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[box type=”note”]Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get a free trip to Japan because the program I talk about in this post has been cancelled since I wrote about it. But check out my post about traveling to Japan on the cheap![/box]

People say that nothing in life is free, that everything has a price. But you know what? Those people are wrong. Every once in a while, life gives you a break and presents you with an awesome opportunity. How does a free trip to Japan sound?

In an effort to combat the slump in tourism that followed the 3/11 disaster, Japan’s Tourism Ministry is planning to give away 10,000 plane tickets to foreigners to come to Japan with a program called Fly to Japan. That’s right, 10,000 lucky foreigners will ride to Japan in style courtesy of the Japanese government. Think of it like Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket times a thousand.

An airplane taking off at dusk.

Of course, the Japanese government won’t be giving these plane tickets to just anybody. To get a ticket, you’ll have to fill out an online application asking why you want to visit Japan, where you want to go, and what you think about Japan since 3/11. And after your trip, you’ll be asked to write a report about your visit that will be published online.

In a nutshell, this is a big PR campaign for Japan to convince people that post-3/11 Japan is still a safe place, and the government hopes that the people who win the tickets will spread a word-of-mouth message that Japan’s an awesome place to visit.

Narita international airport

Not all of the details have been finalized yet, so the application isn’t available online at the moment. But by all reports, Japan’s Tourism Ministry is dead serious about Fly to Japan and plans to give away the tickets sometime in 2012. Look for updates on the Japan National Tourism Organization’s website here.

Now to be clear, this will just cover airfare to Japan. Once you get off of the plane, you’re completely on your own. Still, this is a huge opportunity. Getting a free flight to Japan? That’s pretty amazing. This is seriously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so if you’ve ever had an interest in visiting Japan, do yourself a favor and keep an eye on Fly to Japan. This could be life-changing.

P.S. Where would you go in Japan? Tell me on Twitter!
P.S.S. What would you want to do there? Let me know on Facebook!

  • Anonymous

    Is there a site that I can keep an eye on for news about this, or will you post something on this site when it starts?  Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Is there a site that I can keep an eye on for news about this, or will you post something on this site when it starts?  Thanks!

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    There will probably be updates on the Japanese tourism website:

    http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/

    I’ll edit that into the post, and I’ll definitely post something here too when more details emerge.

  • http://twitter.com/GTIchiro Corbet Butler

    Is this round-trip airfare? Or a one-way ticket?

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Probably round-trip, but again, the details aren’t finalized yet.

  • Esteban

    I want to go now! *_* 

  • Sid Perovic

    any chance that the ticket includes a geiger counter device? just saying. nice gestrue from japan. respect to the country. sad that they had to go against the nature.

  • Sid Perovic

    maybe a one way. depends on the radiation levels. ;)

  • Hailey

    Any chance that they will hold off on this deal for two years?? (when I am planning on going to Japan)

  • http://www.tofugu.com/ Hashi

    Unfortunately, probably not :(((

  • Sid Perovic

    admit! u are waiting for that radiation to clear out. :)

  • ヽ(´ー`)ノ

    I’m seeing a pattern here…

  • ヽ(´ー`)ノ

    I’m seeing a pattern here…

  • ヽ(´ー`)ノ

    I’m seeing a pattern here…

  • http://www.jgeeks.com/ JGeeks

    Another blog said it was only the return trip — source was the Yomiuri Shinbun, so I’m guessing it was credible. Still a substantial savings on what can be a $1,200 to $1,500 ticket, but certainly not a free ticket.

  • Anonymous

    wow this sounds great! I never win anything, but it’s worth a shot!

  • YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

    Gieeeeef I want to go noooooow :o

  • YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

    Gieeeeef I want to go noooooow :o

  • http://twitter.com/Musouka Musouka

    Hmm…

    “We received many inquires regarding on this programme. Although it is
    subject to government budgetary approval, and no details have been
    decided yet.

    We appreciate your kind understanding.”

    http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/topics/2011/free_flights.html

  • Sid Perovic

    just trying to point out that people shouldn’t be blinded by a free ticket. you need to be serious about wrecked nuclear power plant. i admire japan. hard working and disciplined nation.

  • http://twitter.com/spellbunny Stacy Dewing

    There was also a recent contest called Travel Volunteer Japan where 2 winners were just chosen to travel in Japan for 30 days, eating and blogging their way through the country at no expense! Here is the website http://travelvolunteer.net/

  • http://twitter.com/spellbunny Stacy Dewing

    There was also a recent contest called Travel Volunteer Japan where 2 winners were just chosen to travel in Japan for 30 days, eating and blogging their way through the country at no expense! Here is the website http://travelvolunteer.net/

  • Eri

    Definitely keeping an eye on this! I have a very dear friend/surrogate Japanese mother I really want to go visit in Yokohama! I’m just hoping they don’t have definite dates for when you have to go on this trip, because I wouldn’t be able to go until next summer ):

  • Hailey

    Haha no. The only reason I can’t go for two years is because that is the soonest I can study abroad. And what’s the worst a little radiation can do? Give me spidey powers?!? lol

  • katrina

    oh my goodness! this is super cool, but i’m not sure that even if i won my mom would let me go… :(

  • JamesX

    I was hoping to wait a couple years to learn at least a Little of the language first (I just started) but I will keep an eye on this anyway!  Japan is the ONE place I want to visit and I hope to go there many times.  Sign me up!

  • ヽ(´ー`)ノ

    I think they might forgo the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Ruins Tour this time around, actually.

  • Throwing Science at the Wall

    That’s the best case scenario. Worst case, you’ll get some tumors, which they’ll cut out.

  • nagz

    just…….. Wow!

  • not really

    Thank you very much for your interest in visiting Japan and for your
    keen response towards the “JAPAN OFFERS 10,000 FREE FLIGHTS TO
    FOREIGNERS” news.

    Recently a number of media outlets have publicised articles about this,
    however it is subject to government budgetary approval,and no details
    have been decided yet.

    We appreciate your kind understanding.

    http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/topics/2011/free_flights.html

  • not really

    Thank you very much for your interest in visiting Japan and for your
    keen response towards the “JAPAN OFFERS 10,000 FREE FLIGHTS TO
    FOREIGNERS” news.

    Recently a number of media outlets have publicised articles about this,
    however it is subject to government budgetary approval,and no details
    have been decided yet.

    We appreciate your kind understanding.

    http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/topics/2011/free_flights.html

  • Lance Geroso

    well if its a round trip then count me in, a week of radiation wont kill me, and besides I wouldn’t go near that part of the country anyways, way to interested in tokyo

  • Lance Geroso

    and besides thyroid pills ftw!

  • Hinoema

    I will be on this like- gaijin on free tickets, hellz yeah. Maybe since I’m starting on a Japanese major and want to write language learning software, that will give me some points. Thanks!

  • zorka

    will they post the contest to your mailbox?  And is this a trip for two or only one?  My husband or I wouldn’t want to go without the other.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonadab.theunsightlyone Jonadab the Unsightly One

    Round-trip would definitely increase demand and interest more.  Tourists always travel round-trip, so if you give them free one-way tickets, then they’ve still got to buy plane tickets for the trip back.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonadab.theunsightlyone Jonadab the Unsightly One

    I suppose that depends on the type and amount of radiation you’re exposed to.  If you actually went inside the power plant that had (has?) the problem, I imagine you could potentially get radiation sickness.  Just going to Fukushima but staying off the power plant grounds is as dangerous as traveling anywhere else — travel is always a little dangerous (especially if motor vehicles are involved), and any added danger from the minute increase in background radiation levels you’d experience gets lost in the underflow.

  • Juliet

    I totally got the reference ;D props

  • Guest

    Do you think that I can use this as an opportunity to either visit Okinawa or Amami Islands?

  • Gloria Venzon

    I want to visit japan with my son because he is one of the lucky participants chosen to join a group of students to make a hybrid car for international competition next year, i want him to learn and observe the Japanese car technology

  • http://twitter.com/b_wins1 Bianca Porter

    So far the details besides the free tickets is that you have to post something online everyday, whether it be blogging or facebook, some online source to spread information in a mass way, but thats all i have heard on it.

  • Anonymous

    http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/topics/2011/free_flights.html you should read this! Seems like it’s a fraud?

  • Megan
  • Judjmts

    If
    ever we can fly to Japan this coming year 2012 – this will be a wish come true.
    I’ve been longing together with my immediate family to visit my son (with
    support picture below) who is residing in Tokyo since 2005. There are other reasons
    the need to set foot in Japan, one of this is way back in the middle of 1990’s
    towards the end of its last year, we were made as foster family to several
    Japanese students from Sophia University taking trips to Cagayan de Oro City
    and Camiguin Island. We have their home addresses, but we don’t communicate
    with them regularly, that’s why we lost contact.

    Other
    purpose is to have sight-seeing with this land of the “Rising Sun” known to be
    very modern, clean with well-cared natural beauty, disciplined people and many
    preserved cultural heritages such as their olden temples, traditional music and
    instruments, drama, food and many interesting sights and sounds of Japan.

    — Judith of Cagayan de Oro, City, Philippines

     

  • Judjmts

    If
    ever we can fly to Japan this coming year 2012 – this will be a wish come true.
    I’ve been longing together with my immediate family to visit my son (with
    support picture below) who is residing in Tokyo since 2005. There are other reasons
    the need to set foot in Japan, one of this is way back in the middle of 1990’s
    towards the end of its last year, we were made as foster family to several
    Japanese students from Sophia University taking trips to Cagayan de Oro City
    and Camiguin Island. We have their home addresses, but we don’t communicate
    with them regularly, that’s why we lost contact.

    Other
    purpose is to have sight-seeing with this land of the “Rising Sun” known to be
    very modern, clean with well-cared natural beauty, disciplined people and many
    preserved cultural heritages such as their olden temples, traditional music and
    instruments, drama, food and many interesting sights and sounds of Japan.

    — Judith of Cagayan de Oro, City, Philippines

     

  • Sima

    Hi, i want to be in this new plan to visit japan, could u plaeas to tel me about direct web site contains application form , also let me know abt activation date?

  • Rachii

    this would be awesome :)

  • lanice davis

    i would love to take trip japan but my family can’t afford it. I dream about going to japan seeing ever thing there.japan is my only country that love to see.Japan to is my favorite country true i love that country deeply. where do i sign up

  • Tolga

    @web.de

  • Tolga

    Can you please sent me the apply!
    u.tolga@web:disqus .de
    thx
    Tolga

  • http://youtube.com/hatchjapan ざっちー

    Bummer news: I just checked and apparently the proposal for the 10,000 free tickets to Japan was NOT approved for the 2012 budget. Everyone will have to pay their own way. :/

    http://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/en/page08_000020.html

  • Jay Smith

    I so want to know where the application form is.. always wanted to go japan and want to learn japanese.. but with £0.11p in my bank and £3.20 cash.. I REALLY doubt i can afford it.. Even if i only get to go Once for couple of days… I dont care.. as long i get to see toyko or similar areas (and hope for no earthquakes etc

  • Nagy Gruia
  • Nagy Gruia

    unfortunately this won’t happen :( check link below

  • Rajaaziz2010bi

    Going to japan with this program `Travel To Japan For Free’
    it look like the opportunity is coming. I love japan, advance country

  • sheila

    we hope this this true our kids and grandkids live in japan .and we would love to go and see them .I am sure they have all kinds of places they would love to take us so we hope this is Real

  • Daveprattdesigns

    My family and I would like to know more.  We have a rather large family and it has been hard to do any traveling at all.  Please keep us informed

  • Samuel Kamara91

    i want to travell to japan to improve ,share ,and gain experience in other career also to develop with the experience i have to work for japan government so as to help in the improvement of japan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nat-Wel/1477579975 Nat Wel

    Shamefully I got a cost free trip, but I did have to pay for the flight. Book in advance and shop around on multiple flight websites. 

  • Boy_in_nipponblue

    you couldn’t possibly add anything to Japan, its rude for you to even assume otherwise.

  • MattG

    Why I want to visit Japan.

    Since I was a little kid, it has always been a dream of mine to visit Tokyo, Japan.  I would always see stickers indicating many products from the USA are made in Japan.  I have always loved electronics and always envied how electronics are so well developed and huge in Japan.  Electronics has improved life for mankind in leaps and bounds.  I realized at a young age that majority of the cartoons I watch are anime.  As I got older, I became very intrigued with the overall beauty of Japan, and how people are very respectful in ways that do not exist in the west.  I want to experience this first hand and on a personal level: the people and their ways of life, the culture, the amazing brilliance of appliances and electronics alike, the fads that sweep the entire nation, the food that in every right represents the entire nation.  I want to experience tradition as well, my love for Japanese architecture and design fascinates me on every human level.  I have waited all my life for this moment, I could not even begin to pay you back for this experience if you select me.  Please let my childhood dream come true!

    I would like you to actually discuss the itinerary if you do decide to pick me, thank you for all considerations!

    Thank you for doing this, opportunities like this are vary rare.

  • shazain khan

    i want to travell to japan to improve ,share ,and gain experience in
    other career also to develop with the experience i have to work for
    japan government so as to help in the improvement of japan.

  • udayanga

    i need to go japan

  • manisman

    I find that Japan or “the Land of the Rising Sun” is a fascinating country with an amazing contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe, and North America .I appreciate the Japanese popular culture that not only reflects the attitudes and concerns of the present day, but also provides a link to the past.

    My big wish is to visit this wonderful country.

  • sanchez

    i want to travel to japan free please help me .

  • rash

    oh I like to study or travel Japan
    my email-thanujuluwatta@hotmail.com

  • Quincy hall

    i want to go, japan is the greatest place on earth

  • IMAN ABU SHAM

    I WANT TO VISIT JAPAN I WANT A HELP FOR THE BEST PLACES WHERE I GO