Manila – Tokyo Haneda (via Fukuoka) on ANA/PAL

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A short-notice business trip right smack in the middle of Japan’s busy hanami season and the Philippines’ holy week meant that direct flights to Tokyo were booked solid. I flew with PAL (Philippine Airlines) to Fukuoka on Japan’s southwesternmost Kyushu island instead, and connected on a domestic flight to Tokyo Haneda via ANA (All Nippon Airways).


Manila – Tokyo Haneda (via Hong Kong) on CX

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Early last month (January 2016) I flew with Cathay Pacific from Manila to Tokyo, with a brief stopover at Hong Kong.


Sunset Vistas in Bohol

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“I am very fond of sunsets. Come, let us go look at a sunset…”, the Little Prince said in Antoine de Saint Exupery’s most famous novel.


Kawazu-zakura: First to bloom

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In the middle of winter, the small seaside town of Kawazu in Shizuoka prefecture comes alive with close to a million visitors that come to see the early blooming variety of cherry blossoms. The kawazu-zakura bloom between late February to early March, a full month before the more known somei yoshino sakura bloom in Tokyo and Osaka. The kawazu-zakura, clad in a darker shade of pink, are also in full bloom for a longer period than their fleeting relatives.


Nikko: Toshogu Shrine and more

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The small town of Nikko in Tochigi prefecture, a few hours north of Tokyo, is home to the lavishly-decorated Toshogu Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the once-most powerful man in feudal Japan: Tokugawa Ieyasu. In addition, the surrounding area encompassing Nikko National Park is popular for spectacular autumn scenery in October.

Set in a serene cedar forest around 100 kilometers north of metropolitan Tokyo, Toshogu was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999 along with neighboring Rinnoji Temple and Futarasan Shrine.