Cheap Japan Tours

Cheap travel in Japan: 3 options for getting around on a budget

It's horrifying trying to book a trip in Japan. There seems to be no cheap way to get anywhere. Domestic flights are expensive, the (新幹線 – bullet train) costs a fortune, and even a quick road trip costs and arm and a leg with highway tolls and high gas prices. But if you're determined, you can get anywhere on the islands without breaking the bank.

The night bus

The night bus in Japan is called yoko-basu (夜行バス) and it’s around half the price of the daytime bus. Not only do you get to your destination, but you might also get a little shut-eye.

Bus routes connect all the major cities in Japan. You can take the night bus from Tokyo to Kyoto for as little as 4, 000 yen and Niigata from Tokyo is only 2, 000 yen. This is incredibly cheap when you consider the high price it would cost to fly, take the train, or drive.

The night bus is comfortable. There are curtains covering the windows so the light of dawn doesn’t disturb your slumber. They even give you a blanket and pillow. The seats recline slightly and it’s as quiet as a tomb (so don’t dare natter away to your traveling buddy, as the staff will ask you to pipe down!).

The downside is that the seats aren’t designed for giant westerners. If you’re over six feet tall (or in metric terms, inching toward the 2-meter mark), you’re going to wake up sore and cramped.

Discount airlines

Recently a number of discount airlines have sprung up in Japan. These companies offer domestic flights, which are surprisingly expensive in Japan, for as little as 5, 000 yen one way. The only trouble is that there are few routes, services are limited, flights get randomly canceled and the airlines don’t answer their phones. But… they’re really cheap.

Discount airlines include Jetstar, Air Asia, Skymark, and Peach. To give you an idea of how limited the routes are, Peach doesn’t even fly to Tokyo. Air Asia has some flights that only go out of Narita and not Haneda. Skymark doesn’t let you book flights until within two months of the departure date.

Discount airlines offer incredible deals if you don’t mind the lack of services. Interestingly, these airlines haven’t ‘taken off’ (sorry) with Japanese consumers, to whom quality of service is just as important as getting there. For an American like me who’s used to Greyhound, they’re a money-saving miracle.

Stick out your thumb

One more option is to plant yourself at a highway rest stop and stick out your thumb. The highways of Japan are full of kindly tourists and lonely business travelers who are happy to pick up a hitchhiker, even one of a foreign persuasion. I’ve heard stories about drivers eagerly practicing their English in exchange for the lift.

Funny treatment of outsiders aside, the Japanese are actually very warm once they let you ‘in, ’ so I can see how this works. Most cars zip by but the one that decides to pick you up welcomes you in and treats you as a valued guest, plying you with snacks and drinks.

Last Minute Travel fares

by desparate

I was suppose to be on an Air Canada flight from Boston to TOKYO this morning (with a connection in Vancouver), but unfortunately I missed the flight and I just found out that I can't re-schedule or even fly stand-by. $550 round-trip. It wasn't too bad at all, until I found out the hidden details. I bought it through Travelocity.
Anyway, does anyone know any cheap agencies or sites where I could find a cheap flight out tomorrow.
So far, the cheapest fare (one-way) that I can find is $1,450....
Sites I have checked out so far-
STA Travel
Council Travel

10 favourite things about Japan  — Vancouver Sun
There is much to like about Japan. After 14-days touring from Tokyo to Takayama, Kanazawa to Kyoto, Osaka to Nara, I am coming away with some lasting impressions and a list of quite a few favourite things.

Rhino / Wea Cheap Trick - Live in Australia
DVD (Rhino / Wea)


Michelle F
Where can I book a vacation in Italy for the Summer of 2012?

Is there any website online where I can book a vacation for anywhere in Italy (preferably Rome) in either July or August 2012? Someplace inexpensive would be nice. :)

It's too early to book for 2012. Check the travel guides and tourism websites to find the places you'd be interested in visiting and start planning for the trip, but you'll have to wait to actually book anything for those dates. You need to think about rather you want an organized tour or to travel independently, what your budget will look like for the trip, places you'd like to see and things to do on the trip. Then come back with more detailed questions in another year.

What is a good book to learn about Italy?

My dream is to take a trip to Italy one day. In the mean time I'd like to learn a lot about it first. What is a good recommended book that can help me learn lots about the country? I guess you could consider it a tour guide, but I want a book that'll talk about all parts of Italy: the food, the places, the shopping, typical famous attractions and must sees. I especially want to know about the beautiful country sides and villages outside of the large cities like Rome and Venice. Also maybe…

I'll add that it doesn't hurt to have some knowlege of the Roman empire and then the Renaissance, too. It's not essential, but it's a major part of Italy's heritage, and a good portion of why it is what it is, today.

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