December 16, 2013

Cherry Blossom Episode 1: Haneda Airport Experience

The tickets to Japan were bought during Airasia free seats promotion in 2012. If not mistaken, two return tickets cost RM1230 that time, baggage charges are not included. Japan was one of my mom's dream destination. Just because I am veteran in backpacking, she relies on me to bring her to places. Bangkok was first, Singapore was second, Japan was third... Australia could be the forth.. Well, mom always say she's getting old and she wishes to see the world while she's still able to walk.

Our Japan journey started on 04th April and returned on 14th April 2013. Our itinerary: 1st stop 1 night at Haneda Airport, 2nd stop Osaka, 3rd stop Kyoto, 4th stop Fuji Mount (Kawaguchiko) and final stop Tokyo. It took me sometime to plan our Japan trip, destinations, hotel bookings and transport. March and April are always the peak season in Japan because of cherry blossom. I made the hotel booking quite late, was panic when all high rating backpacker hostels were fully booked. Yeah, I was actually planning to get my mom sleeping in a dorm room too, let her experience as backpacker. Tidak jadi at last and the rates of renting a capsule were also not much different as hotel rates. Better opt for comfort in this case.

I booked the hotel at Osaka without doing more research on the transport routes and costs in Japan. Another shock and headache after settled the hotel bookings. The train ticket is more expensive than air fare. And the shortage and vague information available online for transport from Kyoto to Kawaguchiko. Honestly I had a great sense of achievement after this trip.

Our pre-booked Airasia meals

Landed at Haneda Airport finally.. Time was about 10pm.

Our JAL flight to Osaka was on the next early morning, 05th April at 6:30am. Less hassle, I had decided to spend a night in the airport. Based on research, no one is allowed to spend overnight at Terminal 1. I didn't want to take the risk so we stayed at International Terminal. We weren't alone, there were some tourists stayed overnight too. Too bad, I didn't take photo of the environment. The wifi is available for free, can facetime with family and friends. You also can get drinking water from the water dispenser too.

I had plenty time and moved around the airport. There is one tourist centre in the International Terminal. Free maps to grab. Also discovered a counter provides service of sending your luggage to hotel (charges applied).

The next morning, we had to catch the free shuttle bus to Terminal 1. Didn't want to miss the bus, we queued up as early as we can. The weather was very cold and windy. Both of us were shivered badly.

At boarding room, Terminal 1

Interior of our JAL plane. The passengers were generally on business trip.

Ready to take off, the runway is built above the sea. I have seen this in Japanese drama.

Refreshments provided, mocha & coffee. Only drinks as it's about 1 hour flight.

Note: JAL airline tickets to Osaka for two persons were 18,340 yen, baggage check-in is free of charge.

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