A Guide to the Best Airline to Fly to Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun is a land unlike any other. Neon lights and vibrant temples blend to create the unique fusion that is Tokyo, but the country’s capital city offers just a taste of the magic and wonder that awaits along Japan’s tropical coasts and snow-coated mountaintops. From relaxing in onsen baths to reflecting in temples and reveling in the fun of cultural festivals, Japan promises endless wonders if only you can get there. Thankfully, you’ll find plenty of airlines offering a peak behind cherry blossom curtains and into Japan’s gorgeous beauty, but which airline is the best to fly to Japan? 

If that’s a question you came to find the answer to, you’re in luck. We’ll tell you the best airlines to fly to Japan, the best time to travel, and a secret to how you can score cheap tickets to the land of adventure.

Table of Contents

While international airlines promise decadent luxury, domestic carriers promise convenience, great loyalty rewards, and conveniently timed arrivals. So, which airline deserves the crown of king? Grab your passport, and let’s dive into the best airlines to fly to Japan. 

1. All Nippon Airways

The largest airline company in Japan, All Nippon Airways, or ANA as it’s more commonly called, is the first choice for many flying to the Land of the Rising Sun. And once you delve further, it’s not hard to understand why. Whether First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy, or Economy, All Nippon Airways offers a best-in-class experience. Of course, we’d expect nothing less from an airline ranking within the top four of the world’s best airlines.

While you get what you pay for in terms of comfort elsewhere, travelers flying with ANA can expect a superior experience compared to most other airlines, from comfortable seating to delicious meals and more, including seatback screen entertainment. And if you’re looking to fly to Japan in style, few options will treat you better than First or Business Class on ANA.

However, one of its biggest draws is the number of US airports it flies from. All Nippon Airways serves Tokyo’s two international airports, Narita and Haneda, with direct flights out of eight cities in the US:

  • Chicago 
  • Honolulu
  • Houston
  • New York (JFK)
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington, DC

As a bonus, ANA is a member of Star Alliance, so you can travel anywhere in the world—or just about—with ANA miles

2. Japan Airlines

The nation’s oldest airline is a strong contender for the best airline to fly to Japan. We’re not kidding; while ANA ranked fourth among the world’s best airlines, Japan Airlines was right behind at number six. Like its counterpart, Japan Airlines offers premium services and experiences nearly unrivaled on the global market. Even their economy-class seats stand out. In 2021, Skytrax awarded Japan Airlines as the World’s Best Economy Class Airline. Considering their comfortable seating, which offers better width and more legroom on international flights, even flyers in economy will feel like they’re traveling in luxury.

Of course, those who want to travel in the true lap of luxury can too. JAL promises a top-tier luxury experience from the jump. Beautiful lounges allow travelers to rest and relax before they’re whisked away to the skies on JAL’s premium first and business-class flights. 

Speaking of, Japan Airlines partners with American Airlines to share routes and service direct flights to Japan from multiple US cities.

To Narita:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • New York (JFK)
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco

To Haneda:

  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • New York (JFK)
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco

With two top-tier airlines as options for booking your flights to Japan, you’re in good hands no matter which airline you choose. However, economy travelers may find Japan Airlines edging out ANA for extra comfort.

3. Singapore Airlines

There can be little doubt why Singapore Airlines is included among the best airlines to fly to Japan, despite being neither a major US nor Japanese carrier. The reasoning is all in the ranking. Coming in just behind Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines ranked as the second-best airline in the world in 2022, which means it technically ranks as the best airline to fly to Japan—at least from the US.

As a result, it’s little wonder that the airline delivers in every aspect of the flight experience, from premium entertainment to specialized service and exceptional food. As far as taking care of its travelers, the airline takes business seriously. Flight attendants, called “Singapore Girls,” must attend a 4-month training program before stepping foot on their first flight. Meanwhile, meals onboard are created by an international panel of world-renowned chefs—seven of them! Singapore Airlines puts every effort into curating a quality experience in the air, from economy to first-class cabins.

Though flying from fewer cities than its Japanese or American counterparts, Singapore Airlines flies from enough major cities to be a worthy contender for East and West coast travelers. Los Angeles, New York (JFK), and New York (EWR) fly to both Tokyo airports, while San Francisco solely flies into Narita.

If you want to enjoy world-class amenities and service, Singapore Airlines may be your first choice for Japan flights.

4. Delta Airlines

Now, at number four, we finally come to the major US-based carriers, and Delta leads the pack as the best American airline to fly to Japan. Delta has a lot going for it: top-quality service from first class to economy, its best-in-class loyalty program, and superb in-flight service. 

US-based carriers have a lot to do in terms of catching up with the service standards of their international competitors. However, on the domestic side, Delta comes out time and again as having one of the best experiences in any cabin class, but especially its premium products. The same is true for the airline’s frequent flyer program Delta Sky Miles, which ranks second in best rewards programs. The loyalty program combines a vast network of airlines and myriad ways to earn with stellar perks like priority boarding, complimentary cabin upgrades, and lounge access. That last is a pretty big bonus upon arrival in Haneda, where Delta Airlines has opened its first and only international lounge.

Delta offers several convenient points of departure to Haneda International from the US: 

  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • Honolulu
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Portland
  • Seattle

Speaking of Haneda, the Haneda airport is Delta’s final big bonus. Located much closer to the city center, passengers flying with Delta will arrive with only a short cab ride separating them from the bright lights and beautiful sights of downtown Tokyo.

5. United Airlines

Another viable option for convenient flights to Japan, United Airlines has two major advantages. The first is how United schedules its flights. 

Cleverly, United Airlines has most of its flights scheduled to arrive in the afternoon and evening, which helps jetlagged passengers adjust to the time difference. So by the time you touchdown, pass security, and make your way to the hotel, it’ll be time to get some food and turn in for the evening, so you can greet the day refreshed and ready for action. 

In addition to its convenient schedule, United also offers travelers more options for their arrival in Japan. Alongside the Tokyo staples of Haneda and Narita, this particular airline flies to smaller Japanese airports in cities like Sapporo, Sendai, and Fukuoka. 

While United may not be a first choice for many, it’s still one of the best airlines to fly to Japan.

6. American Airlines

Just call it good old reliable. American Airlines will get you there and back with little fuss but little fanfare. Truthfully, AA doesn’t hold a candle to its competitors’ elite perks or premium products. Despite that, it still ranks in the top six thanks to its cheap flights and partnership with JAL. Between the two airlines, American manages to serve seven destinations in total with multiple nonstop flights. Largely thanks to the multitude of American cities AA flies from, it just beats out Hawaiian Airlines as the better airline to fly to Japan.

7. Hawaiian Airlines 

Looking for the shortest possible flight from the US of A to the Land of the Rising Sun? Those who live in Hawaii can count themselves as doubly lucky because not only do they live in paradise year-round, but they can also score the quickest flights to Japan from the US. A flight from Honolulu to Tokyo lasts around eight hours, making it a popular choice for American and Japanese travelers.

Of course, the short route isn’t all Hawaiian Airlines has going for it. Thanks to its impeccable services and friendly staff, Hawaiian is one of the best airlines to fly to Hawaii. Consequently, it’s no surprise those same features make it a stellar choice for flying to Japan. In addition, because of the shorter route, travelers will notice another welcome feature: cheap flights. Hawaiian consistently has cheaper flights than competitors that fly out of Honolulu, making it an obvious choice for those residing on the remote archipelago.

Hawaiian’s final bonus for travelers comes with their multiple destinations. In partnership with Japan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines operates nonstop flights from Honolulu to several cities in Japan, providing a rare opportunity to fly direct to popular destinations outside of Tokyo. 

  • Haneda (daily)
  • Narita (six times weekly)
  • Osaka (six times weekly)
  • Fukuoka (begins April 28th, 2023)

What Is the Number One Airline in Japan?

It’s a close race, but if you’re flying economy, Japan Airlines edges out ANA as the number one airline in Japan. While both offer world-class service, premium cabins, and stellar in-flight experiences, JAL manages to win out with a comfier economy class, which is ideal on short domestic flights in Japan.

However, the good news is that both Japan Airlines and ANA offer some of the best airline experiences on the market. Consequently, you can’t go wrong with either choice.

What Month Is Cheapest to Fly to Japan?

If you want to save money on your trip to Japan, plan to fly in September when prices drop. Unfortunately, while the sweet smell of cherry blossoms and the bright vibrancy of fall foliage make early spring and late autumn popular times to travel, they also make them the exact opposite of cheap.  

By planning your trip on the cusp of fall, you avoid the price hikes that come with most of the season while also enjoying clear skies, little rain, and a little bit of the color that makes autumn in Japan so breathtakingly beautiful.

Let Next Vacay Land You the Cheapest Flights to the Land of the Rising Sun

Want to score a cheap deal during cherry blossom season? How about a winter visit when Japan becomes even more enchanting in its winter coat? No matter the season, no matter the airline, Next Vacay can help you find the cheapest flights to the Land of the Rising Sun. And you don’t even have to do a thing. Just sign up, sit back, and watch your notifications. 

Get the best deals from your selected airport delivered straight to your inbox. The minute a deal drops, you can book your tickets and be on your way. Meet the sun where it rises in Japan with Next Vacay.

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