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February/March 2020

 

Birds fly south for the winter, but when travelling for the warmer months, the direction you want to go is east. As winter thaws and spring turns to early summer, Japan is at its best, with cherry and plum blossoms on display and weather made for enjoying the outdoors.

When flying to Japan with ANA, Japan’s largest 5-star airline,* guests will appreciate new luxury cabins launched for business- and first-class services on routes to Tokyo from London, New York and, from February 2020, Frankfurt. Designed by architect Kengo Kuma and inspired by Japanese heritage and lifestyles, the new seats—and first-class suites—exemplify Japan’s renowned attention to detail and show off three wood finishes drawing on Edo-period parquetry. Cabins come with a private door, 4K monitor and spacious tables that recreate the feel of dining in a fine restaurant.

ANA’s “We Are Japan” blog gives visitors bite-sized travel tips for planning journeys that venture off the tourist trail on the way to Japan’s lesser-known sights, so you can get beyond the crowds and see something completely different.

For soaking up sun and breathing tropical air, you can’t beat Okinawa, around 2,000km south-west of Tokyo. Flights reach three airports in the prefecture, where you can see the colours of tropical foliage and fish, vibrant local costumes and turquoise waters gleaming in the sunshine as you explore the many islands of the region.

Or take the opposite tack and fly north of Tokyo to Hokkaido, where ANA lands at ten airports including New Chitose Airport near Sapporo. Known most of the year for ice and snow, in summer Hokkaido’s rustic landscape bursts into life, with bands of flowers rolling across emerald hills, salmon in the streams and vegetables in harvest. Hire a car and take to the country, or try a Sapporo pub crawl to sample refreshing craft beers and delicious, farm-fresh cuisine.

Served by the second-busiest of 11 airports ANA flies to on Kyushu, Kagoshima is a bayside city with majestic views of Sakurajima, Japan’s most active volcano. Known as the “Naples of the East”, it has a famously warm climate that offers a taste of summer through much of the year. A short way south, the town of Ibusuki is the world’s only place where you can bathe in geothermal sands heated by volcanic springs.

Once cherry blossom season begins, it’s peak time in Japan, and with the sporting world converging on Tokyo in the summer of 2020, it’s more important than ever to plan ahead for your journey. Visit www.anaskyweb.com to learn more about how ANA can take you there, and wearejapan.com for new ideas on what to see.