Here's How to Book a Round-Trip Flight to Japan for Under $400

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Round-trip flights to Japan from the states have always been some of the priciest out there (it is, after all, literally on the other side of the world). However, there's a shockingly easy way to find significantly cheaper tickets -- like $362 cheap -- thanks to some recent sleuthing by a number of popular flight-deal sites. If you have your heart set on exploring Japan this year without breaking the bank, all you have to do is be willing to fly into and out of a city that isn't Tokyo.

This "hack," which allows you to score sub-$400 round-trips to the Land of the Rising Sun, was first unearthed earlier this spring by the team at Scott's Cheap Flights, who discovered that flights from Los Angeles in and out of Nagoya, Japan were going for as little as $369 round-trip. From San Diego, Las Vegas, and Portland, they were only slightly more expensive at a still-outrageously-cheap-for-Japan $386. This June, the site Thrifty Traveler spotted a number of similarly affordable flights from the American West Coast to Nagoya. Just for reference, average "good" prices for round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo can hit more than $800.

And while you'll certainly be interested in seeing other beautiful parts of the country, Nagoya has quite a few sights you may want to add to your itinerary, despite the fact that it was once dubbed "the most boring city in Japan." It's home to the one of the country's most famous castles, Nagoya Castle, as well as other attractions like the Meiji-mura Village Museum, the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and Atsuta Shrine. Undoubtedly the biggest benefit of flying into Nagoya? It's just under three hours to Tokyo by train, and an hour and half to Kyoto.

According to the site Airfare Spot, there were $392 flights available from LAX to Nagoya during September as recently as last week, although at the time of this writing the cheapest we could find was $466 (which is frankly still a damn-good deal). Bottom line: Explore flight options from the West Coast to Nagoya. Even if you don't live anywhere near California, it may be end up being cheaper to fly yourself there and back than to splurge on a round-trip from your home airport. 

h/tTravel & Leisure

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.