Budget Travel: Japan by Plane, Train and Subway


file0002133608906Despite recent economic trends, Japan is still a pretty expensive place to visit, so if you’re looking for ways to save some money, be sure to check out the following deals in transportation by air, rail and subway (metro):

The first thing you can do to ensure you pay less is to avoid traveling to Japan in high season — during the spring cherry blossom season, the fall foliage season, Golden Week at the end of April, Obon in mid-August and Japan’s national holidays.

Some Asian carriers like Singapore Airlines offer lower fares from the U.S. if you’re willing to settle for half the frequent flyer miles that you’d normally get and accept a “no cancellation” policy.

If you’re flying to Japan on one of the country’s national airlines such as All Nippon Airways (ANA) or Japan Airlines (JAL) and you know you’ll be flying within the country, too, try to book your domestic flights at the same time as your international ones because Japan’s national airlines offer big savings if you do it all at the same time.

Japan Airlines also has a oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare & Welcome to Japan Fare program for overseas visitors to Japan, and discounted fares can be used for travel to more than 30 cities in Japan.

If you use the All Nippon Airways (ANA) or an airlines that participates in the Star Alliance, ANA has a Star Alliance Japan Pass that lets you pay just JPY10,000 per flight for up to five flights to any destination all over Japan.

Once you arrive in Japan, avoid taxis because they’re incredibly expensive. Instead, use trains, public buses and the subway. From the airport, you can take the Narita Express for about $30.

Tokyo Metro offers various combo passes that include transportation from Narita Airport and Haneda Airport and one-day or two-day subway open tickets.

Tokyo Metro also sells stand-alone one-day open tickets for 710 yen (adults) and 360 yen for children.

Once you’re at the subway (metro) station, heed these words of advice from Tokyo Metro so that you get on the right train:

At the entrance to each station, you will see the subway sign and the name of the subway station. Be sure to remember the station name, number and line color (circular colored outline) of the subway line you want to ride. You will see the combination of a letter (representing the line) and a number (representing the station) within a circular colored outline (representing the color of the line), which is called a station number.

The Japanese are very courteous people, so be sure to use this guide on subway manners. Note cell phone use is not permitted on trains and during rush hour, there are “women-only” cars.

Japan Rail offers big discounts on trains, buses and ferries throughout the country.

For discounts on accommodations, check out Budget Hotels: Capsule Value Kanada.

For great places to eat on a budget, see 4 Delicious Budget Restaurants in Japan.


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