A Guide to Flying Inside of Japan (Domestic Airlines)

With over 90 airports in Japan, domestic airways are a great way to travel between the islands and main regions of Japan. It’s time-efficient and cost-effective with a convenience not offered by the nationwide train service or ferry system. Booking a flight isn’t expensive or complicated at all.

However, there are several tips to keep in mind if you want to use this method for domestic travel within Japan. You have several carrier options available to you, so it’s wise to do some thorough research before you make travel plans.

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Popular Domestic Destinations

The robust airport network in Japan means there are literally hundreds of daily flights. While you can go almost anywhere, some of the more popular destinations are:

  • Fukuoka: Fukuoka is Kyushu Island’s largest city and you can travel between here and Tokyo with great ease on an enormous aircraft.
  • Okinawa: Since this is Japan’s only prefecture not connected by train to the mainland, air travel is integral to reaching the island.
  • Osaka: The Kansai region encompassing Osaka connects to the rest of the country.
  • Sapporo: Arguably one of the busiest air routes for tourists, businessmen, and adventure-seekers.
  • Tokyo: This is the hub for all domestic flights and other transportation in Japan with two major airports.

How to Book a Domestic Flight in Japan

For more thorough instructions on how to book a domestic flight in Japan, visit the specific airline you want to take.

Not only will you find booking information but also prices, baggage allowances, airport amenities, onboard offerings, and other details specific to the airline.

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Regardless, the airline will have more up-to-date protocols, guidelines, and rules for booking as well as boarding.

However, this article will give you a general overview so that you can be smart about your trip and make informed decisions.

Prepayment for a Booking Isn’t Necessary

When you go to the airline’s websites, you’ll find them in English. Therefore, you can take comfort in knowing you can be in complete possession of the details and itinerary of your flight(s).

Another good thing is that you can book a domestic flight without paying for it; which is convenient for peace of mind.

However, the date you have to pay will vary and you must submit it on time or you will lose your reservation.

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Advanced Bookings; General Pricing

Booking your flight in advance can mean a lower price. However, if it’s a busy holiday season, like Golden Week, it will be expensive no matter how early you book the flight.

On average, though, expect to pay ¥20,000 ($166 USD) per flight. But, if you get a temporary flight pass, you can get flights for as little as ¥10,000 ($83 USD).

However, looking out for cheaper flights may not always be the best idea. This is because there are various hassles and restrictions involved that include things like seat charges, inferior flight schedules, or limited baggage allowances. 

Plus, some cheaper flights don’t usually let you earn flight miles for later redemption.

Check-In Procedures

One thing that can be confusing is online check-in procedures. This requires a digital code and you don’t receive a standard boarding pass.

What you get is what they call a “2D barcode.” You can use this only one time and you must save it as soon as you generate it.

If this is too much trouble for you, check in at the airport. One more note about checking in: ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure. But, sooner is better.

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Airline Companies

Peruse the table of airline companies below to begin booking a domestic flight within Japan.

Note the differences in the sizes of their networking throughout the country along with fare price descriptions and baggage allowances.

AirlineNetwork SystemFare DescriptionBaggage AllowanceGeneral Description
Japan Airlines (JAL)LargeSomewhat InexpensiveRelatively GenerousComprises several smaller airlines along with links to over 100 domestic routes and 50 airports within Japan; complimentary drinks on every flight.
All Nippon Airways (ANA)Japan’s LargestMostly InexpensiveRelatively GenerousConnects with several small airlines, 100 domestic routes, and 50 airports; paid drinks and snacks are available onboard
Skymark AirlinesExtensiveInexpensiveModerateTwo main bases in Tokyo-Haneda and Kobe but low level of services at the airport and onboard
Peach AviationSmallVery Inexpensive, but tends to sneak in hidden charges and feesStrict and minimalOne of the newer domestic airlines began in 2012; bases at the Kansai Airport in Osaka and Narita Airport in Tokyo; paid snacks and drinks onboard
Jetstar JapanMediumVery Inexpensive; but beware of hidden fees and chargesVery limited baggage policyBased in Kansai,  Narita, and Nagoya airports; limited services with paid snacks and drinks onboard
Spring JapanSmallInexpensiveRestrictiveConnects to Sapporo, Hiroshima, and Saga
Air DoSmallFairly InexpensiveGenerous AllowanceVarious destinations in Hokkaido from Tokyo-Haneda and from Sapporo to Osaka; complimentary drinks
StarFlyerSmallFairly InexpensiveGenerous AllowanceRoutes only around Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, and Yamaguchi; super comfortable flights with complimentary drinks and individual video systems
Solaseed AirSmallFairly InexpensiveGenerous AllowanceTokyo-Haneda to various places on Kyushu Island along with Tokyo, Nagoya, and Okinawa; complimentary drinks
Fuji Dream AirlinesSmallSomewhat ExpensiveRelatively GenerousOpened alongside the Shizuoka Airport in 2009 and serves Matsumoto and Nagoya
IBEX AirlinesSmallSomewhat ExpensiveSomewhat RestrictiveSendai-based but also serves Narita, Itami, and Nagoya airports



Important Airports

So you understand your booking information and flight itinerary, it’s important to know where all the airports are and the domestic airlines found at each.

Please note these are not all the airports, but these are the most significant. Links to Japan’s three largest domestic carriers links below:

ANA Official Website

Japan Airlines Official Website

Skymark Airlines Official Website

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Hokkaido

  • Memanbetsu Airport (Ōzora): Air Do, ANA, JAL, Peach
  • Asahikawa Airport (Asahikawa and Higashikagura): Air Do, ANA, JAL, Spring
  • Kushiro Airport: Tokyo-Haneda, ANA, JAL, Peach
  • Shin-Chitose Airport (Sapporo): Air Do, ANA, Fuji Dream, JAL, Jetsar, Peach, Skymark, Spring
  • Hakodate Airport: Air Do, ANA, Fuji Dream, JAL

Honshu

  • Aomori Airport: ANA, Fuji Dream, JAL
  • Sendai Airport: Air Do, ANA, Fuji Dream, JAL, IBEX, Peach, Skymark
  • Niigata Airport: ANA, Fuji Dream, JAL, Peach
  • Ibaraki Airport (Omitama): Skymark, Spring
  • Narita Airport (Tokyo): ANA, JAL, Jetstar, Peach, Spring
  • Haneda Airport (Tokyo): Air Do, ANA, JAL, Peach, Solaseed, Spring
  • Shinshu-Matsumoto Airport: Fuji Dream, JAL
  • Shizuoka Airport (Makinohara and Shimada):  ANA, Fuji Dream
  • Toyama Airport: ANA
  • Komatsu Airport (Kanazawa and Komatsu): ANA, JAL
  • Central Japan Airport (Tokoname, Nagoya): Air Do, ANA, IBEX, JAL, Jetstar, Peach, Skymark, Solaseed, Spring
  • Kansai Airport (Izumisano, Sennan, ; Tajiri of Osaka): ANA, JAL, Jetstar, Peach, Spring
  • Itami Airport (Itami, Hyogo; Ikeda and Toyonaka, Osaka): ANA, JAL
  • Kobe Airport (Chuo-ku): Air Do, ANA, Fuji Dream, Skymark, Solaseed
  • Okayama Airport: ANA, JAL
  • Yonago Airport: ANA
  • Izumo Airport: Fuji Dream, JAL
  • Hiroshima Airport: ANA, JAL, Spring
  • Yamaguchi-Ube Airport: ANA, JAL, StarFlyer

Shikoku

  • Takamatsu Airport: ANA, JAL, Jetstar, Spring
  • Matsuyama Airport: ANA, IBEX, JAL, Jetstar

Kyushu

  • Shin-Kitakyushu Airport: Fuji Dream, JAL, StarFlyer
  • Fukuoka Airport: ANA, Fuji Dream, IBEX, JAL, Jetstar, Peach, Skymark, Solaseed, StarFlyer
  • Ōita Airport: ANA, JAL, Jetstar, Peach
  • Kumamoto Airport (Mashiki): ANA, Amakusa, Fuji Dream, IBEX, JAL, Jetstar, Solaseed
  • Kagoshima Airport: ANA, Fuji Dream, IBEX, JAL, Jetstar, Peach, Skymark, Solaseed

Okinawa

  • Naha Airport: ANA, JAL, Jetstar, Peach, Skymark, Solaseed, StarFlyer

Review Of ANA Domestic Flights

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.