Getting There

We made our way from Koh Lanta, Thailand, to Krabi, where we caught a flight to Bangkok. After spending the night at the Novotel Hotel at the Bangkok airport, we flew to Tokyo/Yokohama, flying into Hanada airport.

Airport sign for flight
Hotel Bedroom
Airport hotel pool at night

We took Japan Airlines on this trip, and the flight was wonderful; the service, food, and entertainment systems options made for a very pleasant experience. The food was even good.

Airplane window
Selfie on the airplane
Airplane wing with city under it

Once we landed and worked our way through immigration and customs, we took a taxi to the Intercontinental Grand in Yokohama. It was getting late when we checked in, so we grabbed dinner at the hotel and went to bed.

The Hotel

The Intercontinental Grand Hotel is located on a bay in Yokohama and attached to a convention center. The building is large, with 31 floors. We had a lovely room on the 11th floor with easy access to the hotel’s restaurants, shops, and other services.

The room was spacious; the bed was comfortable, with an excellent pillow selection, a kettle, a refrigerator, and a good view. The hotel and convention center were connected to the office building/shopping mall across the street view, and a pedestrian walking bridge was covered on both sides in case of bad weather.

Restroom Attractions

Although this is not something I would typically address, the toilets were incredible! They have a control panel with multiple choices of bidet-type functions (front, back, the strength of the stream, etc.), and the seats were even heated. It was a little intimidating initially, but we found them very friendly. Why don’t we have these in the States??

Toilet buttons
Toilet keyboard

Cherry Blossoms - Sakura

There was a two-hour time difference between Thailand and Japan, so we woke up early, ready to explore. We found a breakfast place and then checked out all the pretty cherry blossoms surrounding the hotel. They were a couple of days past their peak but beautiful just the same.

Cherry blossoms in Yokohama, Japan.
Sakura season in Yokohama, Japan.
Cherry blossoms close up in Yokohama, Japan.

Sim Card Search

Haneda did not have any SIM card vendors like we had found in Vietnam and Thailand, so one of our tasks of the day was to find one. We checked out several malls before we found one in a Pharmacy. Once installed, it made our travels much easier; there was no more guessing where we were or where we were supposed to be going.

Communication

We quickly discovered that not many people in Japan speak English, which surprised us. Luckily, now that Jim had a sim card, we had access to the internet and Google Translate. We used it to communicate with others and to read labels. It made communications so much easier.

Grocery Adventure

A consistent supply of fruit and veggies had been hard to come by in Thailand and Vietnam, so we thought we’d stop at a grocery store and pick up some fruit and a few other things for our room. We were only going to be in Yokohama for a few days, so I just wanted to buy two bananas. I found two nice-looking ones and broke them off the bunch, as there was no way we could eat the entire bunch. Once we got to the checkout counter, we were informed (through various hand signals and a manager who spoke two words of English) that we were not allowed to do that; we had to buy the entire bunch. I apologized, and they took the bananas away from me. Luckily, I was not carted away by the police.

The Surrounding Area

Some of the buildings in the area appeared to be high-rise apartments or condos, but just as many were office buildings. Most had retail space at the street level; many of the office buildings had retail shops on several levels, both above and below ground. Some were attached to the metro system four levels below the street. We especially liked the express elevators that took you down for five flights in one ride.

Metal statue in front of office buildings in Yokohama, Japan.
Street in Yokohama, Japan.
Ferris wheel on the water front in Yokohama

Green Space

Several parks were close to the hotel, and a walking/running path bordered the bay. The parks had lots of cherry trees, and the spring flowers were starting to bloom. The parks had many benches to sit on, and the entire area was spotless, with no graffiti or trash to be found.

Waterfront flowers.
Flowers in front of the red brick warehouse.
Flowers in Yokohama, Japan.

Orderly Accent

On the escalators, everyone stands to the left side in a single file so those in a hurry can get by. We found this everywhere, including shopping malls, airports, and metro stations.

Long elevator in Yokohama, Japan.

We really enjoyed our time in Yokohama and would love to return if the opportunity presents itself.