October 24, 2017 04:30 PM
Landed at Narita Airport. Jan and I were feeling a bit drained from the 12-hour flight from Auckland, but we were also pretty excited. “We’re here!” I said with a big grin on my face. For years we’ve always wanted to visit Japan, so we were pretty psyched to finally be there.
We went through the usual process of getting our bags and going through Immigration and Customs then set out to find the JR East office in Terminal 1. The two ladies at the Information desk were pretty helpful in telling us where to go. A lot of people say traveling in Japan can be a bit daunting due to the language barrier, and although in most part that is true, it wasn’t really the case at the airport as almost all of the people we talked to spoke really good English.
JR East office was in Basement 1, down a set of escalators (left side if you’re facing the information desk right outside arrivals) and within the same area as the subway getting out of Narita. There’s also a foreign exchange office right beside it, which is handy for those needing to quickly convert their foreign currency cash to Yen.
We went inside the office to exchange our JR vouchers (ordered online and sent out to our home address by mail) for the actual passes we were going to use while traveling around Japan. One of the staff greeted us at the door and asked as regarding when we wanted to start it (Yes, you can choose what dates you can start using it. No, you cannot choose separate dates to use it on and off).
Jan and I had a 14-day pass but we were going to be in the country for 15 days and we haven’t really thought about whether we were going to start it on the day of our arrival or the day after that, and so for a few minutes we just stood there arguing on when we were going to start using it. Thankfully the staff was pretty patient with us. Hehe.
Once we sorted that part out, we filled out a form and went to the counter where another staff member gave us our passes and additional information about using it. We were also given our reserved seat tickets for the JR Narita express train bound for Tokyo central station and some advice on how we were going to get to our hotel from there.
All was well and good, however, there’s always that part of the trip where you run into unexpected bumps no matter how prepared you think you are. The next few minutes was one of those times. After sorting out our JR passes, we inquired about the pocket wifi we rented online together with it. That’s when we were told that they were not the ones providing it to us.
The lady explained that we booked both the passes and the pocket wifi through a third party (JR Experience website) and so they should have also e-mailed us instructions with regards to where we were going to get the pocket wifi. I did not receive said e-mail and just wrongly assumed that we were getting it at the JR office as well.
I vaguely remember having read about picking it up somewhere in Narita terminal 1 while I was filling out the rental form online, but that was all I could remember. Tried to look it up at the Japan Experience website again (thank you Vodafone and your 5$ a day roaming option!) but could not find the information on where to get it from the pocket wifi link. All it did was take me to the rental application form. Tried to google it as well but it didn’t give me any straightforward answers.
We were stumped and getting a bit anxious. We had no idea where to get the pocket wifi and the clock was ticking — it was 05:50 pm and the Narita express train was leaving at 06:10pm… we had about 20 minutes to figure it out. Retried browsing through Google again. By this time, Jan just went ahead to the money changer office so that we were not wasting any time. Finally, after a couple of dead ends, I was able to find a link in one of the forum websites that took me to the page providing information on where to get it. Yeeeeeeees!
It was to be picked up at the post office within terminal 1 which was located on the 4th floor. So I quickly asked for directions on how to get there and made a run for it — up the escalator beside the money changer office then up the elevator located diagonally right which took me straight up to the 4th floor. After stepping out, I went right, then up a short set of stairs… the post office was just a little after that.
I then told the man in charge I was there to pick up a pocket wifi parcel. He asked me for my passport as a means of identification. I showed it to him and he handed me my package with a big smile. I felt relief washing over me and gave him a big smile right back.
I then hurriedly made my way back down to the JR East office where Jan was waiting outside.
TO BE CONTINUED…