‘Go To Travel’ explained
Part of a larger "Go To" campaign intended to restart the Japanese economy following the damage caused by the coronavirus, Go To Travel is a campaign by the national government that offers big discounts on travel inside Japan. Only residents of Japan (including foreign residents) are eligible to take advantage of the campaign.
What is Go To Travel?
It is a campaign that cuts the cost for accommodation and travel packages in half. The savings come in form of:
- A 35 percent discount on the total cost and
- Coupons worth 15 percent of the total cost to be spent on other travel expenses during the trip
Is there an upper limit?
Yes, there is. The maximum discount that can be received for overnight trips is 13,000 yen per person and night, while the maximum amount of coupons that can be received is 7,000 yen per person and night. In other words, the upper limit applies to travel plans that cost more than 40,000 yen per person and night.
In case of daytrips, the travelers can receive a discount of up to 7,000 yen and coupons of up to 3,000 yen per trip.
Note that children are counted the same as adults. For example, a family of four with two kids can receive a discount of up to 52,000 yen (4 x 13,000 yen) and coupons of up to 28,000 yen (4 x 7,000 yen) on an overnight trip, even if the kids stay for free.
Furthermore, note that only up to seven nights per trip are covered by the campaign. On trips that are longer than eight days, travelers will not be able to profit from the campaign from the 8th night. Note that there is no limit on how many trips can be made during the campaign.
Who is eligible?
All residents of Japan, including foreign residents.
Can temporary visitors to Japan use the campaign?
No, only residents of Japan are eligible.
How long does the campaign last?
The campaign started in late July 2020, but was suspended in December 2020 due to rising coronavirus infection numbers. It is expected to resume once the infection numbers have decreased and continue until at least summer 2021.
Are there any other conditions for participating?
Yes, all participating travelers are requested to follow the "new travel etiquette" with regards to preventing the spread of the coronavirus on their trips. Please visit our page about coronavirus manners for more details.
What is covered?
The discounts apply to:
- Overnight stays at registered lodgings
- Travel plans purchased through registered travel agents
A large majority of hotels and travel agents across the country are registered. Lists of registered businesses are available on the campaign's official website.
Are all regions of Japan covered?
All regions of Japan are covered by the campaign. There is a possibility for some areas to be temporarily excluded from the campaign depending on the spread of the virus.
Does the campaign also apply to transportation, activities, meals and shopping?
The discount applies only if they are part of a travel plan. For example, the discount cannot be applied to regular purchases of flights or rental cars; however, it does apply if a flight or rental car is part of a travel package sold through a registered travel agent. Likewise, if an activity or meal is part of the travel package, the campaign applies.
Furthermore, the coupons received can be used to pay additional travel expenses not covered by the travel package, such as meals, transportation and souvenir shopping. Note, however, that the coupons can be used only at registered businesses.
What type of daytrips are eligible?
The campaign applies only to daytrip travel packages sold by registered travel agents. The packages have to include 1) transport starting and ending at the same place on the same day and 2) at least some form of travel service besides transport in the destination area, e.g. meals or activities. For example, it does not cover 1-day bus tours that do not include any activities at the destination.
How many times can I use the campaign?
There is no limit on how many trips you can make during the campaign period. However, there is a limit of seven nights per trip that can be covered, meaning that those traveling for more than eight days are not able to profit from the campaign from the 8th night.
How can I use it?
There are mainly two ways to profit from the campaign:
- Book a stay at a registered hotel through the hotel, a travel agent or a reservation website that participates in the campaign.
- Purchase a travel package through a registered travel agent.
At the time of your booking, you pay 65% of the total cost for the accommodation or package, while the 15% in coupons will be issued to you by the travel agent or hotel.
Where can I book my trip?
A list of registered hotels and travel agents can be found in Japanese on the campaign's official website. Many hotel reservation websites are also participating in the Go To Travel campaign, including Booking.com and Agoda.
How do I use the coupons?
Coupons can be used to make payments at registered stores and restaurants and for transportation and other travel services in the prefecture visited and surrounding prefectures during the day(s) of your trip. They cannot be refunded. A map showing registered businesses can be found on the campaign's official website.
Depending on the issuing agent, the coupons are issued either in paper form or electronic form (to be used with a mobile device). Note that coupons are issued in multiples of 1000 yen, with the amount being rounded up or down to the nearest 1000 yen (500 and more is rounded up; less than 500 is rounded down).