Getting the Cheapest Flights to Tokyo: A Mega Guide

Carey Finn

So you’re planning a visit to the capital city of Japan, and you’ve decided that, while you’re budget-conscious, taking a plane is probably a wiser option than rowing over on a raft or lassoing a flock of passing pigeons. Good decision. Cheap flights to Tokyo are possible no matter where you’re flying from—the USA, the land down under, the land even further down under (New Zealand, that’s you), Singapore or anywhere else. Read on to find out how you can snag a bargain ticket, as well as what to watch out for when booking. We’ve also thrown in some tips on what to do when you’re here. Yosh! Let’s go.

cheap flights to tokyo
National carrier JAL is one of your options, but there are many cheap flights to Tokyo. | Photo by Yuichi Kosio used under CC

Timing is everything when it comes to cheap flights to Tokyo

First things first—that old saying that timing is everything? Well, when it comes to finding cheap flights to Tokyo, it’s really true. Changing your travel dates by even a week can make a difference of tens of thousands of yen. If your schedule is flexible, you’re in luck. Even more so if you can book your tickets far in advance (3-6 months+ is ideal). A quick perusal of the rates on Skyscanner will confirm this, but the periods listed below are best avoided if you are trying to save some pennies (or cents, whatever they use where you call home).

Cherry blossom season, which is late March to mid-April in Tokyo, is both crowded and pricey; everyone wants a piece of the sakura, and we understand why—they are so very transient and lovely. If you want to experience spring in Japan, it’s best to arrive in early March and depart well after the blossoms have done their thing, or just wince and cough up for the steep airfare. You’ll also want to steer clear of Golden Week (the cluster of national holidays at the end of April going into early May), the New Year period, O-bon (an important family holiday in mid-August) and, though it is a bit less crowded, Chinese New Year (usually sometime in February).


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cheap flights to tokyo
Ah, spring. The prettiest season in Tokyo, and also one of the most expensive when it comes to airfares. | Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson used under CC

Direct vs. indirect routes

Direct flights are, of course, much less hassle than flights that require one or more connections. That makes them more expensive (usually); sometimes prohibitively so for cheapos. Our first rule of thumb (and presumably yours, too) is to scan, scan and scan some more for a cheap direct flight to Tokyo; if you come up short, go for the indirect option with the lowest travel time. Don’t assume that a direct ticket will be out of your price range; sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what comes up in your search.

If you do opt for an indirect flight, try to cap your travel time at 20-24 hours, maximum. Unless you build in a proper stopover (e.g. a night or two in Thailand or Hong Kong), any longer in the air will make for an extremely tired (and probably grouchy) cheapo on arrival in Tokyo. Young whippersnappers in the age range of 18-24 will probably ignore this advice, and that’s okay, but anyone older might want to listen. The TC team have all done several flights to and from Tokyo, and are no longer into dozing on dirty airport carpets for days on end. You’ll also want to avoid non-protected self-transfers (exactly as scary as they sound) and transfers that require you to hotfoot it from one airport to another (e.g. in Shanghai) at your connection point.

cheap flights to tokyo
Long transit times can end up costing you more in books and coffee than you save on the ticket. | Photo by David Mellis used under CC

Cheap flights for your route

For a price comparison of direct vs. indirect flights to Tokyo from some of the major ports of origin around the globe, see below. All fares are displayed in USD in the interests of simplicity. If your city isn’t included, give us a nudge in the comments and we’ll add it to our list.

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New York to Tokyo

Direct Flights NYC to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
New York => TokyoJapan Airlines$1,189.00Details
New York => TokyoANA (All Nippon Airways)$1,248.00Details
All Carriers NYC to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
New York => TokyoAir China$694.00Details
New York => TokyoAir Canada$786.00Details

For more flights and more details, read our dedicated article on the NYC-Tokyo route. Flying from LA? This article on cheap flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo has you covered.

Toronto to Tokyo

Direct Flights Toronto to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
Toronto => TokyoAir Canada$911.00Details
Toronto => TokyoANA (All Nippon Airways)$4,468.00Details
All Carriers Toronto to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
Toronto => TokyoANA (All Nippon Airways)$847.00Details
Toronto => TokyoAir Canada$911.00Details

For more flights and more details (and in Canadian Dollars, too), read our dedicated article on the Toronto to Tokyo route.

cheap flights to tokyo
If you’re lucky, you might see Mount Fuji from the air as you come in to Tokyo. | Photo by Joe deSousa used under CC

Singapore to Tokyo

Direct Flights Singapore to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
Singapore => TokyoSingapore Airlines$461.00Details
Singapore => TokyoANA (All Nippon Airways)$473.00Details
All Carriers Singapore to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
Singapore => TokyoAirAsia$159.00Details
Singapore => TokyoVietnam Airlines$298.00Details

To see further flights and details (and in Singapore Dollars, too), read our dedicated article on the Singapore to Tokyo route.

Sydney to Tokyo

Direct Flights Sydney to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
Sydney => TokyoQantas$616.00Details
Sydney => TokyoJapan Airlines$619.00Details
All Carriers Sydney to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareBooking
Sydney => TokyoAirAsia$239.00Details
Sydney => TokyoJetstar$300.00Details

For more flights and info, and in Australian Dollars, check out our dedicated article on cheap flights from Sydney to Tokyo. Flying from New Zealand? You’ll want to read our article on cheap flights from Auckland to Tokyo.



Choosing your arrival airport

cheap flights to tokyo
Haneda Airport has cooler architecture and is closer to Tokyo central, too. | Photo by ajari used under CC

When you book your flights, you’ll see that some of the options land at Narita Airport, and others at Haneda. Flights that terminate at Narita tend to be a bit cheaper, as the airport is older and out in the sticks of Chiba Prefecture (next door to Tokyo). The downside is that getting into the city is a little more expensive and takes longer, too—overall, Narita is the less convenient of the two airports. Haneda is in Tokyo Prefecture and transfers into the inner city take just 30 minutes (plus you get to ride a monorail, which is cool). It’s also swankier and just generally more awesome. Moral of the story here—if you are faced with a choice between the two airports, and the tickets are the same price, go for Haneda.

To find out more about transfers from the airports, head over to our popular articles on the cheapest ways of getting from Haneda to Tokyo and the cheapest ways of getting from Narita to Tokyo.

Things to do in Tokyo

cheap flights to tokyo
Trains can whizz you into the city for a whirlwind exploration before you catch your connecting flight. | Photo by yagi-s used under CC

Whether you’re in Tokyo for a few days or a few months, you’ll find plenty to keep you fed, watered and happy. Tokyo has some of the best grub in the country, as well as pubs galore and entertainment to suit all sorts. There’s everything from karaoke to parks, museums, art galleries, mad architecture and hole-in-the-wall concert venues. If you’re here en route elsewhere, our Haneda Layover Guide and Tokyo in 24 Hours Itinerary might come in handy. This list of 101 Cheap and Free Things to Do is useful for longer stays, and our Beginner’s Guide to Tokyo is what you need to read if you’re going to be living here for a while.

This article is updated regularly. Check back for more flight routes.






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