Tokyo: Change in plans and ATM realities

I had set an ambitious itinerary for our first (half) day in Tokyo, complete with a map, distances and a detailed description of all areas we wanted to see; it looked like this:

5pm – 8pm: Shinjuku – Koen Dori – Supeinzaka – Center Gain – Shinjuku Station (walking 4.2km + 1km around)
8pm – 8:30pm: Shibuya – Shinjuku train
total walk: 5km + 1 train

For obvious reasons, in addition to the fact that cloudy skies were alternating with pouring rain, we accomplished this instead:

1:30pm: arrive at Shinjuku Station; walk to hotel Sunroute Plaza 0.5km.
2:30pm: look for an ATM and purchase goods such as water from the Family Mart (a convenience store identical to 7 Eleven)
3:30pm: go to bed

On point one: I already posted a review on our hotel and if you want a glimpse of our tiny, tiny room, you can check out the bottom half.

The search for an ATM has its special mention among the things we did on that day because it took unusually long to find one. Perhaps New York had spoiled me with more ATMs per square foot than hot dog stands and I kind of expected the same abundance in central Tokyo. After walking around Shinjuku in vain for 15 minutes, I had found two ATMs, none of which took non-Japanese cards. I reckon, this is a pretty scarce supply of ATMs in a society that operates primarily on cash… In the end, one of the passersby took me to a Citibank branch that served the purpose and saved us from being poor for the day.

While we are on the subject of ATMs: the only ATM in Okinawa that we knew to accept foreign bank cards was located at the airport. That ATM, however, apparently performed labor so arduous that it had been scheduled to ‘close’ for an overnight break each day at 9pm. And by ‘close’ I really mean ‘close’, with tangible tools such as a gate and a lock. Peculiar, no?


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