What is JAL Explorer Pass

The JAL “Explorer Pass” is an interesting proposition for those who are visiting Japan. Tourists can pre-purchase as many sectors at a fixed price, regardless of sector length, independently in conjunction with ANY inbound international ticket.

It can be used on most domestic flights operated by Japan Airlines, Japan TransOcean Air, and J-Air (but not other JAL’s subsidiaries and partners) totalling up to 30 available destinations.

What’s even better is that unlike the JAL “Welcome to Japan” pass – it can be booked online without the need to go via a travel agent

WE LOVE TOKYO AS MUCH AS THE NEXT PERSON, BUT – WHISPER IT – THERE’S MORE TO JAPAN THAN TOKYO.

Who is Eligible for the JAL Explorer Pass

Foreign Tourists

A tourist must reside outside of Japan. They must hold a passport issued by a country other than Japan.

To be able to book the explorer pass fair, they must hold a valid inbound ticket and passport at the time of booking.

Japanese Nationals

Japanese nationals (with a Japanese passport) are eligible for the explorer fare so long as they hold a right of permanent residence of a country other than Japan.

To be able to book the explorer pass fair, they must hold a valid inbound ticket and passport at the time of booking.

Route Map

Not all routes are available – there are 30 in total – they are grouped into three categories based on distance and popularity of the route.

JPY5,500

(Per Flight / Tax included)

Routes within Hokkaido.
Routes departing from/to Tohoku.

JPY7,700

(Per Flight / Tax included)

Routes between Tokyo and Osaka. Routes between Tokyo and Nanki-Shirahama. Routes between Okinawa main island and outlying islands.

JPY11,000

(Per Flight / Tax included)

All other applicable routes.

Benefits of JAL Explorer Pass

Its Relatively Cheap

Using the JAL Explorer pass makes a lot of financial sense when compared with the alternatives at times – take the Nozomi Super Express from Tokyo to Osaka which is nearly 2 to 4 times as expensive compared to flying.

However, some airports are quite far away from the city centre and it can indeed make more sense to buy a rail ticket – so keep that in mind.

Luggage is included

Another headline benefit is that JAL offer two pieces of free check-in baggage, up to 23kg / 50lbs per item.

this amount is exceptionally generous and meets almost all needs.

the JR pass only (in theory) allows for 1 main suitcase and Budget and regular JAL tickets require a fee for checked baggage.

There’s Wifi

Japan Airlines provides free internet access throughout the flight to all customers flying on the domestic routes.

Inflight video programs such as sports, gourmet, music and animation etc. are also available for free on the Wi-Fi-equipped flights, and can be streamed on customers’ own Wi-Fi devices.

JAL Explorer Pass Rules

Fares and Rules are subject to change but these are the main ones to be aware of:

  • Fare is valid for Economy Class travel only. Business and First Class may be purchased at the time of check-in on a standby basis. (Class J: +1,000 JPY; First Class: +8,000 JPY)
  • Ticket purchases can be made up to 24 hours before departure.
  • Reservation changes are not permitted after domestic ticket purchase. All tickets are non-refundable.
  • Tickets are issued in the currency of the country of sale, based on the current JPY exchange rate.
  • There is no fare difference for Infants and Children and both will be charged the full adult fare.
  • Fares quoted are inclusive of Japan Consumption Tax but not Passenger Facility Charge. Additional charges are included at time of booking.
  • Seats are based on current availability. Therefore seats can be sold out or blacked out during peak times.
  • There is seat selection by default but can be added for an additional fee. Oneworld status supersedes this rule – however only for the status holder only.
  • Because of eligibility requirements, there is no online check-in and you are not able to use the check-in kiosks with a JAL explorer pass as you are required to prove to the check-in agent that you are in fact a tourist in Japan.
  • For Oneworld members, the status accrual rates earned from Japan domestic flights on JAL can vary from JAL international flights.

JAL Explorer Pass Vs. ANA Discover Japan 

Overview of the pros and cons of both schemes

JAL Explorer Pass

  • Flight Prices are fixed to JPY 5,500, JPY 7,700 & JPY 11,000.
  • Fares can only be booked on select routes.
  • All available fares, subject to availability, can be booked from 355 days in advance and up to 24 hours before departure.
  • Can be upgraded on day of departure if there is availability.
  • No swapping or changes are allowed to the ticket once it has been issued. Tickets are also non-refundable.
  • With JAL Explorer Pass you get two 23Kg checked bags.
  • Consumption Tax is applied to all flights

ANA Discover Japan

  • Flight Prices can vary between JPY 6,182 to JPY 65,093.
  • Fares can be booked on all ANA Japan domestic flights.
  • ANA Value and Super Value fares can only be booked up to 7 days and 30 days before departure respectively.
  • Can be upgraded on day of departure if there is availability.
  • Flight swapping is allowed so long as there is an earlier flight on the date of departure if with an empty seat.
  • with ANA Discover Japan fares you get one 20Kg checked bag.
  • Consumption tax does not apply to the domestic sectors immediately connecting to/from international flights provided that the connection time between the domestic flight and the international flight is less than 24 hours.

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