Japan: Bullet Train JR Pass Cost Hiked By 70%

Japan: Bullet Train JR Pass Cost Hiked By 70%

The price hikes vary from about 65% to 77%.

The Japan bullet train pass now costs ¥80,000 (INR 44719), up from ¥47,250 (INR 26412) – an increase of about 65% to 77%. Despite the hike, the demand for these 14-day unlimited travel passes remains strong due to a favorable yen exchange rate and foreign tourist influx.

This month, JR (Japan Railways) introduced more pass options, including one and three-week durations, and a first-class tier. These new prices come as the JR network expands, now covering over 19,000 km (11,800 miles).

The JR group, with its six operators, explains the raise citing more destinations and system upgrades like online reservations and automatic gates, which weren’t factored into the older fares. Travellers can also pay extra to board faster Shinkansen services like Nozomi and Mizuho, not just the slower ones. These passes, accessible for express trains, local lines, and some ferries, are exclusive to non-residents.

Many travellers value these passes for their convenience and adaptability for Japanese tours. Some, who bought tickets before the increase, continue to see their appeal. However, with the new prices, some might prefer low-cost airline options like Jetstar or Peach for long-distance travel, as they might be cheaper than regular train fares.

Still, for short to medium journeys, trains are seen as more efficient than planes, considering airport logistics and the minor cost difference. JR Central representative Koki Mizuno believes that, even with the rise, the rail passes remain a great value.

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