How to spend your first night in Tokyo

I’m back on the road again, and yes, back in Japan, but I try to get a different experience every time I return to any destination. It’s always an adventure with my classmate, manga/anime blogger Deb Aoki, so be sure to follow along on social media!

We bought our tickets on Hawaiian Airlines several months ago during a big sale, and since then the airline opened its swanky Plumeria Lounge, which is a great place to relax before heading off on an international flight (included for business class customers or $40 entry for coach). They have wifi, electrical outlets, food, snacks, drinks, wine, beer, and comfy surroundings. If you access the lounge, be sure to take a moment to look at the photos on the wall, which were all taken by photographer Rae Huo.

I’m posting this because many flights get in to Haneda Airport late at night, and it can be a pain in the butt to try to get your things and get to your hotel that late. Instead, I recommend staying at Royal Park Hotel THE Haneda (I have no idea why they capitalize “the”), which is just upstairs from baggage claim, and then go to town in the morning.

Just outside the hotel is an area — a nihonbashi bridge that’s a replica of a bridge in Edo — that will keep you busy, fed and shopping. The ema, or Sinto shrine, is a photo op in itself. When you turn directly around, there will be a wall of wishes. You can purchase a wooden plate for 500 yen and write your wish, then hang it on the wall.

Some people get pretty creative.

Since it’s the holidays, the airport is nicely decorated with lights.

There’s some shopping, but when you get in late at night, you probably want a comforting meal. This is the food court, made to look like an old-fashioned Japanese street.

We chose a ramen restaurant, but you may decide to get something else, so I don’t need to tell you where to go … it’s all good.

My ramen, and Deb’s tsukemen. Pretty reasonable at about 950 yen! And don’t forget, right now the dollar is strong against the yen.

After a restful, stress-free evening, you’ll be ready to tackle the Big Mikan. And so were we!

Up next: Our sushi day in Tokyo! Follow me @Melissa808 and Deb @DebAoki on Instagram and Twitter for the most updated posts! To see more of my photos from this trip, click here.