Makuhari Messe is one of the major convention halls around Tokyo, and many international fairs and conferences such as “Tokyo Motor Show”, “Tokyo Game Show”, and so on, come to the venue. That’s one thing confusing people who aren’t familiar with Tokyo. Though Makuhari area is promoted as a modern business park, it’s not in the downtown of Tokyo and technically and practically belongs to another prefecture, about a 40 minute train ride away from the city. You have to travel to Kaihin-Makuhari on JR Keiyo line.
You may want to start your trip from Tokyo, the very departure station for Keiyo trains. However, it’s a complicated railway complex combined with commercial malls so that many non-Tokyoites have got lost. The platforms of Keiyo line are located in the underground half a mile away from the other lines. It’s closer to Yurakucho, the next stop on JR Yamanote line than to the other platforms of Tokyo. Once you enter Tokyo station through a ticket gate or you come to the station by another line, you’ll have to walk 10 to 15 minutes to the platforms for your train to Kaihin-Makuhari. Probably many other visitors will get off the same station and trail to the venue, and you’ll easily find which way to go.
Once you leave the square in front of the station, there are no shops on the road to the convention hall. Remember to buy a bottle of water and snacks before leaving the station if you want some. And ideally, you should bring your own lunch with you. Though some restaurants are available in the business buildings around the station, it will take 15 minutes from the hall to come and another 15 minutes to go back. Of course, there are some food shops within the hall, food selection is very limited, and what is worse, you’ll have to wait in line up to an hour around lunch time. As there are not enough benches available in the lounge area, you’ll see many local people having their lunch sitting on the floor. Others don’t care about their eating style, either. If you want to finish your lunch as quick as possible, why don’t you do the same? Nobody would care about you eating on the floor.
The gates of the hall open at 9 or 10 am according to the event schedule. Yet you may not enter the hall soon even if you are there on time. In order to secure visitor safety, the gates temporarily close after a certain number of people get in. Once the group safely walks into the exhibition halls, then the gates open again. So you’ll have to be waiting till you are allowed to enter. You’ll think that you can avoid that time loss by arriving to the place much earlier. Then remember that the center doesn’t allow any overnight queue. Needless to say, it’s just additional time lost to buy a ticket on site. Be smart about it, and purchase it on line before the event.
You may want to tweet how exciting the event is on your smart phone. Then you’ll have to be well prepared. If you don’t care about the bill coming a month later, the easiest way is to use the roaming service of your mobile phone. Probably most visitors expect wi-fi on site. Actually, some wi-fi services are available in the event place, but they basically require monthly subscription. On the other hand, one provider, HotSpot, offers one-day service to light users. You don’t need to sign up but to buy a prepaid card with a unique passcode, which is sold at hotels and convenience stores. Once you get the radio wave and access the log-in page, you’ll be asked to enter your code. Then you can use the wi-fi within 24 hours not only in the event place but also wherever you can catch the HotSopt wave.
Many people will stay till the closing hour and then trail back to the station all together in the evening. So it’s recommended that you should buy a return ticket when you arrive at the station in the morning. Otherwise you’ll have to queue in the crowd for the ticket for another 10 minutes. You may want to stay somewhere near the station for a drink until the crowd is gone. Unfortunately the area is a business park, and it’s hard to find a fun place around the small station. Remember it’s far away from the bustle of Tokyo.