Over 50 of Japan’s 90 or so airports offer domestic flights. In the last few years, many domestic budget airlines have sprung up in Japan offering competitive fares and no frills services. As a result, domestic airfares have dropped considerably, and on many routes air now offers a more economical way to travel than the bullet train.
Airports that international travellers to Japan are most likely to use for convenient domestic flights include Shin-Chitose Airport (CTS), which serves the city of Sapporo, the home of the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido.
Other popular domestic airports include those on sunny southern Kyushu such as Kagoshima (KOJ), Kumamoto (KMJ), Nagasaki (NGS) and Miyazaki Airports (KMI). A short domestic flight is the only way to reach destinations in the subtropical southern Okinawan islands chain including Naha (OKA) and Ishigaki (ISG) from mainland Japan.
Domestic air travel is dominated by national carriers Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA). Both airlines offer air passes for foreign tourists, which allow holders to use any domestic flight at a fixed cost of slightly over 10,000 yen (£70) per flight. You can read more about the various air passes on offer here.
For details of the various other airline companies serving destinations within in Japan (plus a limited number of international destinations), please see below.
Other popular domestic airlines include the following companies:
Skymark Airlines maintains an extensive network of flights from its main bases of Tokyo Haneda and Kobe airports to domestic airports including Sapporo, Nagoya, airports in Kyushu, and Okinawa.
Based in Osaka Kansai (KIX) and Okinawa Naha (OKA) Airports, Peach Aviation serves Tokyo, Sapporo, Sendai, Okinawa and airports in Kyushu, as well as a few international destinations such as Korea, China and Taiwan.
Jetstar Japan offers flights from Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai (KIX) and Nagoya Centrair airports to domestic destinations such as Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Okinawa as well as many nearby international destinations such as Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Vanilla Air fly routes from Tokyo Narita to domestic destinations such as Sapporo, Osaka and Okinawa, as well as several Asian destinations.
Air Do fly from Tokyo Haneda to various cities in Hokkaido, including Sapporo.
Starflyer have a route network centred around destinations in western Japan: Kita-kyushu, Fukuoka and Yamaguchi.