Pink Bobblehead Bunny

Monday, June 15, 2015

How to Get to Mitsuwa from NYC

So on Friday I decided to take public transportation to attend the Japanese Gourmet Fair at Edgewater, NJ. Mitsuwa used to offer a free (then upped the price to $4) shuttle from NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal to their supermarket but sadly it got discontinued at the end of 2014. 
So that meant I had to commute from NYC to NJ which I had absolutely noo clue on how to get there. The Mitsuwa directions were really helpful! Now enough of my rambling and continue reading to see how I managed to go to Mitsuwa and return back to NYC in one piece.

First things first, take whatever subway that can get you to Times Square 42nd St. Then just follow the signs that point you in the direction of "Port Authority Bus Terminal".
Now if you're a worrywart like me who needs to know exactly where you're going and the layout of the place then I suggest you don't use the map of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and just get confused more and more the longer you stare at the map and try to make sense of it. Trust me, they have signs that direct you to exactly where you need to go.
You'll most likely pass by an AuBon Pain when you exit the subway part of the terminal and take escalators up to the Main Floor. It was quite fancy. I was all like "Ooo this place is so nice and clean! And it doesn't smell like the subway!" This floor is where you buy your tickets for the bus. Follow the signs for "Ticketing". Make sure you get in the line for "NJ Transit" and then just ask to purchase a zone 3 ticket ($4.25) for Bus #158 heading towards Fort Lee. Also ask to purchase the return ticket as well so you don't need to have the exact change on hand when you get on the #158 heading back to NYC.
Keep those tickets in a safe place! You don't wanna lose your $4.25 (makes me appreciate the $2.75 fare set by the MTA muuuchh more)

With the tickets in hand, I was on my way to Mitsuwa! I believe seniors and children pay a discounted fare for NJ transit tickets. They probably have the information on their website. If you see these three white statues, then you're probably at the Main Ticketing Plaza.

Right next to the ticketing plaza are escalators that will lead you up to Gate 202. If you see the stairs going up that point to Gate 202 then you're on the right track!

Finally, we've arrived in the right place! If you're unsure of anything don't be afraid to just ask strangers for help. After you go up the stairs, confusion might hit you as a swarm of people either rush towards you or the stairs leading to down to who knows where (Main Floor of the bus terminal most likely). Just keep on walking all the way to the end till you reach the end. You'll see the bus sign saying "158 Fort Lee".
The picture on the right is just what the waiting room looks like from the front. There were signs on the door to keep them closed because the waiting room was air conditioned and the AC sure looked on but I was sweating like crazy in there. After what seemed like a looong wait, the bus finally arrived and boarding started! Wooow! Now I know why I had to fork over $4.25 for a one way ticket. The buses had seats that you usually see in coach buses! That's totally a plus in my book!
If you want to take nice pictures of the harbor/river (I have no clue what it's called), sit on the right side of the bus! You'll be able to take all the pictures you want without capturing anyone else on the bus in your shot (So on the return trip, sit on the left side if you need to re-take any pictures from earlier in the day).

NJ Transit buses aren't set up in the same way as MTA buses. There are no red buttons with "STOP" on them, yellow tapes on the sides of the bus or even a yellow cord to pull to request a stop. There were a few yellow tapes scattered near the front of the bus but no other tapes were found in the back of it. So to answer those who might be wondering, yes pressing the red button will request the bus to be stopped at the next drop off. The bus stops are a bit different from NYC bus stops. There was no sign indicating what bus stopped here or even a time schedule. I guess you gotta do your research before you go. Otherwise you might just get lost.

I was only able to snap this not-so-great picture of a Michaels I saw on the way to Mitsuwa. If you see this, then you're almost at Mitsuwa! Once you pass by a Barnes & Noble and a Target, press the red STOP button!
My review of my day at Mitsuwa can be found on Yelp! I'll probably link it here if anyone is interested hehe.
After a fun and full day of shopping, eating and wandering Mitsuwa food court and supermarket, the bookstore next door and snapping tourist photos of the view behind Mitsuwa I was ready to return to NYC.
Similar to MTA buses, the bus going to NYC is on the opposite side of the street from where you got off earlier. Yes the bus stop does look kinda sketchy with no signs about what bus stops here but don't worry you're in the right place! But the stop isn't directly across from where you got off, it's kinda further up the street (look to the right).
And voila! You have successfully managed to not get lost on your commute to Mitsuwa from NYC and back! It's really a new experience traveling alone.