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How can one score a free trip to Tokyo? The answer is simple: just eat at all 72 Benihana Restaurants across America and enter the restaurant chain's "Passport Challenge" contest as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration (the contest is now, sadly, closed.)
Apparently, an astounding 11 people ate at all the 72 Benihana restaurants in the U.S. in 2014, but only one Lee Potter was selected to win the grand prize trip for four people to Tokyo. (Where he is going to eat authentic Japanese food that pretty much looks nothing like Benihana food. But that's another story.)
Other winners won lesser prizes like gift cards to Benihana, including those for visiting one Benihana restaurant as many times as possible during the year. (The top distinction goes to Jack King who visited the Benihana in Salt Lake City more than any other participant.) In total, Benihana said that 19,000 people participated in the contest, submitting 26,000 photos too. Yes, that's a lot of pictures of onion volcano towers and chefs flipping shrimp tails into their hats. #sofull
But back to Lee. If this is your first time to Tokyo, then we've got some suggestions for you. If it's not, well, we still think our Tokyo travel guide will serve you well. Sorry, fried rice is not included. But Okonomiyaki is!
And we're sure Benihana has your hotel stay covered but if you're looking to extend the trip, HotelChatter has some good suggestions too.
Japan has a reputation for being pricey, especially when it comes to transportation costs. But a number of "foreigner-only" discounts can help save you some cash as you scoot around the country.
Tokyo Travel / Japan Travel / Tourism / Videos / → All Tags
There's no denying that Tokyo is cool, despite the many thousands of tourists walking around with guidebooks open. For a first-timer to the city, the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming, but there's nothing better than to be thrown in to the middle of the action with a visit to the hectic, yet quintessentially Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing intersection.
The neighborhood of Shibuya is considered one of the hottest fashion districts in town, not to mention that it's home to a massive JR train station and neon nightlife. While most people come to shop, socialize, or grab a bite to eat, keen observers will note that there's a whole subsection of Shibuya visitors who come simply to watch others cross the street.
That croissant in Paris. The char kway teow in Singapore. That cup of hot chocolate in Perugia. This is Food Worth Flying For. In this new series, Jaunted's contributors share the foods they'd gladly fly around the world for (and probably already have).
It's the favorite Japanese food of those unwilling to venture deeper into Japanese cuisine: Tempura, lightly battered meats, seafood, and veggies with a sweet and salty soy dipping sauce.
Despite its connotation as an basic entry dish into Japanese cuisine, a true Tempura is actually a complex dish. Whether you've had it State-side or overseas, there's no better place than Japan to sample what might be considered one, of many, iconic dishes.
Travel Movie Tuesday / Movies / Travel Movies / Movie Travel / Lost in Translation / Japan Travel / Tokyo Travel / → All Tags
From Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck falling in love in Rome to Julia Roberts circling the globe to find herself, film has played an important role in shaping both the golden years and current day of travel. Thus, we present our newest series, Travel Movie Tuesday, where we detail the most inspiring travel films.
A very conservative estimate of about 600,000 people are on a plane at any given moment throughout the day, and for every person there's a different reason. 'Lost in Translation' is a story about two different people who travel for very different reasons, and their chance meeting reveals commonalities despite the distances.
Tokyo Travel / Japan Travle / Sightseeing / Towers / Guiness World Records / Architecture Travel / Architecture / → All Tags
Listen in, because we have the scoop on Tokyo's newest tourist attraction. Tokyo Skytree may already be two years old but, in the grand scheme of things for Tokyo, it's still the hottest attraction for both locals and tourists to enjoy a birds-eye view of the planet's largest capital.
This addition to the expansive skyline serves a purpose higher than being a popular selfie spot; it's also a broadcast tower and the holder of the title of "World's Tallest Tower." Located on the east side of the Sumida River in a neighborhood that went by the name of Musashi, the Skytree revived the district and is now drawing tourists to discover beyond the usual centers of Harajuku and Ginza.
Tokyo Travel / Japan Travel / NRT / Travel Tips / Lists / First Time Travel / HND / Travel Etiquette / → All Tags
Tokyo consistently tops the lists of "must-visit" metropoli for tourism, and the first-time visit is one you're not likely to forget.
It just so happens that this Jaunted contributor recently had the experience of landing in Tokyo for the first time, and learning all the little bits of etiquette and excellence which makes Tokyo so desirable and so influential for travelers. Coming off this beginner's journey, here are our top 10 tips for first-timers to Tokyo:
If donuts are your 'thing', then a quick stop to Mister Donut should be on your itinerary. This bakery chain actually hails from our own shores, but has practically become a cult icon in Japan. If you're unfamiliar with the brand, know that it's similar to a Dunkin Donuts, but one step up. Basically, after you grab a tray and tongs, you choose from any number of glazed, sugared or iced donuts and pay at the counters. Don't forget a a coffee!
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Confession: we're extremely heavy users of data on our smartphones, since those phones connect us to social media, work, maps, and pretty much everything else while on foreign soil. We're not ones to "power down" on a trip, unless the destination is completely off the grid. Thus, one of our largest concerns is being smacked with a ridiculously large international data roaming bill upon return home.
To prevent against big bills, we search for SIM card packages offering unlimited data usage, and recently had a great experience with one in Japan, a country with such advanced cell phone technology that it can be challenging to use anything but the latest handset. And, unfortunately, Japan doesn't make it easy for foreigners to purchase a SIM card; one must be rented.
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[Also check out Part 1, Business Class]
Premium Economy is so hot right now.
Or, rather, the class between Economy and Business has been a popular addition to aircraft for many years now, every since Virgin Atlantic introduced it way, way back in 1992(!!), but some airlines have held off and, in turn, benefitted from the wait by introducing Premium Economy classes with all the latest bells and whistles.
Flying AC00611 hours back from Tokyo-Haneda to Toronto-Pearsonwe settled into a window seat and experienced what this new class for Air Canada was all about.
Flight Reviews / Air Canada / AC 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / Boeing / Boeing 787 / 787 / Star Alliance / 787 Dreamliner / Photo Gallery / Dreamliner / Tokyo Travel / HND / Japan Travel / Toronto Travel / YYZ / Business Class Travel / Seats / In-Flight Entertainment / New Airplanes / → All Tags
[Also check out Part 2, Premium Economy and Economy]
"Whoever said man wasn't meant to fly didn't see this coming."
These were the words printed on a banner welcoming passengers to gate 172 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on July 15, 2014.
Outside the windows was one of Air Canada's airplanes, sitting chill in her ice blue livery and scarlet maple leaf logo while a flurry of ground vehicles prepared her for a 12-hour flight to Tokyo. Passengers waiting to board forwent selfies and instead pointed their cameras outside, at this aircraft which stars in the celebration of a new era for Canadian aviation.
But, um, hasn't Air Canada been flying from Toronto to Tokyo for, like, decades? Yes, yes they have, but never before to the Japanese capital's other, very recently updated and better located airport of Haneda, and never before with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Flight AC005 is non-stop from YYZ to HND, a lengthy trip which gives the benefits of the 787the greater cabin humidity, lower altitude level, improved personal space, and fuel efficiencya chance to strut their stuff. It was, in fact, the longest flight we've ever done in a 787, and absolutely one of the best in our own travel log.
Now, let's delve into the delicious details:
Train travel can bring a very different perspective compared to flying, and when itís the high-speed variety in a country as intriguing as Japan, itís definitely not just about getting from A to B. We recently took this gleaming white Shinkansen between the capital Tokyo and former imperial capital Kyoto, a two and a half hour journey that zipped by at 190 mph (300 km/h).
Seen here at Tokyo Station, the passengers queueing so neatly is no coincidence. The lanes you see on the platform indicate exactly where you are meant to stand for which door, but somehow we believe in unfailingly organized and polite Japan things wouldn't turn into a stampede even without them.