Many travelers to Japan are accustomed to using various Rail Passes that six Japan Railways Group companies have offered visitors. We have covered these on Fabulous Fridays (read more here), most recently in 2017.
A massive price hike is coming to these products in October 2023, but the exact implementation date is unclear.
You can access the Japan Rail Pass website here.
New Pricing October 2023:
- 7-day = 50,000 yen (current 29,650/33,610) = 67% increase
- 14-day = 80,000 yen (current 47,250/52,960) = 69% increase
- 21-day = 100,000 yen (current 60,450/66,200) = 65% increase
- 7-day = 70,000 yen (current 39,600/44,810) = 77% increase
- 14-day = 110,000 yen (current 64,120/72,310) = 72% increase
- 21-day = 140,000 yen (current 83,390/91,670) = 68% increase
Japan Rail’s Notice:
Fabulous Fridays: Japan Rail Pass:
Fabulous Fridays: Japan Rail Pass!
The price increases are very high in yen but not as significant for overseas travelers, as the yen has tanked against many other currencies over the past couple of years.
I have not purchased Rail Pass Products in my past few trips to Japan, as they make the most sense if you try to travel to many places over a very short period by taking trains very frequently.
There are also limitations on which trains you can use these passes. I oversaw one couple getting agitated at the railway station ticketing desk when there was no availability on their route for several days.
Passes that you can buy from agents don’t allow online booking of trains, but you need to visit the ticketing desk to achieve that. The lines at stations have been rather long, based on my observations.
I love using trains in Japan for their efficiency, frequency, and proximity to city centers, but that comes at a price. They are not cheap.