JAL & ANA: Traditional "First Sunrise" Flights on New Year's Day 2013

JAL & ANA: Traditional

The first sunrise of the year seen from airplane.

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On New Year's Day 2013, Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) and All Nippon Airways, Co., Ltd. (ANA) will organize special flights for passengers to enjoy the "Hatsuhinode" and "Hatsufuji." "Hatsuhinode" is the Japanese word for the first sunrise of the year and "Hatsufuji" means the first sight of Mt. Fuji in the light of the New Year's Day sunrise.

The New Year's flights are a popular event among those wanting to see the first sunrise of the year from above the clouds. JALPak Co., Ltd., a travel agency and subsidiary of JAL, is planning charter flights out of Narita and Haneda airports. The flight number for the Narita flight will be JAL2013, which will be on a Boeing 767-300 used on international routes and bearing the "Tsurumaru" logo (a red-crowned crane within a red circle). After taking off from Narita, the aircraft will greet the first sunrise from thousands of meters above the waters off Cape Inubo, then head west over Tokyo Bay for a view of Mt. Fuji glistening in the morning sunlight. After changing its bearing near the city of Hamamatsu, the 767 will return to Narita, flying over the Izu Islands on the way. The fare for a pair of window seats starts at JPY 58,000. One aisle seat starts at JPY 18,000.

The flight number for the Haneda flight will be JAL2511, with the numbers representing the 25th year of Japanese Emperor Akihito's reign, the month of January and the first day of the month. The aircraft will be a Boeing 737-800 used on domestic routes and bearing the same Tsurumaru logo. After departing from Haneda Airport, the 737 will head northwest of Mt. Fuji, greet the first sunrise from above the South Japanese Alps, then return to Haneda, flying over the Izu Islands and the island of Oshima on the way. The fare for a pair of window seats starts at JPY 68,000. One middle seat starts at JPY 19,500.

Both flights will last for about an hour and a half. There will be a raffle for prizes in the cabin, and passengers will receive a certificate proving they boarded the flight, osechi meals (traditional Japanese New Year's cuisine) and other gifts.

ANA will have special flights offering generally the same service departing from Haneda and Chubu airports for its Mileage Club members. Fare for a pair of seats on the Haneda flights will start at JPY 50,000 and at JPY 60,000 for the Chubu flight.

The "Hatsuhinode Flights" are rare plans found only in Japan. Each year, both JAL and ANA, as well as other carriers such as Starflyer Inc., operate incredibly popular New Year's flights, which usually sell out very quickly.