Air services in Japan are extensive, reliable and safe. Flying is often faster and cheaper than shinkansen (bullet trains) and good for covering long distances or hopping islands.
All local carriers have websites in English on which you can check prices and book tickets.
Both All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) offer discounts of up to 50% if you purchase your ticket a month or more in advance, with smaller discounts for purchases made one to three weeks in advance.
Budget airlines run between major regional airports, including Narita, Haneda, Kansai, Naha and New Chitose, and offer prices often lower than discounted fares on JAL and ANA for the same routes.
Air Do (www.airdo.jp) Flights from Hokkaidō's New Chitose Airport to Sendai, Haneda, Nagoya (Chubu), Kōbe and to Hokkaidō regional airports.
Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) Destinations from Tokyo's Narita Airport and Osaka's Kansai International Airport include Okinawa (Naha), Sapporo (New Chitose) and Fukuoka.
Peach (www.flypeach.com) Good for flights out of Kansai.
Skymark Airlines (www.skymark.co.jp) Connects many regional airports; Tokyo routes fly in/out of Haneda.
Vanilla Air (www.vanilla-air.com) Destinations from Tokyo (Narita) include Okinawa (Naha) and Sapporo (New Chitose).