Tokyo shinjuku
Tokyo shinjuku

A Guide on Flight Tickets To Japan  

Up until recently, planning a trip to Japan seems to be a prohibitive proposition.  Aside from the airfare, there’s the thing about Japan’s high cost of living which can translate to rather expensive travel costs.  Good thing that travel has evolved and come of age with more affordable fares and rather inexpensive options – if you know where and how to look for them.  Let’s start with transport: with cheap flights to Japan deals, you can start planning your Japanese jaunt sooner than later.  If you want to save even further, watch out for Jetstar flight promos at Traveloka online.  In that way, you can save even more and have more cash for splurging on other things like shopping, dining and sightseeing.

Go faster, higher, stronger in Tokyo.   

A nice time as any to head to Japan’s capital, ahead of the sporting crowds on the lookout for who’s the fastest and the strongest in the world in the 2020 edition of the Olympics.  Note that this premier place isn’t just a city but rather a metropolitan prefecture, a term that better defines its unique characteristics blending the modern attributes of a city and the functions of a prefecture or administrative division.   Tokyo is a classic example of a place with “so many sights, so little time” credentials as it’s crammed chock-full of attractions that range from the uber-modern to old-world traditional.  

The most famous landmark and tourist stop is the Imperial Palace, a holdover from the 17th century.  Stroll through the grounds and admire the parks or join a walking tour of the East Higashi-Gyoen Garden.   Or if you’re one for shopping, head out to the Ginza district instead. Prepared to wander further out? Join the million or so annual visitors who visit Mt. Fuji in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park located in Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Kanagawa Prefectures and western Tokyo metropolis. 

Getting in, around, and out of Tokyo:By air: Tokyo is serviced by Jetstar and other commercial airlines headed to other major Japanese cities along with multiple international destinations.  By land:  Many subway, trains and bus companies operate within the city; shinkansen (bullet train) travel to other cities; direct trains to and from Kyushu, Kanazawa, Niigata, varied destinations in Hokkaido and the Tohoku Region.

小倉城 Kokura Castle
Kokura Castle

Have fun in Fukuoka. 

Head south to Kyushu and find yourself in one of Japan’s most modern and progressive cities, Fukuoka.   The most popular tourist attraction is the Fukuoka Castle, a remnant from the 17th century built on a site overlooking the Naka River.  Time your visit in early April and you can revel in a thousand cherry blossoms in full bloom during the Fukuoka Castle Sakura Festival.   Traveling in July? Then, you can witness the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, a two week-long festival featuring traditional races, parades, and musical performances, an event that has been celebrated for over 700 years now. 

Some quarters say Fukuoka is one of Japan’s best food destinations and there’s little reason to doubt this thinking.   Tonkotsu Ramen (also known as Hakata Ramen) was invented here while Fukuoka was purportedly one of the first places in Japan to adopt and make its own gyoza.  No reason to go hungry here.

Getting in, around, and out of Fukuoka:By air:  Jetstar and other commercial airlines operate flights headed to other major Japanese cities and other international destinations.  By land:  The Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen connects Fukuoka with Tokyo (travel time: five hours) even as a local railway company and subways operate within Fukuoka; night buses by Nishitetsu ply the Fukuoka-Tokyo route daily (travel time: 14.5 hours)  while buses like the 100 Yen Bus runs through the city proper. By ferry:  Ocean Tokyu Ferry links Kitakyushu (Shin-Moji port) with Tokyo (Tokyo Ferry Terminal in Odaiba).

View from lookout above Shirakawaga village
View from lookout above Shirakawaga village

Tripping in Nagoya.  

Fans of Godzilla movies will instantly recognize the city’s most famous landmarks, especially the 400-year old Nagoya Castle. The country’s fourth largest city, Nagoya is located on the Pacific coast, in central Honshu.  For the contemplative traveler, the over 1900-year old Atsuta Shrine and the Shirotori Garden, the largest Japanese garden in Nagoya, are must-visits. Auto buffs are in for a treat here as the city is home to the leading Japanese automakers; so much so that Toyota even have a automobile museum in Nagakute.  Now, if you’re a bit of a culture vulture, you can travel to Shirakawaga Village from Nagoya. It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site that dates back to the Edo period.  Or stroll through the historical town of Takayama and marvel at the century old Gassho houses still standing there.

Getting in, around, and out of Nagoya:By air:  Jetstar, along with other commercial airlines, has daily flights headed to other major Japanese cities and other international destinations.  By land:  JR Tokaido Shinkansen connects Nagoya with Tokyo while other trains service the same route; local railway companies and subways also operate within the city; overnight and daily buses ply the Nagoya-Tokyo route daily (travel time: 5-6 hours); the Meguru loop bus links the Nagoya station with some of the city’s tourist attractions.

Fushimi Inari-taisha

Wander in Osaka.   

The second largest metropolitan area in Japan, Osaka was traditionally recognized as the country’s economic hub.  Shopaholics can rejoice here as not only does the city have malls but also the longest shotengai (traditional Japanese shopping district) arcades in the whole of Japan.  If you’re into the arts, drop by the National Bunraku Theatre for traditional shadow puppet plays or Shochiku-za to watch kabuki. For history buffs, must-visits include the Osaka Castle which was built in 1586 by warrior, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the Shitenno-ji, Japan’s first Buddhist temple.  Craving for Japanese food? Good to know that a sampling of Osaka’s regional cuisine includes familiar fare such as Udon and Takoyaki.

From Osaka, it’s relatively easy to venture to two UNESCO sites.  The first is the Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, designated as an Important Cultural Property.  Dating back to 965, this site is a sight to behold, with a thousand torii gates (gates to traditional Shinto shrines).  This dazzling spectacle that pays homage to the deity Inari was immortalized in the 2005 movie, Memoirs of a Geisha. The second most important site to visit is Arashiyama, to the west of Kyoto.  Apart from its many temples and shrines, the must-see destination here is the sublime Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a sprawling grove of bamboos that seemingly reach for the sky. Miyajima’s famous floating torii gate may still be undergoing renovation works but it’s worthwhile to travel out to Miyajima island to visit the centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine, an important Shinto site.

Getting in, around, and out of Osaka:By air:  The city is serviced by Jetstar, along with other commercial airlines, operating daily flights headed to other major Japanese cities and other international destinations.  By land:  JR Tokaido Shinkansen connects Osaka with Tokyo; foreign passport holders can take advantage of the Shinkansen roundtrip package (around Y23,000 usable within seven calendar days); other trains service the same route; local railway and subway companies also operate within Osaka; various overnight and daytime buses serve the Osaka-Tokyo route daily (travel time: approximately eight hours).

Snow in Sapporo
Snow in Sapporo

Let it snow, let it snow in Sapporo.  

Want to experience winter without having to travel to the other side of the planet?  Book a flight to Sapporo, capital city of Hokkaido Prefecture. Known for its world-famous beer and as the birthplace of the miso ramen, it is arguably, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Japan and for very cool reasons.   If you visit in February, you can even attend the 7-day Sapporo Snow Festival which is celebrated in the main sites of Odori Park, Susukino and Tsudome. Ride the ice slides as well as gawk at the hundreds of snow statues carved using ice. Or you can probably learn how to ice ski here on several commercial ski hills that includes those in Moiwayama, Bankeiyama, KobaWorld, Fu and Sapporo Teine.  

Since the cold weather is conducive to feasting, go ahead and eat.  If you’re a foodie, you’ve come to the right place as the city is also well known for its seafood – from salmon and sea urchin to different kinds of crabs, the latter including the Horsehair, snow and King crabs.  Go ahead, eat well and cap the meal with a bottle of Sapporo beer. But of course.

Getting in, around, and out of Sapporo:By air:  Jetstar and other commercial airlines service Sapporo’s domestic and international flight routes.  By land:  JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen bridges Sapporo with Tokyo (travel time: around four hours); various trains service the same route; local railway, tramlines and subway companies also operate within Osaka.  Various bus companies provide public transportation within the city. By ferry: Long-distance ferries between Hokkaido and Honshu provide easy access via Otaru or Tomakomai.

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