Traveling around Japan doesn’t have to be expensive. See Japan’s hidden countryside cheaply and conveniently with these deals.
In the past, the Tohoku region of northern Japan was relatively unknown to foreigners. However, in recent years it has gained more attention — being ranked by both Lonely Planet and National Geographic as one of the best places to visit in 2020. Shrouded in nature and tradition, the Akita Shirakami area in the Tohoku region is a great place for those who want to tread new ground, and experience Japan firsthand with real people and memorable experiences.
Unfortunately, Japan isn’t necessarily the cheapest travel destination. And for many travelers, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations may seem inconvenient and expensive. Luckily there are options that will surely make it worthwhile! More and more companies are offering discount rates to foreign travelers to encourage exploration! The Akita Shirakami area can be easily accessed from Tokyo and other large cities by plane, train, and bus for cheap through these deals:
ANA’s Experience Japan Fare and 2020 Campaign
At this time, ANA is the only airline company that services the Shirakami area’s nearest airport, Odate-Noshiro Airport. However, with two very attractive discount campaigns going on, ANA is definitely worth looking into for cheap Tohoku travel.
The first one, “Experience Japan Fare” offers discounted airfare for non-residents of Japan. With prices set at 5,500 JPY one-way, visitors can fly to both Odate-Noshiro Airport and Akita Airport round-trip for close to $100 USD (as well as other destinations across Japan). According to their website, this deal will only be available through the end of February.
The second, newly released campaign is even cheaper! In celebration of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020, ANA will be offering one-way flight tickets priced at 2,020 JPY to various airports across Tohoku including the ones mentioned above. Tickets will go on sale in the spring, and will be available for flights from July through September.
From Odate-Noshiro Airport, the Shirakami area is a short drive away (only about thirty minutes)!
JAL’s Japan Explorer Pass
With JAL’s Japan Explorer Pass, travelers can buy flights for as cheap as 5,500 JPY one-way to the Tohoku region, including to Akita Airport! From Akita Airport, visitors can take a bus, train, or rental car to Noshiro City — a good base camp for exploring the Shirakami area. Be sure to read the restrictions prior to booking, as residents of Japan unfortunately can’t enjoy this discount perk either.
Tohoku Highway Bus Ticket 2-day/3-day Pass
This pass comes in two types: a 2-day (6,000 JPY) and a 3-day (8,000 JPY). With it, travelers can have unlimited access to selected highway buses and local buses all across Tohoku. Particularly in rural areas, train stations are not guaranteed and buses may be a more convenient option. This pass must be used consecutively for two or three days.
JR Rail Pass
A popular, and well-known pass among travelers to Japan, the JR Rail Pass is worth it. With passes ranging from 1-week to 3-weeks, and prices between $270 USD and $550 USD they are great for seeing many places across Japan comfortably, conveniently, and for cheap! At first glance, the prices may seem high but considering that a one-way shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Akita can cost upwards of $180 USD, these passes pay off quick!