Japan 2019 Day 1: Tokyo to Sendai

We landed at 5:25am at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, this was my first time at Haneda airport and I was slightly disappointed by the arrivals area. There was only one small store and a coffee shop and I was pretty hungry after the 11 hour flight! The plan was to get our JR East pass exchanged and head straight to Sendai. The JR office opens at 6:45am and so we went to start to queue just before. We should have started queuing as soon as was got off the plane, the line was so long! We had booked at 7:30am bus to Tokyo station to catch the shinkansen and easily missed our scheduled bus due to spending two hours queuing at the Jr East office! We got our exchange order swapped to our pass and booked tickets from Tokyo station to Sendai station. Thankfully the bus agents were kind and swapped our ticket to a later bus without any additional fees, and we went outside to wait for the bus. Apparently the JR office at Haneda airport is the busiest in all of Japan, so if you are planning to get your pass or tickets here leave yourself enough time.

Japan’s next surprise was that we landed in the tail of typhoon Bualoi, it was freezing cold, super windy and rainy! We even had to put on our ski coats to wait for the bus! The bus was great, space underneath for all the luggage, and comfy seats. The route to Tokyo station took us over the Rainbow Bridge and through the morning traffic. The bus stop was at Tokyo Station, unfortunately Tokyo Station is enormous and have many entrances and exists and there was actually no visible entrance nearby. As there was no food available in the airport we had planned to get some gluten free ramen at Soranoiro on Tokyo station’s ramen street. Que the usual getting lost in Tokyo station segment, we finally got some hot food in our bellies and I enjoyed a gluten free, egg free and milk free bowl of ramen 🙂 It was delicious!

A simple hop onto the Tohoku Shinkansen whisked us up to Sendai city, closer to the typhoon! A rainy walk to our hotel later we were on our way to our first sightseeing location, Zuihoden Mausoleum. The rain was super heavy and our hiking boots soon began to squelsh as we walked the 2km route across Sendai to Zuihoden. Thanks to the typhoon the mausoleum was deserted! It was super moody and aesthetic as the rain poured whilst the sun set. A beautiful mausoleum, similar in style to Nikko Toshugu with vibrant colours and intricate carving. There is also a small museum which houses artifacts unearthed when the mausoleum was excavated after being destroyed in World War II.

On our return walk, dripping wet and hungry, we stopped in at Coco Curry. I was excited to try a second restaurant that provides allergy free food. The curry actually is served at the table in a sealed pouch that you pour onto your rice yourself. The curry is super sweet, not spicy at all, and a little sickly, but good in a pinch!

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