3 movies, 2 meals and some sleep – how long to get to Japan

How long does it take to get to Japan?  You can answer in terms of time or activities.

How long does it take to get to Japan?  It doesn't really matter as long as we get sushi when we get there

First dinner in Tokyo – sushi of course

First stop – Tokyo

This is the first stop in our Asia trip that ultimately will take us to Vietnam and Cambodia.  When we looked at flights to Vietnam, our best option was to go through Narita.  And it so happened that the cost to fly in on one day and fly out four days later was the same as a direct connection.  So why not?

How long does it take to get to Japan? – time

From LAX the flight was 11 hours.  But as a lifelong east coaster, that seemed like nothing when compared to the 15 hours and three extra time zones when leaving Newark or Philadelphia.

How long does it take to get to Japan? – activities

We watched 3 first run movies, had two full meals and even slept / dozed for a few hours.  We’ve been saving up points so our business class seats (Polaris class on United) made the experience a breeze.  The lie flat seats were comfortable and the sampling of the 3 red wines (the Oregon Pinot Noir was our favorite) made sleeping even easier.

How long does it take to get to Japan? – logistics

Find your time and hotel, wait your turn and off you go

Narita airport bus marker

So we land in Narita right on schedule at 3 pm local time.  After a 45 min wait at passport control, our luggage was nicely arranged next to baggage claim area and we went through customs easily.  We found the airport limousine (really a bus) desk directly easily and bought a combo bus to hotel ticket and 3 day metro pass.  After finding the ATM machine for some Yen we waited at our bus station outside.

With typical Japanese efficiency, we were quickly loaded on our bus.  Normally a 90 min ride, it took 2 hours with traffic to get to our hotel, the ANA Intercontinental in the heart of Tokyo.  So we arrived at the hotel at 6 pm.

Thank you very much

It’s important to get on local time as soon as possible and eating meals at a normal time is part of that.  We ate in the hotel at a traditional Japanese restaurant.  Dave had noodle soup (with Sea Bream) and Sue had a small bento box.   The food was great!  Service was not so fast and we soon learned that our servers’ English consisted of  two phrases:  “Thank you very much” and “Thank you very much”.   By 9 pm we were finally done.


We got a decent night sleep and are ready to go to breakfast at 6 am.  Our next post will describe our first day in Japan touring.  So how long does it take to get to Japan?    From the time we left our hotel in LA to the time we arrived at the Intercontinental in Tokyo, it was 17 hours door to door.  But with business class flights, the time actually “flew” by.  And with a nice sushi dinner awaiting us, we have nothing to complain about.

Interested in  reading about our other trips we’ve done or our information about river cruises, travel tips, travel agents or even financial matters regarding travel?  Check out our blog posts here.

Susan Wolfson
My goal is to Make Your Next Vacation Your Best Vacation!®