hello all! This tr will not be like my past. Sadly, no photos! But, much detail for anyone who may be taking a domestic Japan flight(s) soon, or are curious!
The reason behind taking this trip was for a few reasons:
1) to get from the 1,996 points, to 30,000 needed to achieve "ANA BRONZE" "STAR ALLIANCE SILVER" status. Sure, the Bronze status does not necessarily give you the best perks, but it's a start.
2) I had a friend who I work with here in Japan, who took 3 weeks off to backpack Japan before moving to Dallas in 5 weeks. And, I figured he'd like some company
3) Just because I had to time to do it!
Having been in Japan for just over 14 months, now. I have taken the Shinkansen many times and although it is quite an incredible experience, the price is just a bit more than I wanted when I compared it to what I could get with flying.
From the reasons stated above, I had a 3 day weekend this past weekend and wanted to get away to some place new. With the summer heat finally gone, and a lovely fall season among us, I am taking any chance I can to hit up the tourist spots before it gets cold, and I go see the "snow festival" in Hokkaido come February.
3 days before heading to Osaka- Kansai, I went on the ANA site to see if any last minute steals were around. And I was just in luck! for 18,000yen, or about 200USD I could fly from FUK-KIX in F, with full mileage, club and service features you expect. I just had to snatch this deal up! An economy seat was available for 15,000 yen. So, not a hard sell!
I had to overnight in FUK, which I did at a friends apartment near the airport and was even lucky enough to get a ride to FUK! Something I was not expecting (I had no idea she had a car!). I got to FUK at 0615 for a 0710 flight and since my itinerary had the "SKIP" logo attached to it, I did not have to check in, but rather just place the square bar code on the reader at the security check point and go through. One really nice service is the Premium and frequent flyer security check point, which is very secluded and not easy to find if you don't know where to look. In seconds I was thru security and in the ANA lounge at FUK. It was unusually busy for a Saturday at 0620. I spent about 35 minutes in here just relaxing and enjoying some juice.
An announcement was made at 0650 for boarding of my flight and off I went. I knew this flight would be full, so I did not board first as I really just hate having to keep moving my feet ( I had seat 1C). So, I boarded near the end of the process. Somehow the flights NEVER leave on time, but arrive right on time. I do not get it. OH WELL!
We had a really short taxi from gate 9 to the holding point of 16 and were airborne within 2 minutes and cruised at an unknown altitude in between two cloud layers.
As I spent the whole night awake hanging out with my friend, I spent much of the flight sleeping, with the chair FULLY reclined. very comfortable, and incredibly generous recline! About 50 inches of leg-room and woke up to find the flight attendant serving a quick bento box meal. Some various fruit slices, rice and some fish. And, amazing miso soup.
After we were served, we were notified we'd be landing within 15 minutes and we were at the gate within the 15 minutes. We landed and were at the gate within a minute or two of the landing time. Walking to the train station I noticed that it was 1h12 minutes prior when I was in FUK airport, and here I am walking thru the exit for the train station. INCREDIBLE. I also was lucky enough to catch the earlier express service into Osaka to catch another train to NARA. had I been about 15 minutes later, I'd of had to wait. No big deal, I had no real itinerary till noon.
I wanted to go plane spotting @ KIX, but the arrivals were NOT favoring the observation point, and it was raining! And this smart guy forgot his umbrella at my friends place. Gotta love the Daily Yamazaki's selling cheap umbrella's!
Nara is a nice day trip away from the city of Osaka or Kyoto. With some very old and important shrines and temples to see, it's hard to NOT want to visit.
I do not have pictures from the flight up, but I do have some pics of Nara, and the bullet train for your enjoyment.
Famous 5 story pagoda.
There's over 3,000 lanterns they say. I'll take their word!!
One of the countless deer in Nara, and the great bell behind.
Taken on our way towards the old imperial palace. Anyone know what this celebration is about?
I've had this before. It's way to sweet for me.
Taken from the hostel's balcony!
Shinkansen NOZOMI to hakata. Taken from the Shin- Osaka station:
Unusually empty for a weekend! very generous leg room and seat recline for any of the seats onboard.
A bento box purchased prior to leaving Shin-osaka.
walking towards theJR line transfer exit
[Edited 2010-10-12 05:19:54]
Questions, comments, concerns are welcomed!!!
My next trip report should be to Tokyo this weekend, Okinawa next week and then Hong Kong in a month or so!!
[Edited 2010-10-12 05:21:16]