Fly from Tokyo to Hokkaido
The reason for our Japan trip was to ski in Niseko, Hokkaido! We could have bought the return air tickets from Singapore to Hokkaido. However, it turns out that the “direct” flight from Singapore to Hokkaido is not that direct. We will still need to make a transfer at Tokyo (without getting out of the airport). Since this was our first time to Japan, we decided we should just pop by Tokyo. We simply needed to find other ways to travel from Tokyo to Hokkaido, more specifically Sapporo. In the end we went for the fastest option — fly from Tokyo to Hokkaido.
p.s. When we were in Japan end-Feb/early-Mar, the Hokkaido Shinkansen was not up yet. And the sleeper train journey was simply too long for us.
Domestic Flight Carriers (with English online reservation): All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan Airlines (JAL), Jetstar, AirDo, Skymark Airlines, Peach Aviation, Jetstar Japan, Vanilla Air and Spring Airlines Japan.
- Tokyo Narita > Sapporo (New Chitose Airport) with Vanilla air, which took 1 hour 50 minutes. (¥10,170)
- Sapporo > Tokyo Haneda with ANA, which took 1 hour 40 minutes (¥10,800)
Each of us bought 2 one way tickets, which added up to be about the same as round trip tickets.
Why we chose Vanilla Air from Narita Tokyo to Sapporo?
We wanted to fly to Japan with ANA or JAL since we heard so much about their services. However, Delta was offering a deal we couldn’t resist. Hence another way to experience ANA or JAL is their domestic flights. However, most of ANA and JAL domestic flights depart from Haneda Airport, and we are landing in Narita Airport. Most of the international flights are at Narita Airport, while domestic flights at Haneda Airport.
We did not want to make the inter airport connection, because Narita and Haneda airports are not exactly near. It takes about 60 minutes on Keisei Train and 90 minutes on Airport Limousine to travel between the airports. And this will also incur additional expense.
Factoring in the prior check-in timings at airport, we needed to have at least 2-3 hours interval between the flight timings. There are just too many unknown factors to delay our journey and miss our flight. Moreover, the interval meant reaching Sapporo even later! We left house at 4:30am to reach Sapporo at 11:30pm?! That will be insane! We didn’t want to reach Sapporo too late.. and so we decided to get the domestic flight leaving Narita Airport to save time. Jetstar, Vanilla Air and Peach fly from Narita Airport more than the other airlines.
Top: Vanilla Air, Bottom: ANA
Why we chose ANA from Sapporo to Tokyo Haneda?
When we return to Tokyo from Sapporo, we decided to fly ANA to Haneda Airport because it is much nearer to Tokyo’s city centre. This makes a lot of difference in the amount we paid for transportation from the airport to Shinjuku. If you have a choice, fly into Haneda Airport, it’s much cheaper to get to Tokyo’s city center.
There are many early bird promotions for the various airlines. But what’s good for tourists are the following promotions. The prices are fixed and not fluctuate with peak period.
ANA Experience JAPAN Fare: ¥10,800 for one-way domestic sector. For foreigners residing outside of Japan, or Japanese with permanent residency outside of Japan. Must have international return ticket (any airline) from outside Japan. (More info)
JAL oneworld Yokoso/Visit Japan Fare: ¥10,800 for one-way domestic sector. International travel to/from Japan must be on JAL or oneworld member airlines. Fare is available overseas only.
Please be advised that the sales of oneworld YOKOSO/Visit Japan Fare and oneworld YOKOSO/Visit TOHOKU Fare have ended as of March 31, 2019.
JAL Welcome to Japan Fare: ¥14,040 for one-way domestic sector. International travel to/from Japan may be on ANY carrier. Fare is available overseas only. (More info)
Do note that these promotions should be booked on the local ANA/JAL website for you country of residence, and not the Japanese websites.
p.s. Even a Japanese we met later had a better opinion of ANA over Vanilla Air. And he always flies on ANA or JAL.
And for those wondering if there’s anything to eat in Narita Airport Terminal 3 (Domestic), there are many choices! We ate our first yummy Japan meal here! :)
Travelled in February/March 2016