Our flight from New Chitose to Haneda departed at 12:30-ish in the afternoon. Since we still had the big tutu bag and tiara to carry, we decided to take a taxi to the airport instead of our usual train. Taxis are very expensive in Japan… And the New Chitose Airport is not that near from Sapporo’s city center. For a comparison, if we take the train to the airport, it would cost us around SGD 15. If you want a reserved seating, then probably less than SGD 20… If you take a cab, it would at least run around SGD 200! More than 10 times of the train fare!
So, to save some money and hassle, Hisae-san suggested to pre-book a certain type of taxi. She said, she tried this the last time they went to Sapporo for a competition, and the price was reduced to almost half of the normal fare. So, she helped me make the reservation through the hotel, and on the day of the check-out, our booked taxi had already waited for us downstairs at 9 in the morning… and was very fancy!
The car was very clean and smelled nice. It was super spacious and very comfortable. Aina and I ended up sleeping almost the whole way to the airport. And it was true, the fare came down to ¥9,000, which is about SGD 110 at that time. On top of that, the driver spoke perfect English, which made everything so much easier. He was super nice too, and helped us take those pictures above before we left 🙂
After checking in at the Airport, we walked around and did a mini window shopping. I like the New Chitose Airport because it’s very comfortable. It’s not too big, but it had everything… and the food is usually excellent. We shopped around the kiddy areas (which was called Smile Road) and after that we opted for (of course) the seafood lunch.
It was soooo good! The seafood was of course excellent, but the udon was surprisingly amazing. Aina and I agreed that it was the best udon soup we’ve ever tasted.
We arrived at the Haneda Airport around 2 hours before Ari landed. So, we had plenty of time to walk around the airport. I had never been to Haneda before, and spent some time looking for their International Terminal, which was where Ari would land.
Apparently, Haneda Domestic Terminal and its International Terminal were in completely separate buildings. We had to take either a bus or a train to get to the International Terminal. We decided to take the bus (Bus number 9 was the one that circles around all 3 terminals — 2 Domestics and 1 International). The International Terminal was much more organized… and big! We decided to stay in the kiddy area, much like the Smile Road at the New Chitose Airport. We sat in a cafe eating soft ice cream, while I worked on sorting the photos on the iPad and Aina walked around and did her shopping… She ended up with one more squishy shaped like a baby seal.
And finally, Ari arrived!! Yay! Aina was super happy to see her dad… It was probably the longest time spent without Ari for Aina. He had been away to some business trips without us, but it was always a little short than a week. This time, it was 8 days! And this time, it was Aina’s business trip 🙂
After hanging out for a bit, we walked to the train station to go to Shibuya to meet up with Jessi. Then, we managed to get lost! We took the wrong train that actually went to the opposite side. We were supposed to get off at Shinagawa, and change trains to Shibuya. But after about 30 minutes on the train, we realized that we just passed Yokohama, instead… Oh no! We were completely heading towards the wrong direction!
When I told Jessi, she laughed at us… We almost never got lost in trains when we’re traveling. Maybe I’ve been taking taxis too much in the past week, that I forgot how to take trains… Haha.
Jessi told us to go back to the Yokohama station, and change to another train, Shonan-Shinjuku line, that went straight to Shibuya. We were lucky enough that we caught the rapid one, which saved us probably another hour.
We finally met the preggo Jessi at the Shibuya Station. Yep, Jessi is pregnant, and that was one of the reasons for us to stop by Tokyo during this trip: to see her first preggy tummy! Poor her, she had to wait in Shibuya station for an extra hour…
Since we were late, and everyone had enough of waiting, we decided to take a taxi to Mami’s apartment, an AirBnB that we rented. It was very close from the station, that by the time we got there, the taxi fare hadn’t changed from the base fare.
So, we dropped off our luggages at the apartment, which was tiny, but super cute and very clean… and then, we went to a ramen place nearby. Jessi told us that there was a good ramen place that she wanted to try, called Usagi Ramen. It was a bit hard to find, even with Google Map in hand. It was tiny and all the signs were written in Japanese. So, we tried looking for a drawing of a rabbit (usagi) on windows, instead.
The place was super tiny, like the typical ramen stall. But the staff was very kind, and even though there were lines when we got there, it went reasonably fast.
I got myself a tsukemen (the dipped ramen), while the others had their shoyu ramen. Both were very yummy and very light to taste, but I think it was the best tsukemen I’ve ever tasted. It was perfect for a summer night!
After the late dinner (I think we arrived at Usagi a little over 9PM already), we were all spent. We went back to the hotel and just had a chat there while lazing around on the couch and bed.
For photos while we were in Sapporo, there are all in Sapporo 2017 photo album in Flickr.
For the Tokyo leg, all the photos are in Tokyo 2017 photo album.
Other entries of this trip is at Japan 2017 Trip: Ballet Competitions.