The Cheapest Way to Travel Japan is by... Air?

When people think of traveling Japan, they usually think trains. With good reason, it’s one of the most connected countries in the world. However, when one wants to travel from city to city, trains can get a little costly, especially when using the shinkansen. What if I told you there was a cheaper, faster way? In this article, we are going to talk about Japan’s not so well known budget airline, Peach Airlines.
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What is Peach Airlines?

Peach Airlines is a budget airline based out of Osaka. (They actually have their own terminal at Osaka International Airport). They are much like Ryanair in Europe, and Spirit or Frontier Airlines in the United States. Slightly uncomfortable, but really cheap flights.

Where do They Fly and How Much Cheaper?

Being based in Osaka. Most flights originate and connect here in one way or another. However, they have routes that connect all the major cities in Japan. Along with this, they also connect to some of the smaller cities in Japan, creating a really wide spread network of possible locations you can travel. So exactly how cheap are they? It depends on when you decide to take the flight. Peak times will be like everything else and cost just a little bit more. 
Courtesy of flypeach.com

However, they also have some fantastic deals where one-way flights can be as cheap as $20. On average though if you plan a little bit in advance, you can easily find $70 round trip tickets from Osaka to Tokyo, or $110 round trip flights all the way from Tokyo to Fukuoka and back.  Living in Nagasaki, I was able to travel to Osaka and back a couple of times for about $48.
To compare, a train from Osaka to Tokyo would cost $280 for a roundtrip, and one to Fukuoka and back would cost around $460. Not only do they cost about quadruple the money, they take double to triple the time as a flight as well. 
If you want to check out the prices yourself. Go on over to flypeach.com where you can see a full list of locations (which are also international) and what it would cost. 

Downsides?

Besides being a little uncomfortable for the flight (They add more people to reduce the cost of everyone), there is one main downside to these flights, baggage costs extra. It will be about an additional $60-70 for each round trip ticket if you want to take a bag with you. This still means however that it will be about half the cost of taking a train.
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There are also a couple of ways to get around this downside. The first is the most obvious, pack light. You are allowed to bring a carry on and a personal item with you. This means you can bring a small suitcase and a backpack with you free of charge. If you are only going for a few days, try to only bring what you need, and find a place to leave the rest of your luggage until you return. Luggage storage shouldn’t be too costly. 
The other way is to use a luggage transportation service to have your luggage delivered to where you are heading. Depending on where you are going, this can be cheaper than carrying it with you on the flight. If you are planning to stay there a while, or are taking one of the really cheap one way flights, you can just pay the roughly $20 a bag to have your luggage delivered to you at your final destination. Just search for “baggage transport service Japan” in google to find some guides on how to do this. 

Conclusion

If you are looking to travel across Japan, don’t think the train is the only way to do this. Taking a plane will most likely save you money and time. This should help you see more of Japan with less time and money, which is always a win-win! 

Kurt Anderson