Category Archives: Japan

Hello from Narita Airport, Tokyo

Hello! I am traveling, and I am still connected.

Hello from the ANA Lounge in Narita Airport, Tokyo.

I am a silly boy. I don’t know that I could use the ANA lounge.

There is 3 hours in between (arriving at 2:00 PM and departing at 5:00 PM).

I wanted to explorer the airport, but there is not too much. The currency exchange (16.58 Yen = 1 RMB) made shopping very confusing to me. There are not so many shops to visit.

I wanted to access Internet, and there is wireless Internet there, but it is not free. I don’t want to bother to pay for Internet for just one our or two.

I wandered in the gate 58, where my connecting flight will depart – only me, and there is no one else.

I felt hungry – I slept the whole journey from Shanghai to Tokyo, and missed the lunch, and wanted to eat something. But the food is not attractive, and the price tab shocked me – something like 1,000 Yen.

Finally, after wandering for 1 hour, I suddenly realized I may use the ANA or the Star Alliance Lounge. I went there and accepted. It is the first time I use the lounge in NRT airport. Last time, I was busy getting the shore pass and rushed toward downtown Tokyo and getting back…

They have everything I need in the lounge.

I am using the free desktop computers they provided, it seems they have 20+ of them in nice small cubicle, with nice desk top lamp. The arrangement is just like a Internet cafe, so I wrote this blog here.

I also had a cup of orange juice – it is always my choice since my first flight experience. BTW, my second choice on flight is apple juice, with water the third.

They have nice Udon noodle. I asked for one, so it is my nice lunch. Because of the 1 hour time difference, it is not that late.

It is very good resource. So hello again, and you can expect me to say hello the second time in San Jose.

P.S. I had a hard time using the Japanese Keyboard. I was not able to enter @ symbol in the last few minutes. Shift + 2 produces double quote “. Thank God I still knows how to operate Windows, and I added the English (US) Locale in Control Pane / International Settings. Now I am fine with it.

Update November 4, 2006

Update some pictures of the trip. My Sony DSC-P8 camera had some problem after 3 years. I guess the battery’s life ended, and I need to get a new battery for it. So I only too several pictures.

The ANA lounge in Shanghai Pudong Airport, at gate 19

The elevator of NRT in Satellite #5

My boarding passes

The connecting tunnel between Satellite #5 to #4. I hope the Sightseeing Tunnel under Huangpu River are also changed to this style.

My Only Experience to Japan

I have only been to Japan once.

If I hadn’t tried to organize my old pictures, I even forget that I have been there for 5 hours at the end of 2004.

I enjoy travel, especially to places I have learnt about. For example, Japan.

Citizen in China can enter Japan without a visa for up to 72 hours. I have tried that. The only thing you need is a shorepass, although I was Rejected by ANA and Postponed Travel once in Shanghai.

I planned for a long time for it. Here are the pictures I found out in my picture folders on my laptop:

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Getting Shore Pass (Temp Visa) for Japan

Many people transit flight in Tokyo, as it is one of the three international flight hub in my mind. If ou are interested, the other two are Hong Kong and Singapore. Shanghai is still far away from them, even not at the same level of Beijing yet, in terms of access of International fights. People in Shanghai still need to find a hub airport to transit to Seattle. It can be Tokyo (It is the Northwest Airlines’ hub in Asia), or San Francisco (hub of United Airlines). From this trip, I learnt ANA is a really nice airline with much better service and maybe in the next trip, I will choose ANA. It provide personal entertainment equipments that allow you to select the movie you want and play it from the beginning on demand on the Shanghai – Tokyo flight. It is available only in the first class of Tokyo – Seattle flight in UA.

Temp Visa

Japan joined many visa waiver program. People from U.S., Canada, and many other countries don’t need a visa to enter Japan and can stay there up to 3 months. China just started to join these programs. The recent APEC Business Travel Card is the first step. China joined the program in 2002 so it is easier to travel to the following economies:

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Chile
  • China
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Thailand

I saw there is a special gate for APEC Business Travel Card holder at Pudong Airport. Only one person passed this gate while all the other 20+ gates are crowded with more than 20 people waiting in line.

This card seems like the Schengen visa, but only passport holder of participation economies can apply. I will consider applying one. I don’t understand how frequent does the criteria of “frequent traveler in Asia” mean yet.

OK. Back to main topic. According to the article 14/15 of Japan Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act, people who needs a visa can get a shore pass to stay in Japan for up to 72 hours.

Application by Captain of the Flight

When I enter the terminal of the Narita airport via the bridge, I saw two ways leading to two directions: One to immigration and one to international flight transition. I should take the transit way but I wanted to try my luck and turned right and go to immigration official. When I waited in line to see an immigration officer, the display board show that “For passengers for Visa required countries & regions (China, Taiwan, etc)…., you need to ask a staff of airline you came on to submit a shore pass application”. I followed the instruction to approach the staff at counter A. It doesn’t seem people who enter Japan using this kind of visa is rare, since the instruction is just above the immigration officers. People in counter A directed me to go to ANA counter, which is 50 meters away. Nice lady accepted my request. After checking my flight tickets and password, she wrote a small piece of paper and handed it over to me. It is smaller than my passport and the quality of the paper is not so good. It reads:

Application for Shore Pass H16/12/6

To Immigration Inspector at port of NRT

Under the provisions of Article 14/15 of the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act, we hereby submit application for shore/transit pass for the personal mentioned below:

Name: WANG/JIA. Further, the schedule for departure is as follows: UA938 (flight) NRT (port of exit) SEA (destination) 6 Dec 04 (Date)

(Signature of Captain/Carrier)

ANA (Name of vessel/aircraft)

That’s it. She added: “What I can do is to write this application for you. It is the officer at the immigration gate who can grant you the shore pass.” Sure. I understand it.

The Shore Pass

Going back and waited in the line to see an immigration official. The well dressed young man asked me the reason to enter Japan. I told him frankly: “Just want to wander around during the 5 hour of transit.” I know it is dangerous to say so, but I am just curious about how they handle the situation like the one I have. The answer is very simple. He put a shore pass onto my passport.

Rejected by ANA and Postponed Travel

It is a bad day. In the morning, I arrived at Pudong Airport early and waited in the line to check in for ANA flight NH960 from Shanghai to Tokyo. At the counter, the ANA staff checked the ticket and passport then informed me that they cannot let me get on board the flight because there is no Japanese visa. Although there is regulations to allow transition visitors to stay for up to 72 hours, there is still risks to get rejected at the custom. Many passengers did so (visiting Japan without a visa in advance) but not the recent month. ANA needs to ship me back to Shanghai the same day if does happen. So they refused my request to get onboard. :-( So I gave up my plan to visit Tokyo on the way to U.S. and have changed the flight to Dec 6 so I transit to United Airlines flight the same day. The rest of the trip in U.S. is not changed. I slept the whole morning when I am back home.

Planning to Travel to Tokyo

I am planning to travel to Tokyo by the end of this year. I have never been to Japan before. I even didn’t transfer flight in Tokyo. Many people will fly from Shanghai to Tokyo first and there are more international flights in Tokyo than in Shanghai. For example, Tokyo has direct flight to Seattle while Shanghai only has flights to SFO and I need to transit in SFO. The only impression of Tokyo is some pictures I took when my flight to SFO went over Japan.

I am thinking of the plan to pay a personal visit to Tokyo this December. I didn’t figure out the detailed plan yet. I just started to look for cheap flight tickets there.

Based on the information I got, the cheapest round trip flight to Tokyo is 2760 RMB, from East China Airlines.

I have no idea about the city yet. If you have any suggestions about the trip, please let me know.

Ideas on Chiba in Japan?

My friend is going to relocate to Chiba, Japan for a while. It is said the small port is near Tokyo. Does any body in Japan can help to describe what the city looks like. My friend is very intereste in to know:

  • What about the meal cost of this city?
  • Is there anything that need to put into consideration before accepting the offer?

Thanks!