after arrival
February 16, 2024

So here’s what I’ve learned about what to do after I arrive in Japan.

The Zipair flight is scheduled to arrive at 12:25 on Thursday, May 9th. Let’s say an hour for customs and to get my backpack. A cursory online check seems to suggest this.

Google provides a lot of help in getting from point あ to point う.

The Skyliner into Tokyo leaves from Terminal 1, where I arrive. It’s a short walk, then about 40 minutes to Nippori Station, $20. From there, two trains to Oji Station; about 15–20 minutes and a few bucks. Then I can grab a bus (in Japanese…) to a block or two from the Inari-yu Bathhouse.

Soak and relax.

Then go get a bite from a local ramen shop. Or maybe eat first. We’ll see how I feel.

Then back to Oji Station and get a shinkansen to Omiya and my hotel. Check out the spas and baths there. Is there a lot of bathing going on in my first day in Japan? Hell yea. I love soaking in hot water. And apart from the side-trip to Inari-yu, this route is the fastest to Omiya.

Anxiety level: much reduced.

I am heading off to Japan only a few years removed from even learning I have a lifelong issue with serious anxiety. I do not handle the unknown very well. Some people could just get their ticket and go, but I need a lot more. I need to know as much as I can about what to expect and how to get around.

The ability to have a Suica card will help a lot; all my non-JR transport can be paid for easily on this pseudo-debit card. Tap my phone and go, just like riding Trimet.

And the fact that Zipair limits me to 30kg for my backpack means I won’t be over-burdened with that. The one I’m getting can have the straps stowed away and a cover deployed so it seems more like a suitcase.

I can even use Google Street View to see the bus stop I need to get off for Inari-yu.

I am sure I’ll try to fine-tune all of this a lot more, but once I set out on the journey proper on my second day, my plan is to wing-it. I’ll have my JR East pass so I can just la-de-dah my way across northern Japan without too many worries. I’ll have my camping gear, so I’ll always have a place to stay.