Originally posted 2008-03-22.
Long lines for passport control for foreigners at Narita Airport. I have waited for about 45 minutes. After the passport control everything went much smoother:
It was easy to use a public phone.
It was easy to buy a bus ticket.
On the bus journey to Tokyo my main impression was that Tokyo was more similar to European cities and thus more familiar to me than most of the U.S. cities I have seen:
The sidewalks made from pavers and actually used by people to walk.
The maximum use of space.
The trees planted in the sidewalks despite their narrowness.
The Carrefour and IKEA shops.
The buses and the trains.
The metric system: standard road signs in kilometers, temperature in degrees Celsius.
The east entrance to the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo. The Imperial Palace is not visible from any point. The emperor does not wish to be disturbed.
Shin-Yokohama means new Yokohama. The Shinkansen stops at Shin-Yokohama. Tokyo Central is only two stops away.
This is a picture of one of the 3 types of Shinkansen trains operated by JR Tokai. I love these trains: fast, quiet, safe, comfortable.
The view of Tokyo from the Tokyo Tower.