So you’re planning a visit to the capital city of Japan, and you’ve decided that, while you’re budget-conscious, taking a plane is probably a wiser option than rowing over on a raft or lassoing a flock of passing pigeons. Good decision. Cheap flights to Tokyo are possible no matter where you’re flying from—the USA, the land down under, the land even further down under (New Zealand, that’s you), Singapore or anywhere else.

Read on to find out how you can snag a bargain ticket, as well as what to watch out for when booking. We’ve also thrown in some tips on what to do when you’re here. Yosh! Let’s go.

Quick tip: Getting an air miles credit card – for Brits, the BA Amex card is a must.

Suggested Activity
Become a Samurai in Tokyo
Who doesn't want to swing a sword and emulate the warriors of feudal Japan? Experience being a samurai for yourself in one of the coolest activities in Tokyo. During your intimate lesson, you’ll get to dress up in a samurai outfit and train with a traditional katana (single-edged samurai sword)!
Narita Japan airport plane JAL
National carrier JAL is one of your options, but there are many cheap flights to Tokyo. | Photo by iStock/danieldep

Cheap flights to Tokyo: timing is everything

First things first—that old saying that timing is everything? Well, when it comes to finding cheap flights to Tokyo, it’s really true. Changing your travel dates by even a week can make a difference of tens of thousands of yen.

Looking for travel insurance for your trip? Read our guide to coverage in Japan.

If your schedule is flexible, you’re in luck. Even more so if you can book your tickets far in advance (3-6 months+ is ideal). A quick perusal of the rates on Skyscanner will confirm this, but the periods listed below are best avoided if you are trying to save some pennies (or cents, whatever they use where you call home).

Cherry blossom season, which is late March to mid-April in Tokyo, is both crowded and pricey; everyone wants a piece of the sakura, and we understand why—they are so very transient and lovely. If you want to experience spring in Japan, it’s best to arrive in early March and depart well after the blossoms have done their thing, or just wince and cough up for the steep airfare. You’ll also want to steer clear of Golden Week (the cluster of national holidays at the end of April going into early May), the New Year period, O-bon (an important family holiday in mid-August) and, though it is a bit less crowded, Chinese New Year (usually sometime in February).

Cherry blossoms blooming in Yanaka Cemetery
Ah, spring. The prettiest season in Tokyo, and also one of the most expensive when it comes to airfares. | Photo by

Direct routes to Tokyo vs. indirect routes

Direct flights are, of course, much less hassle than flights that require one or more connections. That makes them more expensive (usually); sometimes prohibitively so for cheapos. Our first rule of thumb (and presumably yours, too) is to scan, scan and scan some more for a cheap direct flight to Tokyo; if you come up short, go for the indirect option with the lowest travel time. Don’t assume that a direct ticket will be out of your price range; sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what comes up in your search.

If you do opt for an indirect flight, try to cap your travel time at 20-24 hours, maximum. Unless you build in a proper stopover (e.g. a night or two in Thailand or Hong Kong), any longer in the air will make for an extremely tired (and probably grouchy) cheapo on arrival in Tokyo. Young whippersnappers in the age range of 18-24 will probably ignore this advice, and that’s okay, but anyone older might want to listen. The TC team have all done several flights to and from Tokyo, and are no longer into dozing on dirty airport carpets for days on end. PRO TIP: You’ll also want to avoid non-protected self-transfers (exactly as scary as they sound) and transfers that require you to hotfoot it from one airport to another (e.g. in Shanghai) at your connection point.

Shot of queue of passengers waiting at boarding gate at airport. Group of people standing in queue to board airplane.
Long transit times can end up costing you more in books and coffee than you save on the ticket. | Photo by

Cheap flights for your route to Japan

For a price comparison of direct vs. indirect flights to Tokyo from some of the major ports of origin around the globe, see below. All fares are displayed in USD in the interests of simplicity. At the bottom of this article, you’ll find a few general money-saving tips, including how to make use of price alerts on booking sites.

New York to Tokyo

Direct Flights NYC to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
New York Newark => Tokyo NaritaANAUS$1,296.00 Sep 03, 2024Booking options
New York John F. Kennedy => Tokyo HanedaAmerican AirlinesUS$1,299.00 Jul 14, 2024Booking options
All Carriers NYC to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
New York Newark => Tokyo NaritaSpirit AirlinesUS$862.00 Apr 24, 2024Booking options
New York John F. Kennedy => Tokyo HanedaCathay PacificUS$955.00 Oct 16, 2024Booking options

For more flights and more details, read our dedicated article on the NYC-Tokyo route. Flying from LA? This article on cheap flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo has you covered.

London to Tokyo

Direct Flights London to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
London Heathrow => Tokyo HanedaBritish Airways£925.00 May 08, 2024Booking options
London Heathrow => Tokyo HanedaJapan Airlines£925.00 Apr 16, 2024Booking options
All Carriers London to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
There are no cheap flights at the moment.More info

To see more options, as well as tips on traveling this route, head over to our article on getting the cheapest flights from London to Tokyo.

Toronto to Tokyo

Direct Flights Toronto to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
Toronto Pearson International => Tokyo HanedaAir CanadaUS$1,523.00 Jul 15, 2024Booking options
All Carriers Toronto to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
Kitchener / Waterloo => Tokyo NaritaFlair AirlinesUS$851.00 Sep 10, 2024Booking options
Toronto Pearson International => Tokyo NaritaWestJetUS$893.00 Apr 16, 2024Booking options

For more flights and more details (and in Canadian Dollars, too), read our dedicated article on the Toronto to Tokyo route.

mount fuji aerial view
If you’re lucky, you might see Mount Fuji from the air as you come in to Tokyo. | Photo by

Singapore to Tokyo

Direct Flights Singapore to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
Singapore Changi => Tokyo NaritaAir JapanUS$293.00 Apr 29, 2024Booking options
Singapore Changi => Tokyo NaritaZipairUS$301.00 Aug 21, 2024Booking options
All Carriers Singapore to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
Singapore Changi => Tokyo HanedaAirAsiaUS$277.00 Apr 23, 2024Booking options
Singapore Changi => Tokyo NaritaAir JapanUS$293.00 Apr 29, 2024Booking options

To see further flights and details (and in Singapore Dollars, too), read our dedicated article on the Singapore to Tokyo route.

Suggested Activity
Get Tickets To the Samurai Restaurant in Shinjuku [10% OFF]
Experience one of the craziest, most colorful places in Tokyo — the all-new Samurai Restaurant, from the creators of the Robot Restaurant. Get your tickets and sit back for a wild show of lasers, lights, samurai, dancers and other uniquely Japanese weirdness. ...

Sydney to Tokyo

Direct Flights Sydney to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
Sydney => Tokyo HanedaANAUS$656.00 Oct 09, 2024Booking options
Sydney => Tokyo HanedaJapan AirlinesUS$659.00 Apr 29, 2024Booking options
All Carriers Sydney to Tokyo
RouteAirlineReturn FareDate
Sydney => Tokyo HanedaAir ChinaUS$430.00 May 28, 2024Booking options
Sydney => Tokyo NaritaChina SouthernUS$437.00 Apr 17, 2024Booking options

For more flights and info, and in Australian Dollars, check out our dedicated article on cheap flights from Sydney to Tokyo. Flying from New Zealand? You’ll want to read our article on cheap flights from Auckland to Tokyo. And if you’re heading over from South Africa, here is your guide to the cheapest flights from Johannesburg or Cape Town.

Choosing your arrival airport

Fuji and the city and Tokyo Monorail. Shooting Location: Tokyo metropolitan area
Haneda is more convenient, and it has a MONORAIL! | Photo by

When you book your flights, you’ll see that some of the options land at Narita Airport, and others at Haneda. Flights that terminate at Narita tend to be a bit cheaper, as the airport is older and out in the sticks of Chiba Prefecture (next door to Tokyo). The downside is that getting into the city is a little more expensive and takes longer, too—overall, Narita is the less convenient of the two airports. Haneda is in Tokyo Prefecture and transfers into the inner city take just 30 minutes (plus you get to ride a monorail, which is cool). It’s also swankier and just generally more awesome. Moral of the story here—if you are faced with a choice between the two airports, and the tickets are the same price, go for Haneda.

To find out more about transfers from the airports, head over to our popular articles on the cheapest ways of getting from Haneda to Tokyo and the cheapest ways of getting from Narita to Tokyo.

Things to do in Tokyo

A Yamanote Line E235 series EMU approaching Takanawa Gateway Station
Trains can whizz you into the city for a whirlwind exploration before you catch your connecting flight. | Photo by Gregory Lane

Whether you’re in Tokyo for a few days or a few months, you’ll find plenty to keep you fed, watered and happy. Tokyo has some of the best grub in the country, as well as pubs galore and entertainment to suit all sorts. There’s everything from karaoke to parks, museums, art galleries, mad architecture and hole-in-the-wall concert venues. If you’re here en route elsewhere, our Haneda Layover Guide and Tokyo in 24 Hours Itinerary might come in handy. This list of 101 Cheap and Free Things to Do is useful for longer stays, and our Beginner’s Guide to Tokyo is what you need to read if you’re going to be living here for a while.

Price alerts and travel hacks

Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights all have a nifty little feature in the form of price alerts. You can register the flight(s) you are looking for, and get email notifications when prices go up or down. This helps you to take advantage of seasonal sales and other bargain booking times. Kayak also helps you to anticipate what’s going to happen with its flight price prediction feature—that’s the little graph you’ll see at the top left of your flight search screen (for some routes). Note the buy/wait advice beneath.

Other ways of saving those cash monies include:

  • collecting air miles
  • Getting an air miles credit card (for Brits, the BA Amex card is a must)
  • Booking flights that depart mid-week as opposed to on/near weekends, and playing around with dates that differ by 1-3 days each end to compare prices.

This article is updated regularly. Check back for more flight routes. Originally published in 2017 by Carey Finn. Last update: December 2019, by Kylie van Zyl.

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