The Go To Travel Campaign - What is it and How to Use it?
With so many travel related businesses struggling due to the current Coronavirus crisis, the Japanese government has come up with a scheme to promote domestic travel and help out these struggling businesses. It is known as the Go To Travel campaign, and provides travelers with up to 50% discounts on their trip. The fine print is mostly in Japanese so things can get a bit confusing, so we will answer some of the frequently asked questions about Go To, as well as explain how to use it.
Who is eligible?
From October 1st, everyone in Japan is eligible, including Tokyo residents.
What are the eligible travel dates?
The campaign started on July 22nd, and Tokyo was added from October 1st. The campaign is said to end on January 31st, although if the budget runs out earlier it could be cut short.
Is there a limit to the discount?
There is a set limit of ¥20,000 per night for trips, or ¥10,000 per day for day trips. Trips the cost more are still eligible, but you will only receive the discount up to the limit. This means the maximum discount is ¥14,000 discount on hotel + ¥6,000 worth of vouchers (70%/30%).
Remember, it isn't only for overnight trips - you can also use the campaign for day trips. For example, a bus tour including bus and entry to Fuji Q Highlands costs only ¥5,530 under the Go To!
How can I book?
You'll need to book through a business that is registered with the campaign. Omakase Tour is one of them. You can find a full list on the Go To Website in Japanese.
If you book through us, we will arrange everything for you based on your wishes. If not, you can book through any major Japanese travel agency, but they will not customize your requests. You can request a trip through us here.
Are flight tickets included?
If you book through an agency like Omakase Tour, the airfare is included. If you book it yourself directly then the campaign does not apply. So you would pay full price for flight tickets, then receive the 50% discount of the hotel. If you're planning to take flights or an expensive train, it is generally beneficial to book through an agency due to this.
How about train tickets?
Just as for flights, you can not use the Go To campaign only for train tickets. You must book them in some form of package. However JR East is running several campaigns, like 50% off tickets if you book 20 days in advance, or a special JR EAST Welcome Rail Pass 2020 for expats that lasts for three days and costs 12,000 yen.
How do the coupons work?
Here (in Japanese only) is a list of all participating shops where you can use the coupons. Generally you can use them in restaurants, souvenir shops, tourist attractions and for activities and tours. You will receive them either from your travel agency or at your hotel. Electronically you will receive a QR code which you can use to redeem the coupon, or you may receive paper tickets. Simply show them to the vendor when you wish to use them. No change is given.
How will Omakase Tours plan my trip?
We will ask you some questions to see what kind of trip you're interested in and make some suggestions based on your desires. We will then arrange your itinerary and prepare the tickets, coupons and reservations for you. You don't need to worry about scheduling or finding the best deal. We will apply the GO TO campaign to your bookings, as well as any other campaign currently running, such as the JR East campaigns. Request a trip or day trip here!