My wife told me that she always wanted to go to Japan. Initially I didn’t think that it’s a good idea since everything seems to be so expensive, but after she presented me her research about the cost, we decided to give it a go.
Taking advantage of Garuda Indonesia airways early bird fare, we tried to secure our flight ticket to Japan almost 1 year in advance. The problem was that the allocated promotional flight schedule from Jakarta to Tokyo is not suitable to our schedule. We almost gave up but suddenly a wild idea came to my mind, why don’t I try Denpasar to Tokyo instead, and bingo, we found an appopriate flight schedule. We were planning to arrive on Sunday morning so we can go to Disneyland from Monday to Thursday to avoid the weekend crowd.
Done with the booking for the international flight, we then tried to find the best option for Jakarta to Denpasar flight. We managed to get Jakarta – Denpasar flight on Garuda early bird fare, but can’t get the Denpasar – Jakarta ticket on a bargain, so we finally settled with Batavia Air for our last leg flight.
When I confirmed with my family about our holiday plan, it was hilarious. It turned out that my sister & family has also bought the Jakarta – Denpasar flight using the early bird rate for the same date, but with different departure time. My mother and her sister were also booked on a flight to Denpasar one day earlier than our departure date, so it would be a big unplanned family gathering in Denpasar then.
Next step was hotel booking. My dear wife did her research and presented me with 2 options, Sheraton or Oriental Tokyo Bay. We finally decided to choose Oriental Tokyo Bay because while Sheraton is nearer to Disneyland, Oriental Tokyo Bay has free shuttle bus to Disneyland and it directly connected to shopping malls and train station. We managed to confirm our reservation at Oriental Tokyo Bay hotel With the help of our Japanese friend, Mr Tanaka. Well he actually was my late father friend, but I communicate with him a lot for the past few years on the business side, so I know him quite well.
Then came the unexpected, Batavia Air announced its bankruptcy, which caused us to scramble to find another flight for Denpasar – Jakarta. We finally settled with Lion Air. In hindsight, we should have bought the Garuda ticket since it turned out that we paid more for the Batavia + Lion Air ticket.
Since we will be arriving in Tokyo on Sunday morning, we tried to find what we could do. We thought about city tour, legoland, and super sentai show (since the older boy is a big fan of super sentai). After discussion with Mr Tanaka, he advise us to choose only one activity since we will be tired after overnight flight, so we decided to go to Tokyo Dome to see the super sentai show on Sunday.
Monday to Thursday is reserved for Disneyland. For Friday we decided to go to Akihabara & the surrounding area before heading home on Saturday morning.
To finalize our plan, we did a lot of reading on internet about the places that we would visit. For me and my wife, half of the joy and excitement of doing holiday trip is research and planning, we really enjoy this part.
We found out that the super sentai show in Tokyo Dome is highly popular and it’s nearly impossible to get show ticket on the spot during weekend. There are also handshake and photo option after the show, but the ticket for both activities only available 2 hours before the show. We really indebted to Mr Tanaka who help us to secure the tickets with good seats in advance since they didn’t sell it online.
For Disneyland, we make a list of rides and shows that is suitable for our kids, but based on our experience during our HKDL holiday, we know we have to be flexible and set a slow pace plan since we will be travelling with a 2.5 years old boy.
For Friday Tokyo trip, we gratefully let Mr Tanaka make the planning for us.
My wife paid a special attention for eating arrangement because our youngest son is allergic to egg, gluten, fish, seafood, and chicken. We even get boy to eat Yoshinoya several times prior to our departure to make sure that he can safely eat beefbowl.
At last the day of our scheduled departure arrived. We went to Jakarta airport, do the check in early, only to find that our flight is delayed for 1.5 hours. So we passed the time in a coffee shop before finally headed to the boarding gate and get on the plane. The little boy fell asleep almost immediately, while the big boy can’t sleep yet because he was very excited about the idea of meeting with Super Sentai soon (clue : just look at what he drew during the flight)
Arriving very very late at night but in a still very crowded Denpasar airport, we were lucky that my cousin who lives in Denpasar offered to pick us up. Then another incident occur, my cousin (and few other cars) can’t get out from the parking lot because some ignorant guy happened to park his car blocking the exit way with handbrake on, so we all have to wait for around 30 minutes. At the very last we arrived at Ibis Simpang Siur (got a very good rate courtesy of Accor le’Club exclusive sale) just after midnight.
In the morning, after having breakfast at the hotel, my cousin picked us up to join my mother and sister’s family in Novotel Nusa Dua. Our kids spent their day swimming, playing with their cousins before my sister and her husband gave us a ride to the airport for our late night flight to Narita.
We were very discouraged to see a very long queue line in the immigration area, but it turned out to be our advantage since the long queue line belonged to foreign passport holder, while the counter for Indonesian passport holder is nearly empty.
Late at night we finally board our flight. The stewardess gave us a blanket and a pair of socks each, and we dozed off into the night. Thankfully the kids has no problem sleeping during the flight. A couple of hours before arrival, the breakfast was served, and the boys excitingly prepared for their days in Tokyo.