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Pricing and perk changes to the Japan Rail Pass
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Pricing and perk changes to the Japan Rail Pass

[Updated on 4th of September 2023] Recently, Japan Rail Group has announced it will increase the price of the Japan Rail Pass from October 2023 along with a host of new additions. In this post to discuss what it will mean for you.

Table of contents:
Introduction to the JR Pass
New Pricing 
Until when can passes be purchased for the old price
Using the Nozomi 

Introduction to the JR Pass

The Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is a nationwide valid ticket, that includes unlimited travel on all JR lines, both local and the high speed bullet trains, plus a variety of local JR buses & the JR Ferry to Miyajima. As of October 2023, both the price and usage conditions will be revised. In this post, we go through the upcoming changes and how this will impact the Japan Rail Pass.

New Pricing

The price increase is very significant and will depend on the pass type and duration. Here is the old and new pricing:

Ordinary Car (2nd Class)

  • 7-day = 50,000 yen (current 29,650) = 67% increase
  • 14-day = 80,000 yen (current 47,250) = 69% increase
  • 21-day = 100,000 yen (current 60,450) = 65% increase

Green Car (1st Class)

  • 7-day = 70,000 yen (current 39,600) = 77% increase
  • 14-day = 110,000 yen (current 64,120) = 72% increase
  • 21-day = 140,000 yen (current 83,390) = 68% increase

There’s no denying that, at first impression, this is a massive price hike. Putting in context with factors: such as the devaluation of the yen against other currencies, the level of energy inflation Japan is seeing and general increase of cost, a price increase was to be expected. Then there’s the fact that the JR Pass base price has not changed in a couple of decades.

In addition to the JR Pass, the cost of normal fares and tickets are also set to increase, so the change is not in isolation and remains good value. To help travellers decide if the JR Pass is right for them, we will continue to offer free resources such as the JR Fare Calculator and free personal advice on our community forum

Until when can passes be purchased for the old price

What to do if you want to order and activate the JR Pass before the end of the year. As the changes are set to go live in October, we highly suggest ordering your passes before September 27th where possible. This because we can issue passes by on the 30th of September latest. We may not be able to accept orders after this date due to high volume and required checks.

If you need a pass for travel this year: Simply place an order on JRPass.com, and keep the 3-month exchange period in mind. If you need a pass for specific travel (late) December, place your order and then contact our support team ([email protected]) with your order# and your travel date. Our team will then make sure your pass is issued on the right date for your travels.

How to activate your order in Japan: Note that exchange orders can be exchanged up to 3 months after issue date. At time of activation, a first day of travel can be selected up to 1 month ahead of time. That means travel could commence as late as the end of January, given that the pass was active in Japan by Dec 28th.

Summary for ordering passes:

  • Old prices remain valid for orders placed BEFORE October (order by Sept 27th latest). Given that the 30th falls on the weekend.
  • The pass can be activated 3 months after issue date.
  • At activation time in Japan, a starting date up to 30 days in the future can be selected.
  • Keep your exchange date + 3 month activation window in mind when placing the order. For example, if your exchange date is Dec 26th - then you should order on Sept 27th or after.
  • We will not be able to (re-)issue passes on or after Oct first with the old pricing, such as in case of a plane delay or name correct. 

After the updated price goes live, it will no longer be possible to order vouchers at the old rates. 

In conclusion

Prices hikes are never fun, there is no way around it. That said, with the new perks and tourism discounts the Japan Rail Pass is becoming a “Japan Pass” that is not just used for transport but tourism and exploring Japan in general. Encouraging travellers to go beyond the “Golden route” like Tokyo and Kyoto, and explore the rich diversity of destinations Japan has to offer.

As for regional passes, these prices remain mainly unchanged (though they have seen more regular price increases through the years). Meaning that regional passes may offer a better value option in the future. To find out if a regional pass would benefit your itinerary, read our expert guide to regional passes.

Using the Nozomi

It will become possible to use the Nozomi train at an additional cost. We generally do not think this is worth it, given the small-time difference with freely included trains (namely the Hikari and Sakura) Shinkansen, but this is a decision to make individually. Prices are as follows for most popular routes:

Tokyo - Nagoya  ¥4,180
Tokyo - Kyoto  ¥4,960
Tokyo - Shin-Osaka  ¥4,960
Tokyo - Hiroshima  ¥6,500

Full Nozomi route prices:

Sections Prices (per adult passenger)
- Nagoya 4,180 yen
- Kyoto 4,960 yen
- Shin-Osaka 4,960 yen
- Shin-Kobe 4,960 yen
- Himeji 5,390 yen
- Okayama 5,930 yen
- Hiroshima 6,500 yen
- Hakata 8,140 yen
- Nagoya 4,180 yen
- Kyoto 4,620 yen
- Shin-Osaka 4,960 yen
- Hiroshima 6,500 yen
- Hakata 8,140 yen
- Kyoto 2,530 yen
- Shin-Osaka 2,530 yen
- Okayama 4,170 yen
- Hiroshima 4,960 yen
- Hakata 6,500 yen
Kyoto - Hiroshima 4,170 yen
- Hakata 5,390 yen
- Hiroshima 4,170 yen
- Hakata 4,960 yen
- Kagoshima-Chūō 9,460 yen
- Hiroshima 4,170 yen
- Hakata 4,960 yen
- Kagoshima-Chūō 9,460 yen
- Hiroshima 2,530 yen
- Hakata 4,620 yen
- Kagoshima-Chūō 9,120 yen
- Hakata 3,400 yen
- Kumamoto 5,930 yen
- Kagoshima-Chūō 7,900 yen
Hakata - Kumamoto 2,530 yen
- Kagoshima-Chūō 4,500 yen
Kumamoto - Kagoshima-Chūō 3,240 yen
* The same prices apply to tickets for Green cars, reserved seats in Ordinary cars, and non-reserved
seats in Ordinary cars.
* For children, half the adult ticket price will apply, excluding some cases.

Disclaimer: This page is up-to-date as of publication, and we will do our best to update this as new information becomes available. However, we can not take any responsibility for action take by readers based on the information provided here. 

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