We arrived at Narita in the late afternoon. By the time we got through custom, picked up our luggage, got our rental phones and pocket wifi hotspot, it was starting to get dark. Got our N’EX and Suica combo from the JR counter and arrived at the platform at around 18:10. N’EX is a convenient way to travel to Tokyo. We tried other transportation options before like the Limousine Bus and Keisei Line but decided to use N’EX again as it takes us directly to our destination station without any transfer.
If you have traveled to Tokyo before, you know how efficient and awesome their train system is. Modern, clean, punctual, comfortable are a few adjectives that came to mind when I think about trains in Tokyo. Most express trains including the Shinkansen have assigned seats so you are guaranteed to have your own seat, much like traveling on an airplane.
The N’EX is no exception. Traveling from Narita Airport to Ikebukuro takes about 1.5 hours. As you can imagine at this time of the day, we were pretty tired and starting to get hungry, but luckily not cranky.
We rented an apartment in Ikebukuro and it is conveniently located just 7 minutes from the train station, and only a couple of minutes from restaurants and shops. Our first meal in Japan is ramen!
Ichiran Ramen is a chain store for ramen. You can fully customize your bowl of ramen including the thickness of your soup base, the spiciness, the amount of meat, etc. etc. It is very popular for visitors as I realized that there are lots of foreigners eating there. Maybe partially because there are English menus available…. Nonetheless, it was really good and if you haven’t tried it, it is worthwhile to pay them a visit. We went to the store in Ikebukuro.
After dinner, we were full and we needed to walk around to ease the belly pressure.
Ikebukuro is a busy town and it has lots of department stores and chain stores. Ikebukuro Station is also the second busiest JR train station, second only to Shinjuku Station. We walked around a bit until the stores closed for the day.
Even after 10 PM, there are still lots of people on the street. I love the energy and the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and staying at Ikebukuro is just perfect :)
One of the best things about staying in the city is the convenience, there are stores that open 24 hours and we visited FamilyMart quite a few times at the end of the day and can rely on them for basic food items we can eat in the next morning.