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#2: ANA & Peach. B747-400D HND-CTS-KIX + Hokkaido  
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 14466 times:

#2: ANA & Peach. B747-400D HND-CTS-KIX + Hokkaido trains



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Intro



Welcome to Part 2 of my 2013 Autumn Asia reports, covering the ANA 747-400D and Peach’s A320.

In case you missed, it, here’s part 1:
#1: The Reindeer Route to Tokyo. AY 320 & JL 787


747-400D? What’s one of those?



Well, Boeing conspired with Japanese airlines (Japan Airlines and ANA) to adapt the spacious and long legged 747-400 into a shorthual pack horse. This –D aircraft (standing for Domestic) would be ideal for the short but very busy flights between Japanese cities. I don’t know the technical endeavours they went thought, lest to say the range is only around 2,000 miles, rather than over 7,000 miles for other 744 family members. And of course, with a high density seating arrangement, the capacity is nudging 600, quite a lot more seats than normal. You can tell these aircraft apart by the lack of wingtips. There are also extra windows upstairs, where normally there would be a galley.

There were just 19 of these aircraft built for JL and NH, and all delivered between 1991 and 1995. Sadly, this is a dying breed. JL retired the last of their -400Ds in 2011, and ANA’s final four aircraft will be gone before next summer. I had long wanted a ride on one of these, and this would be my chance. NH operate a few roundtrips every day from Haneda to Sapporo, as well as to a few southern destinations like Okinawa. Of course, this wasn’t the cheapest option to get up to Hokkaido (Japan’s North Island), but it was the most interesting.

I booked on the NH Japanese website. It was rather clunky to say the least. I managed to get all the way to what I thought was the end of the reservations process, only to find myself back on the welcome page….er, what? I went through everything again, more slowly this time. Luckily, I managed to negotiate the less than obvious process this time. I was a little alarmed that I was given a confirmation code of just 4 digits…it that it? And I had no confirmation email. I called the London office, who confirmed that I’d done everything right – they sent me an email to show that I did have a real reservation.

Up in Hokkaido, I planned to do a bit of walking and soaking (in onsen), before coming back down to the south, before heading over to China. A friend from school has recently moved to Osaka. I’d not been to Osaka. JL had plenty of mileage seats from Osaka to Shanghai…..as such, Osaka was my destination!

I was quite lucky in so much as I stumbled across the Peach Aviation site when looking for flights. Peach is a joint venture with ANA and some venture capitalists, operating A320s around Japan and East Asia from their KIX hub. It just so happened that the only very cheap flight on the CTS-KIX route happened to be on the right day, and the right time. I booked for just JPY 7,500 (GBP 45), including checking a bag, and reserving an exit seat, quite a bit cheaper than my NH flight up from Tokyo (nearly JPY 18,000). So, I was all set!

Funnily enough, this wouldn’t be my first time on an airline named Peach. Back in 1997, I experienced my first charter flights with Peach Air, flying a Lockheed L1011 LGW-DLM-LGW.


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Photo © Alistair Bridges



Also, as the title suggests, I also did a bit of training around Hokkaido. I know this is an aviation forum (and I’m definitely not a train spotter), but I thought it may be of interest to some of you.

My flights for this report


HND-CTS NH 71
CTS-KIX MM 104

My route, courtesy of GC Mapper, of this report


My complete list of Asian flights


LHR-HEL AY A320
HEL-NRT JL B787
HND-CTS NH B744D
CTS-KIX MM A320
KIX-PVG JL B738
SHA-CGO FM B738
LYA-PEK MU A320
PEK-FNJ JS Tu204 (Tupolev 204)
FNJ-YJS JS IL18 (Ilyushin 18)
YJS-FNJ JS IL18
FNJ-FNJ JS An148 (Antonov 148)
FNJ-DSO JS Tu134 (Tupolev 134)
DSO-FNJ JS An24 (Antonov 24)
FNJ-FNJ JS IL62 (Ilyushin 62)
FNJ-FNJ JS IL76 (Ilyushin 76)
FNJ-DSO JS Tu154 (Tupolev 154)
DSO-FNJ JS Tu154
FNJ-PEK JS Tu204
PEK-HEL AY A330
HEL-LHR AY A321

And my map including all flights


http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/map2.gif

And my map including all flights, and without airport codes…might be a bit easier to see where I’m flying


http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/map1.gif

And finally just zoomed in on the Asian sectors


http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/map10.gif


Onto the Report



First off, some photos from Tokyo…wonderful city. Sadly, I was only there for 1 night, but had enough time to catch up with my cousin who had just moved there.

Quintessentially quirky Japan


Tasty food
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This one is horse sashimi…was quite nice
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After a leisurely morning, I took the train down to Haneda from my hotel in Asakusa. With a nice 4pm departure time, I thought I’d get to the airport, check in, have a look around the aviation shop, check out the viewing terrace, have lunch, then hit the lounge. A perfect afternoon?

I recently acquired a TK Gold card, enabling me to use the premium check in desks….only I couldn’t find them. After a few fruitless minutes of walking around, I just joined the nearest NH queue. I was seen to pretty quickly, and have my bag tagged, and boarding pass issued. The seat I had selected during reservation was still there, a window on the upper deck. Interestingly, whilst the rest of the world seems to be moving away from using paper, the Japanese seem to be using more of it. I was instructed to print off my confirmation email as it had a QR code with both NH and MM. This (apparently) could then be used as my boarding pass if I had no bags to check. More on this later.

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With my bags out of my hand, I headed down to the basement to check out the ANA shop. I ust say, compared to my last trip here (which was admittedly in 2006), the stock seems to have become a lot less interesting. There was very little that I wanted to buy, so walking away empty handed.

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I then hopped in an elevator to the top floor….plane spotters paradise! There is both an indoor and outdoor viewing section, all free of course. This being the NH terminal, was dominated by NH, plus a fair few Air Do (Hokkaiddo) machines.

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Nice, I’ll be on one of these in a few hours
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Such sleek lines on the 747
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The earlier NH 744D to CTS
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And a few from competitor JL
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The indoor section
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Time for lunch? HND has a massive array of dining options available landside


When I was young, I always used to love having the “Bullet Train Meal” at the American Club in Tokyo….nice to see the Japanese still have transport plates on offer for the kids!
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I decided to go for sushi for lunch today though. Initially I was going to head airside to eat in the lounge, but thought I’d get some proper food first. Lucky decision.
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Time to go airside. It was then that I noticed a small black doorway with a little *tiny* Star Gold sign. Ah, so that’s where the premium check in line is hidden. There was also a premium security line in there, but as there was no one waiting in the normal line, I didn’t bother.
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As my boarding pass was swiped at the entrance of the security lane, the machine auto printed me a new quasi boarding pass, with my name, seat number, gate and boarding time… nice extra piece of paper to keep!

Security was very quick and friendly. I had a bottle of water I’d forgotten in the bottom of my bag. Doh! Thankfully, sense prevails here, as Japanese airports have machines that can scan the liquid contents though the plastic in seconds….*beep*, my bottle gets the all clear. Wonderful.

What isn’t so good is the airside of Japanese airports in the domestic section. It’d been a while since I last flew domestically, and I’d forgotten quite how big a barren wasteland it is airside. Quite the contrast to landside, which is filed with shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Landside….chairs, chairs, more chairs, and the odd shop
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF3983.jpg

I quickly headed up to the NH lounge. The International (and domestic/arrivals) lounge at NRT is very nice, and well equipped. The domestic lounge at HND, not so much. There was a choice of soft drinks, hot drinks, the world famous beer machines, and a single type of pre-packaged snack mix….not very prepossessing. Thankfully I’d eaten my fill of sushi, or else it would have been a lunch of snack mix.

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They still have printed timetables here


With seat maps!
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Views weren’t good at all. I moved over to the work area and got a coffee. At least the wifi was fast.
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Needless to say, the lounge was very underwhelming. Clean, and with some catering, but a lot less than an international traveller expects. Even US lounges are more generous.

FIDS
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Sadly a delay was showing for my flight
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I was hoping to get the Pokémon Jet, the only one of the four remaining 744s with a special livery
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Upstairs Downstairs
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Such an ugly scheme. The management seems to play around with it a lot, and there are quite a few versions.
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Unfortunately when I got to the gate, I saw a plain old colour scheme. Still, it’s the -400D!
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There were these handy flight info monitors by the gate
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Despite the delay, there seemed like little effort to get everyone boarded quickly. There were a few people preboarded (in a wheel chair), but then a good five minute or so gap before everyone else was allowed on. There was a priority boarding call, but it was nearly incomprehensible.

Time to go
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August 2013
Tokyo Haneda (HND) – Sapporo Chitose (CTS)
All Nippon Airways NH 71
Scheduled: 1600-1730 (1h30m)
Actual: 1619-1736 (1h27m)
Boeing 747-400D JA8961
Economy

.





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Photo © Yoshiaki Hoshina
View Large View Medium
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Photo © WT



Apart from the nose section, the entire plane is economy. Here’s the main deck
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And the stairs – sorry for the blurry photo
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And the upstairs cabin. I was near the front, but in retrospect probably should have seat further back to get a better view of the wing.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4001.jpg

My row
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4002.jpg

And storage space
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4003.jpg

Could use a good clean I think
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Just a bit of a view of #4 engine
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Ok legroom for a short hop
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This afternoon’s flight was not fully booked, far from it. I didn’t look around inflight, but judging from the upper deck (less than 20 seats taken), and the seat map online (everything past door 3 seemed empty), I’d say there were not much more than 150-200 people onboard. No need for a 747…a 738 would do. Maybe this explains why NH and JL haven’t got any high density A380s on order to replace the 744D.

I could be in Hokkaido already
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Off we go, 19 minutes late. Tsk tsk, very tardy ANA!
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The Japanese love their special liveries – shame they’re nearly always only on domestic aircraft
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Seat with a view
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4020.jpg

I asked for a pillow, but they didn’t have any, so I got a blanket instead
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4022.jpg

Time for a snack? I bought this very tasty tonkatsu sandwich at the airport….mmmm, so tasty!
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Just 10 minutes after departure, the crew rolled their trolley to the front of the cabin
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What’s on the menu?


Some free drinks
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And then some BOB
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I went for a water and Japanese tea, along with a wet wipe. Not even a free snack was offered. Given the average high prices, I think the Japanese carriers are very deficient on their domestic sectors. Come on, at least throw in a small snack!
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Safety card


Nice and empty up here today
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Before long, it was time to return to earth. It’s a bit cloudy up on the North Island
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And it looks like it’s a bit wet too
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As we pulled onto stand, the heavens really opened, and there were some very loud thunder.
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The rain was so heavy as I walked down the airbridge, I was sure it was hailing. I knew that Hokkaido had harsh winters…now I was wishing that their summers weren’t as cold and wet.
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Sapporo Airport has one of those poorly conceived layouts where arriving passengers block departing passengers from boarding due to it all being on one level. Must be frustrating for the ground crew boarding a plane.

http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4087.jpg

I didn’t have to wait long for my bag to appear, and I was soon on my way to the train station.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4080.jpg

As I mentioned before, I bought a Hokkaido Rail Pass. Anyone who has investigated a trip to Japan has no doubt heard about the famous (and rather pricey) Japan Rail Pass. For a train spotter, it’s a dream. For normal tourists, it makes like a fair bit easier if you plan to cover a lot of ground. As I just needed a pass for Hokkaido, there was no need to buy the much more expensive Japan Pass. The Hokkaido version is quite a bit cheaper, as well as not having any advance purchase restrictions on it; just turn up at the station and buy it.


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 14478 times:

For JPY 19,500 (approx. GBP 125/USD 200) I got a flexible 4 day pass, allowing unlimited rides on 4 separate days in a 10 day period (standard Japan Rail Passes only offer concurrent day passes). The friendly lady in the JR (Japan Rail) at Chitose Airport give me a timetable, and helped me make reservations for all the trains I planned to take. Easy. Sadly, the very heavy rain outside was playing havoc with the normally terribly efficient network, and my train into Sapporo was delayed. Still, I was soon on board, and on my way into town.

Thankfully, the heavy rain had abated by the time the train arrived. Better still, the temperature was very acceptable, even for 7pm, and I had no need to put my jumper on. Summer temperatures’ still here!

My very Japanese room at the Sapporo Nakamuraya Ryokan.
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I spent two nights in Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido. There’s not an enormous about to do, but the city was pleasant. Right next to the Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) is the city’s botanic gardens.
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Ho ho ho. Japanese often have difficulty pronouncing “L”.
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One of Japan’s oldest museums in the gardens, containing some interesting stuffed fauna.
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The (rather unspectacular but) well known Sapporo Clock Tower


For free views of the city, head up to the top floor of the City Government offices.
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Sapporo is probably most famous abroad for their beer.


The fish market…I came a bit late
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But there was still time for some salmon donburi….nom nom nom. Note the cute fugu sauce bowl.
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Hokkaido is famous for bears apparently. I’m not sure if the ones in the wild wear necklaces though.


I did a little daytrip out to Otaru, once one of Japan’s banking centres. From here you can actually take an overnight ferry down to Osaka. I might have seriously considered this had I known about it in advance.

I took a wee boat ride
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A navy/coastguard plane
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Some local sushi
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4246.jpg



The old Bank of Japan building
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Otaru Beer do free tours…I thought I’d check it out. Inside felt very un-Japanese (well, and Bavarian). Being in Japan for an “absorb all the quirky, cute and tasty Japaneseness you can in a week” trip, I bought some tasty white beer, and drank it by Otaru’s famous canal rather than sitting in a fake Munich air conditioned beer house.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/nk/DSCF4267.jpg



Back on the train to Sapporo, connecting straight onto Asahikawa.
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Only in Japan! There is a handy little pocket to put your train ticket so the guard doesn’t disturb you as he passes through.
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And my rail pass. Reservations normally cost JPY 300, but are free with the pass.


The Super Kamui taking me from Sapporo to Asahikawa, jumping off point for the Daisetzan National Park.
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I really fancied doing some walking during my time in Japan. After evaluating numerous locations, I decided to base myself in the spa town of Sounkyo for a few nights, inside the Daisetzan National Park. A few photos:



Not a bear thankfully
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Chairlift to near the summit
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Sort of above the clouds
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There were some gorgeous views in the cloud breaks.
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Sadly, the cloud breaks were few and far between, and the rain was a bit of a drag. I decided to cut my stay in Sounkyo down, and add another at Lake Toya. In between these two is the Furano Valley. Now that I had moved everything forward a day, I would be able to take one of the last sightseeing trains of the season to Farm Tomita…..yeah, that all sounds a bit odd, but the pictures should explain.

On the local train


Time to hire a bike and explore around the town of Biei
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Then back to Biei station to catch the geektastic Norokko train.
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Biei Station
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Here she comes!
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This had to be the oddest train I’d ever been on.
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Easy viewing from the sightseeing carriages
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The BBQ car!
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Have you ever been on a train with a coal operated stove?
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Clear views from the far end
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Clearly, this a quite a big thing around here. Quite a few tour groups got on, did one stop, then trundled back onto their bus.
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My destination was the temporary station “Lavender Farm”. As you can see, the “station” is just dismantled at the end of the season.
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“Lavender Farm”, aka Farm Tomita was quite amazing. I wasn’t there at peak season, so the flowers weren’t as vibrant as they could have been, but it was still beautiful (and free).
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A lavender and melon (another Hokkaido delicacy apparently) Mr.Whippy


Japan has a penchant for overpriced “speciality” fruit. Here’s a $22 melon
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Possibly the prettiest ski slope I’ve ever seen (ski lift on the left). Of course it looks a little different in the winter!
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From Furano Valley, I got on three more trains (Furano-Askhikawa-Sapporo-Toya) getting into Lake Toya station late in the evening.
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My ekiben, dinner on the train to Toya
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Lake Toya is the remnants of a massive volcano.
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The whole area is still quite volcanically active, demonstrated no better than Mount Usu (which has erupted 4 times in the last century) and Shōwa-shinzan that magically appeared next to the lake between 1944-5 (pictured), growing to a height of 400m over the past 60 odd years, and still smoking like a trooper.
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Masao Mimatsu, the local postmaster that recorded the birth and early years of Shōwa-shinzan
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I had planned some more walking here. Apparently the views from the top of Mt.Usu are spectacular, encompassing the lake with the mini volcanoes in the middle on one side, and sweeping views of the Pacific on the other. Sadly, this was the view when I got to the top.
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At the bottom of Mt.Usu I was obviously a little disappointed. I had a wonder down through a row of shops and got to somewhere with a big bear outside….did they actually have real bears? Turns out they did. I know I’m going to get destroyed by some readers for paying to go in, but in I went. Sorry. The babies were soooo cute.
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The adults weren’t so happy to be there (obviously). But at least I knew that there were some bears around.
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The next day I took a floating palace out to the islands in the middle of Lake Toya.
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As you can see, the weather was grim. I gave up my circumnavigation of the island about 5 minutes in.
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One thing to draw the tourists in to the resort hotels around Toya is the nightly firework display
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After three enjoyable but cloudy nights by Lake Toya, I was headed back down south. 1 final train journey back to CTS Airport, with a change at Chitose Town.

The Super Hokuto. As you may have noticed, JR Hokkaido doesn’t have the fancy Shinkansen found further south.
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Some passing trains
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If you want to see where I went, here’s a map:
.



I was soon back at the airport. The original train I wanted to take had no reserved seats left, so I took a later one, only giving me around 90 minutes at the airport.

The Peach desks are hidden away in an odd corner of the arrivals section


Following FlyinFinn76’s Peach report, where the legroom looked a bit tight, I thought I’d pay to reserve an exit seat. The system duly remembered, and after scanning my QR code from my confirmation email (apparently, this is compulsory to have) at the self-service kiosk (a prerequisite to approaching the bag drop) , the machine spat out a very long supermarket receipt (it was 30cm long!). There quite a bit of advertising in Japanese, along with all the usual stuff.

After a few minutes queuing for the desk, I was welcomed by a friendly Peach lady who spoke enough English to get my bag tagged, and to explain that I had to go to the x-ray scanner at the adjacent ANA desk (kind of the same set up as in the US).


I shimmied over to the bag scanner, where a friendly officer checked the tag, placed the bag in the machine, nodded his approval, and hauled it back out again. I was now free to approach the NH counter to pass them over my bag.
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Phew. #1 Print confirmation to scan QR code, #2 Go to SSCI kiosk to get till receipt, #3 queue to get bag tagged, #4 queue to get bag scanned, #5 queue to get bag taken by smiling ANA ladies.

This process was certainly quite convoluted, and could do with being tidied up a lot, but the overall process was fairly quick, and all the staff were completely helpful and professional.

With all that done, I headed over to a newsagents and bought some lunch (sushi and edamame beans) for the plane. I then headed up to the viewing deck. On the way I passed quite a cool information and museum area. Shame I went with the later train cutting down my visiting time as the place seemed really cool.
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I then went upstairs to the outdoor viewing deck. Sadly, I was a bit encumbered with bags, and so only took photos with my cameraphone, something I regret seeing as I missed quite a few cool things.

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I was fortunate enough to see two SAT Airlines aircraft – one very old (born in 1984!) B737-200, and a slightly newer Dash. I guess one was for Khabarovsk, and the other for Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The two SAT Airlines aircraft I think I saw (maybe different regs):


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Photo © Kei Nagashima
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Alexander Dunaev

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Way too late, I decided to juggle my stuff around and get my proper camera out – here’s two okish photos from the viewing deck.
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FIDS. Note the “May Return” on the Kushiro flight. I guess poor weather on this regional hop means heading back to CTS.
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Domestic departures
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The queue for security was uncharacteristically poorly laid out and organised. There were some signs, mostly in Japanese, with the odd airline name on them. I wasn’t sure which line to use, so just chose the shortest (but they were all quite busy). Once at the screening area there was nowhere to sort stuff out, so everyone took an age to go through…overall, not a good example of efficient screening.

CTS airside was much like HND….lots of seats, and not much else. There was free wifi through, so could have been worse.

Sadly out flight was delayed. There was no explanation in English. Our new boarding time is feasible, our new departure time is not.
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Time to board finally at 1301, so roughly in line with their new timings. The new take-off time was widely optimistic however.




http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 14478 times:

September 2013
Sapporo Chitose (CTS) – Osaka Kansai (KIX)
Peach MM 104
Scheduled: 1250-1500 (2h10m)
Actual: 1329-1523 (1h54m)
Airbus A320 JA801P
Economy

.


.




View Large View Medium
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Photo © Hyeonwoo Noh - Korea Aero Photos
View Large View Medium
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Photo © John Richard Thomson



We would be flying on the first Peach aircraft to join the fleet.

Plenty of space in the emergency exit row
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I have never seen an airline carpet as obviously worn down as this. Did Peach go for some very cheap carpets?
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Thankfully my hope that no one else would splash out for exit seats came true – I have 3 seats to myself on what looked to be a near full fight. Not much is said by the cabin crew in English, and pre flight safety checks don’t seen to be done with much gusto. The guy sitting on the other exit window seat has his backpack by his feet throughout boarding, and taxi and take off. There was a brief welcome message in English, as well as the safety demo, but everything else was in Japanese.

It’s grim weather today
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Off we go, 40 minutes late
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Normally I ignore offers of train tickets on-board, but having already researched train prices into Osaka, I realised the Peach offer was quite good, so bought a ticket for the express train. The cabin crew were friendly, and spoke reasonable English when required.


Route map


The Peach Deli – things looked ok, and the prices were reasonable, but I had my own lunch with me
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Mmm, sushi
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Not much else to be said about the flight. We managed to make up some of our delay, but still landed into a very wet and windy Kansai a little late.
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Peach have their own little terminal at KIX – it’s a gloried bus shelter, with a lot of metal, and no windows or airbridges.
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I could see through the smeary windows that there was a trolley full of umbrellas brought out to the aircraft steps – nice of them!


Thankfully by the time I disembarked, the rain had briefly stopped
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Into the very bland terminal. Up, down, up down, round the corner, then into a warehouse like baggage hall.
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My luggage arrived in KIX safe and sound


The departures area of the Peach terminal – looks ok. Plenty of staff hanging around to assist passengers.
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One annoyance of this terminal is that you have to get a bus over to the main terminal to do anything. Stupidly, a normal city bus (which may be clean and air con, but isn’t suited to passengers with heavy bags at all) is used, so it took quite some time to get everyone on. Hopefully one day they’ll build a monorail or something.

We then trundled around in the rain for 10 minutes before arriving at the main terminal. A short walk later, I got to the train desk, where I swapped my Peach receipt for a ticket on the next Rapi:t (that’s not a typo!) train to Namba station.

How cool is that train!?
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I was soon in Osaka, where the rain had just about weakened enough for me not to get soaked walking to my hotel.

So, what did I think?



ANA we a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. I want to love them, but the reality was an expensive ticket, and a bare bones service. All the staff were ultra-polite as one would expect, the plane was a 744D as booked, and I arrived nearly on time – so I can’t complain too much, but the experience wasn’t nearly as good as on international flights. It is nice to have ticked off the -400D though, something that will sadly we gone from the skies of Japan in the next few months.

Peach were fairly good. This being a no frills carrier meant my expectations were adjusted accordingly. I expected little, and got clean and nearly on time journey. Staff were ok, although they need to improve on their safety checks.

I really enjoyed my time in Hokkaido. I’d like to go back again during the depths of winter (as inspired by Ricardo’s super report), and then hopefully also another summer, but with some sunnier weather!

As always, all comments and questions welcome, and thanks for reading about my latest trip! The next parts will be out soon



In addition to the other parts of this series, I’ve got three further trips planned:

A weekend in Jersey on BA in Y and J


Catching the LAN 787 between Madrid and Frankfurt in Business, along with some BA and AB feeder flights


And my winter getaway to Burma on a combination of BA, Saudia and Malaysia Airlines in a mix of Business and Economy
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Some of my other TRs:



#1: The Reindeer Route to Tokyo. AY 320 & JL 787
Jetstreaming to Anglesey with Citywing CWL-VLY-CWL
The Norwegian 787 Dreamtour – LGW-OSL-LGW
East Meets West with Cityjet. Inaugural LCY-DRS, NUE-LCY
Auf Wiedersehen FTL! LH/LO/OS LHR-DUS-WAW-VIE-LHR
Off to Zimbabwe, Part 3: Etihad JNB-AUH-LHR
Off to Zimbabwe, Part 2. BA/Comair, JNB-HRE, LVI-JNB
Off to Zimbabwe, Part 1. EI & EY, BHX-DUB-MAN-AUH-JNB
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 3, BDS-LIN-LHR
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 2. MXP-NRT-FCO-BRI
La Dolce Vita with Alitalia, Part 1. LHR-FCO-GOA
Dubrovnik with British Airways. Club on the B734
Autumn Asia Part 10: Take me home Saudia! DEL-RUH-LHR B777
Autumn Asia Part 9: Air India 787. Calcutta - Delhi
Autumn Asia Part 8: United Airways DAC-ZYL, Jet Airways DAC-CCU
Autumn Asia Part 7: Going Beyond Expectations. MH KUL-DAC on the A330
Autumn Asia Part 6: Silk Air and Firefly around the Malay Peninsula. SIN-LGK-SZB
Autumn Asia Part 5: Fine Dining on Scoot. TPE-SIN on the 777
Autumn Asia Part 4: First with Cathay Pacific: HKG-TPE F on the B744
Autumn Asia Part 3: Around China with KN, MU & CN
Autumn Asia Part 2: JALing it to Beijing. JL HND-PEK 772 Business
Autumn Asia Part 1: Limoncello with Alitalia. BA/AZ LHR-MXP-FCO-NRT
Va BeNe with Cityjet. RTM-LCY Fokker 50
Truly Great Britain: FlyBE EDI-IOM on Saab 340 & BA IOM-LCY on Saab 2000
Cyprus with Aegean. Business on the A321, LHR-LCA-LHR
Scotland In A Day: FlyBE GLA-BHD-LGW. DH8 & E190
Tegel A.Net Meet. SN LHR-BRU-TXL, LH TXL-BHX
Bye Bye Baby: easyJet LTN-BFS, bmi Baby BHD-BHX
Air One and Alitalia to Sicily – LGW-MXP-PMO-LIN-LHR
Part 12: Sun Air of Scandinavia & BA, DUS-BLL-MAN-LHR on the J31, D328 and A320
Part 11: Thai Airways BKK-FRA, B77W First Class & LH FRA-DUS Business
Part 10: Thai Airways Kathmandu-Bangkok, B772 Business Class
Part 9: Yeti Airlines “Everest Express” on the J41
Part 8: Biman Bangladesh A310 Dhaka-Kathmandu
Part 7: United Airways ATR Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar & Regent Airways Dash Chittagong-Dhaka
Part 6: Biman Bangladesh DC10 Calcutta-Dhaka
Part 5: SpiceJet B739 & Jet Konnect B738 Calcutta-Bagdogra rtn, with Darjeeling
Part 4: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class Singapore-Calcutta
Part 3: Sriwijiaya Airlines & Lion Air Boeing 737-900ER Banda Aceh-Medan-Jakarta-Singapore
Part 2: Valuair/Jetstar Asia SIN-MES and Garuda MES-BTJ
Part 1: U2 LTN-BCN, SQ BCN-SIN 77W Business
Africa Part 7: British Airways Club Europe B767, LCA-LHR
Africa Part 6: LX ZRH-ATH, A3 ATH-LCA. A Greek Tragedy
Africa Part 5: Dar es Salaam – Nairobi – Zurich with Swiss First
Africa Part 4: Fly 540 DAR-ZNZ in Y, and Zanzibar photos
Africa Part 3: ET KGL-EBB-ADD-DAR-ZNZ, A to Z with Ethiopian Airlines in C
Africa Part 2: SN BRU-BJM, SA BJM-KGL, Business to Burundi and Rwanda
Africa Part 1: BD LHR-CMN, TP CMN-LIS, SN LIS-BRU in Y and C
A.net meeting in snowy Tallinn. U2/FR STN-TLL-LTN
easyJet and bmi up to Aberdeen, LTN-ABZ-LHR
The Costa del Sol with British Airways. LGW-AGP-LCY
Mysterious Moldova (and Transnistria). Lufthansa LHR-MUC-KIV
BA to the Austrian Alps. LHR-MUC, INN-LGW
I can't get no Jetisfaction: LH LGW-FRA inaugural
Colombia Part 4: Colombia to London via FRA/MUC/HEL on LH & BA
Colombia Part 3: Colombia with Avianca (AV). SMR-BOG-MDE-BOG
Colombia Part 2: Colombia with Avianca (AV). BOG-MDE-CTG
Colombia Part 1: London to Colombia via ARN/MUC/FRA on BA & LH
USA and Mexico Part 4, British Airways Mexico City – London, World Traveller Plus
USA and Mexico Part 3: Around Mexico with Aereo Calafia Cessna 208B & Viva Aerobus B733
USA and Mexico Part 2: Sightseeing tour of SAN, and AA San Diego - LA – Dallas - San Jose Cabo
USA and Mexico Part 1: easyJet Luton to Paris, and BA Paris to San Diego via LHR in World Traveller Plus
British Airways to Scandinavia (LHR-CPH,GOT-LHR)
Where’s my bag? British Airways, Milan to London
What airline am I flying again? Bmi/Lufthansa Italia LHR-MXP
Albania and Macedonia: Austrian LHR-VIE-TIA, Macedonian Airlines SKP-ZRH, Swiss ZRH-LCY
Part 1, Lufthansa London-Munich-Frankfurt-Nanjing, Economy Class A321 and A343
Part 2, Cathay Pacific Shanghai to Tokyo via Hong Kong, Business Class A330 and B747-400
Part 3, ANA Boeing B767 Tokyo to Shanghai, & Air China Airbus A340 Shanghai to Beijing, Business Class
Part 4: Chinese domestics, inc. Joy Air Xi’an MA60, Tianjin Airlines ERJ, and China Express Airways CRJ
Part 5: Lufthansa Beijing-Frankfurt-London City, Economy Class A388 and E90
5 Countries, 5 Flights, 5 Days, with Ryanair (FR)
bmiFriday: Welcome to Sunny Norway, London to Bergen, A319)
Royal Jordanian, London to Aqaba via Amman. A330 and A320
Royal Jordanian, Amman to London, A330
London City to Antwerp with Cityjet and the Fokker 50
Croatian Airlines, LHR-ZAG,PUY-ZAD-ZAG-LHR, A319 and Dash 8
British Airways, Iberia & Binter to Tenerife and Gran Canaria, LHR-MAD-TFN-LPA-MAD-LHR, A320,ATR, A321
British Airways, London To Amsterdam, LGW-AMS-LHR, B737 & A321
British Airways up to a snowy Glasgow, with a change of flights and delay, LHR-GLA-LCY A321 and E90
Turkish Airlines Business Class from London to Istanbul. From Terrible To Fantastic
Turkish Airlines Business Class from Istanbul to Batumi (Georgia). Not again!
bmi Business Class, Tbilisi to London via Azerbaijan
Tallinn to London, with Estonian Air and BA, via ARN
Cuba! BA/IB London-Madrid-Havana, Business Class
Aerocarribean, Baracoa to Havana
Asia Trip, Pt 1: Qatar Airways Business Class (LHR-DOH-ICN)
Asia Trip, Pt 2: China Southern and Hainan Airlines (A321/A346)
Asia Trip, Pt 3: Malaysia Airlines, Hong Kong to Penang
Asia Trip, Pt 4: Qatar Airways Economy (HKG-DOH-LHR)
A weekend in Transylvania with Blue Air (LTN-SBZ)
Helsinki for the weekend on BA and KF
Easter in Ukraine with Austrian
UAE and Oman with BA and Air Arabia. Y & Y+
HKG-LHR-HKG Air New Zealand, Premium Economy and Economy
US Airways LGW-DCA-MSP-LGA-LGW
London Heathrow - Zurich - Venice on Swiss Business for the weekend
Chasing the Eclipse on China Eastern
Taiwan: EVA Air (HKG-TPE rtn), UNI Airways (TSA-HCN), Daily Air (TTT-KYD rtn)
UA HKG-SIN-HKG Y Class, SQ KUL-SIN C Class
Bangkok to Beijing, Egyptair Business Class
Air China Beijing to Harbin, B777 Economy outbound, A330 First Class return
Tiger Airways, Singapore to Darwin return
A selection of Chinese Domestics; China Eastern, Air China and Shenzhen Airlines
Hong Kong to London on Singapore Airlines (744/380/77W)
Qatar Airways Beijing-Doha-London Heathrow (A330/A340)
Air China First Class. Beijing-Guilin via Xi’an
Armenia with Austrian Airlines. LHR-VIE-EVN
Round Asia Trip. URC-HTN,OSS-FRU,ALA-URC-LHW-KMG-JHG-KMG-SYX,HAK-NKG-PEK-NRT-LHR,
Hainan Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lucky Air, ANA, Economy and Business Class.

SAS and Lufthansa Business Class, LHR-OSL-FRA-FRA, B73G and B744



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineairbusmango From Singapore, joined Apr 2012, 147 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 13862 times:

Hi Gabriel!

Thank you so much for doing up this wonderful trip report! It really does bring back lots of memories.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Also, as the title suggests, I also did a bit of training around Hokkaido. I know this is an aviation forum (and I’m definitely not a train spotter), but I thought it may be of interest to some of you.

Welcome to the club  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I then hopped in an elevator to the top floor….plane spotters paradise! There is both an indoor and outdoor viewing section, all free of course. This being the NH terminal, was dominated by NH, plus a fair few Air Do (Hokkaiddo) machines.

It's like Disneyland for spotters!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
As my boarding pass was swiped at the entrance of the security lane, the machine auto printed me a new quasi boarding pass, with my name, seat number, gate and boarding time… nice extra piece of paper to keep!

Ahh, the quasi boarding pass. More memorabilia for keeps, indeed!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I have never seen an airline carpet as obviously worn down as this. Did Peach go for some very cheap carpets?

Perhaps they were on sale  

After reading this TR of yours, now I really feel like going for another round of traveling in Japan a.s.a.p! I think it's good that Japan has a plethora of Railpass options, be it country-wide or just for that region itself. Also, it's really cool to see a Hokkaido that is not encased in layers and layers of snow at every turn. That funky train with the BBQ Car is hilarious, and not forgetting the Lavender Farm - even more reason to go traveling in Hokkaido when it's in season! And at least you've managed to tick the 744D off your list.

Once again, a superb read  

Regards,
Hafiz


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6903 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 13859 times:

Hi Gabriel,

nice report with many good pictures! Japan is a fantastic country to visit, would love to go there again soon. Too bad you didn't get the Pokemon jet.

I flew NGO-OKA on JAL's 744D back in 2007, also chose upper deck. That was a cool flight. I remember it was quite expensive, but it was a special experience.

Oddities & Okinawa: JTA 734 & JAL 744D(Domestic) (by PlaneHunter Dec 3 2007 in Trip Reports)

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
ANA’s final four aircraft will be gone before next summer.

The Pokemon jet has already been retired, the other three frames will be gone by March 2014. At least that's the plan.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I booked on the NH Japanese website.

I remember the odd booking process...interesting to hear it's still a bit "different".

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I then hopped in an elevator to the top floor….plane spotters paradise!

  

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):

Sadly a delay was showing for my flight

10 minutes, that's dramatic from a Japanese point of view!  

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I’d say there were not much more than 150-200 people onboard. No need for a 747…a 738 would do. Maybe this explains why NH and JL haven’t got any high density A380s on order to replace the 744D.

The market has changed a lot since the introduction of the 747Ds. There are many more airports and airlines now, no chance for high-density VLAs any more.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 1014 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 13650 times:

Hello Gabriel,

A very nice report as always. Love the pictures from Sapporo, thanks for sharing those.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Then back to Biei station to catch the geektastic Norokko train.

Well that's one interesting train ride for sure!


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 13586 times:

Tanks for the comments guys!

Quoting airbusmango (Reply 3):
Thank you so much for doing up this wonderful trip report! It really does bring back lots of memories.

Thanks Hafiz

Quoting airbusmango (Reply 3):
Ahh, the quasi boarding pass. More memorabilia for keeps, indeed!

yup!

Quoting airbusmango (Reply 3):
After reading this TR of yours, now I really feel like going for another round of traveling in Japan a.s.a.p! I think it's good that Japan has a plethora of Railpass options, be it country-wide or just for that region itself. Also, it's really cool to see a Hokkaido that is not encased in layers and layers of snow at every turn. That funky train with the BBQ Car is hilarious, and not forgetting the Lavender Farm - even more reason to go traveling in Hokkaido when it's in season! And at least you've managed to tick the 744D off your list.

You definately should - it's a great country to travel around

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
nice report with many good pictures!

Thanks Udo

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
Too bad you didn't get the Pokemon jet.

Yeah, shame about that, and sad to hear it's no longer flying

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 4):
I remember the odd booking process...interesting to hear it's still a bit "different".

All Japanese websites are a little "different"!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 5):
A very nice report as always. Love the pictures from Sapporo, thanks for sharing those.

Glad you like it Robert

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 5):
Well that's one interesting train ride for sure!

Very!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineaerdingus From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 2850 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 13359 times:

Ahhh, a Japanese trip report. I loves 'em. Nice to get the 744D, even if it's a total cattle car ha. Peach look good, I'm interested in them if I ever make it to Japan, they would wana sort out their check in process though! Quite cumbersome & confusing. I love all the photos. Do Japanese trains purposely look like Transformers...

Cheers, lovely read  



Cabin crew blog http://dolefuldolegirl.blogspot.ie/
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27249 posts, RR: 60
Reply 8, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 13239 times:

Hey Gabriel  

Great report and lots of lovely photos of Japan it looks amazing. Funky trains and love the Cup/Saucer balconies on that building. All the food and that Lavender ice cream sounds bliss!!

Really nice to get Y on the Upper Deck. It must be great to be able to do those routes if your based there.

Look forward to the next reports.

Regards

Philip  


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 13027 times:

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 7):
Nice to get the 744D, even if it's a total cattle car ha.

Lucky it wasn't too full

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 7):
they would wana sort out their check in process though! Quite cumbersome & confusing.

Yes, they need to improve on that

Quoting aerdingus (Reply 7):
Do Japanese trains purposely look like Transformers...

Ha I think so!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
Great report and lots of lovely photos of Japan it looks amazing.

Thanks Phil!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
All the food and that Lavender ice cream sounds bliss!!

I looove Japanese food (and the ice cream was nice)

Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
Really nice to get Y on the Upper Deck

Yup, not something I get to do so often



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinecaliatenza From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1581 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 12634 times:

Hi Gabriel, excellent trip report here  . I am planning a week long trip to Japan for either next month or December, how much is feasible to see in 1 week ?!?

User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1771 posts, RR: 30
Reply 11, posted (1 year 1 month 2 weeks ago) and read 12122 times:
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Hello gabrielchew,

Good to follow part 2 of your Japan travels. Obviously the weather didn’t cooperate very well when you was there? Pretty cool to have ticked off this -400D version of the B747!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
the capacity is nudging 600

Pretty impressive number, even for a 747.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
they sent me an email to show that I did have a real reservation.

  

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
flying a Lockheed

Oh, how I envy you... I assume back then you were not yet in the TR business 

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I also did a bit of training

Lol, at 1st I thought of ‘training’ like in ‘working out’ but it soon proved to be something else.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Thankfully, sense prevails here, as Japanese airports have machines that can scan the liquid contents though the plastic in seconds….*beep*, my bottle gets the all clear. Wonderful.

Why can’t this be implemented in more places... Hopefully we will be able to fly with our own beverages again sometime?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Such an ugly scheme.

I agree. You don’t have to be a fashion adept to see that those colors don’t match at all.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Have you ever been on a train with a coal operated stove?

I have not. It doesn’t look/feel Japanese to me  

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Did Peach go for some very cheap carpets?

Or perhaps the cleaning isn’t done properly?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
How cool is that train!?

Way to cool, it’s like the Batmobile on rails   

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 11999 times:

Thanks for the comments guys!

Quoting caliatenza (Reply 10):
excellent trip report here

Thanks!

Quoting caliatenza (Reply 10):
I am planning a week long trip to Japan for either next month or December, how much is feasible to see in 1 week ?!?

Oooh, hard question to answer. Depends where you go. You could easily fill a full week in Tokyo, or a few days in Tokyo, and a quick trip to Kyoto and Nara, or else do a shorter version of what I did in Hokkaido (I was there for 9 days I think). There's plenty to do, and the JNTO (tourist office) is excellent and very helpful around the world.

Hey Nils!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 11):
Obviously the weather didn’t cooperate very well when you was there?

Sadly, it wasn't great. But I still had some good weather from time to time

Quoting sultanils (Reply 11):
Pretty cool to have ticked off this -400D version of the B747!

Yeeha!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 11):
Oh, how I envy you... I assume back then you were not yet in the TR business

Back in 1997....sadly not!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 11):
Why can’t this be implemented in more places... Hopefully we will be able to fly with our own beverages again sometime?

I hope so, or else they can just dump the stupid rule.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 11):
I have not. It doesn’t look/feel Japanese to me

The longer you spend in Japan, the more you realised it has been influenced quite a lot my foreign ideas....it's just that only "really" Japanese things are exported, giving people a warped sense of what Japan is like.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 11):
Way to cool, it’s like the Batmobile on rails

Ha, yeah, it its!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinejwhite9185 From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 1370 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 11924 times:

Hi Gabriel, good to read the second part of no doubt many in this series!

Must admit, I thought all of Japan's 747's had gone a year or two back - so good that you managed to catch one. My second thought was what will they replace these pretty unique birds with? Maybe a high density 777-300?

Good to see your travels of Japan - starting with HND - I only really saw the arrivals section on my visit last month. I did consider taking a trip out there to see some unusual Japanese stuff from the observation deck, but figured it would be a wast of my only day in Tokyo!

Hokkaido looks great - the lavender farm looks like it could be in the UK. A world away from the madness of Tokyo!

Peach look pretty forgettable really.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Catching the LAN 787 between Madrid and Frankfurt

We hope... still showing the 767 seat map!



A300,A319,A320,A321,A333,A343,A346,A388,732,733,734,735,738,741,742,744,752,763,772,77W,788,Q400,DC10,E145,E170,E175,E19
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 11906 times:

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 13):
good to read the second part of no doubt many in this series!

Thanks James. I think they'll be another 5 more editions!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 13):
Must admit, I thought all of Japan's 747's had gone a year or two back - so good that you managed to catch one. My second thought was what will they replace these pretty unique birds with? Maybe a high density 777-300?

There are quite a few high density 773s flying around Japan (actually my first ever 777 was an NH -300 version. I sat in row 1, with 2 rows of 2x2x2 "Super Seats", with then rest of the plane (row 3 back!) 10 abreast Y. I think they're moving more towards 787s though

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 13):
Good to see your travels of Japan - starting with HND - I only really saw the arrivals section on my visit last month. I did consider taking a trip out there to see some unusual Japanese stuff from the observation deck, but figured it would be a wast of my only day in Tokyo!

You really need to go back and spend a bit more time in Japan...1 day just isn't enough!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 13):
Hokkaido looks great - the lavender farm looks like it could be in the UK. A world away from the madness of Tokyo!

yeah, it's gorgeous up there

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 13):
We hope... still showing the 767 seat map!

Still? That Airline route network page says that from mid-Oct it should def be a 787....Still, their wingletted 767s are pretty cool!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinecaliatenza From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1581 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 11601 times:

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 12):

Oooh, hard question to answer. Depends where you go. You could easily fill a full week in Tokyo, or a few days in Tokyo, and a quick trip to Kyoto and Nara, or else do a shorter version of what I did in Hokkaido (I was there for 9 days I think). There's plenty to do, and the JNTO (tourist office) is excellent and very helpful around the world.

Thanks  . I have been on the look out for Japan trip reports in the forums, yours is up there with the best  . I was thinking to do Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara/Hiroshima. I'll inquire with the JNTO though first  .


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 11515 times:

Quoting caliatenza (Reply 15):
Thanks . I have been on the look out for Japan trip reports in the forums, yours is up there with the best . I was thinking to do Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara/Hiroshima. I'll inquire with the JNTO though first .

You should be able to fit all that into 1 week if you are an efficient tourist! I loved Hiroshima, but you have to make sure you leave some time to visit Miyajima nearby. The JNTO is hands down the best national tourist office of any country.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6648 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 11082 times:

Hi Gabriel!

Thanks for a very nice report with very nice pictures!

It looks you had a great time in Hokkaido depsite the weather.

Very nice that you flew in Y on the upper deck on the NH 744D. The seats look rather old fashioned but look comfortable.

I spent a day spotting at the very nice observation deck at Haneda when I was there about a month ago. Very nice to have the indoor part since it was too hot to be outside.

Peach looks okay but not so good with lax safety checks and the terminal experience seems like a hassle upon arrival.

Very much looking forward to your next report !

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1169 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 10319 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Gabriel!

Great part 2 you made here with many nice pictures!
ANA don't impress too much here but logging the 744D is a major plus and something I will probably never get to fly!
Peach definitely look no frills here, shame they weren't really safety conscious!
Looks like you had a great time in Japan, Hokkaido looks very beautiful! Such a shame the weather didn't really cooperate..

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Also, as the title suggests, I also did a bit of training around Hokkaido. I know this is an aviation forum (and I’m definitely not a train spotter), but I thought it may be of interest to some of you.

Japan has an impressive network and range of trains, it was very nice to see them in this report!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Landside….chairs, chairs, more chairs, and the odd shop

Kind of looks like some US Airports!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Phew. #1 Print confirmation to scan QR code, #2 Go to SSCI kiosk to get till receipt, #3 queue to get bag tagged, #4 queue to get bag scanned, #5 queue to get bag taken by smiling ANA ladies.

That is quite a hassle, where is the Japanese efficiency  

Looking forward to the next one!

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 19, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 10270 times:

Hey Gabriel,

First of all I have to say that I hate you for visiting Lake Toya . This was very high on our list when we were in Hokkaido but the bad weather and inconvenient (surprisingly given that we're talking about Japan) transportation options at the time forced us to give up going.

A lot of familiar photos from around Sapporo and Otaru. By the way, was Otaru full of Russian tourists? I've heard that they arrive in hoards during the spring and summer months.

Is that a "new" livery in that Air Do 737 in one of your photos? I have the feeling that the people that hated the old scheme would not be pleased with this new one either.

It's not like I need an excuse to want to visit Japan again, but your reports so far give me an itch to book some flights right now.

Stojan



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineSR117 From Mexico, joined Jun 2000, 799 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 10231 times:

Hey Gabriel, thanks so much for this report, I'm very jealous that you got to be in Daisetsuzan ! Been wanting to do a summer visit there for two years but circumstances and weather always conspire against it. Glad to see some of it through your eyes, though it looks like weather was an issue with you as well.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I then hopped in an elevator to the top floor….plane spotters paradise! There is both an indoor and outdoor viewing section, all free of course. This being the NH terminal, was dominated by NH, plus a fair few Air Do (Hokkaiddo) machines.

It's such a ritual always : ) Getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare, going to check out planes at the terrace and then having some food.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I decided to go for sushi for lunch today though. Initially I was going to head airside to eat in the lounge, but thought I’d get some proper food first. Lucky decision.

Lots more restaurants landside, no doubt catering also to visitors and the likes.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
As my boarding pass was swiped at the entrance of the security lane, the machine auto printed me a new quasi boarding pass, with my name, seat number, gate and boarding time… nice extra piece of paper to keep!

I thought that this extra scan helped airlines know who had already gone through security? Don't remember where I saw something of the sorts.. maybe I am imagining things 
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
With seat maps!

Love those old school timetables, when I was a kid I used to be fascinated by seat maps for some odd reason.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Time for a snack? I bought this very tasty tonkatsu sandwich at the airport….mmmm, so tasty!

Tonkatsu wako is my favorite 
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Some free drinks

Looks like they increased the free offerings so as to not be as badly matched against JAL, you can apparently get soup again. Plus ANA offers stuff for purchase while JAL doesn't.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Before long, it was time to return to earth. It’s a bit cloudy up on the North Island

Those days it was cloudy around most of Japan unfortunately  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
For JPY 19,500 (approx. GBP 125/USD 200) I got a flexible 4 day pass, allowing unlimited rides on 4 separate days in a 10 day period (standard Japan Rail Passes only offer concurrent day passes).

It still is a bit expensive I think, but if you squeeze in some long range trips the pass can definitely pay off. The best values in the country (imho) are the Kanto pass for 8000 yen and North Kyushu pass for 7000, quite handy in their respective areas.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
For free views of the city, head up to the top floor of the City Government offices.

Excellent tip ! Will try that out next time.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
But there was still time for some salmon donburi….nom nom nom.

Looks delicious 
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I bought some tasty white beer, and drank it by Otaru’s famous canal rather than sitting in a fake Munich air conditioned beer house.

That definitely looks like a fun idea.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I really fancied doing some walking during my time in Japan. After evaluating numerous locations, I decided to base myself in the spa town of Sounkyo for a few nights, inside the Daisetzan National Park. A few photos:

Ahhh Daisetsuzan, Hokkaido has some really nice wilderness no? That waterfall looks stunning.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
There were some gorgeous views in the cloud breaks.

So jealous !

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Time to hire a bike and explore around the town of Biei

Another iconic Hokkaido landscape : ) Those trees are pretty neat.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The BBQ car!

Too bad there was no BBQing going on  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
My destination was the temporary station “Lavender Farm”. As you can see, the “station” is just dismantled at the end of the season.

Tomita Farm looks great, and full of seasonal goodness. Too bad it is frosty most of the year.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
“Lavender Farm”, aka Farm Tomita was quite amazing. I wasn’t there at peak season, so the flowers weren’t as vibrant as they could have been, but it was still beautiful (and free).

Must get quite crowded when lavender is at the peak. Sunflowers are also popular around september and such.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
A lavender and melon (another Hokkaido delicacy apparently) Mr.Whippy

Mmm, Hokkaido Dairy !

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
My ekiben, dinner on the train to Toya

Having an Ekiben on the train is definitely one of the high points of train travel in Japan, especially since most stations carry local delicacies and offerings aren't standardized nationwide.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I had planned some more walking here. Apparently the views from the top of Mt.Usu are spectacular, encompassing the lake with the mini volcanoes in the middle on one side, and sweeping views of the Pacific on the other. Sadly, this was the view when I got to the top.

Bummer ! Sucks when you see the nice brochures with great views and you end up with a cloudy day.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The next day I took a floating palace out to the islands in the middle of Lake Toya.

That definitely looks odd.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Normally I ignore offers of train tickets on-board, but having already researched train prices into Osaka, I realised the Peach offer was quite good, so bought a ticket for the express train. The cabin crew were friendly, and spoke reasonable English when required.

Those prices are definitely good, and it makes sense that a discount airline would try to negotiate discount prices with train operators, that Rapi:t train can be quite empty sometimes, so a boost to ridership can't hurt the operator. Smart business.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The Peach Deli – things looked ok, and the prices were reasonable, but I had my own lunch with me

The peach deli intrigues me with all of their peachy delights.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Peach have their own little terminal at KIX – it’s a gloried bus shelter, with a lot of metal, and no windows or airbridges.

Looks luxurious !

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I got to the train desk, where I swapped my Peach receipt for a ticket on the next Rapi:t (that’s not a typo!) train to Namba station.

Rapito please  
Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
ANA we a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. I want to love them, but the reality was an expensive ticket, and a bare bones service. All the staff were ultra-polite as one would expect, the plane was a 744D as booked, and I arrived nearly on time – so I can’t complain too much, but the experience wasn’t nearly as good as on international flights

ANA is nice and the staff always manages to save the day, but the product is not impressive on short flights, I just did a regional hop from HKG to KIX (after doing some Gabriel Chew inspired Hong Kong hiking) and while service was nice I definitely wasn't blown away by the product either.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I really enjoyed my time in Hokkaido. I’d like to go back again during the depths of winter (as inspired by Ricardo’s super report), and then hopefully also another summer, but with some sunnier weather!

Glad to have helped in your decision   Too bad I couldn't make it up there, but Kyushu was great despite the lowsy weather.

Thanks again for sharing your travels
Ricardo


User currently offlineallrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2193 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (1 year 1 month 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 9628 times:

Thanks for the report and I for one enjoyed the train photos. Brought back a few memories! It's a pity that you didn't try the ice cream on offer in Otaru. I highly recommend the sea urchin ice cream... NOT! Pity that the 747D's are being removed as they offer an opportunity to fly economy in positions normally inaccessible for cheapskates like me.  
Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
It still is a bit expensive I think, but if you squeeze in some long range trips the pass can definitely pay off. The best values in the country (imho) are the Kanto pass for 8000 yen and North Kyushu pass for 7000, quite handy in their respective areas.

A JR Pass still pays off if you are doing long distance travel across more than one region, at least when using standard quoted prices from Hyperdia. See Japan Guide's Rail Passes for an analysis of the value of each pass.



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineba319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8578 posts, RR: 54
Reply 22, posted (1 year 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 8996 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Gabriel,

I'm playing catch-up!

Nice read and pictures. I may have to get on one of these few remaining NH 744D's, should be in Japan in Q1 for the Skymark A380, so if the 744D is still rinning that would tie in well.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
With a nice 4pm departure time, I thought I’d get to the airport, check in, have a look around the aviation shop, check out the viewing terrace, have lunch, then hit the lounge. A perfect afternoon?

- Sounds superb, just my kind of afternoon!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I then hopped in an elevator to the top floor….plane spotters paradise! There is both an indoor and outdoor viewing section, all free of course.

- Wonderful!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Security was very quick and friendly. I had a bottle of water I’d forgotten in the bottom of my bag. Doh! Thankfully, sense prevails here, as Japanese airports have machines that can scan the liquid contents though the plastic in seconds….*beep*, my bottle gets the all clear. Wonderful.

- I just wish the western world was so organised......

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Even US lounges are more generous.

- Now that IS saying something!

Cheers

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 offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3339 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (10 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 6627 times:

Thanks for all the comments, and sorry for taking such a long time to report

Quoting The777Man (Reply 17):
Thanks for a very nice report with very nice pictures!

Glad you liked it Lars

Quoting The777Man (Reply 17):
Very nice that you flew in Y on the upper deck on the NH 744D. The seats look rather old fashioned but look comfortable.

Yeah, old, but fine for a short hop

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Great part 2 you made here with many nice pictures!

THanks Brendan

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Kind of looks like some US Airports!

Yeah, similar...very boring

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
That is quite a hassle, where is the Japanese efficiency

Where indeed!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 19):
First of all I have to say that I hate you for visiting Lake Toya . This was very high on our list when we were in Hokkaido but the bad weather and inconvenient (surprisingly given that we're talking about Japan) transportation options at the time forced us to give up going.

Wel, it's still a long way to get there as the trains aren't too fast around Hokkaido. I want to go back when it's sunny!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 19):
A lot of familiar photos from around Sapporo and Otaru. By the way, was Otaru full of Russian tourists? I've heard that they arrive in hoards during the spring and summer months.

Not as far as I recall...mostly Japanese tourists

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 19):
Is that a "new" livery in that Air Do 737 in one of your photos? I have the feeling that the people that hated the old scheme would not be pleased with this new one either.

Yes, another bad attempt

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
Hey Gabriel, thanks so much for this report,

Thanks for reading Ricardo...glad you enjoyed it!

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
I'm very jealous that you got to be in Daisetsuzan ! Been wanting to do a summer visit there for two years but circumstances and weather always conspire against it. Glad to see some of it through your eyes, though it looks like weather was an issue with you as well.

yes, lots of rain, but a fab destination

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
I thought that this extra scan helped airlines know who had already gone through security? Don't remember where I saw something of the sorts.. maybe I am imagining things

Still, no need for the extra paper?

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
Looks like they increased the free offerings so as to not be as badly matched against JAL, you can apparently get soup again. Plus ANA offers stuff for purchase while JAL doesn't.

Shame there is no complimentary booze available

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
It still is a bit expensive I think, but if you squeeze in some long range trips the pass can definitely pay off. The best values in the country (imho) are the Kanto pass for 8000 yen and North Kyushu pass for 7000, quite handy in their respective areas.

I think I got good value out of it, but could have abused it more with a trip up to Wakkanai!

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
Looks delicious

I was

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
Ahhh Daisetsuzan, Hokkaido has some really nice wilderness no? That waterfall looks stunning.

I think so - sadly without independent tranaport (other than Shank's pony) it was hard to really explore

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
Too bad there was no BBQing going on

I know!

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
Bummer ! Sucks when you see the nice brochures with great views and you end up with a cloudy day.

Story of my life (well, Japan trip)

Quoting SR117 (Reply 20):
I just did a regional hop from HKG to KIX (after doing some Gabriel Chew inspired Hong Kong hiking) .

Glad you liked the hiking!

Quoting allrite (Reply 21):
Thanks for the report and I for one enjoyed the train photos. Brought back a few memories! It's a pity that you didn't try the ice cream on offer in Otaru. I highly recommend the sea urchin ice cream... NOT!

Glad you enjoyed it! I'll have to buy an ice cream next time

Quoting allrite (Reply 21):
Pity that the 747D's are being removed as they offer an opportunity to fly economy in positions normally inaccessible for cheapskates like me.

Yes, they do provide some good options

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 22):
Nice read and pictures. I may have to get on one of these few remaining NH 744D's, should be in Japan in Q1 for the Skymark A380, so if the 744D is still rinning that would tie in well.

is that working out?

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 22):
- Wonderful!

I know...the Japanese do some things so well

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 22):
- Now that IS saying something!

Sadly, yes



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineJoeyTaffy93 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2010, 216 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (5 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 3682 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thank you for this trip report Gabriel. It's given me a few ideas of what to expect on mine.

I'm currently reading through your trip reports that you posted in my thread and I'm enjoying them.


25 gabrielchew : No problem. It's a shame that the 744Ds have all been removed from service now. You'll have to make do with 787s and 77Ws!
26 Post contains images CaliAtenza : Well i didn't have time to make it to Japan , so hopefully next year i can go . I'm going to have to consult with you again when that happens .
27 JoeyTaffy93 : First world problems! Aha.
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