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terry&mike

Tokyo from Yokohama port - tips and things to do

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I just returned from taking a group of 29 clients on a Diamond Princess Southeast Asia & Japan cruise. Below is information from a web site I set up for the group, to provide them with information. Now that the trip is over, I wanted to pass this information along, in case it is of help to other travelers. 

Visa: no visa needed for Japan for US citizens.

Money: Japanese Yen JPY, and credit cards, although it is a heavily cash society.

Average Temperatures in January: 37-49 degrees.

Special Notes: Tipping is not the custom in Japan, and can even be regarded as offensive.

Arrival: Disembarkation Day. The ship will dock in Yokohama at Osanbashi Cruise Terminal, about 45 minutes from the city of Tokyo. You will be disembarking the ship today, and you can plan to be off around 8:00a or thereabouts.

Transfer & Tour Option:

I have made arrangements for a private small group transfer & tour with Green Tomato Travel, from the port in Yokohama into the city of Tokyo, and a general tour of Tokyo. The bus will take you and your luggage from the Yokohama port into central Tokyo, and will depart the pier around 8:30am.  The tour will visit Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble Crossing to witness this organized chaos, Meiji Shrine, which is largest shrine in Tokyo, Takeshita Street, the trendy pop culture area, and Asakusa, the traditional area of Tokyo and and it's wondrous temple here. The tour will end around 5:00pm with a drop off of you and your luggage at Hotel Gracery Shinjuku.  Please let me know if you would like to join this tour. For extra spending money, you will need to come prepared with JPY Japanese Yen cash, as many places in Tokyo are cash only. 

For those who want to transfer into Tokyo via DIY:

A taxi into Tokyo is expensive, running approximately $160-$200+ usd. Public transportation via Metro and train is the most efficient and cheapest option, although it will be crowded and may be challenging with your luggage (another good reason to pack light!). Consider buying a Suica card for 1 day pass, or buy individual tickets as you go, from machine. Also look into the Tokyo Metro Pass/Tokyo Subway Pass, comes in 24 hour 800 yen, 48 hour 1200 yen, and 72 hour 1500 yen versions, and can be used on Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro lines; must have passport to purchase and can be bought in subway from counter, at BIC Camera Stores, or Laox Stores. You will walk straight down the cruise terminal ramp into Yokohama, and at the second intersection turn right. In the middle of the block in a brown brick building is the Nihon-Odori Metro station, on the Minatomirai Line. Go down the escalator to the ticket level and buy a one-way ticket to Shibuya from the vending machine. Go through the turnstile and down to the platform for trains going to Yokohama and Shibuya. You will travel on the Minatomirai/Tokyu Toyoko Line, and should not have to make a transfer at Yokohama station. Look for Express or Limited Express, which are more direct. At Shibuya station you will be on the B1 level. Depending on your hotel location, you may want a different route. Use the very helpful HyperDia to plan route.

If you plan to DIY, some of these tips may be helpful:

Seeing the sights: Tokyo is an easy DIY, but there are many tour companies with every type and style of tour you can think of such as walking tours, food tours, shopping tours, history tours, Geisha experiences, pub crawls with karaoke, and on and on. Hiring a guide may be the most efficient use of your time. If you want to organize a small group tour and want to invite others to join you to help share the costs, I am happy to provide contact information or pass along details. 

Head to Shibuya station and watch the pedestrian scramble which is best viewed from the Starbucks 2nd story window in the Tsutaya Building. Good shopping in this area. Visit the Hachiko Memorial Statue. Go to Harajuku station and walk down Takeshita Street to see pop culture and stylish teens. Good place to eat gyoza (dumplings), or try poterico, a potato snack made fresh at Calbee Store (or buy packaged in convenience stores). Possibly visit a hedgehog cafe'. Wander through Yoyogi Park and up to Meiji Jingu Shrine for a visit. Walk through the Akihabara area for insane electronics shopping, crazy collectibles stores, and interesting cafe's such as Cat Cafe's, Maid's Cafe's, and so on. Metro up to the Asakusa area which feels more like "Old Tokyo", and visit the Senso-Ji Temple, (use the nearby fountain in a hand washing ritual before entering the temple), and wander down Kannonura Street behind the temple, keeping an eye out for Geisha. Visit the street market here - good shopping. Try some sake, sushi, or sweets along the way. The famous Tsukiji Fish Market where the tuna auctions were held moved in October, 2018, to the outskirts of the city, (the new location is not open to the public), so you won't be able to see this wonder, but you can still visit the many popular restaurants and food stalls located here for amazingly fresh sushi; Sushitomi is extremely popular. Some visitors may enjoy Skytree Tower, the tallest observation tower in Japan, you can go up for the great views for approximately $40 usd

Restaurants: Midori Sushi with locations in Ginza, Akasaka, and Shibuya is popular with the locals for having reasonable prices and some of the best sushi in Tokyo. Wako Tonkatsu is a  small chain of restaurants serving fried katsu-style meats, seafood items, and veggies, the prices are inexpensive and the food is well loved.

If you stay on an additional day, you may want to visit the Imperial Palace, although you can only tour the grounds and gardens, not the inside. If you want the free 90 minute tour, you'll want to book your tickets in advance, beginning Dec. 1, 2019; or wander the East Gardens on your own, which are free and open to the public. Closed on Mondays.

One of the largest Sumo Tournaments of the year will be held during our visit, and may be worth scoring tickets to see this impressive sight of sport and flesh. The tournament dates are January 12-26, 2020, at Ryogoku Kokugikan, and tickets will go on sale December 7, 2019, with information here Sumo Tickets  Mike and I are attending on January 21, and have purchased a Sumo tour with Chanko pot dinner (from Shinkjuku) from Klook.

And if you stay on even longer, you may want to get out to see the Snow Monkeys bathing in the hot springs at Jigokudani Park, about 2 hours outside of Tokyo.

Hotels - I will be staying at the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, known as "the Godzilla hotel" for the statue on the roof; it is centrally located and well rated. Many hotels in Japan do not open reservations until 6 months beforehand.  If you would like to join my port transfer and Tokyo tour, and do not want to stay at the hotel I am reserved at, please try to stay in the Shinjuku area for easy access via walking or taxi.

Transfer Hotel to Airport: there are several options, with a taxi being quite expensive at $200-$250 usd. The Airport Limousine Bus, takes approx 2 hours to Narita, is 3100 yen pp, and has a stop at the Shinjuku Station West Exit. The Narita Express Train, N'EX, takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to Narita, and costs 3190 or 4730 yen pp, depending on class of service, and has a stop at Shinjuku Station. The Green Tomato Airport Shuttle can pick up at the hotel and take you to Narita for 5600 yen pp, reservations needed, book in advance on their web site https://www.greentomato-j.com/eng/

Transfer Ship to Airport: If you are flying out on the day of disembarkation, you have a couple of options. Princess offers a Disembarkation Tour & Transfer to the Airport package, their notes say this is for flights after 6:00pm.  They also offer a Ship to Airport transfer (without tour), good for any flights after noon. Local company Iruka Shuttle also has options of Tour & Transfer, or Transfer only. Book all directly.

 

 

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Great post terry&mike  🙂

Do you know if "Green Tomato Travel" would do a trips for a day visit??

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On 1/28/2020 at 2:38 AM, Kiwi_cruiser said:

Great post terry&mike  🙂

Do you know if "Green Tomato Travel" would do a trips for a day visit??

I used them to plan a day tour for a group of 30 in Kyoto, from Osaka port, and then a day tour and transfer from Yokohama port to Tokyo. They also offer port to airport transfers, and hotel to airport transfers. Very possibly they would put together something for you, depending on your needs. Have you looked at the offerings from Klook.com? They are kind of like the Asian equivalent of Viator, with lots of different tour options by lots of different vendors. I used them for Big Buddha tickets in Lantau (Hong Kong), and for a Sumo Championship tour in Tokyo.

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On 2/1/2020 at 5:11 AM, terry&mike said:

I used them to plan a day tour for a group of 30 in Kyoto, from Osaka port, and then a day tour and transfer from Yokohama port to Tokyo. They also offer port to airport transfers, and hotel to airport transfers. Very possibly they would put together something for you, depending on your needs. Have you looked at the offerings from Klook.com? They are kind of like the Asian equivalent of Viator, with lots of different tour options by lots of different vendors. I used them for Big Buddha tickets in Lantau (Hong Kong), and for a Sumo Championship tour in Tokyo.

 

Thank You 🙂

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