Japan’s “Go To Travel” Campaign Explained

What Is It?

Go To Travel is part of the Japanese government’s campaign intended to reboot the country’s economy following the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply said, it gives residents discounts for domestic travel accommodations and packages.

Who Are Eligible For This Campaign?

Residents of Japan are eligible for this campaign. Meaning, even if you are a foreigner, if you hold a long-term or permanent visa, you can take advantage of Go To Travel. However, if you hold a temporary visitor visa, you can’t.

What Travel Expenses Are Covered?

Go To Travel discounts apply to:

  • overnight stays in registered lodgings
  • travel plans purchased through registered travel agents

Majority of hotels and travel agents around the country are participating in the campaign but you can search for official lists of registered businesses in different areas by visiting the campaign’s official website.

What Areas of Japan Are Covered?

All regions of Japan are covered by the campaign. There was a restriction placed excluding Tokyo from the campaign but it was lifted on October 1st.

When Is The Campaign Period?

The campaign started in late July and is currently scheduled to run until January 31, 2021. Depending on the overall budget. this might be extended. Within this campaign period, there is no limit on how many trips you can make and the length of each trip.

Show Me The Numbers (How much savings do you actually get?)

The actual discounts and perks that you get are:

  • a 35% discount on the total cost of your accommodation and travel package
  • coupons worth 15% of the total cost – to be used on registered stores, restaurants and other travel services during your trip (more on coupons later).

For example,

  • if you book an overnight trip amounting to 20,000 yen
  • you will pay only 13,000 yen because you get a 7,000 yen discount
  • you will also receive 3000 yen worth of coupons

However, you should note that there is an upper limit to the discounts and coupons that you can receive.

The maximum discount for overnight trips is 13,000 yen per person per night and the maximum amount of coupons is 7,000 yen per person and night.

As for day trips, the discount limit is 7,000 yen per person and the maximum amount of coupons that can received is 3,000 yen per person.

For example, a couple books a 3-day 2-night trip costing 200,000 yen:

  • 35% of it would be 70,000 yen
  • however, since the limit is 13,000 yen per person per night, the couple would instead get 13,000 x 2 nights x 2 persons = 52,000 yen
  • they would pay 148,000 yen (200,000 – 52,000)
  • 15% of it would be 30,000 yen
  • however, since the limit is 7,000 yen per person per night, the coupons they would receive would be worth 28,000 yen (7,000 yen x 2 nights x 2 persons).

How Exactly Can I Use It?

Many hotel reservation websites are participating in the campaign and as soon as you use those to search for lodgings within Japan, you will be prompted that the 35% discount is already applied – just as pictured below from Agoda.com.

On the campaign’s official web there is a list of registered hotels and travel agents (in Japanese). On the home page of the site, look for the pink 対象の事業者を探す button at the top right portion and click on it.

It will bring you to the part pictured below where the button on the left will help you search for participating travel agencies and the one on the right will help you search for lodgings.

Either choice would then prompt you to select the area where you wish to travel and present the list of participating businesses once you hit the pink 検索する button.

From there on, you pay 65% of the total cost for the accommodations or travel package at the time of your booking and 15% in coupons will be given to you by the travel agent or hotel.

Coupons Explained

Depending on who is issuing it, coupons will be issued either on paper form or electronic form (downloadable on your mobile device). You can use these as payment at registered stores, restaurants, transportation services and other travel-related services in the prefecture visited and its surrounding prefectures during the day(s) of your trip. Coupons are non-refundable.

Each coupon is worth 1000 yen. This means that the amount of your coupon discount is rounded to the nearest thousand. For example, if 15% of your travel cost is 2500 yen, that will be rounded up and you will receive 3000 yen worth of coupons. If 15% of your travel cost is, say, 1450 yen, that would be rounded down and you will be receiving 1000 yen worth of coupons.

Other Important Information

  • Travelers are urged to follow the “new travel etiquette” preventing the spread of the coronavirus while taking advantage of the campaign.
  • The 35% discount only applies to transportation, shopping, meals and activities if they are part of a travel package. For example, you won’t get the discount for regular purchases of airplane tickets for direct car rentals. But if a travel package includes the flight ticket and/or car rental, then they would also be discounted. Of course, remember that you could always use the coupons for these additional expenses. The campaign’s site also has a map showing the businesses where you can use the coupons.
  • When using the campaign for day trips, in addition to it having to be sold by registered travel agencies, they have to satisfy the following conditions: 1.) transport starting and ending at the same place within the same day 2.)at least one other form of travel service besides transport (meals, activities etc). For instance, if the package only covers the bus trip and there are no meals included, or activities at the destination, then it won’t be discounted.

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