Travel | Feb 21

Rakuten, Jalan, Yahoo!... Which Travel Booking Site Offers the Best Deals?

TOKYO, Feb 21 (News On Japan) - With the classification of COVID-19 downgraded to Category 5, many families are considering travel during the first spring break since the change. However, due to rising prices and the influx of travelers, accommodation costs within Japan have also surged.

In Tokyo, some lodging prices have skyrocketed compared to pre-pandemic levels, making it difficult for people to stay, as seen in comments on social media. We spoke to an active hotelier, Mr. Higemaru (@higemaru_hotelman), who delivers great travel deals on social media.

How to Find Great Deals on Accommodations Like a Travel Pro

With so many travel booking sites available, it can be overwhelming to choose one, so Higemaru shares some tips on what to look out for on each site.

[Rakuten Travel] "Rakuten Travel is a reservation site that aims for overall savings through coupons and point returns for entries. Coupons and entries may apply to some accommodations but not others, and if you match them correctly, you can book at a significant discount. The site focuses on luxury and hot spring inns, and recently there has been a trend of holding different large sales every month. To grasp the information properly, it is recommended to check on the web version rather than the app."

[Jalan] "Jalan has a powerful combination of coupons that can be used at almost all facilities and coupons that can be used in specific municipalities. They regularly hold big sales, and there are plenty of coupons and Jalan-exclusive points for heavy users."

[Yahoo! Travel] "This is a site you can't miss. They have a campaign where you get 10% of your accommodation fee back in PayPay when you book with an online card payment. There's no cap on PayPay returns, so stays for extended periods, large families, or at luxury inns can be quite economical. Yahoo! Travel is not as complicated as Rakuten Travel or Jalan, and it's often the cheapest, so it's highly recommended for those not accustomed to booking."

Higemaru also didn't miss the chance to highlight "Jalan Play & Experience Booking." "You can arrange activities and tickets, but you can also book 'hotel lunches.' There are coupons available for specific municipalities, and recently a follower reported, 'I was able to go strawberry picking for free using a coupon and Jalan-exclusive points!'"

Additionally, for those interested in package deals with bullet trains, there's [Nippon Travel Agency & JR Tokai Tours], and for airfare sales, [JAL and ANA] are quite economical. For trips on Saturdays and long weekends, the travel subscription service [HafH] can be a good choice.

Booking Rooms and Planning for 'Three-Generation Travel'

When traveling with parents or relatives, many people struggle with booking rooms and planning activities. "If it's okay to have bedrooms together, consider staying in a family room. If you prefer separate bedrooms, book two rooms. Since it's a three-generation trip, the way you spend time during the stay will also change, so hotels where you can do everything on-site are good," Higemaru suggests, offering his perspective as an active hotelier. He introduced two accommodations:

- Yatsugatake Hotel Fuuka (Yamanashi Prefecture) "With a variety of activities and hot springs, they offer a wide range of rooms, from Japanese-style to Japanese-Western and family rooms, suitable for any generation."

- Andarizort Izu-Kogen (Shizuoka Prefecture) "Facilities including a drink corner, private family baths, and karaoke rooms are free to use, excluding esthetics. Surprise arrangements are also free, and you can request a celebration cake with a message. Dinner and late-night snacks come with all-you-can-drink options. The extensive on-site facilities mean your stay won't be affected by the weather."

Using 'Hometown Tax Donations' Smartly for Travel

With the 'hometown tax donation' system, you can support the region you want to help with a minimum personal expense of 2,000 yen and receive a thank-you gift. There are also travel experiences as rewards.

"The hometown tax donations on Rakuten Travel are quite economical. In 2023, there were over 20,000 facilities available, so you won't have trouble choosing a place to stay. Additionally, for Rakuten users, you can use and accumulate Rakuten points, which is a nice touch," he said. Booking during Rakuten Market sales can also increase your points, which is another benefit.

Source: Oricon


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