Flex Rail Ticket, The Tokaido Shinkansen round trip deal between Tokyo, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka for all of you

Tokaido Shinkansen and fuji

I usually recommend you use the 7-day JR Pass if you make a round trip between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka because the round trip fare for Tokyo to/from Shin-Osaka is almost the same as the 7-day JR Pass price. But the JR Pass is available for the short term stay tourist only. The residents cannot buy it.

But a new deal “Flex Rail Ticket” has been introduced by JR Tokai Tours. This is available for the residents too. If you are not Japanese but live in Japan as a resident, you can buy this.

I would like to explain to you this new deal “Flex Rail Ticket” in this post.

What is Flex Rail Ticket?

The Flex Rail Ticket is the discounted round trip deal by the Tokaido Shinkansen non reserved seat to Tokyo, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Fuji (Mishima) and Hakone (Odawara) from the major stations, such as Tokyo, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-osaka. This deal covers the fastest train “Nozomi” which is not covered by the JR Pass.

Please read the link below to learn more about the Tokaido Shinkansen.

This deal is not available further than Shin-Osaka to west destinations, such as Okayama, Hiroshima and Hakata. The deal is available on the Tokaido Shinkansen segment which is between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka.

Validity period

The Flex Rail Ticket is valid for 7 days. You can take non reserved seats on any Shinkansen trains to go back to the original departure station.

e.g.
If you depart from Tokyo station on September 2nd
You have to go back to Tokyo by September 8th.

9/29/39/49/59/69/79/89/9
DepartReturn
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Sales period

At this point, the Flex Rail Ticket will be sold until March 25th, 2020. But you cannot use this deal to depart from December 25, 2019 to January 5, 2020.

But if you intend to use this deal in the winter peak period, this deal may not be your best choice. This deal is not available from December 25th to January 5th.

Non reserved seat only

This deal gives you lots of flexibility. But on the other hand, you cannot secure your seat. This is the package plan. Therefore you cannot reserve your seat even if you want to add the fee. If you really want to secure your seat, this deal does not suit your trip plan.

You may find the information about non reserved seats in the link below:

Benefit

The Flex Rail Ticket includes the benefit which you can enjoy your stay in the destination, such as a coupon or a bus ticket. I will show you what kind of benefit is included in each deal later in this post.

How and where purchasing this ticket

I mentioned that the Flex Rail Ticket is sort of a discount ticket. But technically this is not a ticket but a package tour product. You cannot purchase this at a ticket window in JR stations. You have to go to JR Tokai Tours. That is JR Central’s travel agent.

You may find the location of JR Tokai Tours offices in Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka in the link below:

JR Tokai Tours official site

You can purchase this ticket even on the departure day. You do not need to purchase it in advance.

e.g
You can purchase the Flex Rail Ticket Kyoto at JR Tokai Tours office in Tokyo station. Right after you got this ticket, you can hop on the Shinkansen for Kyoto.

However the number of tickets is limited. If you have extra time, you may want purchase it in advance.


Hotels in Kyoto
Hotels in Osaka
Hotels in Nagoya
Hotels in Tokyo

Type of tickets, prices and details

As I mentioned above, there are several types of the Flex Rail Tickets. I will show you the products one by one. And also I will compare the price of Flex Rail Tickets and the regular fare. The regular fare is the round trip of the base fare and non reserved seat fee.

Flex Rail Ticket Tokyo

Sumida river and Tokyo Skytree
Sumida river and Tokyo Skytree

This package includes the round trip to Tokyo by the Shinkansen, non reserved seats and an “Experience Coupon”. You can enjoy one of the designated attractions or meals in Tokyo with this coupon. Please see the official site to find what kind of plan is available with this coupon:

JR Tokai Tours official site – Flex Rail Ticket Experience Coupon in Tokyo

The price is the following:

Departure stationShin-OsakaKyotoNagoya
Adult21,800 yen21,000 yen16,400 yen
Child (6-11 year)12,000 yen12,000 yen10,000 yen

The price and the regular fare comparison

The Flex Rail Ticket is cheaper than the regular fare. I will show you how much cheaper between these.

Departure stationFlex Rail TicketRegular fareYour saving
Shin-Osaka21,800 yen27,720 yen5,920 yen
Kyoto21,000 yen26,620 yen5,620 yen
Nagoya16,400 yen21,120 yen4,720 yen

And this deal includes the coupon. You have a much bigger value than the saving amount.

Flex Rail Ticket Osaka

Tsutenkaku tower
Tsutenkaku is the icon of Osaka.

This package includes the round trip to Shin-Osaka by the Shinkansen non reserved seat and an “Experience Coupon”. You can enjoy one of the designated attractions or meals in Osaka using this coupon. Please see the official site to find what kind of plan is available with this coupon:

JR Tokai Tours official site – Flex Rail Ticket Experience Coupon in Osaka

The price is the following:

Departure stationTokyo/ShinagawaShin-YokohamaNagoya
Adult23,200 yen22,700 yen12,200 yen
Child (6-11 year)13,200 yen13,000 yen9,000 yen

The price and the regular fare comparison

The Flex Rail Ticket from Tokyo, Shinagawa and Shin-Yokohama are cheaper than the regular fare. I will show you how much cheaper between these.

Departure stationFlex Rail TicketRegular fareYour saving
Tokyo/Shinagawa23,200 yen27,720 yen4,040 yen
Shin-Yokohama22,700 yen27,080 yen4,380 yen
Nagoya12,200 yen11,880 yen-320 yen

And this deal includes the coupon. You have a much bigger value than the saving amount if you depart from Tokyo, Shinagawa or Shin-Yokohama. Even the departure from Nagoya gives you better deal if you are interested in the coupon.

Flex Rail Ticket Kyoto

Kiyomizu dera temple Kyoto
Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto

This package includes the round trip to Kyoto by the Shinkansen non reserved seat and an “Experience Coupon”. You can enjoy the designated attraction or meal in Kyoto using this coupon. Please see the official site to find what kind of plan is available with this coupon:

JR Tokai Tours official site – Flex Rail Ticket Experience Coupon in Kyoto

The price is the following:

Departure stationTokyo/ShinagawaShin-YokohamaNagoya
Adult21,000 yen20,500 yen10,000 yen
Child (6-11 year)12,000 yen11,800 yen6,500 yen

The price and the regular fare comparison

The Flex Rail Ticket is cheaper than the regular fare. I will show you how much cheaper between these.

Departure stationFlex Rail TicketRegular fareYour saving
Tokyo/Shinagawa21,000 yen26,620 yen5,620 yen
Shin-Yokohama20,500 yen25,300 yen4,800 yen
Nagoya10,000 yen10,340 yen340 yen

And this deal includes the coupon. You have a much bigger value than the saving amount.

Flex Rail Ticket Mt. Fuji _area

Mt Fuji and Mishima skywalk
Mishima Skywalk and Mt. Fuji

This package includes the round trip to Mishima by the Shinkansen non reserved seat, Tokai Bus 1-day ticket and a Mishima Skywalk admission ticket. The Tokai Bus 1-day ticket covers the places surrounding Mishima. You can get the Hakone Pass by Tokai Bus. Please see the official site to find the details about these benefits:

JR Tokai Tours official site – Flex Rail Ticket Special Deal of Mt. Fuji plan

You can view Mt. Fuji from the Mishima Skywalk. But this ticket does not take you to the base of Mt. Fuji, such as Lake Kawaguchi or Lake Ashi. Honestly speaking, I have some difficulty accepting to call this deal “Mt Fuji area”. This deal gives you the round trip to Mishima and sightseeing around Mishima.

The price is the following:

Departure stationTokyo/ShinagawaShin-YokohamaNagoyaKyotoShin-Osaka
Adult8,000 yen7,500 yen13,000 yen17,500 yen18,000 yen
Child
(6-11 year)
3,800 yen3,600 yen6,500 yen8,500 yen9,000 yen

The price and the regular fare comparison

The Flex Rail Ticket is cheaper than the regular fare from Shin-Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. This may be a good deal to visit Mishima. But the price from Tokyo is almost same as the regular fare. The price from Shin-Yokohama, this deal is higher than the regular fare. This deal includes 1-day bus pass and Mishima Skywalk admission. The value may be still better than the regular fare. Meaning the price from Tokyo and Shin-Yokohama aren’t very attractive. I will show you the difference between these.

Departure stationFlex Rail TicketRegular fareYour saving
Tokyo/Shinagawa8,000 yen8,140 yen140 yen
Shin-Yokohama7,500 yen6,900 yen-600 yen
Nagoya13,000 yen15,820 yen2,820 yen
Kyoto17,500 yen21,360 yen3,860 yen
Shin-Osaka18,000 yen23,540 yen5,540 yen

Flex Rail Ticket Hakone_area

Gora Hakone
Gora Hakone Park is located near Gora station of Hakone Tozan Railway.

This package includes the round trip to Odawara by the Shinkansen non reserved seat and 2-day pass for Izu Hakone Bus. You can get most places in Hakone area by this 2-day pass. Please find the link below to find more information about Izu Hakone Bus 2-day pass:

Izu Hakone Bus 2-day pass coverage map

In the link above, there is other deal which is called “Hakone Tabidasuke”. This pass covers Komagatake ropeway, Jukkoku-toge cablecar and lake cruise on Lake Ashi. Izu Hakone Bus 2-day pass covers only bus services. These attractions are not covered but you can get these at the discounted price

Please see the official site to find the detailed information about this benefit:

JR Tokai Tours official site – Flex Rail Ticket Hakone_area

The price is the following:

Departure stationTokyo/ShinagawaShin-YokohamaNagoyaKyotoShin-Osaka
Adult7,000 yen6,500 yen14,700 yen19,200 yen19,700 yen
Child
(6-11 year)
3,500 yen3,300 yen7,200 yen9,200 yen9,700 yen

The price and the regular fare comparison

The Flex Rail Ticket is cheaper than the regular fare if you leave from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. But if you use this from Tokyo and Yokohama, the prices are not very attractive. Especially Shin-Yokohama departure is much more expensive than the regular fare. Izu Hakone Bus 2-day pass is sold at 2,000 yen. I cannot understand why this ticket is sold much higher than the regular fare. I will show you the difference between these.

Departure stationFlex Rail TicketRegular fareYour saving
Tokyo/Shinagawa7,000 yen6,560 yen-440 yen
Shin-Yokohama6,500 yen3,960 yen-2,540 yen
Nagoya14,700 yen17,140 yen2,440 yen
Kyoto19,200 yen23,540 yen4,340 yen
Shin-Osaka19,700 yen26,120 yen6,420 yen

And this deal includes the coupon. You have a much bigger value than the saving amount if you leave from Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka

Comparison Flex Rail Ticket Hakone_area and Hakone Free Pass

Hakone Free Pass is the most popular deal to travel to Hakone from Tokyo as well. Please see the table below to find the difference between Flex Rail Ticket Hakone_area and Hakone Free Pass 3-day.

Type of passFlex Rail TicketHakone Free Pass
Departure stationTokyo or ShinagawaShinjuku
Price7,000 yen6,100 yen
*If you add the limited express seat fee, total cost is 8,280 yen.
Validity7 days3 days
Coverage transportationIzu Hakone BusHakone Tozan Railway
Hakone Cable Car
Hakone Ropeway
Hakone Tozan Bus
Lake Ashi Cruise

Hakone Free Pass 2-day is also available at more affordable prices, 5,700 yen. So if you visit Hakone within 3 days, the Hakone Free Pass is a better choice in my opinion. As I mentioned, the Flex Rail Ticket does not cover whole part of Hakone. Especially if you leave from Shinjuku or other west side of downtown Tokyo, Odakyu Railway is more accessible than the Shinkansen. If you add the limited express “Romancecar” fee (one way at 1,090 yen), you can get to Hakone-Yumoto directly from Shinjuku. No transfer is required at Odawara.

If you stay in Hakone for 4 or more days, the Flex Rail Ticket offers 7 days duration. You may add the Hakone Free Pass (Odawara version) as you need.

Compare with Platt Kodama

Platt Kodama is another Shinkansen deal which is sold by JR Tokai Tours. This is a one way deal and it covers only the slowest train, Kodama. Please see the link below to find the information of Platt Kodama:

If you have a one way trip between Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka, Platt Kodama may be your choice. Because the Flex Rail Ticket is a round trip deal.

If you have a round trip between Tokyo, Nagoya Kyoto and Shin-Osaka, you can choose either one. I will show you the difference:

Type of the passFlex Rail TicketPlatt Kodama
Price (Tokyo to Shin-Osaka round trip)23,200 yen21,000 yen
(10,500 yen x 2)
Coverage trainAny Shinkansen trainsOnly Kodama
Coverage seatNon reserved seat onlyReserved
Travel time (Tokyo to Shin-Osaka)2 hours 10 minutes3 hours 40 minutes
Deadline of purchasingJust before departureOne day before travel
FlexibilityYou can choose the train on the spot.You cannot change the plan without the handling fee.
BenefitExperience couponDrink coupon

The Flex Rail Ticket is more expensive, but it includes the coupon and covers the fastest train, “Nozomi”. The trip time is much faster. If you travel to Kyoto, the difference of the cost is only 400 yen. In my opinion, the Flex Rail Ticket is better choice.

Eligibility

The Flex Rail Ticket is available for participants who possess a passport issued by a country other than Japan. Many deals are available for only the tourists who enter Japan as a short term visitor. But this deal is available for the residents too.

And also up to 2 Japanese participants may accompany per 1 participant with a foreign passport.

e.g.
If you are resident who has a foreign country passport and Japanese wife and Japanese child, three of you can purchase this ticket.

Condition of use

There are several conditions. I mentioned several things above, but I would like to mention some things to you again. When you use the Flex Rail Ticket, please understand these conditions below before you purchase this deal.

  • You have to purchase this deal in JR Tokai Tours office. You cannot purchase it at the ticket window in JR stations.
  • This is a 7 days flex round trip plan. You have to go back to the original departure station in 7 days from the departure date.
    e.g. If you depart on May 1st, you have to complete the trip by May 7th.
  • This ticket covers only non reserved seats. That is why this deal offers flexibility. You cannot reserve a seat or upgrade to a Green class seat even if you add the fare.
  • The stopover is not allowed. Once you exit somewhere on the way or way back, your ticket is expired.

Cancellation fee

If you cancel by 11 days prior to the departure date, you can cancel at the free of the charge. Please see the table below to find the fee after 11 days prior to the departure date:

Date of cancellationFee
11 days prior to the departure date0
10 to 8 days20% of the ticket price
7 to 2 days30% of the ticket price
the day before the departure date40% of the ticket price
on the day of the departure date
(but not departing yet)
50% of the ticket price
After departure100% of the ticket price

Assessment

I think this is a good deal. The only weakness is that only non reserved seats are covered.

If you take the train from Shin-Osaka and Tokyo, it is easy to get a seat. If you take the train, especially Nozomi from Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto, you can still get a seat in most seasons. But if you travel with someone, you may not be able to get seats side by side. Especially Nozomi has only 3 non reserved cars.

The second fastest train, “Hikari” has 5 non reserved cars. But the number of Hikari is fewer than Nozomi.

If you are okay with taking the slowest train, Kodama, it is not hard to get seats, even side by side. But Kodama is slow. And you can use Platt Kodama which is the cheaper deal.

I am glad if this post gives you some idea of how to build your trip plan.

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