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Booked: First Class to Japow, with a Side of Thai

Booked: First Class to Japow, with a Side of Thai

Greetings from Tokyo! 

I’ve arrived back in a city that has been at the top of my travel list for years, and it feels great to be back. I’m off on my first big trip of 2023, which will bring me to places old and new.

It’s been a busy week getting here and preparing for the adventures ahead, and finally realizing one of my aviation dreams with over 14 hours of bliss. Here’s a breakdown of the trip at hand, and how it all came together.

The Trip

The impetus for this trip was a long-awaited ski holiday planned with some friends who live in Calgary. As with many people, Japan has been at the top of my list both as a ski destination and as a place I want to visit as often as possible, and it didn’t take much convincing for my friends to join in for the ride.

I booked my flights speculatively all the way back in May, long before Japan had announced its reopening to tourism. To be honest, I’d booked many speculative trips to Japan over the past couple of years for something to look forward to, and this trip was no different. 

Luckily, the gamble paid off this time, and I managed to score some aspirational flights in both directions, but more on those later.

I’ll begin my trip with two nights in Tokyo, adjusting to the jet lag and exploring Minato City on foot. From there, I’ll head to Osaka for a couple of nights on a Shinkansen bullet train, where I’ll meet up with friends who happen to be there and get to know a city I’ve yet to visit.

From there, I head back to Tokyo to meet with my friends who are flying in from Calgary via Vancouver. This is their first time flying in business class, and we managed to get them on the 55,000-point Aeroplan sweet spot with ANA 787 business class on the long-haul flight.

ANA 787 business class

We’ll spend a few nights in Tokyo as they adjust to the jet lag. We don’t have too many concrete plans yet, aside from eating our way across the city, meeting up with other friends who happen to be in Japan, and maybe checking out some go-karts.

From there, we’re off to Hokkaido for the main purpose of the trip, when we’ll spend six nights together in Niseko, getting as much time in on the mountains as possible. Much to our delight, it has been snowing a lot this month, and the forecast calls for a healthy dose of Japow throughout our entire stay.


I’m leaving a few days before my friends, as I have to get to Bangkok for another…

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