Best time to go to Japan

Oct 25th, 2004, 08:41 AM
  #1  
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Best time to go to Japan

Hi all

Just started looking into a trip to Tokyo in 2006. We are pretty open to the time of year to go.

When is the least expensive time of year for airfare from the NY area?
ga9497 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 12:19 PM
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Since you have so much time to plan, this is what I would recommend. Every month starting now thru 2005, lookup up air fares and hotel rates and availabilities for various times in Japan. By this time next year, you have a good recent historical record of the airfare pricing situation; when you should be booking for which month in 2006, assuming the flight situation does not change drastically in 2005.
nickn is offline  
Oct 25th, 2004, 06:16 PM
  #3  
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Great info

Thanks
ga9497 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 01:35 AM
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The prices I mention below are approximate, include taxes, and are from D.C. (NYC should be similar, maybe $20 or $30 lower, I think).

I think the consistently lowest fares are for travel in February (around $540 total), but that is not the best time to go. Not for me, anyway, but if you are into skiing then you might like to go to the Sapporo Snow Festival at the beginning of Feb and do some skiing.

There are great bargains for travel in May which is a good time to visit. For travel this past May, the ticket price was $590 during the second half of February. By the first weekend in March, the price went up. Two years ago, I bought a roundtrip on ANA nonstop for $622 total. Bought it at the beginning of March for travel at the end of May. Last year, at the beginning of May there were some really cheap fares (under $550, I think) offered at the beginning of May for the end of May.

In May, there is a grand sumo tournament in Tokyo, the Japan Derby, and it is baseball season. Another good time to go is in November for fall foliage, grand sumo in Fukuoka, and the Japan Cup. Fine weather at those times.

I think October is a good time to go (except, maybe, for typhoons) and April for cherry blossom festivals. This year the fare sales started in August, maybe end of July, for travel in the fall. It was the first or second week of October when they had fare sales for travel through the beginning of December.

This is the second year in a row that I've seen United offer double elite qualifying miles for travel between end of October and beginning of December.

You can set up a fare watcher at travelocity. Recently, they showed roundtrip fares to Osaka from D.C. of $378. With taxes the ticket cost was $471. They were basically last minute fares. Besides Tokyo (NRT), you should check fares for Osaka (KIX). United and American recently added service to Osaka and I guess they are having some trouble filling seats.

You can also use the flexible dates option at travelocity to see what fares are available when for what dates.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Oct 26th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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i went last year for three weeks (may 15 - june 5). the weather was spectacular...not to hot...just beautiful spring weather. the tourist crowds weren't that bad either because i missed the cherry blossom season (would highly recommend avoiding this peak visiting period). prices were decent as well...
asykes1 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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> ..missed the cherry blossom season (would highly recommend avoiding this peak visiting period).

That's a big dilemma I have. I want to visit Hirosaki in Aomori for its superb cherry blossom. Some even describe it as out of this world. Maybe that's a Japanese idea of heaven. But I hear also the crowd is almost out of this world. Anybody's been there?
kappa is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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emd
 
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kappa, i don't know about Hirosaki, but I am going at cherry blossom season last half of March in 2005-- didn't plan it that way but I can't be more excited that it worked out that way. I think experiencing the cherry blossoms and that whole "partying under the blossoms" cultural thing that the Japanese have w/the cherry blossoms will offset the crowds for us. And we have some personal small group and individual things we are planning (like a tea ceremony, some small group Japanese craft experiences, etc.) to offset the crowds we will likely experience at the bigger tourist attractions also.
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Oct 28th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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IMO, the only time I wouldn't voluntarily plan a trip to Japan is mid June through August. That's because I despise heat and humidity! However, one of the most significant festivals happens in mid summer - O-bon, the Buddhist remembrance of the dead. So don't avoid summer if the weather does not bother you.

Don't forget that Japan is a "long" country north to south. There are advantages to every season depending where you are. One of my most memorable trips was to the "deep South" of Japan, way down in Kagoshima, in early December. While it was chilly and rainy in Yokohama, I had 70+ temps there and some autumn color on the trees.

If you were going in February for the low airfare, I would suggest that you avoid the west (Japan Sea) side of Honshu, which gets much longer and more severe winters. The Inland Sea area, Shikoku, and of course Kyushu would be good choices - plum blossoms should be making an appearance by February.

dovima is offline  
Oct 31st, 2004, 11:35 AM
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I just came back from Japan. I bought my ticket through JTB, in which they gave me a round trip ticket to Taiwan and Japan for just over $700 leaving from NY (I spent a week in each country). I bought my ticket around the end of Apr. early May. You may want to avoid Oct. though, because the week before I came to Japan, there was typhoons and the last 2 days of my trip was hampered by typhoons as well. I hope this information helps.

Amit
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