The next trip – Jetstar to Osaka

In May I succumbed to the Jetstar “Fly a friend for $3 Third Birthday Sale” and purchased cheap tickets for B and I to Osaka, flying out on our anniversary. Unfortunately, her company wouldn’t let her take leave over that period, so I took advantage of another sale to rebook for September. Although I didn’t realise it at the time the holiday falls on “APEC Week” when the APEC summit is held in Sydney and we have a day off on the Friday. Less of my precious leave used up is a good thing! Not certain what it will be like arriving back on the Sunday with the extra security. Perhaps some good views of the dignitaries’ aircraft?

We are only spending five nights in Japan on this trip, constrained both by our leave and by the availability of the sale fares. This will be our fifth trip to Japan, but there is still so much to see. Unfortunately, the trip dates are close to those of our first trip to Japan, which suffered due to the sticky weather. No cherry blossoms or autumn foliage either. Oh well!

We will use Osaka as our base as it has excellent railway connections and shopping. Our previous experience in Kyoto, the Lonely Planet’s recommended base, was that it was difficult to get around without catching buses. I would like to visit Kyoto again on this trip, to walk the Tetsugaku no michi (Philosopher’s walk) and under the torii of the Fushimi Inari shrine and to experience the city once more now that our feelings for Japan are stronger.

Other places to visit include the converted warehouses, museum and canal of Kurashiki, the Buddhist temples of Koya-san and perhaps an onsen town somewhere. There are many areas only a day trip away from Osaka.

I initially thought of booking the Hotel Shin’Osaka where we stayed last time in Osaka. Shin Osaka is the stop for the Shinkansen and the hotel was convenient for this, though small and not particularly noteworthy. It does have free wireless internet and is cheap.

Instead we have paid a bit more for the Hotel Riva Shinsaibashi Cross Hotel Osaka, convenient for Namba station, Dotombori (food) street and shopping – late night food and shopping was an issue at Shin Osaka. It means that we can take the retro scifi Nankai Rapi:t train from Kansai International Airport to the city.

This will be our first overseas flight on Jetstar and I am looking forward to the experience. I quite enjoyed the three times I have flown Jetstar domestically as the seats were comfortable and the aircraft clean.

Last time we flew to Osaka it was on a combination of Qantas and Australian Airlines 767’s. Like Jetstar, they lacked seat-back inflight entertainment, although meals were provided. I booked a DigiPlayer handheld video player for B to use on the flight up. If it’s any good we’ll hire one for the flight back as well. I’ll probably get by looking out the window or using one of my own portable players. Our return flight is an overnight and I did get bored last time we had no inflight entertainment. My batteries were running flat in the laptop, I couldn’t sleep (as usual) and I didn’t want to wake up B with my reading light, so this time I’ll make sure I have some entertainment available.

The flight out is 11:30am, which I am happy about. It means that we can to wake up at a reasonable time of the morning and arrive in time for a night’s rest before beginning our holiday.

Unlike Qantas, Jetstar don’t provide meals as part of the standard ticket fare and on the way up we will be flying through lunch and dinner. I guess the onboard prices aren’t that outrageous and we can always bring our own food. Pity about the liquids restriction, though.

Anyway, it will be a different experience to our normal Qantas and other airline flights and neither of us are big users of airline extras. As long as it is a smooth flight with fresh air I’m happy.

With less than two months to go, I’m looking forward to this trip as a chance to relax and enjoy a country that continues to fascinate us.

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