Paul Filmer had been interested in going to Japan for a number of years, but unpredictable weather, and not being able to get a suitable group together, had put paid to any plans – until now.
Japan is quite expensive when it comes to car rental and toll roads but the prices of everything else are, for the most part, pretty normal, so unless you really want to break the bank, it’s best to go out there as a three or four person group.
Added to that is the fact that you need step ladders at many bases, and having three people travelling in a van seemed like a good compromise.
I arrived at Narita the evening before the other two members of the party, and spent the following morning on one of the many viewing terraces at the airport, until Neil arrived on a British Airways Boeing 777 from Heathrow.
We then went and sorted out getting our van from the rental company, thankfully complete with English speaking GPS, and also went to a local hardware store to buy three sets of step ladders.
We also spent few hours at an external viewing location, while we waited for Mark to arrive from Canada, which we almost missed, as his aircraft landed on a different runway to everything else! Oops!
After we swept him up from the terminal, our long drive started late that afternoon.
Our first base was to be Tsuiki, which would involve a full day’s driving the following day.
We over-nighted in Hamamatsu and the following day, as we wanted to take a peek before the sun went down, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on the way to Iwakuni.
The only movement we saw was a ANA Boeing 737, but it gave us a feel for the visit later in the trip.