Japan is a trip to the future and the past simultaneously. A country so steeped in tradition and craftsmanship, yet embracing of technology and innovation. Each time I visit this special place, I leave appreciative of how unique of a society it is. As exciting as that uniqueness is, it can also feel foreign and perhaps unapproachable. To help quell any doubt, Annette and I have compiled some recommendations so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful country while also making the most of your points.

Cherry blossoms along the Megro River in Tokyo

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Getting to Japan

While multiple carriers provide nonstop service to Japan, there are three that offer outsized value on points redemptions:

🧭 If you need help transferring miles or finding availability, book a credit card consult here.

Card recommendations

Based on current offers available, I would recommend the following cards as you plan your trip:

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Capital One® Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Mesm Tokyo, Marriott Autograph Collection


There’s no shortage of hotels, hostels and home rentals in Japan, including some more unique options like ryokan, traditional Japanese inns typically situated on or near natural thermal hot springs, and capsule hotels which are the epitome of space-saving minimalism for those on a budget in a major city.

Based on our experience, it’s easier and much more comfortable to focus your search on the larger global hotel chains. Brands like Marriott, Hyatt & Hilton offer hotels across most budgets, and there are plenty of opportunities to get outsized value when redeeming points. These chains also have much larger and more luxurious rooms and amenities compared to local brands. Check out our city guides below for specific recommendations.

Eat & Drink

Generally speaking, our favorite Japanese restaurants have limited menus and focus on perfecting a few dishes versus offering something for everyone. Here’s a few of the different kinds of restaurants you’ll find in Japan:

Curry at KariKari Spice, Tokyo

Matcha and Mochi, Kyoto

Shoyu ramen, Tokyo

Marinara pizza at SAVOY, Tokyo


While some restaurants allow for online or email reservations, we recommend using your hotel or a credit card with concierge services to book reservations on your behalf. This will save you time and stress once you arrive so you can focus on enjoying the experience!

Now that you have a full team of folks dedicated to making reservations for you, it may be tempting to over-schedule your itinerary. Before you do that, be mindful of whether you’ll want to be so scheduled and try to account for jet lag. Perhaps stick to early dinners for your first few days and progress to later seatings over time.

To continue reading, please check out one of our city guides:

Editorial disclosure

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired.

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Book a free one on one consulting session here or email us at info.allwaysaway@gmail.com with questions and we can try to offer any suggestions. Obviously we’re not financial advisors and any advice should not be considered financial advice.

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