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Help! Going To Japan...  
User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4513 posts, RR: 53
Posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3174 times:

I asked for help on this last year but then my trip to japan and hong kong fell through...

this time i'm trying to go to Tokyo and want to figure out what is the best way to get there.

here are my criteria:

1) Want miles
2) Not that expensive
3) KIX has to be in the agenda

So here are the two options:

1) LAX-KIX-HND and return on Japan Airlines (i can get my oneworld miles for that)

2) LAX-SJC-AA), Japan">NRT and return on American Airlines and then get to KIX on my own accord.

These are about the same price...so is it better to fly into Haneda or Narita if you want to get to the centre of Tokyo? I know narita is significantly further away...do you prefer JAL or AA service on the transpac?

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Air Liban


PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBH346 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3265 posts, RR: 14
Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3115 times:

I've heard very good things about both JAL and American. I think either way, you can expect a pleasant flight. Narita airport is much farther away from the center of Tokyo. It's 45 minutes away by car or bus and that's not taking into account the traffic which is usually pretty bad from what I hear. I believe Haneda's at the heart of the city. It may be a lot easier to get into the country via Kansai since it's not as busy and from my experiences, the procedures for Customs and Immigration is usually very quick and efficient. I've heard that NRT gets to be very congested. However, if you enter the country in through Kansai, you won't be able to see Narita. I don't think there are any flights between KIX and NRT anymore. If you go, enjoy your trip to Japan!


Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
User currently offlineTokyoNarita From Palau, joined Aug 2003, 570 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3047 times:

Last time I checked I was surprised to find out there are no flights between KIX and Narita anymore. ANA and JAL ran these flights at least 2 or 3 times a day in the past.

Narita is a great airport to spot airplanes so I wouldn't go without Narita. I would highly recommend spending a couple of hours there. There are so many variety of flights/types that comes in/out of there throughout the entire day. The observation deck is also excellent. KIX may be worth the trip to check out the island and all but it doesn't have the same excitement Narita offers.

I would fly into Narita on AA and consider taking a bullet train to Osaka then to KIX. You can take JL to LAX out of there or vice versa.

TokyoNarita.



[Edited 2004-01-17 20:32:09]

User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4513 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3020 times:

Thank you for your responses guys, I appreciate it.

Is there anything reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally worth doing in the city of osaka?

My main interest in Osaka is KIX.

Although good point, I really couldn't miss out on spotting at Narita.

To fly LAX-KIX-HND, NRT-LAX costs about $11.60 more than going LAX-KIX-HND-KIX-LAX.

I think I might go for that option.

I heard that it is mad expensive to get to the centre of tokyo from narita.



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineJmc1975 From Israel, joined Sep 2000, 3283 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2943 times:

In April 2002, I flew JL from LAX-KIX to visit friends who lived near Kyoto. I later took the Shinga-sen bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo. On my return trip, I flew AA from AA), Japan">NRT-SJC.

My experiences found JL inflight service to be far superior to AA. When I stepped aboard the JAL 747-400, I began to experience the Japanese culture and hospitality immediately. On the return, when I boarded the American 777-200ER, I began to experience the American culture of unionized senior flight attendants....becoming huffy with a single request for a glass of water. Even the purser was quite scary looking and unkept. If you are making a connection, DO NOT go through SJC, which was a joke anyway. We deplaned through airstairs, walked across the tarmac in a portable double-wide which housed immigrations and customs. Then a bus takes you and dumps you out on the curb for you to compete with all the Southwest pax going through security. I missed my AA Eagle connection, and we were no more than 15 minutes late coming in! It's no wonder AA wasn't successful at SJC!



.......
User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4513 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2931 times:

JMC1975, thanks for your response. It looks like JAL is the way to go. How much does the bullet train cost? I tried looking it up on a website but that proved difficult.

Hopefully I can book myself on JAL then...



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineJmc1975 From Israel, joined Sep 2000, 3283 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2902 times:

Try this:

http://www.japanrail.com

When I went, it cost me just under US$100, but the dollar/yen ratio was much better back then too. Good luck!



.......
User currently offlineBH346 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3265 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2858 times:

That idea of going into Japan through Kansai and leaving by Narita doesn't sound bad. Kansai still gets a fairly interesting variety of aircraft. I think it's worth checking out. Even if the traffic's not interesting I think it's worth the trip to check out the island and terminal. I could easily spend a day just doing stuff on the island. Kansai offers an observation deck. I hear it's very nice, however, I hear that it doesn't work out very well for photography since the aircraft usually land on the other side of the runway. You can get great pics if the aircraft are landing next to the deck since it makes for a interesting picture with the aircraft going over the access bridge with Rinku Town in the background. The bus ride out to the observation deck costs about 400 yen round trip or roughly $4. If you haven't been to Japan before, spotting there is a pretty common hobby and the airports don't seem to mind it. If you're interested in the reclamation and the construction of the second island, there's a section of the Aeroplaza/Hotel Nikko KIX building where you can observe the work on the second island and get more info on it. I believe it's free. If you want to do some spotting at KIX, you will have to overnight since the flights in from the US get there in the evenings and you only have a couple hours until the last domestic departures.


Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
User currently offlineBombayhog From United States of America, joined May 2001, 557 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2827 times:

Jmc1975, just a small note, it's "shinkansen", not "shinga-sen."

Airxliban, before you decide on JAL, you should be aware that seat comfort in economy on AA is far superior to JAL. JAL's seat pitch is abominable. Yes, the service will be much better on JAL, but most often the service on AA is decent. Go to the American Airlines page on and search for a thread called "JAL vs. AA." It's recent and includes some discussion about both business and economy on the two airlines.

The Narita Express, which takes you from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station, costs about 25-30 dollars one way, but is a very nice ride and gets you there in a little under an hour. I also strongly recommend the bullet train. It's very expensive but a lot of fun to ride.

-bomabyhog


User currently offlineJmc1975 From Israel, joined Sep 2000, 3283 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2812 times:

Bombayhog,
Thanks...I realized it when I did the search...I know it didn't look quite right.  Smile I agree about the Narita Express...that is what I rode from Ikebukuro station out to Narita.



.......
User currently offlineBH346 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3265 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 2798 times:

I believe JAL's seat pitch is 33" which isn't supposed to be too bad. I read that thread (on FlyerTalk) and the aircraft with the poor legroom and seats are the Reso'cha/JALways 747-200s which usually serve resort markets such as Hawaii. From what I hear, JAL's seats are okay but AA would probably be better with their extra legroom. LAX-KIX is flown with JAL's international 747-400s and not with JALways.


Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
User currently offlineQantas077 From Australia, joined Jan 2004, 5859 posts, RR: 40
Reply 11, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2770 times:

here is a tip, your going to japan, use a JAPANESE carrier, if you want a small taste of Japanese hospitality and service before you arrive in Japan then use JAL or ANA.

if i am going to a foreign country i try to use that countries national airline, after all the staff should know the most about the destination compared to any other carrier!



a true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes, while everyone else believes the smile on your face.
User currently offlineNavairjax From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2706 times:

When I left Japan last December I believe there was an AA), Japan">NRT-KIX shuttle flight operted by Air Nippon (ANK) which was run as a connector to the international flights. Since I was a ANA/UAL flyer I cannot say weather JAL is any good but with the frequency of flights into AA), Japan">NRT I would recommend AA as your carrier.

User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2696 times:

The major cities in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, etc.) aren't touristy... but LAX-KIX-HDN-JAL and LAX-AA), Japan">NRT-KIX-AA are about the same price? I don't think so... the latter is always significantly cheaper. You really shouldn't have to pay more than $600 during the spring...

User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4513 posts, RR: 53
Reply 14, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2675 times:

Industrial Pate, this is what I have found so far:

Los Angeles to Kansai to Haneda, then Narita to Los Angeles on JAL for 703.60

Los Angeles to Narita and return on JAL of 700.03

Los Angeles Kansai Haneda Kansai Los Angeles on JAL for 711

Los Angeles San Jose Narita San Jose Los Angeles on AA for 645.

I don't know if these are expensive but these are the prices on expedia, travelocity, etc...

There are cheaper ways to get there, for example Thai airlines for 550 or Korean Air for 525 but I have a policy of avoiding those two like the plague...especially hanguk air. Plus I can accrue oneworld miles with AA and/or JAL.



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineNavairjax From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2663 times:

Japan travel prices fluctuate on a rather frequent basis. I seen return trips start at $500 and also begin well over $1500. Keep in mind that getting to Tokyo is relatively inexspensive but it is $200-$400 extra to get from KIX-HND/NRT. If you are flying in the summer remember that August is the peak travel month for Japanese and you will be paying a much higher airfare then.

User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4627 posts, RR: 36
Reply 16, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2618 times:

If you`re going to be in Japan for at least a week then get a japanrail pass. It gives you unlimited travel on all JR lines including Shinkansen (bullet trains). I`m in Tokyo right now and the pass is incredible, I can go where I want when I want without hassle. I can get around Tokyo with ease. The trains here are super efficient and easy to figure with all the signs having english on them.

Hope you enjoy your trip!
Kris YYC
(currently in Tokyo)



Word
User currently offlineKaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12482 posts, RR: 34
Reply 17, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2590 times:

Sounds like a wonderful trip. I think it's an excellent idea to sketch out your priorities when you're going to Japan, as you have done; I try and get to Japan as often as possible. It's a pleasure to visit, the people are wonderful, the airlines superb and none of this nonsense of moody cabin crew who get suspicious about anyone who has an interest in aviation. None of that on JAL anyway!

Fly JAL definitely. I don't know if JAL has begun flying 772ERs to LAX, but it's worth a try. Even if not, JAL 744s have PTVs and you'll find them very good to fly with.

At NRT, if you're staying the night, try the Marroad Hotel; it's a semi circular hotel, right beside the 16R threshold. The rooms overlooking the runway have a fabulous view. Haneda is worth a visit and you'll need to go there if you want to fly to KIX, but you could also get a ticket to ITM via NRT and fly back from KIX. As you say yourself, KIX is a definite must.


User currently offlineJet-lagged From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 874 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2571 times:

AirxLiban,

From tokyo, the best way to get into the city is the limousine bus - a friendly big orange bus for about $25. http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/e/. You can also take Narita Express ($30) train or other local trains ($12), but they are not as use friendly for the first time visitor.

Osaka is only about 1hour from Kyoto, with many historic temples and castles and well worth seeing. Also nearby is Kobe. Most Japanese think it is a wonderful city; I think it is fine enough although I'm not quite sure why it is so adored.

Regarding JAL vs. AA, you gotta choose service, culture and video choices (JAL) vs. legroom (AA).

Have big fun!



User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8552 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2517 times:
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If you go,you have to visit NRT and KIX.

I did NRT & HND last may,fantastic,but KIX gets aircraft types you won't see in NRT.

I plan to go back in march/april,this time do NRT,HND and KIX.

Have fun.

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4513 posts, RR: 53
Reply 20, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2472 times:

Many many thanks for your responses.

It looks like what might be the best plan is to go LAX-KIX-HND and then AA), Japan">NRT-LAX. I guess JAL might be a better idea, you guys are right that its probably a good idea to try their carrier. AA's 777s are really quite comfortable from my experiences on LAX-MIA...but maybe I should stick it out with less seat pitch just for the sake of travelling on JAL.

The only problem I now face is: the flight arrives at KIX at 5:30pm from LAX, the plane to haneda leaves at 9:30. Japan is pretty far north, I'm assuming by the time I arrive it will be too dark to see anything :-(

I'll try to figure something out.

Kyoto sounds like somewhere I'd like to go. I'm hoping that can be done in one day.

Do you all think that 2.5 or 3 days is enough to see Tokyo well?

incidentally, do they have Kobe beef in kobe?

I have three main objectives in Japan other than sucking up local colour and seeing whatever I can.

1) Spotting and taking pictures, which hopefully A.net will accept (it will be my first time in maybe 20 attempts)

2) Kobe beef

3) Eat sushi

It looks like 2) and 3) will set me back quite a bit. Kris YYZ makes a good suggestion, I'll try looking up online how much a week pass on JR costs.

Thanks again for your help, or should I say...konichiwah? no...thats hello i think. oh..it's arigato gossaymas  Smile



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineBH346 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3265 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2421 times:

You probably won't have too much time to spot since you have to clear formalities when you arrive in Kansai as well as going up to Domestic Check-In. I'm not totally sure, but I think you will still need to check in again. Also, in the late evening, there isn't a lot of interesting international traffic. It's mostly flights to China and Seoul from there. If you seriously want to spot, then I might reccommend spending the night in Osaka. There's the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport which is right at the island and is accessed from the terminal by a 5 minute walk on some skybridges or whatever they're called. The hotel can be pricey but if you visit at off-peak times it isn't too bad (usually for single occupancy it's $90-100 at the lowest). You need to check, though, since prices do fluctuate throughout the days of the week and the prices can have a large difference from each other. I stayed there a few years ago and I found it to be an excellent hotel.


Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
User currently offlineBombayhog From United States of America, joined May 2001, 557 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2362 times:

Just to clarify, I'm almost certain that JAL seat pitch is 31". Which is tight. But it's up to what your priorities are when deciding between legroom and service, etc. For me, legroom and miles win out. You do realize that on that fare, you run the risk of not earning miles on JAL at all. Depends on the fare class. You should check and make sure if that matters to you. And if you do earn miles, you'll be earning 70% base miles. But I agree with most on here that for the Japanese experience, you should really fly the Japanese carrier. It's my own fault that I've been corrupted by the need to always earn 100% miles. If miles don't matter too much, I would say that JAL is probably the carrier for you here.

-bombayhog


User currently offlineORD2PHL From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2312 times:

Just out of curiousity, but what is ANA's product like going trans-pacific? Like the originator of this post, I may have the opportunity to goto Japan in the coming months and am considering flying ANA (or UA, or combo of both from PHL) to accrue UA miles.

Thanks in advance.

ORD2PHL


User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4627 posts, RR: 36
Reply 24, posted (10 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2284 times:

I`d leave 3 days just for seeing tokyo alone without spotting. I`m going to Kyoto tommorow so if I can find an internet cafe I`ll let you know how it is. You`ll love Japan man! Beautiful classy women, everybody is so polite. You`ll enjoy your trip for sure! When are you planning on coming?


Word
25 AirxLiban : Ok I have some news on this... Whether i go LAX-KIX-HND and back or come back via NRT or go to NRT and come back without going to KIX, I still get the
26 BH346 : If you're going to Japan before this summer, I think you'll still be there in the off-peak season. If you want to see KIX, then you can fly there from
27 Mir : 3) Eat sushi If you go to Tokyo first, go to the Tsukiji fish market early in the morning (you'll be up then anyway because of jetlag). It's probably
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