When air miles add up, Japan is a recommended destination. It’s a land of centuries-old tradition and on-trend technology. If you’d like to know more, a customized tour or translator, aimed at your interests, DM me on LinkedIn.
Most passengers enter the country in Tokyo. LAX – Narita flights are hard to get with air miles. Seats to Haneda are even harder to come by. Airlines are not in the habit of relinquishing high-revenue business class seats for air miles.
If Tokyo is your destination you want to land in Haneda. In 30 minutes or less, you find yourself in the city. Plus it’s an easy airport to navigate. Bonus points go to the Edo Village in Haneda, which has an old-Japan feel replete with cute shops, matcha ice cream and massages!
Narita is a trek. There is a super fast train into Tokyo from Narita Airport. But dragging baggage - brimming with outfits for every occasion -up and down stairs is challenging. If you end up in Narita and have luggage, take the City Bound Bus. You’ll pay more for the fare but your body will thank you.
With my various cards and air miles, I usually do an overnight in Honolulu before jetting off to Tokyo. (On the return to LA, depending on my work obligations, I also spend the night in Hawaii.) Who doesn’t want to spend a night in paradise?
Walking the white sands of Waikiki, strolling past fragrant leis and savoring succulent pineapple is pretty special. If going this route, do allow time for purchasing souvenirs. Besides the traditional chocolate-covered macadamia nuts; buy some Hawaiian Coffee Butter for the foodies in your life. (Scroll down to see the recipe for Hawaiian Coffee Cream Topped Chocolate Mini Cupcakes.)
If using air miles, at this writing, AAdvantage and Delta SkyMiles members’ miles cannot be used for US domestic travel on Hawaiian Airlines. You can, however, redeem your air miles for international travel between Honolulu and Tokyo and vice-a-versa. Hawaiian Airlines is my first choice every time.
Service on Hawaiian Airlines is superb. (BTW I am not being compensated in any form with my endorsement.) From check in to cabin service, when it comes to American carriers Hawaiian Airlines is the superstar.
Traveling to and fro between the US and Japan, I find all of the Hawaiian Airlines crew are friendly and caring. Not just one or two standouts as I’ve experienced on other carriers. There is an authentic Aloha spirit aboard Hawaiian Airlines. The smiles are genuine.
Although my husband complained to about the lack of Wi-Fi on Hawaiian Airlines on one flight, by the end of the flight, he was happy and convinced that Hawaiian Airlines is top-notch. (This is short of a miracle: My husband has given up stays at 5 star hotels in favor of a hotel with stronger Wi-Fi!) My point of view, is that Hawaiian Airlines attendants’ attitudes, fresh meals, custom-made alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and movies helped him relax into something called vacation.
On one trip back to the States I was feeling sad and suddenly ill. I was sorry to leave Japan. A Hawaiian Airlines attendant from my Honolulu – Tokyo flight hailed me at Haneda. He was just coming in from Hawaii. He could’ve ignored me but he didn’t. His warm-hearted greeting made me feel like a person who mattered. Rather than just another body filling a seat so he could get paid.
If you arise one morning, yearning for adventure abroad and a taste of the Aloha spirit; I invite you to wake up and smell the Hawaiian coffee!
Before you leave Hawaii, besides chocolate covered macadamia nuts, be sure to pick up Hawaiian coffee butter. The Kona spread when mixed with powdered sugar transforms into luxurious buttercream. Atop chocolate mini cupcakes, you can wake up and smell the Hawaiian coffee…And know you are in Aloha paradise.
Chocolate Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil's Food)
1 Cup lukewarm Kona Coffee
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
3 Large Eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hawaiian Coffee Butter
1/2 shortening (I used a Crisco Butter-Flavor Baking Stick)
4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons lukewarm Kona Coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) for metal and glass pans, or 325°F (165°C) for dark or coated pans.
Blend cake mix, coffee, coconut oil, eggs and extract in a Kitchen Stand mixer on low speed. Beat for 2 more minutes at medium speed or unti all ingredients are combined.
Divide the batter in cupcake pans lined with cupcake cases.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes before frosting.
Combine the Hawaiian Coffee Butter and shortening on high speed in a Kitchen Stand mixer until completely combined and smooth.
Slowly add the powdered sugar.
Add the Kona Coffee and vanilla when the mixture is stiff. (If the mixture becomes too soft, add more powdered sugar.)