In a previous article I had I had referred to in how Tokyo’s (and thus Japan’s) drinking landscape had changed, or split rather, to take account of the fact people just aren’t as flush with disposable income as they were twenty years ago, especially young people. As with the fashion industry with the spectacular rise of Uni Qlo, and the spread of 100 yen stores like Daiso.
The high price-excellent service model usually associated with modern Japan has died a harder death in the aviation industry. Not as hard as might be hinted at mind you. Japan may have the most expensive airlines in the world, but it is not completely unknown to be told by travel agents here Japan Airlines or ANA is the cheapest airline flying to the requested destination.
But the trickle has become a flood in the last year or so and now there are options a plenty for plenty of people are, especially those who would not consider flying, and its the overnight bus crowd of young people, and if this article is anything to go by, it’s the overnight bus crowd heading away in some style rather than customers slumming it.
And as flying comes within budget of people here who wouldn’t have done so, the opportunity to visit the country becomes a more realistic option to regular folk living in East Asia.
Below is a list of countries, and cities, which have low cost carriers flying to somewhere in Japan, as of February 2013.
China’s Spring Airlines runs flights from Shanghai to Ibaraki (near enough to Tokyo), Saga (near enough to Fukuoka) and Takamatsu, which is not really close to any major city. Nice to see the regional places getting a gig.
Osaka based Peach Airlines runs cheap flights to and from that city
Air Asia has had a service from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo.
Jetstar, the Australian low cost carrier, but it’s cheaper than the alternatives and offers flights from Manila and Narita Airport.
Cebu Pacific flies an Osaka-Manila route.
Scoot Airlines runs a service to and from Tokyo
South Korea offers choices aplenty for those coming and going from Japan’s nearest neighbour.
Air Asia the region heavyweight LCC, has services from Tokyo and Osaka to Seoul. You can also get to Seoul from Busan.
Air Busan has low cost flights from South Korea’s second biggest city to Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka.
EastarJet meanwhile runs routes from Seoul to Tokyo and Seoul to Osaka.
Jeju Air don’t fly to Tokyo but they do fly in and out of the major cities of Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.
Jin Air flies routes to and from Sapporo.
Peach Airlines runs services to Seoul and Busan from Osaka.
T’way Airlines does not have a website in English, however it does have routes in and out of Fukuoka and Seoul.
The Scoot Airlines flights from Tokyo to Singapore make a stop at Taipei.
Peach Airlines meanwhile flies an Osaka -Taipei route.
With a bit of research, a weekend in Tokyo, Osaka or Fukuoka is not out of the question for people on normal salaries and while its a bit of a stretch to say it could become part of the banana pancake circuit, it merits at least consideration from the backpacker and other traveler on a budget wishing to try something a little different.