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Domestic Travel during Christmas/New Year

Domestic Travel during Christmas/New Year

Sep 27th, 2007, 02:32 PM
  #1  
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Domestic Travel during Christmas/New Year

I guess this would apply for any peak holiday period. I'm planning to fly into Japan on Christmas Day and leave either on Jan 1 or 2. I know that travelling within Japan at this time is pretty rough, but how rough is it? I have to go from Kansai International to Tokyo (the airline I am flying with doesn't fly into Narita) and I have a couple of options- either buy a JR pass and chance it trying to book trains when I get there or get a return air fare to Haneda.

Any thoughts, experiences or suggestions?
Sydney2K is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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So, I gather that you are saying that you're planning to go to Tokyo and have two options:

1) Fly SYD-KIX-HND-KIX-SYD

or

2) Fly SYD-KIX, then take JR from Kansai Airport station to Tokyo and return, then fly KIX-SYD.

Is that it? You're planning to spend all your time in Tokyo?

I would expect that the airfare would be the cheaper and quicker option.

I wouldn't be too concerned about getting the train. The airport train originates there so it will be empty when you get on and the great majority of other pax will have bought their ticket on arrival too. When you get to the shinkansen you probably will already have your reserved seat from when you bought the ticket at the airport. If not, then you will go into an unreserved car.

You could consider not getting a JR Pass, if you go by train. That limits your train options to the Hikari trains. If you pay for each ticket then you can use any shinkansen. This would cost you about 4000 yen more than the JR Pass.

Anyway, the 7-day JR Pass won't be good for your whole trip. If you activate it on Dec 25, then it will expire at midnight on Dec 31. A longer period pass would be a waste of money, unless your itinerary is significantly different from what I think it is.

mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 05:14 PM
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Travel at this time is actually not bad at all if you compare with Golden Week, Obon, and Autumn foliage in Kyoto. Neither trains nor domestic flights are particularly crowded. December 24 is a holiday, but up until January 1 life goes on as usual.

January 1-3 are holidays with banks, post offices, most ATM machines, smaller shops, most tourist attractioins closed...it's a family get together time. Trains and buses run on a holiday schedule, but do not stop altogether. Temples and shrines will be crowded on these days as well as New Years Eve.

This year, the holiday time will start for many on Saturday December 29, so expect departing international flights to be full. January 1 or 2 leaving Japan will be no problem at all...that's when people start to come back.

To just go to Tokyo from KIX and back, I'd just fly. If you book 60 days in advance, the discount is very good, about 10,000 per flight. You can book online in English with both ANA and JAL.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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cheapest flights will be ON Dec 25 and January 1st, as well as Dec 31 if you're spending NYE on the plane.
smartcookie is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 07:29 PM
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Cheapest flights out of Japan are December 22 or earlier or after January 7. Japan's prices depend on the time off of work first and school vacations second and flights out of Japan increase in price starting December 15, peak prices are December 31, January 1-3.

For domestic travel, the prices do not vary according to season, but in peak travel times the discounted seats often sell out on the day they are offered.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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I don't think 25 Dec is a bank holiday in Japan. It is actually a business day as usual, so I cannot believe you'd have difficulty with transport etc. As previous posters mentioned, 1 Jan is very quiet--most restaurants and shops seem to be closed, aside from a few and of course convenience stores. Though I personally think it is an interesting experience to be there for the new year--shrine visit et al. Suspect most of the domestic travel peak would be over by 31st, though some returning road traffic to resume early 3 Jan.
W9London is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 08:36 PM
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Thanks for your replies. Just for the record, I meant to say I am flying to Osaka on the 25th, but arrive on the 26th of December. My main concern was domestic travel, knowing that it was a busy time of the year.

My thoughts are after reading your replies are that I should go for a JR Pass if I can't get decently priced airfares. At the moment if I try and book via the JAL office here I am looking at a return flight of US$380. Both the ANA and JAL website won't let me book until two months before the travel, and the ANA domestic website seems to restrict booking domestic flights to Japanese residents only.

I'll wait for a few weeks and then try again., and if the fares still don't look favourable go with the JR Pass.
Sydney2K is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 11:08 PM
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Both JAL and ANA have air passes. Search this forum for my thread titled "dometic Japan airline passes". There are links there to webpages that explain. You'd pay between 20,000 and 25,000 yen return. On that thread KimJapan also mentions that discount tix are available 60 days in advance.

I remember reading that the airlines were trying to avoid using KIX.

Why not get a ticket on thru to Tokyo? Have you already got the SYD?-KIX ticket?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 03:51 PM
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Thanks mrwunrfl. Unfortunately neither airpasses can be used during the Christmas/New Year break, this is mentioned on the JAL and ANA websites. And as I mentioned, I had just gone to both airline's domestic flight websites to try and book flights, and was unsuccessful, so if I am not going to the right URL, let me know (jal.co.jp and ana.co.jp's English pages). Still, I'll check your thread, perhaps there's something I missed.

I'm flying with Qantas' budget subsiduary Jetstar.
Sydney2K is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 04:02 PM
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Whoops, sorry for the double post- KimJapan, where do you find these discounted fares- at the airlines' websites, or are there other discounted fare sites I can consult?
Sydney2K is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 04:06 PM
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You can't book any domestic flights on JAL/ANA until 60 days before your flight date. When it is 60 days out, just go to the JAL or ANA website and the discount fares show up right along with all of the others. Then you pick which one you want. ANA has English booking capabilities for domestic flights. JAL does not.
KimJapan is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:09 PM
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Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.
Sydney2K is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 10:21 PM
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You can book JAL through STA Travel as well.
smartcookie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 10:42 PM
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You CAN book through STA travel, even more than 60 days out. Catch is, STA can only sell full fare tickets for Japan domestic flights as far as I could tell, making it double or more the price that you could pay by waiting until the 60 day window and booking directly with the airline. For JAL, you could book by phone, as their web booking is only in Japanese.
KimJapan is offline  
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