airport Limousine goes to many destinations throughout Tokyo and Yokohama.  It’s also the most convenient way to get to Haneda Airport.  Do note that due to traffic, all times are estimates.  You can be severely delayed if traffic is horrible.

The safest way to get into the city is to use one of two rail companies.  The most popular for tourists is to use the JR Lines.  Using the regular lines is not popular for JR.  It is expensive and slow.  You will more than likely have to change trains at least once, maybe up to three times depending on your destination.  The easiest route is to take the Narita Express.  In fact, they have recently released a new train that makes things more comfortable.  They offer secure locks for your luggage and plugs for your laptop in each row.  Unfortunately, these are not available at all times.  The main advantage of the Narita Express is the number of destinations.  You can go as far as Ofuna, Takao, and Omiya without getting out.  However, most trains will only run from Narita Airport to Yokohama or Ikebukuro.  These trains usually de-couple at Tokyo Station.  Don’t be too afraid of connecting trains if you are headed to Ikebukuro.  If the train only goes to Shinjuku, it’s very simple to change platforms and get to Ikebukuro faster than if you wait.  The Narita Express doesn’t run too often, so it’s best to take the first one you can get, unless you have too many bags.

The cheapest route to Tokyo is to take the Keisei lines.  Their rapid service takes roughly 71 minutes to get to Tokyo, and their Skyliner service takes about 51 minutes.  The Rapid service costs roughly 1000 yen, which makes this a budget travellers dream.  If you want a good balance between cost and comfort, the Skyliner is one of your best bets.  The biggest problem with the Keisei service is choice.  You have your choice of Nippori and Ueno as destinations.  If you are headed to a hostel in Asakusa, this line is perfect.  If you are headed to Shinjuku, this route may not be your ideal choice, but it is a cheaper alternative at relatively the same time.  It’s just not as convenient.  However, as of July 2010, the service will be upgraded and the time will be cut by 15 minutes making this a more popular route in the near future.  The new service will be called the “Sky Express”.  It will feature brand new trains with a new local service being introduced as well.

Regarding what to take and how to get there, that’s your choice.  By far, the cheapest is the Keisei lines.  The most convenient would be the Airport Limousine, if they offer service to your hotel.  The Narita Express offers a very competitive service, but it is a little expensive overall.  In terms of locals, unless your company is paying for it, most people will take the Keisei lines.

Information:

Narita Airport:  http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/
Airport Limousine:  http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/
Narita Express:  http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/index.html
Keisei Skyliner:  http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/keisei_us/top.html

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

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2009 Tokyo Motor Show November 3, 2009

Posted by Dru in Japan, Kanto, Tokyo.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “2009 Tokyo Motor Show” complete with pictures.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-ij

The 2009 Tokyo Motor Show is being held from October 29 until November 4 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba.  As of posting this, there are only a few days left until the end.  This year, due to the economic downturn that started in 2008, the show was left in limbo up until this past summer.  There are less than half of the exhibitors in this year’s show compared to the last show in 2007.  In 2007, there were over 240 exhibitors, and this year it’s just over 100.  This is a significant decrease, and it shows.  The event space is more open, and reduced.  There are no longer any outdoor exhibits, and they only make use of the convention centre’s main hall.  The North Hall and central Exhibition Hall are no longer used.  The outdoor element in the central plaza is also discontinued for this year.  It’s a bit of a shame that there are only two foreign car makers present at this show, but it was still a great show to visit.

The first thing to do when heading to the show is to actually head to the show.  Makuhari Messe is a huge convention centre, and without the North Hall being open, it’s a bit of a walk to the main entrance.  From there, there are three major halls to visit: the East, Central, and West halls.  Each one has its own group of manufacturers.  This year, the West Hall was occupied by Honda, motorcycle manufacturers, and various other parts companies.  The Central Hall had Toyota, Subaru, Mazda, and a special Car of the Year Japan exhibition.  In the East, Nissan and Mitsubishi had large displays while the Gran Tourismo and Tomica moved into the main hall from a side hall two years ago.  The amount of space needed was dramatically cut down, but there was always a lot to see.

With the European and American companies opting to not go to the show, the Japanese companies made up for it with their concept cars.  The theme was the environment.  It was great to see so many hybrids and electric vehicles.  They even displayed various walking machines similar to the Segway, but seated versions.  All of the cars were busy with photographers taking as many pictures as they could.  Toyota and Honda were one of the busiest exhibitions.  There were also several “race queens” at each booth modeling all of the cars.  While the size of the show was reduced, the number of girls showing the vehicles was the same, proportionately.  Interestingly enough, each maker seemed to choose their women based on their overall theme or target audience.  Some chose women in their 30s, and some chose women in their 20s.  Some had more elegant clothing, while others made their girls look trashy.  Image is everything, and as long as it fit, anything would go.

Unfortunately, this year was a bit small.  Many people say the Japanese show is no longer an “international” show.  While I agree that it isn’t as grand as before, it’s also a tough year.  With other cities being more important, it’s natural to think that the Shanghai show will be bigger.  Will it always be bigger?  I’m guessing that in the future, the Tokyo Motor Show will increase again as the auto makers make more money and have the ability to display their cars at more shows.  It’s a little expensive, but if they want to keep their business in Japan, they’ll have to keep at least a small presence at these shows.

Tokyo Motor Show Information:

Official Site:  http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/en/index.html
Official Site (Japanese): http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/index.html

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

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