This post contains affiliate links.  They say that getting there is half the fun, but that definitely wasn’t the case for our trip to Japan.  Our day of travel reminded me just how far away Japan is and how long it takes to get there.

Traveling to Japan

Leg One: New York to Michigan

Our trip started on Friday.  We drove seven hours from New York to Michigan.  We had a day to relax, unwind, and make final preparations for the trip before we started our big journey.

Leg Two: Michigan to Minneapolis

On Sunday, we woke up at 3:30 a.m. to leave the house at 4 a.m. to drive one hour to the Grand Rapids airport.  We had a smooth, uneventful flight at 7 a.m. from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis.

Leg Three: Minneapolis to Tokyo

Alaska mountain shown below a plane wing

But then the roadblocks began.  Our flight from Minneapolis to Tokyo was supposed to leave at 11:10 a.m., but it was delayed and left at 3 p.m.

Luckily, we had researched this particular flight and knew that it runs late two or three times a week.  While a seven-hour layover was boring, we had expected it, so we weren’t upset.   But wow, is airport food expensive!

When we finally boarded, we were pleasantly surprised that the flight was half empty.  Even better for me, since I tend to be a nervous flyer, the flight was relatively smooth with little turbulence.  Still, you can only do so much on a 12.5-hour flight before you get unbelievably bored.  I read a little, watched one of my favorite movies, Muriel’s Wedding, and listened to some podcasts.

Leg Four: Tokyo to Our Vacation Rental

Before we left Minneapolis, the staff there told us we would have to register online for customs and a disembarkation form in Japan.  They told us we should do it on our cell phones before we boarded and lost Internet.  We spent about 45 minutes figuring this out and getting our QR code.

However, we had trouble pulling up the QR codes when we landed because we couldn’t connect to the Internet.  After 20 to 30 minutes, we finally pulled it up only to find we had done one part wrong and needed to fill out a paper form anyway.  The immigration official looked a bit exasperated with us.

A small side street in Tokyo

We took a one-hour train ride to the part of Tokyo where our hotel was.  By now, we had been awake 24 hours, except for the brief cat naps we got on the plan.  My husband navigated the 15-minute walk to the vacation rental, but then the trouble began.  We didn’t have Internet access to log in to the vacation rental.  Instead, we had to walk back to 7-11 to use their internet.  We also had to scan our passports and pictures of us standing by the VRBO.  We sat in the dark on the street, our bags all around us, waiting for my husband to figure out how to get us into the VRBO.  Tokyo was hot and unbelievably humid, so we all turned red-faced and had sweat rivulets running down our backs.

My husband’s nephew, who lives in Tokyo, met us at the VRBO when we finally got in.  After unloading and washing our faces, we headed out for a delicious dinner.

Sashim in a Wooden Bowl

Finally, 30 hours after we leaving Michigan, we dropped into bed and slept.


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