How to choose a special discount rail ticket for Japanese residents

The spread of Covid-19 has dramatically reduced the number of travelers. As a result, railroad companies sell special discount tickets to stimulate demand.

If you understand of Covid-19 precautions and want to travel, it is your chance. There are many discount tickets that you have never seen before. You can ride on trains at much lower rate than usual.

Some of the tickets explained here are only available online on Japanese websites. If you don’t understand Japanese, it will be difficult to buy, but I will put a link to the sales site for your convenience.

In this article, I will list and explain the tickets that Japanese residents can buy, not for travelers.

For travel all over Japan

There are few passes that cover all of Japan. But unfortunately you cannot find the pass like the JR Pass that can be used by foreign travelers.

Fullmoon Green Pass

Although it is the only ticket comparable to the JR Pass, this ticket can only be bought by married couples and the total age of couple must be 88 years or older. Since it is the total age, it can be purchased with like a combination of a 68-year-old husband and a 20-year-old wife. It can also be bought by a common-law couple. However, combinations such as father and daughter are not applicable.

This pass has 5 days, 7 days and 12 days, and the 5-day pass starts from JPY 84,330 (for two people). You can ride a green car on JR routes all over Japan, so the conditions are the same as for a JR pass green car. In addition, if either of the users is 70 years old or older, the senior fee will be applied and the 5-day pass will be JPY 79,330.

The information on this pass is not available in English, so I will put a link to the Japanese site:

https://railway.jr-central.co.jp/tickets/fullmoon-greenpass/index.html (JR Central official site)

If you have any questions, please ask me in the comments section at the bottom.

Seishun 18 Kippu

Tickets sold during the spring, summer, and winter vacations of Japanese schools. It covers all over Japan, but you cannot board the Shinkansen or limited express trains with this ticket. To put it simply, you will travel to Japan on the train you normally use for commuting.

For example, if you are traveling from Tokyo to Osaka, it will take about three times as long as the Shinkansen to change trains.

It’s a very cheap ticket, but it’s not a ticket for everyone.

Please refer to the following article for details:

For travel to Hokkaido

Otaru canal winter festival

Most tickets are available after arriving in Hokkaido, and the number of tickets you can get to Hokkaido by train is limited. The only pass you can access by train from Tokyo is Hokkaido & Higashi Nihon Pass other than Fullmoon Green Pass and Seishun 18 Kippu. But since Hokkaido & Higashi Nihon Pass is the same type of pass as the Seishun 18 Kippu mentioned above, so it’s not for everyone.

Peach Kita Hokkaido Free Pass

This is a 4-day unlimited ride pass that can be bought by those who arrive at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido on the LCC Peach flight. You can go to Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa, Furano, Biei and Wakkanai. You can also use this ticket to get on a non-reserved seat on a regular car on a limited express train.

If you’re traveling after October 30th, the price will drop and it’s sold at 9,800 yen.

See the following articles for more information on this ticket.

According to the official website of JR Hokkaido, similar tickets are sold for those who travel to and from Hokkaido by Japan Airlines. However, this is sold at travel agencies along with Japan Airlines tickets and cannot be purchased at stations.

Peach Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass

This is a 5-day unlimited ride pass that can be bought by those who arrive at New Chitose Airport or Kushiro Airport in Hokkaido on an LCC peach flight. You can go to Sapporo, Otaru, Asahikawa, Furano, Biei, Abashiri, Kushiro and Nemuro. You can also use this ticket to get on a non-reserved seat on a regular car on a limited express train.

If you’re traveling after October 30th, the price will drop and it’s priced at 9,800 yen.

According to the official website of JR Hokkaido, similar tickets are sold for those who travel to and from Hokkaido by Japan Airlines. However, this is sold at travel agencies along with Japan Airlines tickets and cannot be purchased at stations.

Hokkaido Free Pass

This is the same type of pass as the Hokkaido Free Pass for foreign travelers. This pass is valid for 7 days and allows unlimited rides on JR lines in Hokkaido. You can take a non-reserved seat on an ordnary seat car on a limited express train, and you can use an ordinary seat on a regular car up to 6 times. The price is 27,430 yen and there is no child price.

The information on this pass is not available in English, so I will put a link to the Japanese site:

https://www.jrhokkaido.co.jp/CM/Otoku/006381/ (JR Hokkaido official site)

Hokkaido & Higashi Nihon Pass

This pass is similar to the Seishun 18 Kippu and you cannot board any Shinkansen or limited express trains.

The differences from the Seishun 18 Kippu are as follows:

Seishun 18 KippuHokkaido & Higashi Nihon Pass
Price12,050 JPY11,300 JPY
Child priceN/A5,660 JPY
DurationAny 5 days
or 5 people can share this ticket for one day trip.
7 consecutive days
CoverageAll over JapanJR East and JR Hokkaido area
Transportation between Honshu and HokkaidoAdd Hokkaido Option Ticket at 2,490 JPY
Hokkaido Shinkansen from Okutsugaru-Imabetsu to Kikonai, and South Hokkaido Railway from Kikonai to Goryokaku (or versa)
Add Hokkaido Shinkansen and Limited Express Train Option Ticket at 6,110 JPY
1-day unlimited ride of Hokkaido Shinkansen between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, and any limited express train non reserved seat

Both passes have their pros and cons.

Kanto, Tohoku, Shinetsu (Nagano, Niigata) area

Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata

If you live in or near Tokyo, these are the passes you can use from there.

JR East Welcome Rail Pass 2020

This is available is sold to the foreign nationals who lives in Japan only. It is same type of the pass as JR East Pass which is sold to foreign tourists. But this pass covers more than that pass.

The price of this pass is 12,000 yen. It covers Tohoku, Kanto, Niigata and Nagano, and it is cheaper to use this pass just to make a round trip to Sendai by the Shinkansen. This pass offers unlimited ride of all trains in JR East area.

I have explained this pass in detail in another article. Please refer from the link below:

Tokyo Wide Pass

This pass covers Tokyo and its surrounding areas, but this coverage area is quite extensive, including Nikko, Kusatsu Onsen, and Karuizawa.

However, the JR East Welcome Rail Pass is sold for 12,000 yen, and the price of this pass is only about 2,000 yen cheaper, so the value is not so great.

I have explained this pass in detail in another article. Please refer from the link below:

Tokai area (The Tokaido Shinkansen deals)

Shinkansen
The Tokaido Shinkansen connects Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka.

Here, I will explain the great deals on Shinkansen tickets that connect Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka.

Platt Kodama

This ticket uses the slowest Kodama train on the Tokaido Shinkansen. It takes longer than the fastest Nozomi, but the price is cheaper. You can buy a one-way ticket, so you have a lot of freedom.

I have explained this pass in detail in another article. Please refer from the link below:

Platt Nozomi

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the occupancy rate of the Tokaido Shinkansen has decreased significantly, so this ticket is now on sale.

It’s a similar type of ticket to Platt Kodama, but you can get on the Tokaido Shinkansen Nozomi which is the fastest train.

However, this ticket can only be purchased online in Japanese. You cannot buy it at stations or JR Tokai Tours stores. In addition, it must be purchased at least 3 days before boarding.

You can buy it at the JR Tokai Tours official site in the link below:

https://www.jrtours.co.jp/kodama (JR Tokai Tours official site, Japanese only)

Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu area

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Path

I will explain the passes that can be used in western Japan such as Shikoku and Kyushu from the Kansai area such as Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

Dokodemo Door Kippu

This pass is on sale by JR West and is a limited-edition ticket until the end of December.

There is a 2-day pass that can be used in the JR West area that covers the Hokuriku, Kansai, and Chugoku regions, and a 3-day pass that also covers Shikoku and Kyushu.

2-day pass is sold at 12,000 JPY and 3-day pass is sold at 18,000 JPY.

I have explained this pass in detail in another article. Please refer from the link below:

Kintetsu Zensen 3-day Free Kippu

This is a 3-day unlimited ride on all Kintetsu trains. It is very similar to Kintetsu Rail Pass to oversea tourists.

Kintetsu has routes to Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Nara, Ise, Yoshino, and Mie. This is a very convenient ticket for round trips from Osaka to Nagoya and trips to Ise. However, if you want to take a limited express train, you need to buy a limited express ticket separately.

This pass will sold until February 27, 2021 and the price is 3,000 JPY (child price 1,500 JPY).

You can buy it at major Kintetsu railway stations ticket offices and ticket vending machines. You must buy a ticket one day before traveling or earlier. You cannot buy it on travel day.

The information on this pass is not available in English, so I will put a link to the Japanese site:

https://www.kintetsu.co.jp/senden/Railway/Ticket/kintetsu3days/

Shikoku Mankitsu Kippu Special Plus

If you want to travel to Shikoku, this is the best deal. This pass offers 3-day unlimited ride on non reserved seat on all JR Shikoku trains and Tosa Kuroshio Tetsudo trains. It covers JR Shikoku Bus and Asa Seaside Railway trains.

It is sold at 10,500 JPY for 3-day. But you must include at least one day of weekend or holiday in 3 days duration. It will be on sale until the end of January, 2021.

This pass is sold online only and unfortunately only Japanese site is available. Please find the link below and you can buy it there:

http://www.jr-eki.com/ticket/brand/1-4SX (JR Shikoku official site)

Min’na no Kyushu Kippu

There are two types of tickets, All Kyushu area and Northern Kyushu area. All Kyushu covers all part of Kyushu and Northern Kyushu covers the area north of the line connecting Oita and Kumamoto.

Both passes are valid for 2 days including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, and you can ride on an ordinary cars in JR Kyushu trains including the Kyushu Shinkansen during the valid period.

The price is exceptional at 10,000 yen for All Kyushu area and 5,000 yen for Northern Kyushu.

However, this pass is for online sale only, and you must register as a web member of JR Kyushu before purchasing. (Member registration is free)

This pass is sold online only and unfortunately only Japanese site is available. Please find the link below and you can buy it there:

http://www.jrkyushu-kippu.jp/fare/ticket/253 (JR Kyushu official site)

Last word

There are many more deals. I did not mention any local deals, such as subway pass in each metropolitans. If you can combine some deals, you may be able to travel at much lower rate.

We have to be very careful about spreading the infection, but I think it’s okay to travel according to the rules. It also contributes to the local economy.

Many Rail Passes are cheaper than ever before. Enjoy your trip at this opportunity.

2 thoughts on “How to choose a special discount rail ticket for Japanese residents”

  1. Wow Takeshi…that is such great information and so useful. Foreign residents who cannot read Japanese are so lucky to have this information. From what I saw you posted, many areas are covered. I was hoping to go to Chugoku area like Yamaguchi Prefecture but if I am correct, the only discounted fare available would be “dokodemo door kippu” but as you explained, this is not available to solo travelers. Are you aware of any discounted tickets that include Yamaguchi for solo travellers? Alternatively, are you aware of any discount tickets that go from Kyoto to Kyushu for solo travelers? Sorry to ask you many questions? Thank you for any assistance. Mark

    1. Hi Mark,

      Unfortunately there is no deals available for solo.

      If there is a person who can speak Japanese around you, ask that person if there is a “ticket shop(金券ショップ)” nearby. If you go there, you can buy Shinkansen tickets that are about 10 to 15% cheaper. This shop sells coupon tickets one by one, so it is cheaper than the regular price.

      You can also get a “Go to travel regional coupon (Go to travel 地域共通クーポン)” if you buy and book a Shinkansen ticket and hotel at a regular price at a major travel agent. If you use this, you can buy a ticket for 2 days unlimited rides on JR lines in the Yamaguchi area for 3500 yen. You can’t buy this unless you have a coupon. Tickets that can be used in this Yamaguchi area do not include the round-trip fee to Yamaguchi.

      Again, unfortunately there in no deals which you can buy it in the station easily for solo traveler. There are lots of deals available but most of tickets and packages are sold in major travel agents. I think there are some staffs who can speak English in these days. Just drop by there and ask them about deals. You may find better one.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

Please read these terms and conditions before you leave a comment.
  • Your comment will not be displayed until I approve it. When you will leave a comment, the page will just reload and nothing will happen. But if I approve the comment, your comment will be displayed. Press submit only once and wait for the comment to appear.
  • Please refrain from asking me to create a itinerary. I'm not your personal travel agent, so I do not accept making itineraries from scratch. This site provides you with a lot of information. Please refer to them and make your own itinerary. I will be happy to advise you on the itinerary.
  • Please refrain from asking how to get to the hotel you are staying at. I think that is the first thing to check when choosing a hotel. Also, I think that any hotel nowadays explains how to access it on the official website. First, try google the hotel name.
  • Please refrain from asking me which hotel to recommend. I can comment on the hotels I actually stayed at, but I can't judge on other hotels.
  • If you ask me the rail pass that fits your itinerary, please explain your travel plan in as much detail as possible. I can't choose the best pass on the rough itinerary.
  • I will not answer your question by email. I manage this website with a policy of sharing all information, including questions received from readers. Some readers read past comments carefully. Please note that I do not personally interact with readers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*