Getting There – JAL First Class
Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Guide to Tsukiji Fish Market
Room Service Review: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Day in Tokyo
Taking the Shinkansen “Bullet” Train
Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Tea at the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Day 1 in Kyoto
Day 2 in Kyoto
Room Service Review: Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Park Hyatt Tokyo: Revisited
Getting to Hiroshima
Hotel Review: Sheraton Hiroshima
Day trip to Miyajima
Day in Hiroshima
St. Regis Osaka
Day in Osaka
The next city on my whirlwind trip was Hiroshima. To provide an easy reference, here it is in reference to Tokyo via GoogleMaps –
The concierge desk at the Park Hyatt Tokyo easily arranged for us to catch the Airport Limousine Bus to Haneda airport right out front of the hotel. It cost around ¥1000 per person, or 8.5 USD and the trip took about 40 minutes. The hotel was one of the first pick-up locations so there were plenty of seats but after a few stops it was almost full.
The bus dropped us at Haneda’s Terminal 2, which is the one that All Nippon Airways (ANA) uses for most domestic flights while Japan Airlines (JAL) is typically out of Terminal 1.
We went straight to ANA’s premium check-in counter. The ladies had a bit of difficulty finding our reservation so I pulled up the itinerary and handed over my laptop since it was easier to give them the info to look at rather than try to speak an explanation.
They were all smiles and giggles and it didn’t take long for them to issue boarding passes and ANA lounge invitations since we were Star Alliance Gold members. The lounge was quiet and offered all kinds of snacks but it was the drinks that caught my eye. There was a kale juice dispenser and in the refrigerator there were cute pictures of a cow, tomato and carrot to help clarify what they were. No language barrier there! I think an ornately decorated container on a nearby counter held Shochu as well though I wasn’t 100% positive. We had arrived early so there was plenty of time to sit down and enjoy the lounge a little.
It was boarding time before long, and I was looking forward to my flight. ANA was the first carrier to have the 787 in service back in 2011 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one of my favorite jetliners. It really distinguishes itself with larger windows, heavy use of composite materials including carbon fiber flexible wings, and a maximum internal cabin altitude of 6,000 feet. It is also super quiet and uses a lot less fuel. Plus, I love all the fancy mood lighting. We boarded, found our seats and settled in.
When we were making our way to the runway my husband spotted a very special plane. What a treat! It was what is officially known as Japanese government exclusive aircraft, or more commonly known as Japanese Air Force One used by the Emperor and Prime Minister. I have to admit I was more than a little in awe of it. I twisted my neck to watch as it made its way across the tarmac. The plane came to a gentle stop in front of a roped-off area full of people and a waiting line of officials. What a highlight for the trip!
I wanted to stay and watch the festivities but we had made it to the front of the line of planes and it was time for take-off. I watched the wings bounce and flex as we “slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings”, to quote John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
I bought a couple items on the flight, which lasted a little less than 1.5 hours before touching down at Hiroshima Airport.
We again chose the Airport Limousine which cost 1300 JPY (about 10 USD) and took 45 minutes to get to the hotel.
The bus ride took us through a countryside of green hills, dotted with small towns.
The day’s journey had been smooth and easy. Although I’d had to wake up early in the morning, there are something like 17 nonstop daily flights from Haneda to Hiroshima so if you wanted to leave on a later flight you could sleep in a little. I was glad I had chosen the exact flight I did though, since it isn’t every day I get to see Japanese Air Force One!
Next up – Hotel Review: Sheraton Hiroshima