Japan cheap travel

A complete guide to budget travel in Japan

 
 Internal flight in Japan
 Internal flight in Japan
 
UK and European cheap air fares to Japan
Kayak Software Corporation (UK)
 View over Kagoshima
 View over Kagoshima

Internal Domestic Air Travel

This information is up to date for 2009.

Alongside the various rail passes available to foreigners travelling in Japan, there are excellent value air passes. These are cheap compared to the cost of tickets for single or return internal flights. Air passes can be especially useful if you wish to travel long distances, for example, to visit the subtropical islands in the south such as Okinawa.

The two main carriers in Japan, Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), both offer very similar airpasses:
  • They can be used for up to 5 flights/sectors within Japan
  • You must posses a valid international ticket travelling to or via Japan
  • These are only available to foreigners and must be purchased before entering Japan
  • Except for the first sector, the dates for all other sectors can be rebooked - this makes these passes quite flexbile
  • All flights must be taken with two months of the first flight
  • Each ticket has certain blackout periods

JAL OneWorld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare

  • Travel to and from Japan from overseas must be made on oneworld carriers.
  • Each sector costs 10,000 Yen + 5% tax + 300 Yen insurance.
  • It can be used for 1-5 sectors.
  • Travel not permitted during: 08 Aug 08 to 18 Aug 08, 20 Dec 08 to 04 Jan 09.
  • For more information visit the official website for this airpass.

JAL Welcome to Japan fare

  • Travel to and from Japan from overseas can be made on oneworld carriers or any other airline serving Japan.
  • Each sector costs 13,000 Yen + 5% tax + 300 Yen insurance.
  • It can be used for 2-5 sectors.
  • Travel not permitted during: 07 Mar 08 to 31 Mar 08, 18 Jul 08 to 31 Aug 08, 12 Dec 08 to 04 Jan 09, 06 Mar 09 to 31 Mar 09.
  • For more information visit the official website for this airpass.

These tickets can used on any flight served by JAL, JAL Express (JEX) and Japan TransOcean Air (JTA). Click here for the JAL network route map.

ANA Star Alliance Japan Airpass

  • You must have a valid international ticket travelling to or via Japan on a ANA, ANK, or Star Alliance Partner flight.
  • Each sector costs 11,000 Yen + 5% tax.
  • It can be used for 1-5 sectors.
  • Travel not permitted during: 13 Mar 09 to 31 Mar 09, 17 Jul 09 to 31 Aug 09.
  • For more information visit the official website for this airpass.

ANA Visit Japan Airpass

  • You must have a valid international ticket travelling to or via Japan on ANA or any other airline.
  • Each sector costs 13,000 Yen + 5% tax.
  • It can be used for 2-5 sectors.
  • Travel not permitted during: 19 Dec 08 to 05 Jan 09, 13 Mar 09 to 31 Mar 09, 17 Jul - 31 Aug 09.
  • For more information visit the official website for this airpass.

These tickets can used on any flight served by ANA or Air Nippon. Click here for the ANA network route map.

Choosing between the Airpasses

The Air Pass you end up choosing will probably depend on which airline you use to enter the country. If you arrive on a JAL flight, then the Yokoso pass is very good value. Likewise, if you arrive on an ANA flight or other Star Alliance carrier, the Star Alliance Japan Airpass is probably best.

However, it is important to note the slightly differing blackout periods; which carrier gives you more useful airmiles; and which routes are available on each pass. These are factors that should also affect your choice.

The reason that we chose the JAL pass was because it allowed us to fly from Tokyo to the island of Amami Oshima; a route that was not available on the ANA network.