Our last day in Japan started with a light sprinkle of rain. We had a few more things we wanted to see that day, so we started off early. We walked to the Tsukiji Fish Market which was about 15 minutes from our hotel. As we set off, the rain grew steadily worse and by the time we got there it was coming down pretty steadily. This turned out to be one of the few mistakes I made in planning the trip. The main Tsukiji Fish Market, which is one of the largest in the world, was closed when we got there. The outer market was open, but it didn't seem very busy and the whole thing just seemed unimpressive. The rain certainly didn't help anybody's mood. We walked around the outer market for a little bit, then called it quits and walked back to our hotel.
We then took the subway to Roppongi and walked to the Roppongi Hills complex. Roppongi Hills has a large spider sculpture that we had seen pictures of while doing our research for Japan so we set out to find it. We found a map which listed its location and we headed over to it. It was cool looking, but we couldn't really spend much time there because of the steady rain. We did take a few pictures under an overhang.
Roppongi Hills Spider
We headed back on the subway to the stop near our hotel. We tried one more time to find a Tendon restaurant, and actually found one, but it was a vending machine place that didn't have pictures on the vending machine, so we didn't know how to order. We tried to get the attention of someone inside, but they were pretty busy and didn't seem interested in helping us, so we walked around the block and ended up at a Yoshinoya for some Gyudon.
After lunch, we were planning on seeing the Tokyo Tower, but it was still raining when we finished eating. We ended up heading back to the hotel and we played some games while we waited for our checkout time. Unfortunately, the rain really ended up being a problem this day, so we just decided to head to the airport early. We packed up and took all of our luggage to the train station, then took a short train to Tokyo Station where we got our Narita Express (NEX) tickets back to the airport.
Narita Express back to the airport
We got to the airport well before we needed to be there, so we took our time exchanging our leftover Yen back into U.S. Dollars. We also browsed the shops at the airport looking for any last minute snacks for our trip home. Thankfully, since we were flying business glass, we were able to check into the American Airlines lounge, so we had drinks, snacks, and a nice place to sit down and relax. Erin took advantage and tried a Japanese beer.
Tyler took the opportunity to try sushi. He was excited to try it, since he had enjoyed all of the other seafood he had tried on the trip (and pretty much all of the food he tried.)
Ready to try some sushi
He gave it a bite, but the seaweed was too much for him and he ended up almost spitting it out all over the lounge.
Not a sushi fan
As we were waiting for our flight, it got very foggy out. I kept checking our flight and it kept saying it was on time, so we headed to the gate to board as scheduled. Everyone got on the plane, and then the captain came on and said we would be delayed because planes couldn't take off as fast as normal. We ended up sitting on the plane for almost 2 hours before we took off. Not exactly what you want before an 11.5 hour flight.
The flight itself was pretty uneventful and this time the video on demand system was working, so we had much better entertainment choices. We all managed to get some sleep on the plane, but not more than a few hours. We landed in Dallas almost 2 hours past our scheduled arrival time. We were supposed to have about a 2.5 layover in Dallas, but now we had less than 45 minutes to get off the plane, go through immigration, get our luggage, go through customs, re-check our luggage, and take the train 2 terminals over to the domestic gates. As soon as we got off the plane, we started running through the airport. They gave a bunch of people with tight connections priority passes, so they could jump ahead in security and immigration lines, but we didn't get one because they thought we wouldn't make our connection, so they had already re-booked us onto a later flight to Denver.
We got through immigration quickly and made it through customs. As we went to re-check our bags, I asked the guy if they would make our flight since we only had about 20 minutes left. He looked at the time and said that our bags would make it, but he didn't think we would. We kept hurrying through the airport and made it to our gate with just a couple minutes to spare. Most people were already on board when we got there. We got on board and they closed the doors and we took off on the short flight back to Denver. We got our bags and picked up the airport shuttle back to the hotel where we had left our car, and then drove back to Fort Collins.
We had a great trip to Japan and it was awesome to experience such a different society and culture. We saw some really amazing things, got to eat some really different cuisine, and had a great time as a family.
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