First day Japan travel mistake rewarded with a Sky Garden in Yokohama

Just about 24 hours after plane hopping to Japan from Jamaica I was restless, my internal clock was messed up and jet lag mixed with the excitement of actually being in Japan made me feel, of all things, very adventurous. I was ready to put all the Japan travel tactics I had learned theoretically to the practical test, armed with my Wi-Fi router, android phone with Hyperdia installed, pocket full of cash and a heart ready to absorb every bit of Japan I set off on my own to explore downtown Yokohama. I mean how hard could it be? I just hop a train to that station along the Keikyu line, connect at that station to the Minato Mirai line, walk around a bit and catch the perfect afternoon/evening light which would make my shots of Downtown Yokohama and it’s skyline perfect. When I am done I’d take the same route back home…

Wrong direction

My lack of experience taking the train in Japan shone through majestically as the first train I hopped on… I took in the wrong direction. Its very funny now looking back and it’s one of those memorable mistakes that become so permanently scorched in your brain that you would NEVER do it again. So after coming off at a station I couldn’t even pronounce properly I fiddled with my gadgets to try to figure out how do I get back on track. My brain short-circuited due to a potent mixture of nervousness, anxiety and fatigue but after 30 minutes of fumbling I eventually made it to the station master as my brain continued to not function when I tried to speak to him using my very limited Japanese. Then he said, in the most awesome almost perfect English ever “Did you take wrong train? Let me see your ticket. Oh! you need to take the stairs down then go up on the escalator to the opposite track and take the limited express to Yokohama and connect to the Minato Mirai there”. My mouth was unknowingly ajar as he spoke as I wondered if he was a mind-reader, a ninja or both.

Sky Garden

I followed his instructions and finally arrived in downtown Yokohama over 2 hours late, camera in hand and feet in motion as I tried to see what I could still do as photographing the skyline in the perfect light was no longer an option because it was dark! Like a true relative of King Kong my instincts took me to the tallest building in the concrete jungle – The Landmark Tower. After passing a whopping 1000 yen to a smiling cutie I was escorted to an elevator that nearly popped my eardrums and I chuckled to myself when I came off on the “69”th floor, I had arrived at the Sky Garden, almost 300 meters up. Suddenly getting lost was all part of the plan as the nightime views of the city were really spectacular. Lots of tourists were around too, Indians, Koreans and even some Canadians. I took some photos, most of which are not very good due to the poor light and my shaking hands.I made it back to home base without incident and I am happy to report that I never took a a train in the wrong direction again during the rest of my stay in Japan and probably NEVER will make that mistake again.