A late happy new year to you all and my apologies for skipping those unfinished reports (My reports on Air China are still on the half way…). I would like to jump the queue and share my first flight in 2019. During the three day holiday - Coming of Age Day in Japan, which celebrates who have become adults (which is 20 years old in Japan). Although my 20 was already far away (Sadly 30 this year), I still enjoyed the three day holiday to explore a different side to the country unknown to most travelers - Kochi Prefecture and Tokushima Prefecture on the Shikoku Island.
ANA567 Tokyo Haneda - KochiYou are here
ANA286 Tokushima - Tokyo HanedaComing soon
How i booked my flights?
My ANA upgrade points were going to expire in March and I have to use it anyway. ANA upgrade points are given to elite members each year. The points could be used for upgrading your flights (both international or domestic) or exchange them into ANA Sky Coin (a kind of cash voucher for buying ANA tickets). Now you might think of course upgrading an international is the best bet, but that is a complete rip-off. Only tickets in designated sub-classes (those expensive ones such as full-fared Y class, or flexible fares) are eligible for the upgrade. So upgrading an international flight is only a joke (who will buy an expensive ticket and then upgrade it?). For the Sky Coin option, you can exchange one upgrade point into 1,000 yen ($9.2). I had 8 upgrade points so I could exchange them into 8,000 yen ($73.6) ANA Sky Coin (cash coupon).
Okay, so what about upgrading a domestic flight? Domestic flight could be upgraded with Cash OR Upgrade Points two days before the departure (as long as there is vacant). 7,000 yen OR 4 points are required to upgrade one domestic sector from economy class to premium class, regardless of distance and type of ticket (flight awards are also eligible). I had 8 points so I opted for upgrading a round-trip domestic flight, which worth 7,000*2 = 14,000 yen ($128.9), a bit better than exchanging them into Sky Coins. Bear in mind that you could only upgrade your flights if there is vacant in premium class cabin.
As January is designated as 'low season' by ANA, which is the time your can redeem your flight with less mileage. I redeemed a one-way flight from Tokyo to Kochi, and another one-way flight from Tokushima back to Tokyo using 12,000 ANA miles.
check-in & ANA lounge
I took the Keikyu Line from Shinagawa to Haneda Domestic Terminal. There are two domestic terminals, while T1 is designated for JAL and T2 is for ANA.
Check-in hall of Haneda Domestic T2
Passengers travelling on domestic premium class, ANA elite members or Star Alliance Gold members are eligible to use the premium check-in area.
Actually nothing fancy inside, but dedicated security check lanes and direct access to ANA Lounge.
I got my so called boarding pass. Actually you don't really need a paper boarding pass for a Japan domestic flight, and they also recommend to just use the barcode in your email or member page to save time. But as an avgeek, a paper boarding pass is a must, right? Also you'll get another paper to prove that you cleared the security check. They request you to keep the paper until you arrived your destination.
Take a look of the ANA domestic lounge. Bear in mind that both ANA and JAL domestic lounges do not provide any food except packed nuts and cracker. However you are welcome to bring your own food into the lounges. There are shops after security check where you can grab a bento or sandwich. Soft drinks and selections of alcohol are available.
ANA Domestic Lounge just look like the international one but without food. Plenty of seating areas
Or if you want to hide yourself in a corner
And of course a big window for plane spotting
Newspaper and magazines, but most of them are in Japanese
Draft beer machine and soft drink machine
Japanese Sake from Tokushima and Shimane Prefecture
But a glass of milk and some snack just good for me
ANA567 tokyo haneda - kochi
The boarding gate was located at the far end of the terminal. Once I arrived at the gate, ground agents kept apologizing for a 10 min delay many many times. Yeah, this is Japan lol
The brand new Airbus A321 neo (JA131A) has just arrived from Takamatsu. This was the first time I fly A321neo!
Boarding procedure started soon. Premium class passengers, ANA Diamond / Platinum / SFC members and Star Alliance Gold members were the first to board. Once you passed through the gate, you'll have another small piece of paper called 'Boarding Information' as your souvenir (if you want).
Today both premium cabin and economy cabin were full. That was not easy to take pictures especially in Japan… It is considered impolite to hold your camera up in front of a huge crowd. But I still tried my best to take a few shots. If you're going to try ANA domestic premium class, you definitely want to check out their A321s. It comes with Recaro electric-driven recliner seats, definitely more than enough for a 1-2 hour domestic flight.
The control panel of reclining and footrest, all electric-driven
Spacious leg room
A pair of slipper but I didn't use it (just an hour flight, it's fine). Instead I take it home as my souvenir :)
Take a look on the premium class menu. Even a short domestic flight (an hour), ANA provides a wonderful in-flight meal to its premium class passengers. Food provided depends on the departure time, and my flight did provide 'Light dishes' as the departure time was 4pm.
ANA collaborates with famous Japanese restaurant for its domestic premium class meals.
Once the flight was airborne, passengers could recline their seats and use the footrest. The premium class was full so I couldn't take many pictures. This was the best picture I could take to show how the seats look like after reclined and footrest extended. It is definitely more than enough for a short domestic flight.
The seat also comes with a big stunning screen (seems Android-based), loaded with some movies and music, but I just left it for the flight map
The flight time was short and food was provided as soon as the flight reached cruising level. Sandwiches, salad, snack and dessert in a neat and decent arrangement!
The menu was in Japanese only, but I try to translate it here: - Shoulder ham sandwich - Mini puff stuffed with cottage cheese - Macaroni with smoked salmon, trout and egg - Cured ham salad - Panna cotta with apple sauce
The meal was so tasty, but from the picture you may already know it wasn't enough to fill my stomach. For a domestic flight longer than 1h20m you may request extra food (subject to availability). My flight scheduled flying time was 1h25m so I requested more, although I had to complete it very short time as the flight was already started descending! The friendly flight attendant gave me a cup of zousui (Japanese rice in soup), with shrimp and scallop in it which was very tasty!
Flight attendant asked everyone if they want a plastic bag to take away the snack. It's a good idea so that I could enjoy it in my hotel. The friendly flight attendant gave me extra snack and crackers!
Just a very short flight, we were descending into Kochi Airport on the southern side of Shikoku Island.
Kochi Airport has the nickname 'Kochi Ryoma Airport' to commemorate Sakamoto Ryoma, the famous prominent figure in the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate. (Big fan in Japanese history will know). The airport is small and only handling domestic flights.
Arrival hall is small, and bus stop is just outside
A 20min bus ride will get you from the airport to Kochi city
That's all for the flight! Of course I'd share with you how wonderful is Kochi Prefecture, which is not on the top list of tourists like Tokyo and Osaka! Check out the tourism bonus below!
Bonus : Click here display hide
Kochi is located on the Shikoku Island, which is sometime omitted by tourists because not many direct international flights and Shinkansen train is not available on the island. But on the other way, that means Shikoku doesn't packed with many tourists and is the place for you to enjoy a moment of quietness and nature!
My route was starting from Kochi City, and then visit the Cape Muroto, the southernmost tip of the island where you can enjoy the stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. Finally I visited Tokushima Prefecture, which I'll leave it as the tourism bonus for my review of return flight.
For a business hotel room like this, usually costs you about 5,000 ~ 7,000 yen per night in Tokyo, just 2,980 yen in Kochi!
Kochi is not like big city like Tokyo or Osaka, it's a quite but vibrant city. Still you can find wonderful places in the quite city. Road trams running through this city, and is one of the main transportation means in this city.
Shopping arcade in Kochi City, you can see not so crowded as Tokyo or Osaka.
One of my favorite places is the Hirome Market. It's like a food court but the shops are izakayas providing beer, wines, sashimi, dumplings….. with a very vibrant and good atmosphere! You definitely want to check this place out if you have a chance to visit Kochi.
But I opted for tsukemen (ramen dipped in thick soup) and yadai gyoza for my dinner. Yadai gyoza is a bit different from the gyoza you usually have in Japan, it's smaller in size and fried to very crispy and was very delicious!
After a good dream, I took train and then bus to Cape Muroto, which is the southernmost tip of Kochi Prefecture. The cute train is equipped with an observation deck to let you enjoy the stunning view of Pacific Ocean!
I would call this train an 'open deck train' just like you have an open deck bus ride
Following a bus ride to Cape Muroto
Here is Cape Muroto, although not on the top list of attractions, but definitely a good place to just sit down and enjoy your afternoon with the sound of sea waves and breeze.
There is a cozy cafe too, I enjoyed my afternoon here.
Time passed by, and the sun was going to sink below the horizon. Time for me to move on to Tokushima. You can see the statue of Sakamoto Ryoma.
Dusk and seashore
And one more local train ride from Kannoura to Hiwasa in Tokushima Prefecture. I'm so surprised by the little 1-car only diesel train running in countryside decorated with beautiful illumination!
I'll leave Tokushima as the tourism bonus of the return flight!
ANA Domestic Lounge
Tokyo - HND
Kochi - KCZ
ANA domestic premium class is unbeatable (sorry when comparing domestic flight in Europe lol), cozy seat, tasty in-flight meal and services. You can upgrade your flight to premium class by 7,000 yen two days before your departure. Consider it if you plan to fly domestic within Japan! Thank you for stopping by and have a good day!
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