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Is flying to Japan via Nagoya really cheaper than via Tokyo or Osaka?


  01:28:00 am, Categories: Japan, Traveling

Just the other day I read about an "awesome travel tip" about flying to Japan cheaper. It states that prices can be several hundreds of dollars/euros cheaper if you flying to Japan and land in Nagoya instead of Tokyo or Osaka. But is it really?

Let's say you find a flight to Nagoya that is around 500 euro, that's very nice compared to the usual 700-900 euros you'd pay if you were flying to Tokyo. That's an advantage of at least 200 euro. Sounds great, right? But the big catch is, you are arriving in Nagoya. There isn't that much to see in Nagoya, so you're likely going to Tokyo or Osaka after that anyway. Getting to Tokyo will cost you 10360 yen with the Shinkansen at at least 98 minutes (or 6000 if you're willing to travel for at least 5 hours by regular train). Osaka is a little closer at 5800 yen with the Shinkansen at around 50 minutes. Remember though that you need to get back to Nagoya at the end of your trip so you need to double that amount and spend time to actually get back to Nagoya Airport. So in the most likely event that you're going to Tokyo, that's another 200 euro (and more time) you're spending traveling from Nagoya to Tokyo, that practically cancels out the profit of arriving at Nagoya. Then you might think, oh well, I'll get a Japan Rail Pass then! A Japan Rail Pass is only a viable option if you're going to travel long distances using the Shinkansen. One 7-day pass costs 29000 yen (or about 225 euro) which is about the same as a return trip from Tokyo to Osaka, and Nagoya is in the middle of them. Not to mention that your arrival and departure day have to be within that 7-day period, and the 14-day pass is even more expensive. If you're only going to use the pass to travel between Nagoya and Tokyo, you're losing money and you'd be better off just paying to the regular Shinkansen ticket. And with the Japan Raill Pass you can't use the faster Nozomi services.
Also, depending on your arrival or departure time, you may even need to spend the night in Nagoya just to be able to get to the airport on time. That means taking time to get to Nagoya, get to the hotel, finding/booking that hotel, and don't forget you're hauling your luggage with you. All this time could be spent doing better things.

So, is landing at Nagoya cheaper than at Tokyo or Osaka? Only if you're planning on traveling a lot of long distances with a rail pass and the time limit of the rail pass fits your schedule it might be worth it unless you only need to be in Nagoya for some reason. All other options will not make it cheaper or convenient than just flying into Tokyo or Osaka. Do the research before you attempt this and do the math if it really saves on cost and time.

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