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Up To 50% Off! Go To Travel Campaign For Exploring Japan On A Budget

Up To 50% Off! Go To Travel Campaign For Exploring Japan On A Budget

Translated by Shinji Takaramura

Written by Kogetsu

2020.07.29 Bookmark

The Go To Travel campaign, a Japanese government-backed travel discount program, offers perks to all residents, including foreign nationals of Japan, and aims to revive the tourism industry. This article includes details about the campaign, discounts on travel costs, and other "Go To" initiatives.

Go To Travel: A Money-Saving Method to Travel in Japan

The Japanese government launched the "Go To Travel" campaign in July 2020 to provide discounts for residents and to help revive the domestic tourism industry. You may have heard about this initiative already from other media outlets.

Many people, however, may be wondering about what this campaign entails, and whether foreign nationals in Japan are eligible for the perks. This article answers these questions surrounding this government-backed travel discount program.

Go To Travel Reservation Sites

1. HIS
2. JTB
3. AirTrip
4. Ikyu.com
5. J-Trip
6. Kinki Nippon Tourist
7. Nippon Travel Agency
8. Yahoo! Travel

Does the Go To Campaign Offer 50% Discounts off Travel Expenses?

Lake Kawaguchiko – Mt. Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland, Art Museums, And Tips

Picture from Lake Kawaguchiko – Mt. Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland, Art Museums, And Tips (Picture courtesy of Yamanashi Tourism Organization)

The Go To Travel campaign applies to tourists who book trips and tour plans through designated travel agencies, and provides discounts covering up to 50% of travel expenses. The maximum subsidy is up to 20,000 yen per person, per night.

This initiative launched by the Japanese government seeks to boost the domestic tourism sector stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone residing in Japan is eligible to apply.* The four campaign categories are as follows:

Category Campaign Objective
Go To Travel Supporting domestic tourism
Go To Eat Supporting the food service industry
Go To Event Supporting events and the entertainment industry
Go To Shotengai Supporting shopping districts

This article mainly covers the details of the "Go To Travel" campaign. Click here for information on the three additional campaign initiatives.

*Some restrictions apply: Tokyo residents and trips to or from Tokyo are not eligible for the Go To Travel campaign. Please note that this article is based on information as of July 28, 2020. Since other "Go To" initiatives are in the planning stages, some details have yet to be released. Discounts and application requirements are subject to change.

Go To Travel Details

Dotonbori in Osaka

Picture from Shinsaibashi And Dotonbori - 11 Fun Things To Do In Osaka!

The Go To Travel campaign offers domestic travelers in Japan discounts on their travel expenses. Foreign nationals with residence status are also eligible for the perks of this campaign.

Campaign Details
  • 50% off travel expenses. (Up to 20,000 yen per person, per night, or 10,000 yen for a day trip)
  • There are no limits on the number of travelers and the number of consecutive nights. The campaign also applies to day trips.
  • All citizens residing in Japan can apply (excludes trips made by Tokyo residents*).
  • The campaign is only applicable to domestic trips in Japan (excludes trips departing from and arriving in Tokyo*).
  • Group trips are also eligible for discounts.
  • There are no restrictions regarding the number of trips during the campaign period.
  • Travelers using sleeper trains and night ferries can also apply.
  • Go To Travel can be used in conjunction with other Go To initiatives.
  • This campaign may end when the budget limit is reached.
  • Please note that tour and accommodation reservations must be booked directly at designated travel agencies or hotel websites.

    Go To Travel Reservation Sites

    1. HIS
    2. JTB
    3. AirTrip
    4. Ikyu.com
    5. J-Trip
    6. Kinki Nippon Tourist
    7. Nippon Travel Agency
    8. Yahoo! Travel

    *The details of this campaign are subject to change: you are strongly recommended to confirm with the designated travel agencies and accommodation websites before making travel plans to make sure you are eligible for the discounts.

    Two Types of Discounts for the Travel Subsidy Program

    Japan's travel subsidy campaign offers two types of discounts. A 70% discount off your entire travel cost, including accommodation and tour fees charged by travel agencies and hotels. The remaining 30% discount will be issued as special coupons to be used at your travel destination.

    These special coupons are distributed by designated travel agencies and hotels, either electronically (for smartphones), or as a paper ticket. The face value is 1,000 yen per coupon; no change will be given if the amount does not exceed the coupon value.

    If the amount is less than 500 yen, the coupon cost will be rounded down. However, a 1,000 yen coupon will be issued if the amount exceeds 500 yen.

    These coupons can be redeemed at restaurants, souvenir shops, and sightseeing facilities. They can also be used at transportation facilities. Starting June 16, 2020, the government has been seeking stores nationwide willing to participate in this campaign.

    The Campaign Period

    The campaign began July 22, 2020, and is scheduled to run until March 2021, or until funds last.

    Those who have already booked their travel plans on a date on or after July 22 should contact the campaign office directly about the discount. Additional details will be released in a separate announcement.

    Furthermore, the full-scale implementation date of the Go To Travel campaign, including the issuing of special regional coupons, is scheduled after September 1.

    Conditions for Applying to the Campaign

    TATEYAMA20160427I

    Picture from When Is The Best Time To See Snow In Japan? (Thai article)

    Please note that the campaign's discount will be applied to the entire travel cost only when you book both your lodging and transportation at a designated travel agency.

    For example, if you book a one-night bus tour priced at 40,000 yen, the subsidy will be 20,000 yen (50%), including discounts and regional coupons.

    However, if you book your lodging and transportation reservations by yourself, only the accommodation expense will be eligible for a discount. For example, if you spend 10,000 yen on the Shinkansen and 20,000 yen on lodging, the travel subsidy will only be 10,00 yen (50% off the 20,000 yen accommodation) via discounts and coupons.

    To take advantage of the Go To Travel campaign, it is advised to make reservations via travel agencies, which have already prepared various packaged tours for this government-backed initiative.

    As mentioned above, Tokyo residents and trips departing from or arriving in Tokyo are ineligible for both of these discounts.

    Examples of Travel Plans and Expenses

    Zenkoku Koyo photo03

    Picture from Autumn In Japan: Travel, Clothing, And Weather For September - November

    The following are some sample travel plans and expenses when the campaign discount is applied.

    *No discounts will be applied to the amount redeemed as special regional coupons.

    1. Booking Transportation and Lodging via a Travel Agency

    By booking a two-day, one-night tour worth 40,000 yen, the total subsidy will be 20,000 yen (50% of the total travel expense).

    The cost will be divided as follows:

    1. Travel Expense Discount (70%) 20,000 yen x 70% = 14,000 yen
    2. Special Regional Coupon (30%) 20,000 yen x 30% = 6,000 yen

    Although the two-day tour costs 40,000 yen, the traveler will pay 26,000 yen and receive special coupons worth 6,000 yen.

    2. Reserving Transportation and Lodging by Yourself

    If you spend 20,000 yen on the Shinkansen fare and 20,000 yen on a one-night stay at a hotel, the subsidy will be 10,000 yen (50% of the lodging fee).

    The cost will be divided as follows:

    1. Travel Expense Discount (70%) 10,000 yen x 70% = 7,000 yen
    2. Special Regional Coupon (30%) 10,000 yen x 30% = 3,000 yen

    In this case, the traveler will only pay 33,000 yen: 13,000 yen for accommodation and 20,000 yen for Shinkansen fare. You will also receive 3,000 yen worth of special coupons.

    3. Reserving a Day-Trip Bus Tour

    The maximum discount for a day trip (without a lodging reservation) is 10,000 yen.

    In the case of a 40,000 yen day-trip bus tour, the subsidy will only be 10,000 yen.

    The cost will be divided as follows:

    1. Travel Expense Discount (70%) 10,000 yen x 70% = 7,000 yen
    2. Special Regional Coupon (30%) 10,000 yen x 30% = 3,000 yen

    Although the day-trip bus tour costs 40,000 yen, the traveler will actually pay 33,000 yen, and receive 3,000 yen worth of special coupons.

    The comparison of cases 1 to 3 are shown in the chart below.

    Go To Travel Campaign

    If you're going to spend 40,000 yen on travel expenses, you'll receive a bigger discount by booking through a travel agency. It also saves you the trouble of making separate reservations.

    Go To Travel Reservation Sites

    1. HIS
    2. JTB
    3. AirTrip
    4. Ikyu.com
    5. J-Trip
    6. Kinki Nippon Tourist
    7. Nippon Travel Agency
    8. Yahoo! Travel

    Additional "Go To" Initiatives

    Picture from Sendai Travel Guide: 12 Sightseeing Spots, Food, Access, And More
    There are three more "Go To" initiatives that can be applied simultaneously with the Go To Travel campaign. (The details are to be determined.)

    One example would be joining a packaged tour using Go To Travel, reserving a restaurant at your destination with Go To Eat, and purchasing a ticket for entertainment with Go To Event.

    The details of each initiative are as follows:

    Go To Eat (Up to 20% Discount)

    This initiative helps travelers and consumers enjoy delicious meals while supporting the food service industry. By making an online restaurant reservation, you will be awarded points that can be used for payment (up to 1,000 yen per person per restaurant.)

    There will also be meal coupon for 20% off food and drinks that can be redeemed at participating restaurants.

    Go To Event (Up to 20% Discount)

    This initiative aims to promote various events and performances. By purchasing a ticket through authorized vendors, you will receive a 20% discount along with coupons.

    Go To Shotengai (Discount Rate to Be Announced)

    This initiative supports local shotengai (traditional shopping streets) where visitors are eligible for special events and souvenirs (currently being planned).

    Save Yen With Go To Travel

    Takayama Travel Guide – 15 Things To Do, Access, Festivals, And More

    Picture from Takayama Travel Guide – 15 Things To Do, Access, Festivals, And More

    Similar to Go To Travel, there have been other stimuli to help boost domestic tourism in the past. Following massive earthquakes in Kumamoto and Hokkaido, a promotional tourism campaign offering various discounts was launched to help revitalize the local economy.

    However, the Go To campaign is second to none regarding its huge budget. Take advantage of this discount travel initiative by selecting a destination in advance and booking reservations once additional details are announced!

    The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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