While famous for speed and being on schedule, domestic travel within Japan doesn’t have a reputation for being cheap. In the past, there were a few exceptions, but traveling budget usually meant being cocooned into an overnight bus (the curtains are usually sealed shut with Velcro), or being a bit more adventurous with something like the Japan Rail Pass. However, with increased competition among low-cost carriers (LCCs) in Japan, air travel is becoming a viable alternative.

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Low-cost carriers that fly to/from Haneda Airport

solaseed lcc japan
Photo by iStock.com/YMZK-photo

1. Solaseed Air

Destinations (minimum one-way prices/no. of daily flights): Miyazaki (7 flights), Kumamoto (4 flights), Nagasaki (4 flights), Kagoshima (4 flights), Oita (3 flights), all ¥9,700.
Website bookings in English: Yes.
Terminal: Two.
The lowdown: Solaseed predominantly links Okinawa and cities in southern Kyushu with Tokyo. They offer a number of special fares, depending on the time of booking, so check which ones apply for your travel times. For foreign travellers, they offer an Enjoy Japan fare that lets you purchase all routes for ¥9,190 one way.

2. Air Do

airdo plane in Japan
Photo by iStock.com/suriya silsaksom

Destinations (minimum one-way prices/no. of daily flights): Sapporo (¥9,870/10 flights), Asahikawa (¥13,670/3 flights), Memanbetsu (¥13,670/3 flights), Kushiro (¥10,660/3 flights), Obihiro (¥12,970/3 flights), Hakodate (¥11,970/2 flights).
Website bookings in English: Yes.
Terminal: Two.
The lowdown: In short, Air Do is the Hokkaido version of Solaseed, connecting Tokyo/other cities with the northern part of Japan.

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3. StarFlyer

Destinations (minimum one-way prices/no. of daily flights): Kitakyushu (¥10,800/12 flights), Yamaguchi-Ube (¥9,800/3 flights), Fukuoka (¥9,800/5 flights), Osaka (¥10,520/4 flights).
Website bookings in English: No.
Terminal: Two.
The lowdown: Like some of the other Japanese LCCs, they don’t have booking fully available in English, although they do at least have schedule information available on their one-page English website. They also offer a special fare for foreign tourists, starting from ¥9,000 one way.

4. Skymark Airlines

skymark airlines japan
Photo by iStock.com/Sky_Blue

Destinations (minimum one-way prices/no. of daily flights): Sapporo (¥7,360/10 flights), Kobe (¥7,090/7 flights), Fukuoka (¥11,990/11 flights), Kagoshima (¥9,790/4 flights), Naha (¥9,910/7 flights).
Website bookings in English: Yes.
Terminal: One.
The lowdown: Unlike some of the others, they actually have a comprehensive English website (even though it may look like it was designed in 1998).

Low-cost carriers that fly to/from Narita Airport

Peach Airlines A320
Photo by Gregory Lane

1. Peach Air

Destinations (minimum one-way prices/no. of daily flights): Sapporo (¥4,090/6 flights), Fukuoka (¥4,790/2 flights), and Osaka (¥3,490/2 flights), Amami (¥4,790/1 flight) and Okinawa (¥4,790/2 flights). They have some international flights to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea as well.
Website bookings in English: Yes.
Terminal: Three.
The lowdown: Kansai-based Peach Airways is another one of those LCCs that have promos every so often. Peach Air recently absorbed Vanilla Air and many of Vanilla’s routes, making Peach Japan’s largest LCC.

2. Jetstar Japan

Destinations (minimum one-way prices/no. of daily flights): Sapporo (¥5,390/6 flights), Osaka (¥3,470/4 flights), Fukuoka (¥4,790/8 flights), Naha, Okinawa (¥5,540/3 flights), Miyazaki (¥4,990/2 flights), Kumamoto (¥5,990/4 flights), Kagoshima (¥5,990/2 flights), Matsuyama (¥4,990/2 flights), Nagasaki (¥5,990/1 flight), Oita (¥5,990/2 flights), Miyako Island, Okinawa (¥7,790/1 flight), and Takamatsu (¥4,490/3 flights), plus international destinations in Australia and Asia.
Website bookings in English: Yes.
Terminal: Three.
The lowdown: Jetstar Japan run several flights a day to popular destinations across Japan, and in addition leverage their international network to provide low-cost options to foreign tourists.

Interior of Narita Airport Terminal 3
Photo by Gregory Lane

3. Spring Airlines Japan

Destinations (minimum one-way prices/no. of daily flights): Sapporo (¥3,500/3 flights), Saga (Fukuoka) (¥3,500/2 flights), Hiroshima (¥3,500/2 flights).
Website bookings in English: Yes.
Terminal: Three.
The lowdown: In 2014, Shanghai-based LCC Spring Airlines’ Japanese subsidiary launched its operations. When we checked in June, 2019, flights from Tokyo seemed to start as low as ¥3,500 one way.

Narita vs. Haneda Airport

Given the extra cost to get to out-of-town Narita vs. the more centrally located Haneda, the savings of booking an LCC from Narita Airport can be a lot less than you might expect. For example, when we checked, a return trip from Tokyo to Sapporo on Jetstar, including the costs of rail transport to Narita, cost about ¥10,500, versus about ¥11,500 on Air Do from Haneda. That’s a potential ¥1,000 saving (not all that much), but with the hidden cost of a less convenient flight schedule and around 45 minutes of extra travel (to and from Narita) each way.

How much it costs to fly from Tokyo to Osaka, and other popular routes in Japan

Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect to cough up when booking flights between Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and Okinawa.

RouteAirlineOne-way FareDate
Tokyo Haneda => Osaka ItamiJapan AirlinesUS$56.00 May 15, 2024Booking options
Tokyo Narita => Osaka ItamiJetstarUS$107.00 Feb 20, 2024Booking options
Tokyo Haneda => Osaka ItamiANAUS$189.00 Jun 28, 2024Booking options
RouteAirlineOne-way FareDate
Tokyo Narita => Sapporo ChitoseJetstarUS$32.00 Dec 19, 2023Booking options
Tokyo Narita => Sapporo ChitosePeachUS$38.00 Mar 17, 2024Booking options
Tokyo Narita => Sapporo ChitoseANAUS$135.00 Apr 02, 2024Booking options
RouteAirlineOne-way FareDate
Tokyo Narita => Okinawa NahaPeachUS$46.00 Jan 06, 2024Booking options
Tokyo Narita => Okinawa NahaJetstarUS$52.00 Jun 06, 2024Booking options

Flying on the Kimetsu no Yaiba themed ANA Airplane

ANA has recently commissioned a series of airplanes with Kimetsu no Yaiba illustrations on the fuselage, and onboard merchendise. Scheduled to begin service in October 2022, the planes will fly three domestic routes: Haneda – Fukuoka, Haneda – Itami and Haneda – Shin Chitose.

Other highlights include:

  • Beverages served in Kimetsu no Yaiba cups
  • Kids Kimetsu no Yaiba toys
  • Kimetsu no Yaiba onboard entertainment

See the official ANA page about the Kimetsu no Yaiba themed service (link in Japanese).

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Peach Airlines
Photo by Gregory Lane

Tourist discounts from regular airlines

Legacy airlines offer discount options, too. Don’t count on airlines like Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) to slash their fares to be as cheap as the LCCs, necessarily, but they do have discounted domestic flights for tourists, similar to Solaseed Air’s Enjoy Japan fare. Naturally, you need to show proof of being a tourist visa holder before boarding. You might also be asked to show proof of your flights to and from Japan.

JAL presents the Japan Explorer Pass, and the Welcome to Japan fare, both of which are not sold in Japan and must be booked overseas. Seating is economy class, and rebooking is not allowed. The former can be used to travel to anywhere among 30 destinations in Japan served by JAL for between ¥5,400 and ¥10,800 one-way. The Welcome to Japan deal costs ¥14,040 one-way, and offers a fix fare for all domestic JAL flights. This fare can only be purchased outside Japan, not by Japanese residents, and can be used by tourists traveling to and from Japan via any carrier. Blackout periods apply.

Meanwhile, ANA has an Experience Japan fare and Visit Japan fare. Both come with a free baggage allowance, and cannot be rebooked. Seating is, by default, economy class. Aside from the price difference (¥10,800 for the former and ¥13,000 for the latter), the key differences are that the Visit Japan deal can only be purchased outside Japan, and you must purchase at least two and at most five Visit Japan tickets. Blackout dates apply.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post contributors include Greg Lane in 2012, and Tiffany Lim in 2017. Last updated in September, 2019.

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