Japan Rail (JR) recently announced a significant price hike to its vaunted Japan Rail Pass. A new survey indicates that, rather than swallow the hike, many prospective travelers may just skip buying it entirely.
JR is no exception. The company, which runs the country’s high-speed shinkansen trains service, has for years offered 7-day and 14-day unlimited ride passes. While not universally accepted, the pass is good on most JR lines and for travel with some subsidiary companies as well.
As UJ editor-in-chief Noah Oskow noted in his previous article on the JR Pass, its greatest value is the access it provides to the shinkansen. The JR Rail Pass grants cheap access to the rest of the country outside of tourist hotspots like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.
However, the pass will now come at a premium. JR announced that, starting in October 2023, pass prices will increase by almost 70%. For example, a 7-day regular pass will go from 29,650 yen to an even 50,000 yen. The positive side of the price hike: the new ticket will allow access to the faster Nozomi and Mizuho services, which are excluded from the current ticket.
There’s been fierce debate over whether the pass still remains a good deal. Practically speaking, it’ll now require taking multiple shinkansen trips for customers to see value from purchasing the pass versus buying tickets directly.
Most customers seem to realize that – and are saying they’ll pass on the pass.