Here is a video we made about arriving in Japan and then heading to Nikko!
We woke up at 4:30 am and checked out of our hotel in Beijing without any problem. The nice man at the reception desk helped us to call a cab . The ride took 3o minutes and cost 120RMB plus a 10RMB toll fee.
We didn’t need to check in to this flight because we had our boarding pass already from the first leg of the trip. So we went through customs and security . This particular security screening didn’t like battery cells, and I forgot I had one in my bag… so I got my baggage extra checked.
Once we were through security, we got three coffees and found our boarding gate (which later changed). Our flight ended up being 1 hour late, and they reassigned Gaby’s seat so we sat really far apart. The flight was only 2.5 hours though AND we got some food! I read my GOT book.
We arrived in Japan around 1:30pm (the time difference was an hour). We arrived at the domestic airport HANEDA. We cleared customs and got the 90 day visa on arrival, then we headed to the JR office to exchange our exchange orders for our JR passes. This went really quickly (if you’d like more info about getting this pass I wrote a blog post here). Also 12goasia is awesome for booking trains in asia.
We then jumped on the JR train and took it to the circle Yamanote line (to head to Ueno). Ueno was filled with panda goods: food, hats, shoes etc. We got tickets issued at the JR counter to head to Nikko. We took the Nasuno Shinkansen to Utsunomiya and then took the JR Nikko line to Nikko. This was completely free with our JR pass. The whole trip took 1 hour and 54 minutes. (Use this handy Hyperdia link to check train times)
We actually got off the train at Imaichi, one stop before Nikko station, which was where our Airbnb was. We had a bit of trouble finding our Airbnb , but it was only a 10 minute walk from the train station. A photo of the building might have helped us find it.
We didn’t do much that night, just journeyed to the 7 eleven, about 2 minutes away, to get food and drinks. I had udon and a beer. We went to sleep at about 10pm. The Airbnb was so cold and the heat didn’t work so it was a chilly sleep (the temperature was -10 C when we woke up).