It’s official! The new Japan Rail Pass price increase is set to take place on October 1, 2023. The price will increase by as much as 70 percent. Any passes, or rail pass vouchers, purchased from that point on will be subject to the new pricing.
Japan Rail Pass Price Increase
Ordinary Car New Price
- 7-day pass: ¥50,000 per adult
- 14-day pass: ¥80,000 per adult
- 21-day pass: ¥100,000 per adult
Green Car New Price
- 7-day pass: ¥70,000 per adult
- 14-day pass: ¥111,000 per adult
- 21-day pass: ¥140,000 per adult
The price increase is based on a number of factors, such as the decline in value of the Japanese yen, the increase in energy costs, and the increase in maintenance and operation costs of the railway network.
New JR Rail Pass Perks
If you look hard enough, there is one silver lining. Well, maybe it’s more of a gray lining, you be the judge. With the new pass, you will now be able to ride on the Nozomi and Mizuho trains, after paying a hefty supplement for each ride.
Another possible perk is that pass holders will be eligible for discounts at selected shops and sightseeing spots. No details have been released yet, so whether this adds any value to the pass is unknown.
How do I Buy the New JR Rail Pass?
There will no longer be the option of buying a rail pass at authorized JR stations once you’ve arrived in Japan.
How to Milk the Old Pass
Planning a trip to Japan before spring 2024? You can still get the pass for the original price up to September 30, 2023.
If you buy your pass through the official JR Group website, you have to start your pass within a month of your purchase. That means the latest you can start this pass would be October 30, 2023.
However, purchasing a JR Rail Pass voucher from an online agent gives you the most leverage for your start date. Vouchers can be exchanged within 3 months of purchase, and the rail pass can start within a month once redeemed.
So, you can buy a voucher on September 30, 2023, and wait until late December to redeem it. If you’re planning a trip to Japan before late January, then you can save yourself some money by buying a voucher from an online agent.
Is the New Pass Worth It?
The value of the new pass all depends on what you find important. If convenience is your main motivator, then yes, the new pass is still worth it. It still allows the freedom to hop on trains without the hassle of buying tickets.
However, if money is your motivator, then you’ll need to do a lot of traveling to make this new rail pass worth the price. With the old pass, one round trip from Tokyo to Kyoto nearly paid for the pass. Now it’ll take much more than that.
Our friends at Japan Guide have created a nice little Japan Rail Pass Calculator to help you identify whether the pass is worth the price or not. Just put in all your destinations, and it’ll calculate the price of all the train rides and let you know if it’s better to buy tickets or buy the JR Rail Pass.