DAY 1: Melbourne to Tokyo flight and arrival

DAY 1: Melbourne to Tokyo flight and arrival

October 14th, 2019

Clicking on a link marked with a * takes you to a more detailed post, such as a review.
QANTAS flight direct Melbourne to Narita
Keisei Skyliner
Japan Wireless pocket wifi*

Hotel: Hotel Sardonyx Ueno*

Typhoon Hagibis hit Japan roughly two days before we arrived. Flights the day before our departure were cancelled and/or delayed but no changes were made to our QANTAS flight (thought it was delayed about 45 minutes on the day), and we arrived at Narita International Airport at the scheduled 18:20 local time. I had previously selected our seats ($35 per person per flight, so we could have two seats together) and requested a vegan meal for both of us. I packed some snacks and non-stinky sandwiches, because with flights and vegan options you just never know, right?

Our first meal was quite good. The vegan option was some rice with two types of curry (very mildy flavoured), a quinoa bread roll by Rowie’s Cakes (which I found dry and hard to eat), a small container of not-vegan margarine, a packet of dried fruit mix and a nice chocolate cake slice:

QANTAS vegan meal economy Melbourne to Narita

For the plane snacks from home, I’d packed some sandwiches for my daughter and fruit.

The second meal, which was more a snack an hour or so before we landed, was a veggie burger by Rowie’s Cakes. This was okay, a little crumbly to eat but good enough:

 

Between the two meal services, passengers were offered an apple and a not-vegan frozen treat. Plus the usual tea/coffee/juice/alcohol.

The flight took about ten and a half hours. The choice of movies, shows and general entertainment was pretty good. When we landed in Narita we cleared customs in about ten minutes. It was awesome not having to wait for suitcases on a baggage carousel afterwards, with only having taken cabin baggage! You can read about what we packed and our experience with one bag travel here.

I had previously purchased an exchange voucher for the Keisei Skyliner train through Klook. This train takes about 47 minutes from Narita airport to Keisei-Ueno station. Our hotel was in Ueno, so the Keisei Skyliner was our best option.

The Keisei Skyliner process involved:

  • taking our previously purchased exchange vouchers (printed out at home) to the main Keisei Skyliner counter at Narita (I think we had to go downstairs for this) along with our passports, and getting our tickets (the voucher itself is not your ticket).
  • waiting on the extremely warm platform.

The Keisei Skyliner train was clean, quiet and comfortable and the overall trip to Ueno took the advertised 45-47 minutes. It was much cooler than the platform, which was a welcome relief!

Keisei-Ueno station is separate, but close, to the main Ueno station. We walked about seven minutes to Hotel Sardonyx Ueno. By this time it was around 21:30 perhaps, the station and streets en route to our hotel were lit up and busy and had such a good vibe.

Check in at the hotel was quick. I had arranged for Japan Wireless (review here) to deliver our pocket wi-fi to the hotel, to be ready for us when we checked in though the hotel had free wi-fi for guests:

We went straight to the Family Mart convenience store around the corner for a quick dinner. For me it was pickled plum onigiri (my favourite and is currently vegan at Family Mart), a banana and soy milk:

 

NARITA AIRPORT COMMENTS

Narita airport like many airportsĀ  is pretty stuffy so I suggest you wear a t-shirt as your bottom layer. We used the toilets as soon as we got off the plane and by the time we left the restrooms there was absolutely nobody around for the ten minutes we walked to immigration. We passed through immigration and customs in under ten minutes as we had no baggage to collect and nothing to declare.

 

On to Day 2.

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