Another quick post that I'll go back and fix up later.
Today we had only about half a day to explore, as we had to head to the airport at about 1:00 to catch our flight. Narita Airport is a long way from downtown Tokyo and we were bussing it to see a little more of the city.
As I am still in training for the half marathon I needed to get an hour and a half run in today as well. I was a little worried after the huge amount of walking we did yesterday.
I was up pretty early (going to bed early helped) around 6:00 am, which gave me a chance to loosen up a bit and get my gear together. After looking at a map and reading up on some Tokyo running routes, I decided to try the path around the Imperial Palace. It is a 5 km loop, and I figured worst case I would do a few loops.
It turned out to be a good choice as it was a few km up to the Palace grounds, and then I did two loops before running back to the hotel. It ended up being exactly the right time, and I clocked almost 17 km so it wasn't bad. The route was amazing with views over the Palace complex.
After my run I had some time to stretch, relax and get cleaned up. I then packed up my bags and checked out of the hotel. We had a couple of hours to kill before the bus was ready, so Cyprien and I walked back up to the Imperial Palace grounds to have a bit of a closer look.
My run had been pretty early, and at that time of the day the area had been pretty quiet. There were other runners out, but no huge crowds. With it being another warm, sunny day, the crowds were out in full force and there were people everywhere. It was a bit of a madhouse.
We walked around as long as we could before we needed to get back. Then it was time to get on the bus, and head to the airport for our next stop in Seoul South Korea.
I think my overall impression of Japan and Tokyo are quite favourable. It's a friendly city with a lot of character and although the visit was brief, it was wonderful. It's a place I'd like to come back to. The only thing I would do differently would be to come back when it's not winter. This place will be beautiful when there are leaves on the trees and the flowers are in bloom.
The trip to the airport on the bus was the right choice as it gave us a different perspective on the city and we got to see many parts of it we hadn't seen so far. It was a long drive - almost two hours with the stops at other hotels. After arriving at the airport we got checked in and had a couple of hours to kill. Between a last sushi meal and duty free, we bridged the time to boarding.
For whatever reason, the gods were smiling on us, and as we boarded we got pulled aside and upgraded to business class. Nothing wrong with that! The business class on Korean Air is nice - huge seats with tons of legroom. Way better than Air Canada. The meal was very interesting as well - they give you all the components - rice, meat, veggies - and you are supposed to mix them together with hot sauce and sesame oil. Seems I did it wrong as the flight attendants found my approach quite hilarious.
The flight was pretty short - only three hours - so we were there in no time. After getting through customs and security we had to wait a long time for our bags. Once they game we made our way to the train and it was a quick 40 minutes into the city. Like Tokyo, Seoul's airport is outside the city by quite a distance.
After getting into the city we took a cab to the hotel as the weather was awful. The cab ride was only a couple of minutes and soon we were checked in.
The partner were meeting in Seoul actually lives and works a couple of hours south of the city, but was kind enough to agree to come into the city for our two days of meetings. To accommodate that we rented a suite in the hotel that had a separate living area where we could hold the meetings. On checking in, I discovered that they had upgraded my already nice room to something really nice.
It was going to be a good stay in Seoul.