The Five Yen of Happiness! Memories.
- I give in – I need a break (Introduction)
- To Heathrow and The BA Galleries North Lounge
- BA902 London Heathrow to Frankfurt Airport in Club Europe
- Bumbling around Frankfurt Airport with random #AVGeek spotting
- Meeting the A350 and the Air Canada Lounge
- Qatar Airways QR068 Frankfurt to Doha
- The joy of Hamad International Airport, and The Oryx Rotana Hotel
- Qatar Airways Flight QR812 Doha to Tokyo Haneda
- The Hotel JAL City Haneda Tokyo
- Shikansen Adventures to Hiroshima!
- Time in Hiroshima (featuring the ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima)
- Hirosihima – 70 years on
- A day trip to Itsukushima
- More Shinkansen fun to Kyoto (Featuring Kyoto Tower Hotel)
- A trip up to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
- Dinner with The real_jetsetr!
- The JR Central SC Maglev and Rail Museum
- Shinkansen to Tokyo
- The Strings by InterContinental
- Cheap evening – From the Tokyo Metropolitan Building
- The JR East Railway Museum, Saitama
- Shibuya nights
- Akihabara Days
- Gotta Catch them All! A few Pokemon Centres.
- Off to Narita
- Nartia Airport, The JAL Lounge
- Qatar Airways Flight QR807 Tokyo Narita to Doha
- Four and Half Hours in Doha Airport
- Qatar Airways Flight QR067 Doha to Frankfurt
- More time in Frankfurt
- BA8735 Frankfurt to London City Airport (Club Europe)
- And about that Five Yen Coin
So many experiences. So many memories. Lets try to sum up some of them in a few sentences… if it’s even possible to do it in a concise manner
Firstly, I didn’t do this trip for miles or Tier points. Whilst I flew on a oneworld airline, the given miles and tier points were… appalling.
Let me walk you through this:
- 0 miles from British Airways as it was a redemption flight
- 50% miles between FRA-DOH-HND as the ticket was in the S fare coding (1424+2573 Avios) with 70 Tier Points
- 25% (Yes 25% points) earning and reduced Avios earning when the return ticket was coded in to the T bucket – earning between NRT-DOH-FRA a massive 1287+712 Avois and a pitiful 40 Tier Points
Seriously – 25% earning on long haul services? Better than nothing… but trips like these aren’t for the points – they’re for the experiences and memories.
British Airways BA902 to Frankfurt aboard the 767
Whilst the planes have seen better days, the crew were still friendly and proactively doing a good job engaging with the passengers. Not a bad performance in Clue Europe. See here
I maintain this place is worse than Heathrow for changing planes. However, there are some good passenger experience highlights – free WiFi and the viewing deck in Terminal 2 being some highlights. Still a pain to get anywhere in this airport though. Have a read here and here
Qatar Airways Airbus A350
A very solid product in terms of catering, seat and plane ride. The A350 is on the way of becoming one of my favourite types ways for the passenger space it offers in Economy Class. I just hope some idiot doesn’t go and install 10 across in this type of aircraft.
Qatar Airways Boeing 787-8
And in an example of what happens when accountants get hold of an aircraft, we have Qatar Airways 787 which typifies the Boeing 787 Squeezliner. Whilst the service and IFE was good, long-range – these aren’t comfortable aircraft in economy. See here for my thoughts
Qatar Airways Boeing 777-200LR
Whilst the IFE system isn’t as great as the 787’s the extra inch of seat comfort is noticeable. Certainly for longer haul flights, this is the better option if you can select it.
Much better than the 787 though. See here for my thoughts
Hamad International Airport, Doha.
There is so much promise at this airport. So much. But its ruined by poor transit facilities, equally poor signage, US sizes of queues and security staff looking at their phones when they should be keeping an eye on security arches.
Tokyo Narita Airport
It’s a great hub, but its distance from Tokyo is its downfall. That said, the lounge that I used was good, and security was polite and quick. Have a look here for my thoughts
Tokyo Haneda Airport
Yes, I like this airport in Tokyo – namely due to the closeness of it to the central Tokyo conurbation. You can see some of it in this segment
Let’s move onto the hotels.
The Oyrx Rotana
For a transit hotel… no complaints at all. At least the air-con was powerful enough to keep me cool. Shame the Wi-Fi was rubbish.
The JAL Haneda City Airport Hotel
Not a bad crash-pad in the least. Considering I needed a place to stay till the sun came up, and with fast internet connectivity in comfort – this did the trick nicely. It was also my introduction to small Japanese hotel rooms. Have a look here for the full review
The ANA Crowne Plaza Hiroshima
Whilst it was a Crowne Plaza, there did feel like there was something missing from this hotel – something I still haven’t put my finger on – it might be something to do with the low-cost style hotel bathroom amenities. It was a nice enough property, and had plenty of space. You can find my thoughts here.
The Kyoto Tower Hotel.
Considering I booked it one day before I was due to be there, it’s not bad. However, it was a smokers room (not too smelly) and it was small. Next time, LARGER ROOM. You can find my review here (don’t if you’re claustrophobic though).
The Strings by Intercontinental
I’m biased as this was the first hotel when I stayed in Tokyo many moons ago, but I love this hotel for its convenience, its staff… and for the space. All welcome things for the weary traveller. The review is here.
I promised many a Shinkansen in this trip report. Starting here, here, here and here – The Shinkansen and the JR networks showed what its like to travel on a oragnised and developed transit system. For those naysayers who think the train is dead and burried – examine this system (not just the train, but everything that supports the train), and examine the passenger numbers – they will surprise you.
… and Memories
What do I take away with me? Is The Atomic Dome in Hirosihima? Itsukushima–Miyajima – land of Shines? The SC Maglev and Rail Musum? Hiking Fushimi Shrine? Dinner with The real_jetsetr? The madness of Shibuya? Days in Akihabara?
All of this and more.
As I said about Japan on my first trip “everything I expected to be… and nothing like I expected to be” – and that rings true still. A place that if you keep your eyes open – you can discover something interesting.
A destination that I would like to continue to explore…. as maybe next time I’d like to explore north of Tokyo.
That’s the formal part of this trip report over, and I would like to offer my thanks to you all for reading this and getting this far in this… well not trip report. More like a Travelogue. Or something like that.
Maybe I need another Japanese beer or curry to consider the next move.
I’d also like to add additional thanks to
- The Real_Jetsetr for joining me for Sushi in Kyoto.
- Texan In Tokyo for providing some insight and some wonderful comics. I urge you to head to http://howibecametexan.com/ and read her blog and buy here books.
There is one final story I want to share and that’s about that five yen coin that was on my keyring…
Some final memories to share with you all as I go to Asakusa The Sensoji Temple to thank for my happiness.
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