The plane turned out to be very full. There were several people who had also planned to be on the LA flight (the flight status showed there was no replacement plane out of LAX). There were at least 4 flight attendants sitting with me in First. We left a little late, but arrived in Tokyo close to the scheduled time. The flight service was nice and they had the new turn down service, so sleeping was pretty easy to do after lunch and watching "The Campaign".
There was no line at immigration, so the landing formalities did not take very long. I exited Customs, made the left turn to the ATM machines for some cash, and then headed straight down the escalators. My choice this time for transfer to my hotel was the Keisei Skyliner and then the JR Yamanote line to Shinjuku Station. It is possible to take the Narita Express to Shinjuku Station via Tokyo station, but the Skyliner plus local train is a little cheaper and maybe a little faster, depending upon the timing. The only advantage the Narita Express train offers is that you don't run into potentially crowded trains. Since it was mid-afternoon, I didn't think crowding would be too bad (it wasn't). At Shinjuku Station, there is a shuttle bus to the Tokyo Hilton, but I didn't remember exactly where it stops, so I just walked it (underground).
The Hilton granted my paid upgrade request to a Tower Suite, so I had a very nice space for my stay, including a nice view of Mt. Fuji.
|Surprisingly small bathroom|
|The days were surprisingly clear during my stay|
My dinner at Pierre Gagnaire at the ANA Intercontinental was very nice.
|Oysters and scallops|
|Duck foie gras with ice cream|
|Dessert Part 1|
|Dessert Part 2|
|Dessert Part 3|
The baby peaches were kind of a big goal for me. I have had them at The Bazaar in Beverly Hills and at the Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo. After searching on the Internet, the only place I could find them was a mail order shop in Tokyo. I looked at many food stores in Tokyo with no luck. My massage therapist in Tokyo helped me out and called the shop up (since they probably only spoke Japanese) and arranged for an order (one jar) to be delivered to my hotel. They actually delivered the next day while I was out. The hotel paid them and charged the cost to my room, so it all worked out very smoothly.
My return trip to the airport used the same conveyances I used to get to the hotel, except I took the Hilton shuttle bus (leaves every 20 minutes) to Shinjuku Station. I took the Yamanote line to Ueno Station where I walked across the street to the Keisei Skyliner station. At the airport, the formalities were quickly done, especially with the First Class security line and no immigration line. It gave me a bit more time to shop duty free and then grab a snack in the First Class lounge before boarding my flight.
The flight home was okay. The crew did not offer turn down service and the flight was very fast (the route was almost straight across the Pacific instead of heading northeast towards Alaska. It was also fairly bumpy a good part of the way. But we arrived early and Global Entry got me through immigration quickly (even though I had to deal with a new software interface on the kiosks).