First trip to Japan..

Old Jul 17, 15, 1:57 pm
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First trip to Japan..

Hey everyone..

Thinking about a trip to Japan in Feb...specifically Kyoto. Thinking of doing this trip in Feb in biz but wondered if anyone could answer a few questions.

1. In your opinion..where is the best place to start from..ex eu wise?

2. Should i fly directly to Japan or would it be cheaper to fly to say china..and add on say an avios flight to Japan?

Many thanks
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Old Jul 17, 15, 2:40 pm
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Ex-EU starting point is most dependent on pricing, I feel. Other than that either places you'd like to spend the night or places good for back-to-back, depending on how you roll.

Ex-EU implies you're going for a paid ticket, in which case just go direct to Japan most of the time.

If you want an Avios redemption, especially in F, there can be a lot more availability to China (PVG or PEK) where you can (check details) do a transit without visa to an onwards flight to Japan (paid or Avios).

If you want to book now, the ex-Germany fare to HKG and China also gives the possibility of going onwards to Japan and while travel must begin within 3-4 weeks the UK stopover can be months long.
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Old Jul 17, 15, 2:50 pm
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Originally Posted by jock View Post
Hey everyone..

Thinking about a trip to Japan in Feb...specifically Kyoto. Thinking of doing this trip in Feb in biz but wondered if anyone could answer a few questions.

1. In your opinion..where is the best place to start from..ex eu wise?

2. Should i fly directly to Japan or would it be cheaper to fly to say china..and add on say an avios flight to Japan?

Many thanks
1. Price wise probably MAD, maybe FRA (assuming you are travelling in J)
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Old Jul 17, 15, 4:01 pm
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Try ex BUD or PRG for 1.4k-1.5k.

Doing ex BUD in Aug. Paiid 1.3k when shareholders discount was still available.

Round trip earns 38k avios and later upgraded LHR/HND, NRT/LHR sectors to F @ 30k avios each way before the April avios changes.
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Old Jul 17, 15, 4:09 pm
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It's worth looking at Finnair J fares ex-LHR/MAN via HEL. They also offer the choice of NRT, NGO and KIX (closest airport to Kyoto).
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Old Jul 17, 15, 4:38 pm
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You've got about 20 mins on the HKG fares ex-GER - can pick up Avios ticket on CX to Kyoto fairly easily I think

(Am there in January myself, with a few days in Shanghai beforehand)
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Old Jul 17, 15, 9:16 pm
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If you decide to fly to Tokyo then getting a JR rail pass before you travel is definitely going to be a good decision in terms of value and allows you unlimited travel on JR trains and all but the fastest Bullet trains. If you only want to go to Kyoto then you can buy a pass at KIX airport station that gets you a return to Kyoto on a reserved seat train.
If you do fly to Tokyo - I recommend arriving at Haneda, it is much more convenient than Narita.
There are many flights between Haneda and Itami (Osaka city centre airport) and from there it is easy to get to Kyoto. Using BA avios for this route is really good value. 4500 one way and about 3 GBP in taxes.
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Old Jul 17, 15, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by jock
Hey everyone..

Thinking about a trip to Japan in Feb...specifically Kyoto. Thinking of doing this trip in Feb in biz but wondered if anyone could answer a few questions.

1. In your opinion..where is the best place to start from..ex eu wise?

2. Should i fly directly to Japan or would it be cheaper to fly to say china..and add on say an avios flight to Japan?

Many thanks
If you can find J award space on CX/JL/QR for your desired dates of travel (and that's a big "if"), consider buying the necessary miles from AA when AA is running a sale. A Europe-Japan roundtrip in J costs 105K AA miles, which should cost about $2,300 USD when miles are on sale. Add the UK APD and LHR PSC if you opt to depart from LHR.

Of course, you wouldn't earn any miles on an award ticket.
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Old Jul 18, 15, 1:00 am
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Don't forget to try the Royce's chocolates!
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Old Jul 18, 15, 3:18 am
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Hel-kix direct looks interesting. Ive never flown Finnair before especially not in J. Looks like theyve got new J seats..similar to AA's new J in the 767. Whats their food/service like? Or should i try and bag a good CX fare from somewhere in Europe and connect onto kix from Hkg? Never flown them either but always hear good things about them.
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Old Jul 18, 15, 4:05 am
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I'd also recommending looking at CX. Their regional business class is very nice and HKG is one of my favourite stopovers.

BTW does it have to be February? Kyoto is at its best (but also most crowded) in April.
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Old Jul 18, 15, 4:46 am
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Hey Jock,

Can I just recommend www.japan-guide.com for planning your trip - not flight wise, but I've done two x three week tours of Japan now, and really found it invaluable. It's got great guides to transportation and things like how to buy a train ticket (often a bit of an experience). Have a great trip!
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Old Jul 18, 15, 5:24 am
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Originally Posted by fripperies View Post
BTW does it have to be February? Kyoto is at its best (but also most crowded) in April.
I went to Kyoto at the very end of March this year and all the blossoms (cherry and others) were in full bloom. If you do go at that time, make sure you visit the Philosopher's Path (or Walk) for probably the best cherry blossoms. The city was busy with tourists but by no means thronged. I'm already planning to return there the same time next year to visit what I couldn't see last time (such as the Imperial Palace, tours of which need to be booked well in advance).
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Old Jul 18, 15, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by jock View Post
Hel-kix direct looks interesting. Ive never flown Finnair before especially not in J. Looks like theyve got new J seats..similar to AA's new J in the 767. Whats their food/service like? Or should i try and bag a good CX fare from somewhere in Europe and connect onto kix from Hkg? Never flown them either but always hear good things about them.

There's a Finnair HEL-KIX in J trip report here:

http://thedesignair.net/2014/11/28/t...november-2014/

I'm a fan of them - most of the J seats have direct aisle access. And of course you can earn Avios and TPs. There is just a very small risk of an equipment swap onto one of the older A340s with angle-flat J, but that would be a very small chance resulting from a big F-up/IRROPs
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Old Jul 18, 15, 7:53 am
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If you have never been to Japan before the usual tourist trail is to get a flight in to NRT / HND, do Tokyo for a few days and then branch out using a JR Rail pass.

Flying direct to Kansai is usually for 2nd / 3rd timers or people like me who live here.

There is lots of material out there on the interwebs for a-typical Tokyo / Kyoto / Hiroshima / Himeji / Nara itineraries - you could easily fill 2 - 3 weeks.

As for carrier - my home town is near Manchester so I avoid Heathrow like the plague.

UK South - Direct HND / NRT service

UK North - Indirect via HEL on Finnair from MAN

-mrploddy
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