Maybe you have a hankerin’ for sushi, you want to see what a real geisha looks like, or maybe you’ve just seen one too many Steven Seagal flicks. The point is … you’ve decided to visit Japan. So now you’re trying to figure out the least expensive way to get here. Whether you are flying to Okinawa for surfing, Aomori or Hokkaido for snowboarding スノーボート, or Tokyo for everything, here’s some handy advice about travelling to Japan. The first thing you need to know is DO NOT fly using Japan AirLines (JAL) or All Nippon Air (ANA) because while the service is absolutely great the price is outrageous. JAL and ANA are typically 2 to 3 times as expensive as other airlines.
Depending upon where you are flying from you will most likely have to fly into Narita Airport which is located about a 40 minute train ride East of Tokyo. The airport code for Narita is NRT. The first thing I like to do whenever I decide to fly somewhere is to get an idea of the average cost of the flight I’m looking at taking. I have found that www.sidestep.com is a great site for this purpose. Simply enter your search information and Sidestep searches 40 to 50 airfare related websites all-at-once. It will even give you the option of adding other top rated sites like www.travelocity.com, www.orbitz.com, www.airfare.com, and www.expedia.com to your search with the simple click of a button.
Once you have an idea of the average cost it’s just a matter of checking Sidestep’s Best Fares calendar to see if there is a day with a price that’s lower than the average. The price quoted by Sidestep almost always includes all the airport fees and fuel surcharges. When you are ready to book your ticket Sidestep will directly link you to the airline’s website and you will actually end up buying your ticket from the airline itself.
In my next Post I’ll walk you through what you need to do once you arrive at Narita Airport, how you get from the Airport into Tokyo, or alternatively how to get over to Yokohama’s Haneda Airport to catch your connecting flight to Okinawa or Hokkaido.