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Nov 5, 2017

Tokyo to Okinawa: How much are the flights and the ferries?



The cost of travel from Tokyo to Okinawa perhaps reflects the status of the islands of Okinawa as being the default destination for domestic sun, sea, and sand for Japanese - as in the cost of flights from Tokyo to Okinawa might be considered quite high.  Okinawa is an all-year-round holiday spot accommodating high-rollers in luxury resorts, adventure types with myriad of ocean-based activities, and cultural travelers with a mixture of influences from east and west, it’s a cliche, but Okinawa offers a bit of something for everyone.  Accordingly then there are plenty of flights from Tokyo to Naha, the main entry point to the islands. In looking at the question, “How much does it cost to travel from Tokyo to Okinawa?”, the answer is really all about the costs of flights from Tokyo to Naha, of which there are many. For those that want to make an epic journey out of trips from the Japan capital to Naha, land and sea routes are available, but make little sense if costs are a concern.


*NB: The travel costs listed here are, in most cases, based on making bookings directly with the services in question over one month in advance.  Prices can fluctuate depending on season and availability and as such those listed here should be used as a guide only.  Fares / costs are listed in Japanese Yen.




Flights from Tokyo to Naha


Taking into consideration both flag carriers and budget airlines costs from Tokyo to Okinawa are from the 13,000 - 25,000 yen range for the cheaper returns, and starting from around 35,000 - 40,000 yen for the mid-range returns.


Okinawa Island is serviced by Naha Airport located on a strip of land on the southwestern coast of Okinawa Island.  Naha Airport is only about 3-4 km as the west (as the crow flies) of downtown Naha (the Makishi / Kokusai Dori area).  The airport serves international and domestic routes.


Most flights from Tokyo to Naha will likely use Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport HND).  This is particularly the case for Japan's flag carriers which offer comparatively limited services from Narita International Airport (NRT), although the budget airlines tend to fly from here.


Another airport covered in this post is Painushina Ishigaki Airport (ISG) on the island of Ishigaki.  Flights from Naha to Ishigaki take around one hour.  


Flight times from Tokyo to Naha are around three hours one way.  From Tokyo to Ishigaki flight time are around 3 hrs 30 mins.


It's worth noting that the popularity of Okinawa can make booking flights at reasonable costs very difficult during peak travel seasons.  In fact, so high are the costs of flights to Okinawa that many expats in Japan find a better cost-performance by leaving the country all together. 



Flag Carriers


Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) operate most of their flights from Tokyo to Okinawa out of Haneda Airport, with each offering multiple flights daily.



JAL (Haneda to Naha)



ReturnOne way
Economy22,380 - 36,88012,490 - 20,290
Class J24,380 - 38,88013,490 - 21,390


We found there to be quite a difference in cost depending on the time of day of departures.



JAL (Haneda to Ishigaki)



ReturnOne way
Economyfrom 43,780from 22,890
Class J45,780 - 46,780from 23,890



JAL (Naha to Ishigaki)



ReturnOne way
Economy7,700 - 7,90014,400 - 14,600
Class J8,700 - 8,90016,400 - 17,700



ANA (Haneda to Naha)



ReturnOne way
Flex Fare92,18046,090
Flex Round trip Fare82,89041,490
Basic Fare61,08035,890
Value Fare25,78017,290
Premium Flex Fare110,18055,090
Premium Basic Fare97,78048,890
Premium Value Fare49,98024,990



ANA (Haneda to Ishigaki)



ReturnOne way
Flex Faresfrom 133,380
from 66,690
Basic Faresfrom 83,580from 41,790
Value Faresfrom 43,780from 22,890



ANA (Naha to Ishigaki)



ReturnOne way
Flex Fares from 51,600from 25,800
Basic Fares from 17,100from 8,400
Value Fares from 14,400from 7,700


Overall it seems that JAL, out of Japan's flag carriers, are offering the cheapest flights between Tokyo and Okinawa.




(Japan's flag carriers ANA and JAL operate most of their flights to Okinawa from Haneda Airport)




Cheap flights from Tokyo to Okinawa - LCCs / Budget Airlines


Most of the low cost carriers that we found operating flights from Tokyo to Okinawa were doing so out of Narita Airport.  With the LCCs, the only arrival option in Okinawa is Naha Airport.  Let's have a look at how much these flights cost ... 



Jetstar (Narita to Naha)


ReturnOne way
from 13,040from 6,770



Vanilla Air (Narita to Naha)



ReturnOne way
Inclusive17,7208,860
Simple13,7206,860



Skymark (Haneda to Naha)



ReturnOne way
Normal48,38024,190
Maewari143,58021,790
Maewari337,58018,790

*NB - the prices listed for the Skymark flights above should only be considered a rough guide.  At the time of research it wasn't possible to get the definitive fares without entering personal details.



The cost of flights with Skymark make is questionable as to whether or not it is correct on our part to consider them as an LCC.


We can see from the fares above that it is Jetstar who are offering the cheapest flights from Tokyo to Okinawa.


From Naha Airport into the downtown Naha (Makishi / Kokusai Dori) area the Yui Rail (monorail) takes around 17 mins to Makishi station.  Costs are 300 yen.




Ferries from Tokyo to Okinawa - sea and land routes



The ferry from Kagoshima to Okinawa


At the time of research we could find no direct ferries making the voyage from Tokyo to Okinawa. The next best thing (if the term “best” is really appropriate at all) is to first take a ferry from Tokyo to Kitakyushu on the northern tip of Kyushu near to Fukuoka / Hakata. From here it will be a case of train or bus to Kagoshima (on the southern tip of Kyushu) where it is possible to take a ferry to a number of the Ryukyu Islands that make up Okinawa, eventually docking at Naha on Okinawa Island (Okinawa Honto).


Ferries from Kagoshima to Okinawa make six stops on their way to the port in Naha.  There are two ferry companies, A"Line and Marix Line operating services on the route.  For both companies costs, travel times and stops are the same.


Ferries for Okinawa depart Kagoshima's Shinkuku Port (one a day) at 18:00, arriving in Naha at 19:00 the next day.  The ferries make the following stops ... 


Naze (Amami-oshima)

Kametoku (Tokunoshima)

Wadomari (Okinoerabujima)

Yoron (Yoronjima)

Motobu (Okinawa)

Naha (Okinawa)


Ferries from Okinawa to Kagoshima depart Naha at 7:00 and arrive in Kagoshima at 8:30 the next day.


Services basically rotate through each company every other day.  Time tables for each month are on display (in Japanese) on either company's home page.  


Each company operates two ferries ... 


A"Line: Ferry Akebono / Ferry Nami No Ue


Marix Line: Queen Coral Plus / Queen Coral 8


One way fares on the ferries from Kagoshima to Okinawa range from 14,610 - 36,530 yen (depending on class).  Cabins range from those that look like a 4-star hotel room, through basic business hotel and dormitory before ending up at a large area of mattresses.  Expect restaurants and gift shops on each ferry.



Tokyo to Kagoshima and then the ferry to Okinawa


In order to gauge an idea of how much it costs to travel between Tokyo and Okinawa via a combination of flights and ferry we took a quick look at some of the flight options between the capital and Kagoshima ... 


JAL 


One way: ~ 12,000 yen

Return: ~ 23,000 yen


Jetstar


One way: ~ 6,000 yen

Return: ~ 13,000 yen


So at the cheaper end of this flight / ferry combo we come up with one way / return of ~21,000 / 42,000 yen.  At the upper end, ~49,000 / 96,000 yen.  This makes little sense, when an LCC can get the traveler there and back for around 13,000 yen in a journey time of around 6 hours.  Flights and ferries will mean over two days of travel.  


Using a combination of Shinkansen and rapid train services it's possible to travel from Tokyo station to Kagoshima station in around 7 hrs at a cost of around 30,000 yen (one way).  Again, this makes little sense.


No, without doubt, travel from Tokyo to Okinawa means flying and there are no shortage of flights available reflecting the popularity and appeal of holidays in Okinawa.






Have you ever traveled from Tokyo to Okinawa?  How did you do it and how much did it cost?  Let us know in the comments.






See our ‘How Much | Travel’ series for more destinations from Tokyo and beyond ...


Tokyo to Osaka

Osaka to Fukuoka

Tokyo to Sapporo





Further reading on Okinawa ... 


Shurijo at night and Naha City night view, Okinawa


Daisekirinzan Yambaru Nat'l Park, Okinawa: Natural drama enough without need of spiritual overtures


Makishi Public Market: See the “kitchen of Okinawa” before planned 2020 move





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