Sounds weird, doesn’t it. Karen and I had actually already had a pre-trip trip and now onto another one. What this actually is, is an optional 3 day guided tour with your tour guide that happens before the “official” trip starts. Sometimes OAT (overseas adventure travel) sometimes have post trip tours too but there wasn’t one included in our particular trip.

We were staying at the Hotel Metropolitan Edmont in Tokyo. This was to be our home for 6 nights. The hotel was located about a 7-minute walk from the train station so very convenient. Breakfast was included in our tour/hotel package here so also very convenient. Karen and I each had our own room at this hotel. Many larger hotels in Japan cater to business people, therefore, they tend to have smaller one person rooms available for the solo business traveller. The hotel was large and very modern as it catered mainly to large tour groups and weddings. Rooms were small but well laid out and the bathroom a nice size and very clean and modern. Breakfast was buffet style and included a nice mix of both western and Asian foods. The food in the main dining room was really good however you had to get there early if you wanted a seat. If you were a little later and had to do the overflow upstairs in a conference room, it was the same food only it was cold so not as good.

Yanaka District Tokyo Walk 

Our pre-trip group was small, there was 6 of us plus our tour guide Yoshi made 7. The first morning after breakfast we met in the upstairs lobby for a brief orientation and then off to the subway! We were heading to the Yanaka district of Tokyo. Yanaka is an older district with many of the more traditional Japanese style of houses. We also toured a graveyard as well.

We had lunch (which was included in our tour) at a Shabu Shabu restaurant, I forgot to take pictures of that. It was interesting but I am not a big fan of having to cook my own food at a restaurant so decided that although I enjoyed the food it really wasn’t something I would make a habit of.

The next few photos of our walk through the Yanaka District and the graveyard.

Ueno Park Again

After lunch, we headed to Ueno Park. Now, Karen and I had been there just two days before, however, we had walked down the main cherry blossom viewing lane in the morning when it was not very busy. This time was about 1:00 pm in the afternoon and many office Hanami parties were in full swing and the walkway is very, very crowded! What a difference.

It was a lot of fun though and I got to taste my first Sake with a group of business people who insisted our group join them in a toast.


Tokyo National Museum

From there it was off to see the Tokyo National Museum which is located in Ueno Park. Karen and I knew we would be visiting this museum with the group so hadn’t visited it when we had toured the park ourselves. The museum was interesting but of course my favourite part was the textiles and seeing all the beautiful kimonos.


Dinner was included in our tour that night. It was a short walk from the hotel to another izakaya this one specialized in yakitori. I liked the chicken but can’t say I was a fan of some of the other strange things that came out of the kitchen, um liver and chicken skins. Umm nope although I did try the liver. Can’t say I am a fan!

So that was the end of our first pre-trip day the next day (my birthday) was a day trip to Kamakura.