You may have seen a lot of buzz in social media about how travel agency H.I.S. ran some crazy cheap round trip fares from Honolulu to Osaka for the summer, starting at $300. Although summers are notoriously hot in Asia, the price was too cool to pass up, and Hawaii residents have been checking out what Japan’s third largest city has to offer.
H.I.S. is best known for bringing Japanese people to Hawaii, but it’s not as well-known that they take Hawaii residents to Japan offering chartered flights, chartered tours, and ala carte day tours for independent travelers. Their busiest local office, in fact, is at Don Quijote on Kaheka Street. On the Japan side, the offices in various cities are allowed to run their own promotions, and the Osaka office is exceptionally proactive — which is why the Osaka specials have been incredible this summer. They decided to try a special tour amidst the seasonal frenzy by sponsoring “Ultimate Japan,” a popular cable TV show hosted by Scott Suzui and his wife, Mayumi.
People watch Ultimate Japan faithfully and have often told Scott to do a tour. He did one four years ago, but has been busy shooting his shows, so it’s been hard to get a second tour together. H.I.S. stepped up to the plate to help with this encore, which is a great way to promote the agency, their destinations, and the tours they offer.
Blogger Catherine Toth was actually supposed to go on this trip, but through a stroke of good luck (okay, well, surprise tickets to Europe for her), I got to take her place. Here’s how we started the trip, from a little brief on the plane with Scott to shabushabu dinner upon landing. As with all my travel blogs, I post one day behind; if you want to see what we are doing in real time, follow me on Twitter or Instagram @Melissa808, or the hashtag #WeGoJapan.
Ultimate Japan in Osaka (2 of 26)
For the tour itself, Scott Suzui (of Ultimate Japan on OC 16) found that he got a lot of repeat customers. He hadn't run a tour to Japan for four years, but the people who went last time had so much fun, they couldn't wait to go again. Geraldine and Kanoe from the Big Island are two of those people.
Here’s a video of our dinner at Shabu Sai.
Up next: Osaka Castle, make your own takoyaki, the aquarium, and more food!