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Posts Tagged ‘KIX’

An early start to catch the Airport Limosine took us to Kansai International yet again. This airport is well known for its unique architecture and more importantly being built on a man made island. However this makes Kansai International (KIX) one of the top 5 most expensive airports to land at in the world, which has resulted in not as many airlines taking up slots, and as a further result has continued to maintain the high cost of air transportation from Japan and abroad; This however is getting better with budget airlines starting surface (Skymark) and the possibility that ANA will introduce a low cost carrier to compete with the current Shinakansen network. If you are interested there is another relatively large airport in Nagoya and there is another airport in Kobe, which more or less sums up the Kansai region for air travel. We boarded our JAL plane which was scheduled to take off at 9:00 and as it was a tropical destination with no storms predicted, the plane took off in the usual Japanese ‘on-time’ fashion. Total flight time was approximately 2 hours, and when landing all you can really see outside the plane window is ocean, giving you the illusion that the plane is coming in for a crash landing. At the very last minute you see a bit of land and your already touching down on the run way. 

As the plane taxi’s around the runway you can look farther afield and see part of Japan’s self defense air-force as there is a small Japanese airbase connected to Naha Airport. We were soon on the way to the gate before finding out we had to wait a good 15 minutes or so as there was another plane blocking our path. Being a small airport/coupled with island ‘take-it-easy’ life one would come to expect small delays. On a side note though, – a tribute to Japanese efficiency once again as our plane boarded and debarked within 15 minutes or so. Overall the flight was quite smooth and we had relatively good service even though at the time of flying JAL was still undergoing major changes as the airline had faced a lot of problems over the last few years. I do give credit to the hostesses for really putting in the effort to make the flight run smoother (from what I heard a lot of the problems were attributed to horrendous service which was partially due to bad attitudes etcetera, don’t quote me on that though)

Moving towards the domestic exit and looking out the viewing glasses onto the runway and other gates I was lucky enough to spot the infamous Pokemon Plane which usually flies this route. Even though I was unlucky enough to be on this plane and I am not too sure exactly who to book for that specific plane, I did get to see and photograph it which was a good start to the day. The Pokemon Plane in my opinion is another one of those ‘only-in-Japan’ things you get to see by visiting this very unique country. Before heading out the exit you can take advantage of the duty free in Naha Airport. Okinawa the only domestic island in Japan that allows you to purchase duty free for domestic flights, this could be attributed to the fact that the island is quite far away from Honshu and the rest of Japan. As we were flying domestic we exited without any security checks or hold ups and we were on our way to the monorail which is the only form of train system on Okinawa (in saying that it doesn’t take you all over the island either). 

The best way to see Okinawa is to take advantage of an International Drivers license and rent a car, car rental is quite cheap and provides you with the most flexibility. Alternatively you can use the bus system but with this you are confined to sticking to a time table. But more on the driving of a car to come in later blogs of this series. The monorail has individual tickets starting from around 190 yen and go up to 290 yen for the longest journey. A day ticket costs about 600 yen and go up per consecutive day. The day pass is definitely good value for money as you are more than likely to take more than 3 trips on the monorail system in a single day. If your lucky there is usually staff selling these day passes as soon as you walk into the ticketing area, which will be very helpful if you are a first timer to buying a Japanese rail ticket using the machines. 

We boarded the monorail and made our way to Asahibashi station to make our way to the Chisun Resort Hotel which is part of the Loisir group. The hotel is extremely good value at 5000 yen for 2 people per night and overall was quite homey and spacious with good facilities. The hotel is split into 3 different hotels and the Chisun Resort Hotel is the cheaper of the 3. For a small fee you can use the pool, spa and hot spring facilities which come free with the more expensive rooms and hotels (from memory for unlimited use of the pool/hot spring it costs about 1500 yen per person for your entire stay. The pool is quite nice and is surrounded by an outdoor restaurant and bar which has different styles of Japanese cuisine in most nights. It is usually quite busy so its quite good to book ahead if you want to eat here. Food ranges from Shabu Shabu to Yakiniku. I suggest grabbing an ice cold frosted glass of the local beer Orion, while soaking up some rays poolside.

One main point to note while finishing up this blog is the unpredictable weather being a tropical island. When we arrived it was sunny, a few minutes later clouds blocked out the sun, then the sun came out again and then there was sun showers. So it’s good to plan for variety of different tropical weather patterns when heading to Okinawa. Getting to Okinawa was only just the beginning and we had planned days worth of activities to fill up the week we were to stay for!

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The day had finally arrived in which I had to say goodbye to Japan for yet another time. Although I had spent the better part of 9 weeks here, it’s always hard to say goodbye to one of my beloved countries. My flight had been changed to a 8:25 pm departure to land at the Gold Coast airport at 6:25. That’s right bright and early I was just hoping that I would be able to get some shut eye. Either way it gave me a good chance to write some more blogs. The two months here had been good to me as I had to leave several things behind for me to take home next time. In saying this I didn’t want to leave the better portion of my things so I went ahead and pre-purchased another 20 kg for a relatively cheap $240.00 Aussie. This allowed me to take back a good 40 kg check in and 10 kg hand carry. I did my final weight checks prior to catching a cab to the train station. My bag and box weighed 41.5 kg! A good 1.5kg over!!! My hand carry was about 15 kg!! I was just hoping that the check in counter didn’t care about the extra 1.5 kg and they didn’t check the weight of my hand-carry. In the worst case scenario I was just planning to take out some of the manga to give my girlfriend to take home. We called a cab to take us to JR Amagasaki Station so that we could catch our airport limousine bus to Kansai International Airport. The cab was late as usual (he probably got lost navigating the area’s maze of streets and alleyways) but finally arrived just in time for us to make our 5:05 bus.

The airport limousine to Kansai costs 1500 yen for one way, 2000 yen for a same day return and 2700 yen for a one way/return to be used within 14 days. I bought the necessary tickets and boarded the bus on the one hour trip to the airport. During the day the actual airport trip is not all that great; You travel on major highways and are met with industrial estate after industrial estate, polluting the air with smog and chemicals. Due to this, the not so scenic route to the airport is lacking in anything decent to look at (unless of course your a industrial buildings designer). There was one highlight though, you might of seen in some movies or some advertisements. Asia’s red sun, this sun is not seen everywhere in Asia but on certain occasions, can be seen in Japan (probably red due to the pollution) but nonetheless the red sun was setting and it illuminated the sky a bright red colour. Unlike anything that I had seen in Australia before. The red sun is definitely amazing to look at and admire from the boring journey of the airport limousine bus.

About 45 minutes in we began to approach the major bridge/train tracks that connect Kansai International Airport to the mainland. The airport itself is an engineering feat, utilizing (at the time of construction) the newest of the new technologies for airport construction/land reclamation. Needless to say Kansai International is definitely one of the engineering marvels of the century. You approach this make shift island and the alight on the 4th floor (International Departures). The entrance is around check in desk G and our Jetstar check in was at B. This short few hundred meter walk seemed like forever carrying a 12 kg box, a 11 kg backpack, a 4 kg bag and rolling a 29.5 kg suitcase. It wasn’t easy but luckily my girlfriend had tagged along to say goodbye. We finally reached B check in counters and the line was easily 100 deep and almost all 100 were a school group going to Australia. These teens definitely took up the better portion of our Airbus A330-202. A kind clerk got us a trolley and escorted us to the star class check in counter so we didn’t have to wait in the line of students. At this point I felt quite lucky and hoped that my luck would continue with my overweight baggage. We moved straight to the front counter and I placed my bags onto the weighing-conveyor-belt. The total was 41.2 and after asking for my passport and ticket, the lady didn’t care about the extra 1.2kg!! Thankful yet again I was able to get away with more luck! If it had been an ultra cheap, low cost airline there would of been no way I would of been allowed that extra 1.2 kg.

Over an hour to spare we went for some dinner at an Italian restaurant to just kill some time. Always a welcome opportunity when your in a semi-long distance relationship. Time to go through immigration was approaching so we said our goodbyes for the short period that we would be apart and I headed on through to the departure area still hoping they wouldn’t check the weight of my hand carry. A quick stop through Kansai Int’l Duty free with something for my mum, and a bottle of Japanese whisky for myself and I was on my way to gate 13 via the shuttle-rail. This time around the boarding process was extremely efficient and we were able to depart earlier than expected. A quick goodbye outside the window and I was on my way back home to Brisbane, even if it was only for a week before departing again.

As expected the students took up, more or less the entire 4 middle row seats for the better part of the aircraft with the rest of us on the sides of the plane. Didn’t really bother me, apart from the fact that I asked to be near the front of the plane and I was given row 37K (around the middle next to the wing). We took off early and I noticed the two seats in front of me were empty. This meant one thing: seat belt sign off – dash for the seats! As I am writing this I am now sitting in Row 36K!! with Row 36J next to me empty! Win? The take off was without any significant turbulence, which is always good and Japan was no longer in sight as we climbed into the pitch black open skies. After the cabin lights dimmed, the really rude man whom later I found out to be Chinese backed his seat as far as it could. Extremely rude and inconsiderate he definitely could not of been of Japanese origin. I couldn’t complain considering I wasn’t suppose to be sitting here in the first place. But talk about the nerve of some travelers, it just annoys me that these kinds of people only think about themselves when traveling.

I fell asleep for the better part of the flight and soon enough we were already over Australia. Time to land was approaching and I was some what grateful to be coming home. I filled out my immigration card, put away my laptop and just sat and waited patiently for my plane to land at the Gold Coast airport. The flight overall was quite smooth and one of more peaceful flights without a noisy baby sitting in an opposite row. Apart from this annoying Chinese man I enjoyed my flight but can’t wait to be off again to be on next holiday. So until then.

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