Day 14 – March 17th, 2014.
After disembarking the QE we took a taxi to the hotel (Jal City Yokohama).
“Ohayou Gozaimasu Yokohama”
The hotel Jal City is fresh looking and clean. The staff were over helpful as we checked in. The room was not ready so we stored the luggage and got onto the super fast internet with the hotel wifi.
Had to spend two and half hours on Skype to bloody Telstra as they had not completed the disconnection of our home line…
Then on further discovery they had also not set up our mobiles on the new package. Even though Moni had spent two hours with them before we left Australia getting this supposedly sorted out.
Telstra in a word; Crap! but what do you do, they provide a service that we need, above what the other providers offer and so we have to succumb to their lack of ability to sort things out!!! Rant over.
Anyway, we hope that is sorted now. After that debacle, we were able to access our room. The porters had already delivered our luggage. The room is small but has everything we need. We made sure that we had clothes for the next two days in our small bags so not to have to unpack the bigger cases.
A quick look around and out on the town we go… Bugger it is cold (13degrees) With our beanies, jackets and gloves on we walk to the subway station, thankfully it’s only a few minutes.
Now we have to try and figure out the machines to get tickets. I found out the best way to travel using the subway is to purchase an IC card. They come in various names depending on which part of Japan you buy them. The one we can get is a PASMO card.
Basically, it costs a minimum of 1000 Yen of which 500 Yen is a deposit. We load up for 2000 Yen with the help of the train staff.
The benefit of using these cards is that you don’t need to pay cash for each trip, you don’t get the fares cheaper but it is a lot more convenient.
Also, you can use the cards as a method of payment in some shops as long as you have the credit on them.
Next, to find our way to the Yokohama main station where we will see how to exchange our JR Pass vouchers for the actual JR Pass. First look, at the maps and station it is totally overwhelming. But we just asked and the conductors pointed in the right direction to the platform numbers.
Really no problem getting around as everybody is helpful, we even had total strangers stop and ask to help in broken English. First impressions are that the Japanese are very friendly wanting to help, going out of their way for you.
The level of respect and courteousness is pretty impressive. At the exchange office, we take a ticket and wait till our turn comes.
We have 2, two-week vouchers of which we exchange one. You have to put in the date that you want to start the pass on as they print it out for you.
A simple process really, show your passports, hand over voucher, fill in name, passport number and country you’re from and done.
After that, we find an underground shopping centre which leads off from the station no need to go outside to get something to eat. Looking around and sampling a few goodies all for free, yes, many of the shops have samples to try before you buy or to feed upon as in our case…
The shops are amazing, they have so much nicely presented front displays. Really high quality produce.
I took so many photos but obviously can’t show them all in this post. Amongst them, I found some butchers with Wagyu beef, this piece I’m not sure if it’s the most expensive but at $45 for 300-gram steak from the butcher, I bet it’s good.
We decided on some miso soup, a salmon rice triangle, pickle vegetables and tofu, all very tasty.
After that, we make our way back to our subway exit and then a short walk to go up to the 69th floor of the landmark tower to the Sky garden (not a garden at all) but a 360 degrees viewing platform like the Q1 building on the Gold Coast, but heaps better. On the way, we purchase a hot can of coffee from the seven eleven shop.
With tickets in hand, we are ushered to the elevator and up we race. From the top, we can see for miles all around. Great timing by us (a fluke really) that we spend a couple of hours up there in daylight and night time.
The lights of Yokohama are fantastic, and the QE is lit up as well. She sails away at 11.30pm again having to time it to perfection to clear the bridge by 2 meters.
It seems as if this is a very popular spot especially when a ship is in dock. Lots of photographers with huge lenses and multiple cameras… After taking some photos (lots), we head down in the fastest elevator in Japan. Max speed is 750 meters per minute. It only takes 40 seconds to reach the top or bottom.
At the base we spend some time walking around the huge shopping area here we stumble on a place called Tetsu, a noodle soup eatery. A tiny place with only a few tables and a sit at bench. We ordered outside and then went in to eat, funky door and decor.
The noodles come cold, and you get boiling hot broth and another bowl with soup goodies like meat and vegetables. You then add the noodles as you go, more broth if wanted and season with dried onion etc… Very tasty.
When it starts to cool down, you ask for a hot stone which you then place in your bowl of soup which instantly heats up, fascinating. Highly recommend for just the experience and the food of course.
Back to our place before heading out to wave off the QE and our buddies that will continue their voyage… 10.30 we head out to the Osanbashi pier which is only a ten-minute walk, lots of people are lining the pier watching taking photos of this magnificent ship.
We spot our friends and shout to and fro with them, they had just finished dinner sharing the table with new guests. Later Dene and Steve arrive and not long after the ropes are let go and the QE gently eases away from the dock…
The ship’s horn sounds to rousing cheers and goosebumps… Slowly and quietly the QE makes her way out towards the bridge where she slows, to time the passing underneath to perfection and then off she goes, clearing the bridge and out to sea…
We goodbye our friends both onboard and in Yokohama and make our way home to a nice warm room and bed…