Translated by Greg
The Best Go To Travel Booking Sites: Save Money Traveling Around Japan
Written by Kogetsu
Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, you can save money with Japan's Go To Travel campaign now through 2021. Learn how and through which booking sites and travel agencies to make a reservation on to be eligible for more savings. Safe travels!
Go To Travel Campaign: Enjoy Discounts on Domestic Travel
If you live in Japan, you may have heard of the Go To Travel campaign, a money-saving opportunity for residents who go sightseeing. This initiative is part of the larger Go To campaign subsidies launched by the Japanese government to stimulate the economy.
With the Go To Travel campaign, participants can receive discounts of up to 20,000 yen per night off their accommodation! This campaign started July 22, 2020, and is planned to run through 2021.
To receive the maximum amount of savings, you need to make your reservations through a designated travel agency.
Below is a list of popular travel agencies and booking websites that have registered with the Go To Travel campaign. Reserve your trip or lodgings with these agencies to be eligible for discounts and rebates.
*Please note that the Go To Travel campaign is subject to change depending on the state of COVID-19 outbreaks in Japan. For the latest information, please check the official page of the Go To Travel campaign (Japanese).
About the Suspension of the Go To Travel Campaign
Due to an increase in COVID-19 infection cases, the Go To Travel campaign has been suspended until March 7, 2021.
Please be aware that trips with a departure date between December 28 and March 7 are no longer eligible for a discount. (*Information current as of February 2021.)
If you'd like to apply for the Go To Travel campaign in English, we suggest applying through Japan Wonder Travel. They can help with the arrangements for your trip, including aspects related to transportation and accommodation. Please specify that you applied through MATCHA when filling in the form.
AirTrip is a travel reservation site that's simple and easy to navigate.
Visitors can book tours, choose flight and accommodation packages, and make accommodation-only reservations. For combination bookings, customers can select their desired airline company and hotel as well.
Additionally, AirTrip has its own point system and discount plan. By taking advantage of the Go To Travel campaign, you can save even more money on your trip.
Picture from Superb Fall Colors And Hot Springs! 6 Destinations In Northern Japan, courtesy of ©Akita Prefecture/©JNTO
H.I.S. Travel is a globally-recognized Japanese travel agency.
Currently, H.I.S. is accepting reservations for travel through January 31, 2021. Their website features recommended campaign tours and plans listed according to the region of Japan and by trip purpose.
Any tour or travel plan that has a green icon reading "Go To" is part of this promotion.
In addition to booking online, travelers can visit a H.I.S. office in-person or call to make a reservation. See their official homepage (Japanese) for details.
Picture from Five Famous Shrines That You Should Visit In Japan
Ikyu.com is a reservation site that handles luxury ryokans and hotels.
By registering as a member on either the official site or their Google or Facebook page, you'll be eligible to receive discounts and points.
They also have a feature that allows visitors, by request, to be placed on a waiting list for future vacancies. If the lodging you want to stay at is fully booked, you can be put on a waiting list. When a vacant room becomes available, the travel website will notify you.
Picture from Okinawa Travel Guide: Access, Weather, And Beaches
JTB (Japan Travel Bureau), the nation's largest travel agency, is also a designated member of the Go To Travel campaign. Discounted travel plans are available until January 31, 2021.
When you visit JTB's official site, you'll see a red button near the bottom of the page for the Go To Travel campaign (search for "GoToトラベルキャンペーン専用申込ページ(Webクーポン)" in Japanese). This will take you to a page where you can search for your desired destination.
Since you'll be using a discount coupon system, be sure to take note of the discount code. Input this code when making your travel reservation to receive a discount.
You can also visit a JTB office in-person or call to make your reservation. The official site offers step-by-step reservation procedures and lists JTB locations. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact them.
Picture from A Gorgeous Sunset! 5 Ways To Enjoy Chichibugahama Beach In Kagawa, courtesy of Mitoyo City
J-TRIP is a travel website managed by Japan Airlines (also known as "JAL"). Access their website and you'll see a list of travel plans eligible with the Go To Travel campaign.
J-TRIP offers a wide selection of plans, including destinations for Hokkaido, Okinawa, and other regions. Since the campaign launched, the number of available plans has increased and will likely continue to do so.
They specialize in flight and accommodation travel packages. Customers are free to choose their desired flight and hotel. Some plans include a rental car as well.
Customers can also earn miles from flights. These are great discounts for those who typically fly with JAL.
Kinki Nippon Tourist
Popular among Japanese travelers, Kinki Nippon Tourist is also offering special packages for the Go To Travel campaign.
Travelers can use campaign discount coupons here, too. First, create an account on their website to receive your coupons. You are eligible to use them when making a reservation.
Access their website via the link directly below. When you scroll down the page, there will be a map of Japan. This is the starting point to personalize your travel plan.
Kinki Nippon Tourist offers tour plans and travel packages providing both accommodation and transportation. You can also go directly to one of their offices for inquiries or to make a reservation.
Nippon Travel Agency
Nippon Travel Agency has office locations throughout the country. On the website's Go To Travel page, those preparing for a trip can choose a plan based on their preferred destination, making it easy to navigate.
You can make a reservation for a packaged plan (hotel accommodation plus your flight or other transportation) or an accommodation-only plan.
For online reservations, you'll need to create a member's account. The site provides a breakdown of your discount and how much you will pay. Be sure to check this information before confirming the reservation.
Picture from 10 Great Buddha Statues in Japan! (Thai)
Yahoo! Travel is a travel service managed by the web service provider Yahoo! Japan. The website features both the Go To Travel and Go To Event incentive campaigns.
Similar to other sites, travelers can use discount coupons with the agency. Access Yahoo! Travel's website to receive coupons that are redeemed upon making a reservation.
Yahoo! Travel also offers special rewards and points for Yahoo Premium members and PayPay points. Those who take advantage of these special services can save even more money!
Get Additional Discounts With MATCHA Coupons!
You can save money on your trip by using MATCHA coupons while shopping—which is not covered by the Go To Travel campaign. Available coupons include Don Quijote, Bic Camera, Laox, drugstores, and a variety of other places.
Check out the MATCHA Coupon page or refer to the article directly below to learn more.
If you'd like to apply for the Go To Travel campaign in English, consider applying through Japan Wonder Travel. When filling in the form, please specify that you applied through MATCHA.
Enjoy Your Travels While Keeping Safety a Priority
Unfortunately, as of August 2020, the COVID-19 outbreaks in Japan and the rest of the world are still not under control.
Even when venturing outside every day, it's essential to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and disinfect your hands frequently. If you're not feeling well, it's also a good idea to pull back from your usual routine and not overdo it.
When traveling or going away on business, be sure to be extra careful. Restaurants, buses, airplanes, and sightseeing destinations are taking extra precautionary measures to ensure visitors can safely enjoy their trip.
While taking advantage of the savings of the Go To Travel campaign, practice safe travel habits so that we can overcome this challenging time.
If you need to borrow a suitcase for your travels or if you wish to try a certain type of suitcase before actually buying it consider using the services of R&Y Rental.
Main image by Pixta