We were up for dawn at Hotel JAL City Haneda Tokyo West Wing (The West Wing bit is important as there are two separate JAL City hotels on the same road). There was an all you can eat breakfast, but first we wanted to take a walk around the neighbour hood and hit up an Inari shrine that was nearby. The sun was only just rising, but Tokyo was already awake!
If you are familiar with the main Japanese shrines, you will know Inari shrines are dedicated to the Goddess of the harvest, Inari. These shrines are distinct as they have lots of vermillion torii throughout the site, the most famous being the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto.
I knew this little Inari shrine wouldn’t be as spectacular, but was looking forward to seeing the shrine empty in the morning. We headed to Anamori Inari Shrine which was just down the road, but were greeted with (what we thought was) our final disappointment of the trip. The whole shrine was undergoing renovation, all the vermillion torii had been removed from the ground and stacked against walls and fences!
It was probably like this to get ready for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (2021? 2022?) but it was a shame. We wandered a little more before returning to the hotel, eating as much as we could from the buffet, and getting onto the free shuttle bus to the airport.
Our final big disappointment of the trip was British Airways, the most useless airline I have ever flown with! We were on a code share flight with JAL, who were amazing at providing me meals and snacks I could eat on our flight out. BA were meant to have prepared me a special meal too, but on check in this hadn’t been booked. I tried to explain to the staff, and they asked if I was vegan (no), or if I wanted gluten free (no), I need both. I showed my medical alert ID, and explained in Japanese and English and they agreed they would try, or they would book me on a different flight another day.
A stressful time was had on the air side of Haneda, trying to find food to no avail. At boarding they told me they had ordered the vegan meal, but didn’t know if it was gluten free. We settled in to our cramped BA seats, and at the first meal I was asked “chicken or fish”. The message hadn’t gotten through. I ate no food for the entire 11 hour flight. The staff kept offering me meals, even from first class, but none of them had any ingredients or allergens lists on!
I have obviously complained a lot since I returned, all they offered was points, which aren’t very useful these days.
It was a shame to have such a stressful ending to our trip, and I was quite unwell by the time we had driven home from Heathrow airport back in the UK.
JAL all the way next time!
One little blessing was that we saw Mount Fuji from the plane, sit on the left hand side if taking off from Haneda and heading east. I forgot to take off my polarising lens cap so the photos are a little funky!
Typical that Fuji was clear as a pin the day we didn’t wake up there!
Thank you for reading my 2019 Japan adventures, I hope you enjoyed it and maybe got some ideas for your next trip.