I am back from our family vacation to Japan. We had a wonderful time and I will have to post some pictures soon. We spent 2 1/2 days in Tokyo then 6 days in Okinawa where my sister lives.
Tokyo is an amazing city. I have been to lots of the big cities (London, Paris, NY City, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas) over the years but Tokyo is by far the biggest city I have ever been to. We stayed at the Marriott Ginza and during our brief visit saw Tokyo Tower, the Imperial Palace, the Tokyo Zoo, the Fish Market and a few other things. The Fish Market was amazing, it appears very chaotic but is almost ballet like in how things move around. Worth doing if you find yourself awake at 4:00 AM (like we did) and you are close (we were within walking distance).
Okinawa offered a different aspect of Japan. While it was far more densely populated than I expected it would be, we were able to see and do quite a bit. It would have been very hard to do Okinawa on our own so I am glad my sister was able to be our tour guide. Of particular note was Shurijo Castle, the Aquariaum at Ocean Expo Park, and a Whale Watching Tour.
Travel was pretty easy – we flew American Airlines from Raleigh to Tokyo via DFW and JAL between Tokyo and Okinawa. We had to change airports as JAL doesn’t fly between Narita and Okinawa but outbound it wasn’t a big deal since we were in Tokyo. On the return we had 3 hours to change from Haneda to Narita but other than I ran out of Yen to buy bus tickets with, it was no problem. 3 hours is about the minimum to make the connection, we didn’t have a lot of time once we got to Narita before our flight boarded. We flew back through Chicago and had a 4 hour layover which we passed in the Admirals Club. Every year when it is time to renew my AA Club I question whether it is worth it or not but several times a year, particularly if the family is with me, I am really glad I have it. Wednesday in Chicago was one of those days. Passing 4 hours in the terminal with 4 kids and our stuff would havenot have been a lot of fun.
So we are home no worse for the wear – need to adjust to the time though. I am still a bit off, Japan is 13 hours ahead of the east coast. All for now, more details as I upload pictures to Flickr.