International TravelThings You Should KnowWining/Dining


tokyo 5

Many decisions made for the big trip are based on the farthest point we can achieve for the smallest outlay of dollars or miles. Getting across an ocean is typically involved, in this case the Pacific. For previous trips, that meant typically flying Cathay to Hong Kong, but unfortunately no more.  With American or OneWorld miles, it is now Tokyo via Japan Air.

I read a number of reviews of the plane, service, etc., and looked forward to the 12-hour flight.  I even bumped us up, taking advantage of using relatively few miles required (80k per person) for First Class. It is 60k for business, which is still a great deal!

There are just eight suites in the cabin — two rows with a 1-2-1 seat configuration. My time investment attempting to pick the ideal seat was for naught. I put us side by side and ceded the window seat to my left. That turned out to be occupied by an “influencer.” How did I know her “profession?” Because she spent the entire flight on her phone, mostly photographing herself or having the crew photograph her or taking photos of her food or changing outfits. And she wouldn’t lower her window shades (the only ones open in the cabin) because she needed light to take pictures (while many tried to sleep). Twelve hours’ worth of photos.

The staff are incredibly accommodating and do everything in their power to make a passenger happy. It was very enjoyable. Below, a few photos from the flight.  My favorite was the french press coffee! And then we were in Tokyo (Haneda airport, very close to the city).

What to do on this return trip to Tokyo?  Not much, other than acclimate to an enormous time change and hope to see a glimmer of cherry blossoms. The blossoms were gone because of an early spring debut, but I was reminded that we had a spectacular sighting of them in Stockholm last year (see below; read here).

We walked and shopped up and down the Ginza (12,000 steps worth), enjoying some delicious sushi (below) at one of Tokyo’s enormous department stores.

Our big splurge was a fabulous dinner at La Table de Joel Robuchon. Not only is the food special, but the dining room setting is just beautiful — mostly black and white with lavender everywhere.

Clockwise:  Amuse puffs; eggplant with avocado; a take on paella; waygu beef with amazing vegetables.


View from the 34th floor hotel room

It seems like Tokyo and Japan for that matter are on the “favored destination list” of many travelers lately.  There’s good reason for that — it’s safe, clean, beautiful, pleasant, modern and offers a great many things to do and see.  We’d happily return again, and for a longer stay.  For this trip, we head to Singapore for the second stop.