Hoshinoya Taketomi – Stay as if you are living there (Okinawa Part 6)

(This is my last post for #ANAOkinawa tour. You can see all the previous posts here.)

In Taketomi island, we stayed at this amazing resort called Hoshinoya Taketomi-jima.

Hoshinoya Entrance

Upon check-in, we were welcomed with lovely tea and sweets.

Hoshinoya tea

As soon as you arrive, you’ll notice the pace here is a lot slower, and relaxed.

Cali and Neal upon check-in

Hoshinoya is one of the 6 types of resorts Hoshino Resort, well known high end resort chain produces.

Hoshinoya villas

As I mentioned in the last post, there are strict rules on building anything new in Taketomi island. All 48 villas and other buildings in Hoshinoya Taketomi is built in traditional Taketomi style, with limestone fences, Hinpun, and red tiled roof. The resort blends in with the rest of the island.

Each one of us got our own villa to stay. See my excited reaction when I entered my villa.

I loved the fact that I was given an actual key, unlike a card you get at most hotels these days. The villa is equipped with a pair of flip flops, an umbrella for sudden rain showers, and a flashlight for your evening stroll. There are small towels in a basket by sliding door entrances so you can clean your feet. They even provide cute little carry bags for your keys, cell phone etc when you go for a walk. The attention to details is everywhere. 

The decor of the room and entire resort is simple, yet breathtakingly beautiful. It was pretty hot and humid when we were there (27c/80F), but the way each villa is built allows plenty of breeze to come through the room.

Hoshinoya tub

Resort staff move gracefully and although their customer service is top notch, they never seem to be rushed. Time seems to pass slower in this village.

Hoshinoya PoolThere is a beautiful pool in the center of the property. The bottom of the pool is painted in dark color because this is modeled after a well in a village.

Hoshinoya Pool 2View of the pool from the lounge at sunrise.

Hoshinoya PathStreets in Taketomi islands are covered with white coral sands. This is so that it reflects moonlight in the evening, when poisonous Habu snakes come out. It makes it easy for us to spot them. I was told that most people in Taketomi go outside after late afternoon in summertime in order to avoid blazing sun.

Hoshinoya Juice bar

We enjoyed wonderful local Okinawan cuisine while at Hoshinoya. Every morning they served different fresh juices. My favourite was Watermelon and Hot pepper juice.

Hoshinoya Lounge

I loved this lounge/bar/library/gift shop with the view of the pool. Here’s me having Okinawa’s own Orion beer.

Yukari at Hoshinoya Lounge

You can rent a bike and explore the island, or take a short bus tour to see the sunset. Taketomi island is such a gem – as Hoshinoya brochure states, the island itself is a museum.

I saw several families at Hoshinoya. Although it is a very sophisticated resort, I like that staff were very friendly with everyone including children. I would love to go back there with my family next time. I cannot recommend Hoshinoya Taketomi highly enough. I urge you to stay there.

Thank you, All Nippon Airways, Okinawa Tourism and Convention Bureau, and of course, Hoshinoya Taketomi for the amazing trip. I will be back for sure.

Adventure continues with ANA

Okinawa

You might remember that I went to Japan last year as one of the brand ambassadors for All Nippon Airways’ Inspiration of Japan cabin service. I flew on their amazing business class with Neal Schaffer  as well as Cali Lewis and John P. of Geekbeat TV.

We explored Tokyo and Okayama and had an incredible time. You can read about the trip here.

Now, it was so much fun we are doing it again!

This year, the team (same member) are flying all the way to Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture in Japan.

Falling in love with Okinawa 

I’m from Sasebo in Nagasaki prefecture(in Kyushu) and it is a pretty warm place, but Okinawa is full-on tropical. It’s “Hawaii of Japan”!

Did you know Okinawa consists of about 160(!) islands, big and small? It is also known for its rich culture and history. It was occupied by The United States until returned to Japan in 1972 after the World War II. Also, Okinawan people are known for their longevity.

This will be my first time in Okinawa and I cannot wait to report everything I experience here. I’ve been reading up on this wonderful little island and I have already fallen in love with it!

Follow the #ANAOkinawa #YukariFliesANA hashtag on TwitterFacebook, and of course, Google Plus.

Lean more about Okinawa at OkinawaStory.com.

Read the next post:  Okinawa (Part 1) – Shuri Castle, Okinawa Village, Snake Liquor and more!

Or jump to the list of all the Okinawa posts: #ANAOkinawa Travel Log

 

Adventure Begins with an A…ANA

Welcome drink on board

What is the first thing that come to your mind when you think of Japan? Sushi, Kimono, or Ninja?!

As part of the social media campaign for their latest service, “Inspiration of Japan”, my friend Neal Schaffer and I became their Brand Ambassadors for ANA – All Nippon Airways.  Neal and I have been working since November on this campaign, and it was finally time for us to fly to Narita with an IOJ.

I’m writing this post from consumer’s perspective. I’ve written about it in my first post about IOJ, but as a frequest flyer to Japan from North Ameria, the comfort during my trip home is very important. I love traveling and flying, but let’s be honest, flying takes so much toll on you. I flew back to my home town of Sasebo last month and I was exhausted.

So I was very excited to try this new IOJ services. Our seats were called “Business Staggered“- Because each seat was staggared and every seat has an aisle access-I love that.

You can rest your tired heet there

The cabin for IOJ was amazing. Plenty of room to store your personal items, like your laptop or a purse. There are a deep pocketed foot rest under your entertainment system so you can fully stretch your legs with your shoes off. (Of course, they provide slippers, shoehorn, and a bag to take your slippers home!) You have a side desk other than your normal tray, so I got to keep all my magazines, camera and water bottle there. There are USB port and iPod jack, so you can enjoy your own media if you get tired of all the entertainment available on your personal screen. (I actually watched a short documetary on how their latest aircraft Boeing 787 came together and got a little misty. True story. I will be writing about 787 later.)

Here’s a quick video of me experiencing IOJ. (Sorry it’s a bit noisy)

Neal wasn’t the only partner I had on this trip. John P. and Cali Lewis from GeekBeat.TV were also the ambassadors, and they flew in from San Francisco. Unlike Neal, who has lived in Japan for 15 years and speaks fluent Japanese, this was John and Cali’s first time in Japan. I got to spend a lot of time with them in Tokyo, and not only it was fun, but it brought me a lot of insights. I got to see Japan through first time visitor’s eyes, and that was definitely a cool experience.

Cali, John and me

One of the things John said and it stuck with me was “There is so much attention to details!“…Of course, I knew that. I have always been proud to be Japanese and proud to offer extreme attention to details. But by spending time with John and Cali, I rediscovered many things with a lot of attention to details, and of course, IOJ was no exception.

The food and presentation was amazing

I have flown to Japan many times before, but the minute you board ANA flight, it just feels different. When I sat down, my Cabin Attendant came to me to hand me a warm steamed towel and introduced herself that she would be taking care of me today. She soon came back to ask how to pronounce my name, so that she can personally address me as “Ms. Peerless”. I really wish I got her name and took a photo of her, as she was the best CA I have ever encountered.  She quickly figured out what kind of drinks I like and made some excellent recommendations. It sure was the highlight of my flight.

I got to use the full flat seat to have a nap on the flight, and soon we arrived in Narita, Tokyo, where many adventures were waiting for us.

(To be continued in Part 2)

 

 

 

 

 

ANA’s New Inspiration of Japan Services

LA Social Media heavy hitters 🙂

Do you fly often? Being a Japanese living in Canada, I go back home probably every other year. And that 10-hour flight can really drain you. Comparing airline experience is a pretty common thing among my Japanese friends living here. And even though I don’t go to Japan so often, flying has become part of my lifestyle. I love flying, and I like to do it as much as possible if it takes me to places I’d love to visit.

So you can imagine my excitement when ANA(All Nippon Airways) asked me to be their Brand Ambassador for their latest cabin services, Inspiration of Japan(IOJ)!

I attended ANA’s VIP launch event on Novemer 9th in LA. They had mock-ups of each class-First, Business and Economy.   You can see the detailed specs for each classes here, but here is the summary:

ANA Business Class -Inspiration of Japan

ANA FIRST SQUARE : Features taller-than normal partitions that enhances personalized spaces, 180 degrees full flat seat,(Yes, you can actually lie down.) World’s largest-in-class 23 inch LCD widescreen, Ample storage

ANA BUSINESS STAGGERED:  Features perfectly staggered layout so that every seat has an aisle access, 180 degrees full flat seat, World’s largetst-in-class 17 inch widescreen

-Economy Class features “Fixed Back Shell” seat where the seat slides forward without disturbing the passenger behind you, and footrest!

All class seats are equipped with iPod connector and USB port so that you can enjoy your own music or use your laptop. Oh, and First and Business class are equipped with Washlets(Fancy Japanese style toilet)…..it’s SO Japanese, isn’t it? (Sorry, I had to mention this.)

I had a great time at the launch event. It was great to meet many social media friends from LA area. We got to try each class mock-ups and check them out…I was particularly excited with their new economy class, as that’s I’m most likely to use. Footrest and sliding seats are such a great idea..Hello!

My friend Neal Schaffer is my partner on this LA-Narita route of Inspiration of Japan.

Neal and me

We are flying to Japan in February on the Business Class with Cali Lewis and John Pozadzides from GeekBeat TV! It’s going to be one heck of a trip….I CAN’T WAIT!

Calvin Lee @Mayhemstudios and @Mikeuesugi

Inspiration of Japan services will start its Los Angeles – Narita route, operated with the Boeing 777-300ER on January 21, 2012.

For more information about ANA’s Inspiration of Japan services, check their website.