After British Airways announced they will restart direct flights between London and Osaka in 2019, our ears pricked up! And our fingers hit the keyboards to start planning a return visit.
We’ve been to Osaka a few times while in Japan and always enjoyed it. A much more ‘manageable’ city than Tokyo, in terms of size, it nevertheless has an impressive nightlife and some of the best food I’ve ever had in Japan.
I can still remember the first time I had okonomiyaki in Osaka – I’m amazed something so simple could taste so delicious. And don’t get me started on the takoyaki. I never thought I’d enjoy octopus so much.
So, with judicious use of British Airway s frequent flyer points and a two-for-one voucher, we’re going to fly to Osaka next August, spend a week there and then travel on to Tokyo. We’ll then enjoy a week there and fly back to London from Tokyo.
Unlike my next trip to Japan, involving as many legs as possible, it will be nice to travel direct and just relax over the long flight. We’re traveling in high season, so availability was limited. This means going to Osaka in Business Class, but coming home from Tokyo Narita in First Class! What an end to the holidays.
It might seem crazy to have booked a holiday this far in advance, but it’s one of the issues with using frequent flyer points to arrange your trips. With such limited availability of days you can use them, you need to look far in advance.
Personally, this works for me. As someone who runs his own business, if I didn’t have holidays booked out far in advance, I’d be tempted to take every piece of work that comes my way and then not have any holidays at all.
Regular readers of this blog will know this isn’t something that has happened to me yet!
The other advantage to this flight arrangement is fewer flights overall. Usually, we have to fly to Tokyo first and then transfer internally with a JAL flight to our ultimate destination. After 12 hours in the air, another flight is really the last thing you need! So getting straight to Osaka will be a delight.
You might also be wondering why I’m planning to go to Tokyo twice next year, when Japan is such a large country with so much to see. Well, Tokyo in January is very, very different to Tokyo in August, so it will be like visiting two different cities. It’s definitely quieter in January, while there are often festivals and outdoor events in August. The heat in August will make lots of walk around a bit of a challenge, so we may take some day trips out of the city – enjoying the excellent Shinkansen connections as we go.
And if I’m really honest, if someone offered me a third visit to Tokyo next year, I’d gladly accept. It’s just my favourite place in the world.