If you’re visiting from abroad
The growth in budget airlines (known as LCCs in Japan) means that there are now more carriers to choose from and domestic flights have become much cheaper. Both JAL and ANA offer air passes especially for overseas visitors, allowing you to fly anywhere within Japan for a discounted price, paid per sector. Note that these are open only to non-Japanese passport holders residing out of Japan, and must be bought outside Japan and before leaving. Travellers must also arrive and depart Japan by international flights. There is a limit of one pass per airline per person and visit, and there may be restrictions on travel within peak holiday periods (March, mid-July to August, mid-December to early January).
JAL oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare
Domestic flights cost ¥10,800 per sector and the fare can be used for travel to over 30 cities in Japan (served by JAL). Note that travel to and from Japan must be with oneworld member airlines, including JAL, British Airways, American Airlines and Qantas. www.jal.co.jp/yokosojapan
JAL Welcome to Japan Fare
Domestic flights cost ¥14,040 per sector. Travellers using this fare can enter and leave Japan on any international carrier and can visit all cities in Japan served by JAL. www.jal.co.jp/yokosojapan/japanfare.html
ANA Star Alliance Japan Airpass
Domestic flights cost ¥10,800 to any destination in Japan, but travel to and from Japan must be with a Star Alliance carrier, including ANA, United, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. tinyurl.com/ANAstaralliance
ANA Visit Japan Fare
Domestic flights are ¥13,000, but you need to book at least two flights. Travel to and from Japan can be on any international airline. tinyurl.com/ANAvisitjapan.
If you live in Japan
On top of special deals for international travellers, flight deals offered by local LCCs are also a bargain if you're living in and travelling within Japan (some even operate cheap flights to nearby countries). Prices fluctuate depending on flight dates and time of booking.
Various discounts are available for early bookings. Solaseed Air also offers a Visit Japan Deal for international travellers at ¥10,500 per flight. Tickets must be purchased at the ticketing counter at the airport as advance bookings are not available for this deal. www.skynetasia.co.jp/eng
Flights from Tokyo to Kobe are around ¥14,000, and this price gets knocked down even further if you go for the Flex deal (no cancellations or reservation changes allowed). www.skymark.jp/en
From Tokyo’s Narita International Airport you can only fly to Osaka, but prices are as low as ¥3,390 for early bookings on a weekday. There are more routes flying from Osaka, including cheap international flights to Seoul, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Flights from Osaka to Fukuoka can go for as low as ¥3,790, while Osaka to Okinawa can cost just ¥4,890 one way. www.flypeach.com/home.aspx
Offers a range of cheap deals: domestic flights from Tokyo to Osaka from ¥5,690, from Tokyo (Narita) to Takamatsu from ¥5,590. The Australian airline also offers international flight bargains to the Gold Coast and Melbourne from ¥23,000. www.jetstar.com/jp/en/home