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jal japan explorer pass - cover image

Japan Airlines Has $50 Domestic Flights, 5 Times Cheaper Than Using JR Passes

JAL Japan Explorer Pass

With attractions like Super Nintendo World, Harry Potter Studio, and Ghibli Park, it’s no wonder that Japan remains a top holiday destination for us Singaporeans. But these theme parks aren’t all centrally-located in 1 city like Tokyo. They’re spread far and wide, situated in Osaka and Nagoya as well.

This doesn’t mean repeat visits to Japan are in order. You can still squeeze in multiple cities in a single trip, without even having to book extra days of AL. Intercity travel is fast and possible if you book domestic flights with the JAL Japan Explorer Pass. Here’s how it works:

Book domestic flight tickets from <S$50

jal japan explorer pass - hokkaido flower fields
Hokkaido isn’t just a winter destination. Come in summer for gorgeous flower fields.

We’re really not joking with that price. Passes do start from ¥5,500 (~S$49.50)tax included – per flight. Of course, at this price, you’re limited to routes within Hokkaido, such as between Sapporo and Hakodate, as well as journeys that depart from or land in Tohoku.

jal japan explorer pass - teamlab osaka tokyo
Visit both teamLab exhibitions in Osaka and Tokyo in one trip.

But exploring the rest of Japan isn’t that much more expensive either. From ¥7,700 (~S$69.27), you’ll be able to fly between Tokyo to Osaka, as well as between Okinawa to outlying islands like Miyako and Ishigaki. Then from ¥11,000 (~S$98.96), you can fly cross-country, from as far North as Sapporo to Kagoshima in South Japan.

There are more than 30 cities you can fly to domestically with JAL. There’s no catch either, except that the fare is only applicable for tourists holding an international flight ticket out of Japan.

jal japan explorer pass - free wi-fi on board
Feel free to update Stories on Instagram while you’re a thousand miles up in the air.
Image credit: JAL

Even so, passengers get to enjoy a comfortable domestic flight in economy class. That means getting to enjoy familiar perks like free beverages, including juice and soft drinks on most flights.

You’ll even get to check in up to 2 pieces of luggage of 23kg each per flight. While the flights are too short to properly enjoy a full movie, you get free Wi-Fi to stay connected with your friends and family on the ground.

Comparing prices with JR Rail Pass

We know what you’re thinking – why fly when you can make use of Japan’s extensive rail network with the JR Rail Pass? But hear us out – it’s actually cheaper to fly than to buy a JR Rail Pass.

jal japan explorer pass - jr rail
The JR Rail Pass does have more scenic routes.

JR Rail Passes that cover the whole of Japan start from S$451.55 for a 7-day pass. Of course, this gives you unlimited travel on JR rail networks, but that’s still almost 4.5 times more expensive than flying across the country using the JAL Japan Explorer Pass.

Regional JR Rail Passes aren’t that much cheaper than a plane ticket as well. The JR East Tohoku Area Pass, for example, will set you back ¥30,000 (~S$269.93) to travel between Aomori to Tokyo. But the same route on JAL would only cost you ¥55,000 (~S$49.50). If our math is mathing, that’s 5 times cheaper.

jal japan explorer pass - jr west kansai area pass

The JR Rail Pass is most worth it for travelling between cities within a region like Kansai, Kyushu, or Hokuriku, since domestic flights don’t cover such short distances. Take the JR West Kansai Area Pass – for ¥5,800 (~S$52.19), you get unlimited JR Rail travel for 3 days to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe.

How to book flight tickets

jal japan explorer pass - booking page
You can book flights as soon as 24 hours before departure, if you’re up for a last minute adventure.
Image adapted from: JAL

It’s as easy as visiting the link below and selecting the cities you want to visit. Just note that you’ll need to have the ticket number of your confirmed inbound and outbound flights from Japan ready. You’ll find the 13-digit number on your e-ticket confirmation slips or on your printed boarding pass.

Getting around Japan with the JAL Japan Explorer Pass

If it’s your 5th or even 6th time to Japan and you’ve yet to voyage beyond popular cities like Tokyo and Osaka, then make sure you do so on your next visit. There’s so much to see and do, like discovering onsen towns across the country, meeting real-life samurais in Chubu, and going deep-sea diving in Okinawa.

With the JAL Japan Explorer Pass, there’s no excuse to stay in one place. Your next fave Japanese destination could be less than a blue Yusof Ishak away.

Find out more about the JAL Japan Explorer Pass

Cool things to check out while in Japan:

Cover image adapted from: One World