airxliban
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:14 pm

Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:25 am

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.
 
BH346
Posts: 3164
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:50 am

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
 
TokyoNarita
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:30 am

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]
 
airxliban
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:40 am

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.
 
jmc1975
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 7:47 am

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!
.......
 
airxliban
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 7:51 am

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.
 
jmc1975
Posts: 2897
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 8:02 am

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!
.......
 
BH346
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 8:36 am

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
 
bombayhog
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 8:55 am

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
 
jmc1975
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:03 am

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.
.......
 
BH346
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:14 am

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
 
QANTAS077
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 10:19 am

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!
 
navairjax
Posts: 478
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:19 pm

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.
 
Guest

RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:22 pm

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...
 
airxliban
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:41 pm

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.
 
navairjax
Posts: 478
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 4:15 pm

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.
 
VonRichtofen
Posts: 4262
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:18 pm

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)
 
kaitak
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:07 pm

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.
 
Jet-lagged
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Sun Jan 18, 2004 9:19 pm

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!

 
ba319-131
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:09 am

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
 
airxliban
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Mon Jan 19, 2004 4:18 am

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.
 
BH346
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Mon Jan 19, 2004 4:55 am

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
 
bombayhog
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:52 am

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
 
ORD2PHL
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Mon Jan 19, 2004 10:03 am

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
 
VonRichtofen
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:31 am

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?
 
airxliban
Posts: 4285
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:14 pm

RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Wed Jan 21, 2004 12:28 pm

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 same measely 8,300 miles.

So now I have a dilemma:

I kind of wanted to travel with JAL but I can get almost twice the miles with america (10924 via SJC + 5,000 bonus) for almost 16,000 miles, which is a big deal.

But if I do that, I won't get to fly on JAL, I won't get to see KIX and I won't get to ride a 747 classic between KIX and HND...which is a big deal, because who knows when the next time will be...if ever?

So now I don't know what to do because I was hoping to accomplish my goals for visiting japan: 1) Tokyo 2) Kyoto and 3) KIX.

I could live with not flying JAL, but not seeing KIX would suck.

Does anyone have any recommendations?
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
BH346
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Wed Jan 21, 2004 12:36 pm

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 HND. Domestic flights in Japan typically cost and arm and a leg during the summer but I'm not sure how much they are during this time of year. You could just go down to Osaka in the Shinkansen or just any train and connect to KIX from Osaka. I have no idea how much the flights or trains cost this time of year so you'll probably have to do a bit of searching.
Northwest Airlines - Some People Just Know How to Fly
 
Mir
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RE: Help! Going To Japan...

Wed Jan 21, 2004 3:58 pm

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 the freshest sushi around.
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day