As convenient as the Shinkansen is, it is not always the fastest or cheapest way to travel inter-regionally within Japan. A flight from Tokyo to Nagasaki, for example, takes 2 hours and (if booked in advance) costs around ¥30,000 for a return ticket. The same journey by train would take about 8 hours with one change and cost ¥26,000 one-way. And with most domestic flights leaving from Haneda, journey time from central Tokyo to the airport is than an hour.

There are over 20 major airports dotted around Japan (and many smaller regional airports) and no destination from Tokyo is going to take much more than 2 hours to reach. For visitors wanting to see the entire country, a one-way flight north or south from Tokyo and a Shinkansen back to the capital with the Japan Rail Pass is one possible option.

Japan’s two biggest airlines are Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA). In recent years competition for domestic and short-haul internationals passengers has increased with the establishment of low cost carriers (LCC). These LCCs now hold a 15-20% share of the domestic and short-haul international market, and have driven down the overall cost of flights.

ANA and JAL both offer discounted domestic flight packages for foreigners. ANA has the Experience Japan Fare and JAL offers the Yokoso Visit Japan Fare, the Welcome to Japan Fare, and the Japan Explorer Pass.

ANA: Experience Japan Fare

ANA’s offer means that foreign visitors can book one-way flights within Japan for ¥10,800 per flight (¥5,400 for routes within Hokkaido). This a considerable discount their standard flight prices, although you may still want to compare it to ticket prices at the low-cost carriers.

http://www.ana-exjapan.com/en/

Eligibility Criteria
  1. Passenger must reside outside of Japan
  2. Passenger must hold a passport issued by a country other than Japan
  3. Passenger must be in possession of an international return ticket (any airline) with the first leg of the journey originating from outside of Japan.
Black-out Periods

Periods when the discount tickets cannot be used. See the website for precise dates.

  • Early-March until the end of the month
  • July and August
  • 1 December until early January

JAL: Yokoso Visit Japan Fare

Like ANA’s Experience Japan Fare: ¥10,800 per flight.

https://www.jal.co.jp/yokosojapan/

Eligibility Criteria
  1. Passenger must reside outside of Japan
  2. Passenger must hold a passport issued by a country other than Japan
  3. Passenger must be in possession of an international return ticket (on a OneWorld carrier) with the first leg of the journey originating from outside of Japan.
Black-out Periods

Periods when the discount tickets cannot be used. See the website for precise dates.

  • Mid-March to the end of the month
  • Early August to mid-month
  • 23 December until early January

JAL: Welcome to Japan Fare

The similar-sounding Welcome to Japan Fare charges a fixed rate fare of ¥14,040 per “sector” which much the same T&Cs as the the Yokoso Visit Japan Fare, but here passengers do not have to travel to Japan using a OneWorld carrier.

https://www.jal.co.jp/yokosojapan/japanfare.html

Japan Explorer Pass

Again, this ticket is only applicable to those residing outside of Japan in possession of a return ticket. It gives tourists access to one-way flights as cheap as ¥5,400. See the website for details.

https://www.world.jal.com/world/en/japan_explorer_pass/lp/

Send this to a friend