A Fortunate Chance.
Narita in a day? Hubby and I had the fortunate luck to stay at Narita, Japan for a day! Our Japan to Manila flight got cancelled. (This was the last leg of our long trip from Baltimore, Maryland to the Philippines.) So we were booked by Delta Airlines for a free overnight stay at the nearby Hotel Nikko Narita with free meals even. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t come home soon enough but who can complain about a complimentary stay in Japan? A whole 24-hour stay in Narita. I’ve always wanted to visit the “land of the rising sun”. So “Yayyyyy!!!” for that chance!
At 5 pm we took a shuttle from the Tokyo Narita Airport to the hotel. The check in was fast. We were able to get a room on the second floor. The room was warm and I tried to lower the temperature from what looked like a room thermostat (because I like comfortably cool rooms) but hubby said that the temperature was centrally controlled. We opened the windows instead to let the fresh air in. That did cool the room a little. It was more comfortable now.
The Aeon Mall.
We decided that we wanted to go see the Aeon Mall. Google says it’s one of the biggest malls in Chiba (Narita’s prefecture). We only got as far as the clothing section in the 1st and 2nd floor. I would have loved to check Uniqlo but I didn’t know how to get there and we didn’t want to wander too far and miss the shuttle back to the hotel. But the stores that we were able to see were good enough for me.
My haul? I was able to score some underwear, a long beige skirt and beige sweatshirt, a maroon long-skirted jumper and a beige bucket hat. That coveted bucket hat had a steep price back in Baltimore. I got this beige, finely-made hat at one of the shops on the 2nd floor for ¥777 (about $7.00US). Plus, I was also able to buy wool beret hats for an average of just $13USD. Steal! Shopping always makes me happy but shopping bargains make me happier :p
The Serena Robot.
We caught the next shuttle back to the hotel and had dinner at the Serena Retaurant inside the Nikko. (I did mention our meals were free, right?). There was a short wait before they let you in. To entertain you while you wait, they have a robot by the entrance that sang and talked to you. I found that robot really neat! It had a tablet it uses for user interaction.
Dining at Serena.
The wait for our table didn’t last too long. The host took us inside a very warm and inviting atmosphere. It had windowed walls that showed a beautiful lighting decorations outside. Inside, there were tables and counters full of food with a chef stations that served steak cooked to your liking. There was a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf that divided the buffet room and the dining area. I found myself dreaming of having something like that in my ideal home. (Hmmm… maybe someday.)
They were serving food buffet-styled. It was a good-sized buffet with a lot of fish dishes, and some meat ones. There were also serving Alaskan crab legs which hit the spot with me for yumminess. There was also about 3 different kinds of soup. They also had different bottles of wine and juices – all you can drink. The fruits and desserts of different small cakes were also a plus. I didn’t see any sushi or tempura tho but they served good steak grilled to your liking. It was enough to fill your tummy. Not really that exceptional, tho, but still tasty.
The Breakfast Treat.
The next morning, we also dined at Serena. It was AYCE buffet setting for breakfast also. Serena served the usual American breakfast items like cereal, bacon, ham and sausages together with an assortment of jams and breads and pancakes, too! Last night’s steak station is now an omelette bar where they cooked your eggs however you fancied them. Also included are Japanese staples like cured fish and soup.
For beverages, they had different kinds of juices. The most fascinating item on the buffet was the station for vitamins. This was the first time (and probably, the ONLY time, maybe) I’d seen a restaurant that also served all the vitamin supplements that you’d want to take. Only in Japan. And of course, since it is Japan, what can be more Japanese than serving Yakult as part of your healthy breakfast? My nephews and niece would surely have a feast if they served this in Canada!
Keisei Narita Station.
After breakfast, we decided to board the shuttle again and get off at the Keisei Narita Station. This station is the stop of the Keisei Main Line and Keisei Higashi-Narita Line. We saw a lot of students going into one of the streets so we figured there is a school nearby.
It was a very cold morning and I didn’t have any warmer jacket in my carryon. The sweatshirt I bought at the Aeon Mall was not enough to keep me getting cold. Hubby and I just decided to head back to the hotel. It was a few hours before our flight but I wanted to explore the airport so I asked hubby if we can just get on the next shuttle bus back to the Narita Airport.
For lunch, we shared a bowl of ramen at the airport. I couldn’t remember the name of the fast food stall. But the ramen was good! I now can attest to what the internet says about ramen in Japan. That even the ramen bought at Japanese airports tastes good! I did go around a bit inside the airport but it was probably because of my excitement to get home that I didn’t take any pictures.
This short visit just made me more convinced that Japan should be a destination hubby and I should not delay visiting. This made me love Japan more.
A few hours after and a smooth flight to Manila, we were finally home. I loved our 24-hour stay in Chiba but now, the fun definitely starts!
Stay tuned, my lovies!
PS. I forgot to tell you, we had an earthquake on our only night in Japan! It happened at around 2:00 in the morning and registered a strong 5.3 on the richter scale. It lasted a good 2 minutes or so, including all the aftershocks. We felt a bit scared by the continuous shaking. A few moments after the last aftershock we heard some people come out of their rooms. But then again I remembered, this is Japan! They’re so close to the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. This is the reason why it is actually a law in Japan to build earthquake-proofed structures. So if there is a place I would feel safe during an earthquake – it would be in Japan.
The once named “godmother of the Philippine Blogosphere”, Gigi Manaloto-Refugia, known by her pen name “Ate Sienna” has been blogging since 2002 in her old pansitan.net community where she housed famous bloggers. She now writes about being 50-something and shares her tips on fashion, makeup, skincare, travel, food and thrift-store diving.
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