The actual flying time from Itami to Haneda is less than an hour. The landing approach was via Tokyo Bay onto runway 34L. Along the landing path, we were able to see the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line Expressway which has a length of it running under the Tokyo Bay. By chance, our plane flew within sight of the Aqua-Line ventilation tower for ventilating the Expressway. The ventilating tower is sort of on a man made island in the middle of Tokyo Bay and looks like the sail of a ship.
Our flight by ANA B777-200
The Aqua-Line Expressway ventilation tower for ventilating the expressway’s underwater section. Parallel landing with another aircraft on the right.
Runway ‘D’ built on reclaimed land south of the main airfield.
Past runway ‘D’ approaching the main airfield for landing on runway 34L. The other aircraft will land on runway 34R in the background.
Safely landed at Haneda airport.
Haneda airport is way larger than Itami as it’s the forth busiest airport in the world (2017) even beating it’s sister airport Narita (49th). After claiming our checked baggage, we took the monorail at the airport to Hamamatsucho station for a change to the Yamanote Line for our hotel in Akihabara. The ride on the monorail was 24 minutes while on the Yamanote Line was 11 minutes. The change of train line at Hamamatsucho station entails a couple of minutes walk and the use of escalator to get down to the platform. Ticket payments for the monorail and the train was made using the Icoca card we’ve purchased at Kansai airport. Yes, the Icoca can be used in Tokyo as well, in-fact for most of Japan.
Spacious Haneda airport.
Ultraman flying in to greet us.
Inside the monorail.
Views along Tokyo Bay.
Another view from the monorail.
End of the road (or rail) for the monorail at Hamamatsucho station for a change to the Yamanote Line.
Platform for the Yamanote Line at Hamamatsucho station.
Arrived at Washington Hotel next to Akihabara train station. Less than a minute walk from the JR Central exit.
Having arrived in Haneda, we went straight to Akihabara Washington Hotel to drop our baggage. For lunch, we headed to Coco Curry House which is less than 5 minutes walk from our hotel. This chain restaurant specialises in Japanese style curry rice and has two halal outlets. The first being in Akihabara and the other, a newly opened branch at Shinjuku. Their halal outlets are differentiated by a GREENcoloured signboard, while the non-halal with a yellow signboard.
Approaching Coco Curry House halal outlet with the green signboard.
1F Uchiomatsunaga Bldg, 16 Kanda-matsunagacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Access to Halal Coco Curry House:
Exit Akihabara Station via JR Central Gate. Cross the street to Yodobashi Akiba and turn left. Walk along Yodobashi frontage until you reach an inter-section and turn right. Walk straight +/- 50m till you reach another inter-section. Turn left and you will pass Towarow Plaza building. Walk straight ahead a little bit more till you reach Coco Curry House to your left. Look out for it’s GREEN signboard.
Walking route from Akihabara JR Central Gate exit to Halal Coco Curry House
Sample of their food displayed outside.
Some of the varieties of curry offered at Coco Curry House.
Typical to many Japanese restaurants, the outlet is small, clean and you eat on the counter top. The restaurant can accommodate 10 customers but they also cater for take-away. Deprived of ingredients like fresh coconut milk & fresh herbs, their curry has their own unique flavour which I would give 85% authenticity compared to the curry we have in Malaysia. Apologies, but I find it difficult to concur with my fellow countrymen/women that the flavour of Coco’s curry is insanely delicious (sedap gila). This can probably be true, if someone who had stayed in Japan a long time and have been accustomed to the local flavours.
Counter style eat-in with 10 seats.
A handful of customers before lunch hour.
Compact kitchen of the restaurant.
Our order of vegetable curry with chicken cutlet was cooked to precision with the use of timers for deep frying of the chicken and the cooking of the curry. Once ready, all were placed onto a plate and served. Be careful, the curry is piping hot, it will burn your tongue. This dish costs ¥1,180 for the basic plate. Warm or cold water is served free. For more info on this restaurant, click here.
Right after lunch at Coco Curry House, we headed for Asakusa to enable us to return to our hotel early to avoid the evening rush hours.Taking the Hibiya Line from Akihabara, we needed to change to the Ginza line at Ueno station. Being a first timer, the change at Ueno was a little confusing and involves a fair bit of walking and direction seeking to get to the correct platform for Asakusa.
One of the platform we waited for our train but couldn’t recall which station.
Elevator Exit 3 of Asakusa station is 3.4 meters above sea level.
The inter-section of Kaminarimon Street facing Tokyo Skytree.
At Asakusa station, take exit 3 for the elevator and you’ll come out on the same side of the street that will take you to the Sansoji Temple. Taking a right and a 100 meters walk will take you to the Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate) with that big red lantern. This is the first of two large entrance gates leading to Sensoji Temple, Tokyo’s most famous and popular temple.
Kaminari Gate, the first of two large entrance gates leading to Sensoji Temple,
Past this gate you’ll be in the Nakamise shopping street, the oldest shopping street in Japan. It stretches over 250 meters from Kaminarimon to the main grounds of Sensoji Temple. It is lined with many shops which caters for local specialties and an array of tourist souvenirs. Choice of souvenirs depends on your liking but prices isn’t cheap. A few T-shirts and a number of small souvenirs will rapidly escalate to more than ¥10,000
Nakamise shopping street just after the Kaminari Gate. The second of the large entrance gate to the temple is in the background.
The crowd of visitors at Nakamise shopping street. In the background is Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center building .
One of the stores at Nakamise selling samurai swords.
Sensoji (‘ji’ means temple) is Tokyo’s most popular temple visitors come to. Although the current buildings you see now are postwar reconstructions, the original buildings were built in the 7th century. It is the oldest of all Buddhist temple in Tokyo and also comprises of a five storey pagoda within it’s compound.
Hozomon gate, the second of the large entrance gate to Sensoji temple.
Another big lantern at Hozomon gate.
A close-up of the lantern.
The five storey 53.32 meters pagoda of Sensoji.
After the Hozoman gate is the main hall where prayers are held.
Lanterns with writings hang on bamboo poles.
Useful map of Sensoji Temple complex.
Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center
The Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center is a distinctive seven storey building in Asakusa. It is located directly opposite the Kaminari Gate of Senso-ji Temple. The building features an observation deck on 8F with an observatory terrace with nice views of the area surrounding Sensoji Temple, Nakamise Street, Asahi (Gold building) and Tokyo Skytree.
Access to the observation deck is free to all visitors. You go up by elevators but expect queue as one would, for anything that’s free. What would usually be a desperate battle against the crowds at Nakamise Street or Sensoji to get a perfect photo, from the terrace it’s non-issue as nobody will be obstructing your view here. There are also seating areas with benches for you to rest after a long walk around Asakusa.
The unique design of Asakusa Culture and Tourism Information Center.
Proceeding straight from the elevator and looking down you’ll get a full view from Kaminari Gate to Sensoji temple and in between.
To your right is the Tokyo Skytree and the golden building of Asahi.
Tokyo Skytree, Asahi building and part of Sumida river.