Asiana Airlines’ Business Class is a great way to get from the USA to Japan. There are daily flights from LAX to ICN (Seoul), and from there you can go to Fukuoka, Okinawa, Tokyo, or for our purposes . . . Osaka! This trip was a family affair, and all five of us were in the same cabin.



I’ve written previously about Asiana’s First Class. Both their First Class and Business Class products are excellent.

Upon landing at KIX (Osaka), we took a 90-minute train to Kyoto. If you plan to travel great distances by train, consider getting a Japan Rail pass. And of course, for all metro/subway travel, get a Suica card. (It makes life so much easier.)

Since I’ve written about Kyoto in a previous post, I’ll just note some of the new things we found.

If you see wagyu on a stick, eat it.

Photo Credit: Kevin Ushijima

Go to Arashiyama (in Kyoto) to see the bamboo forest.

Bamboo Forest
Photo Credit: CNN Travel

And wild Japanese monkeys.


And unparalleled beauty.


If you’re paying attention, you’ll see many kimono-clad Japanese in Kyoto.


And while I’ve written about it before, Fushimi Inari-taisha (in Kyoto) is stunning.


After four nights in Kyoto (and another excellent stay at a Sakura property—the Sakura Terrace hotel), it was time for the 3 hr. 20 minute train to Tokyo.

This was my fifth trip to Tokyo in 2017 (One night, Kdawg, Labor Day, and Halloween), so I’ll try to simply note some new discoveries.

First, the Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo offers good rates and a good location. It is technically an apart-hotel (apartment hotel), but had I not known the designation, I’d have simply thought these were large hotel rooms with a small kitchen area. If you prefer a larger hotel room, this place is great. (Tip: Become an Ascott Online Advantage member, and you’ll get a 10% discount on your Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo room.)

One discovery during this trip—one that I’ll certainly revisit—is Sol’s Coffee.img_7869

(I know. It doesn’t look like much. But I’ve had high-quality coffee in Panama, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Indonesia, and . . . San Francisco. Sol’s hand-drip coffee—I selected the Guatemala bean—was brilliant. The next day I went to a Blue Bottle in Tokyo, selected the Guatemala bean, and it was tart. Go to Sol’s in Asakusa-Bashi if you want a great cup of coffee. It’ll take ten minutes to make the coffee, and it’ll be worth it.)

Painted doors. While I cannot remember where, specifically, I was when I saw these doors, I’ll be on the look out during the next visit to Tokyo. There were dozens of roll-up and traditional doors, two of which are pictured here.

We walked through Harajuku. Look at all of those people!

Soon it was time for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Photo Credit: Kevin Ushijima

We went to Sushi Ichiban, which is where we typically go for sushi at Tsukiji Market.

Now this may seem hokey, but it was good! It’s a Kirin beer whose foam has been frozen. It’s a bit like a Slurpee for adults. And true to form, it kept the beer cold. There are several Kirin City bars. This one was in Shinjuku.

I’ve only been to 50 of the world’s countries, but my current favorite is Japan. It’s my happy place. And spending time there with family is priceless.


Asiana Airlines A380 LAX-ICN Business Class, A330 ICN-KIX Economy Class
Asiana Airlines A380 NRT-ICN Economy Class, A380 ICN-LAX Business Class

Sakura Terrace Kyoto
Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo

Sol’s Coffee in Asakusa-Bashi

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


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