Fast Facts About Japan Flight Deals
- Japan is one of the world’s most expensive travel markets, largely due to its importance for business travelers.
- Flying to Japan with a connection or flying a non-Japanese airline can help you find Japan flight deals.
- You should also check prices of flights to secondary airports of Japan, like Osaka and Nagoya.
- Flat-rate Japan Air Passes can help you avoid sky-high domestic flight prices in Japan.
- Using miles and points for travel to and within Japan is also a great strategy.
- Japan flight tickets are most expensive during peak periods, namely cherry blossom season.
- Skyscanner tools like “Best Time to Book” and “Everywhere Search” can be instrumental in finding cheap Japan flight deals.
Best Time to Book Flights to Japan
Based on historical booking data from 2018, we estimate January to be the cheapest month to book your flights, followed by September & October. Booking during these dates can save you anywhere from 5-7% on the average ticket price.
Deals on Flights to Japan
Let’s get one unfortunate fact out of the way: Japan flight tickets are among the most expensive in the world, due to the country’s popularity as a business travel destination. While it’s possible to find sale fares at certain times of the year, you can generally expect to pay a minimum of $1,000 round-trip from gateways in the US to Japan, and often a lot more.
However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. So-called “error fares” come up at times, and sometimes include travel to Japan. Likewise, as a result of government-subsidized airlines from Asian countries (particularly China) offer cut-rate fares across the Pacific, prices of flights throughout the continent are dropping, including to Japan, even if the fall is slower here than elsewhere.
Airlines That Fly to Japan
Japan’s own international airlines All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) are your best choices to fly to Japan, from a purely experiential perspective. This is especially the case if you can afford to fly in first or business classes; Japanese carriers have some of the highest-rated premium cabins in the world, with luxury travelers praising them for excellent cuisine, cutting-edge design and understated Japanese hospitality.
However, you get what you pay for; many Japan flight deals are for travel on non-Japanese carriers. In particular, choosing Chinese carriers such as Air China and China Eastern is often your best bet for getting cheap flights to Japan, though US airlines often offer acceptable prices out of their West Coast gateways, such as American from Los Angeles, United from San Francisco and Delta from Seattle. Find out more about Airlines that fly to Japan.
Main Japan International Gateways
Tokyo’s Narita Airport is without a doubt the most popular international gateway to Japan (Haneda Airport, which is closer to the city center, is a somewhat distant second), but flying to NRT isn’t necessarily the surest way to Japan flight deals. Transpacific flights operate from the US to Osaka-Kansai (KIX) and Nagoya Centrair (NGO), and sometimes these options can be cheaper; flying with an Asian airline opens up other Japanese airports like Sendai (SDJ) and Sapporo Shin-Chitose (CTS).
Use Skyscanner’s Everywhere Search (simply enter “Japan” into the “To” field) to find the cheapest Japan flight prices, irrespective of your final destination. Japan’s impressive national rail network, which features the lightning-fast Shinkansen bullet train, makes the issue of where you enter and exit Japan a somewhat moot point.
Domestic Flights Within Japan
While Japanese trains are usually the best way to travel in the country, they aren’t the end-all-be-all. For particularly long journeys, like from Fukuoka to Tokyo, or if you need to go somewhere the Shinkansen doesn’t yet operate (the entire of Hokkaido island, excepting the southern city of Hakodate), you should keep an eye out for domestic Japan flight deals.
These tend to be somewhat rare, of course, since domestic flight prices are often standardized to compete with train ticket prices, themselves usually fixed. On the other hand, ANA and JAL both offer versions of a “Japan Air Pass,” which allows foreigners who fly to Japan on either carrier to use its domestic network for a fixed per-segment price, one that’s almost always lower than what you’d pay if you booked each flight à la carte.
Miles and Points Travel for Japan
One way to circumvent high flight prices to Japan, or to enjoy first or business class flights without growing broke, is to employ one of the cornerstones of travel hacking: Using miles and points to book your flight to Japan. This can be an effective strategy, whether you’re loyal to one airline or alliance and use points you’ve amassed over the years, or apply for a credit card from American Express or Chase, and transfer the targeted “Welcome” bonus miles to an airline’s frequent flyer program.
An incredible value for booking Japan flight tickets using miles and points is actually with Japan’s own All Nippon Airways, which is a transfer partner for AMEX Membership Rewards. Although it’s important to note that ANA only offers round-trip awards (most other carriers allow you to book one way), ANA’s award prices are unbeatable. You can fly from most US destinations to Japan for just 50,000 miles round-trip in economy, 85,000 in business and 150,000 in first class.
The Cheapest Time to Fly to Japan
Japan is an all-year destination, with incredible experiences and destinations that shine in all four seasons. As a result, finding Japan flight deals based on the time of year you fly can be tricky; avoiding popular cherry blossom season might save you some money, but Japan remains a popular destination for fall colors, winter snow and during the busy summer vacation season.
One way to make sure you get the best deal on a flight to Japan, even if your dates are completely fixed, is to use Skyscanner’s “Best Time to Book” tool. This sophisticated technology lets you know with almost total certainty when to book your trip to get the very best price, even if that price still ends up being higher than you’d like to pay.
The Bottom Line
Whether flying to Japan from abroad or within the country, air travel in Japan can be an expensive affair. Tools like Skyscanner’s “Everywhere Search” and “Best Time to Book” can help you flight cheap flights to Japan, while air passes from Japanese airlines ANA and JAL and the Japan Rail Pass will lower your domestic Japan travel costs. Are you ready to start searching Japan flight deals?