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JR East to Offer Half-Price Shinkansen Tickets

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Perhaps in the hopes of boosting domestic travel in the face of dealing with COVID-19, JR East has announced discounts of 50% on select Shinkansen and limited express routes in Japan from August 20th 2020 until March 31st 2021.

The Deal

The Deal

The Japan Rail Network is a nationwide railway system that also includes shinkansen (bullet train) routes. The network is split into six companies: JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, and JR Kyushu.

The Osakini Tokudachi Special (お先にトクだ値スペシャル) deal is offered on selected shinkansen and limited express routes by JR East. The deal entitles customers to 50% off the original ticket price for travel.

Eligible Routes

Eligible Routes

Eligible routes for the discount are listed below:

Shinkansen (Bullet Train)

Hayabusa/Hayate Service (Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya → Morioka/Shin-Aomori/Shin-Hakodate Hokuto
Sendai → Shin-Aomori/Shin-Hakodate Hokuto
Morioka → Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya OR Shin-Hakodate Hokuto
Shin-Aomori → Sendai/Omiya/Ueno/Tokyo
Shin-Aomori ↔ Okutusgaru-Imabetsu ↔ Kikonai ↔ Shin-Hakodate Hokuto
Shin-Hakodate Hokuto → Morioka/Sendai/Omiya/Ueno/Tokyo

Yamabiko Service (Tohoku Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Koriyama/Fukushima/Sendai/Morioka

Nasuno Service (Tohoku Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Nasushiobara

Tsubasa Service (Yamagata Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Yamagata

Komachi Service (Akita Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Akita

Toki/Tanigawa Service (Joetsu Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Jomokogen/Niigata

Kagayaki Service (Hokuriku Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Toyama/Shin-Takaoka/Kanazawa

Hakutaka Service (Hokuriku Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Itoigawa/Kurobe-Unazuki Onsen/Toyama/Shin-Takaoka/Kanazawa

Asama Service (Hokuriku Shinkansen)
Tokyo/Ueno/Omiya ↔ Nagano


Limited Express Trains

Hitachi Service (Joban Line)
Shinagawa/Tokyo/Ueno ↔ Haranomachi/Soma/Watari/Iwanuma/Sendai
Mito/Katsuta/Iwaki ↔ Haranomachi/Soma/Watari/Iwanuma/Sendai

Azusa Service (Chuo Line)
Tokyo/Shinjuku ↔ Chino/Kami-Suwa/Matsumoto

Kaiji Service (Chuo Line)
Tokyo/Shinjuku ↔ Kofu/Ryuo

Wakashio/Shinjuku Wakashio Service (Sotobo Line)
Tokyo/Shinjuku ↔ Oami/Mobara/Katsuura/Awa-Kamogawa

Sazanami/Shinjuku Sazanami Service (Uchibo Line)
Tokyo/Shinjuku ↔ Goi/Anegasaki/Kisarazu/Kimitsu/Tateyama

Shiosai Service (Sobu Main Line)
Tokyo ↔ Sakura/Yachimata/Naruto/Yokaichiba/Asahi/Choshi

Inaho Service (Uetsu Main Line)
Niigata ↔ Tsuruoka/Amarume/Sakata

Nikko/Kinugawa/Spacia Kinugawa Service (JR/Tobu Limited Express)
Shinjuku/Ikebukuro/Urawa/Omiya ↔ Tobu Nikko/Kinugawa Onsen

Booking Your Tickets

Booking Your Tickets

Tickets must be purchased between 1 month and 20 days (until 1:40 a.m.) before the day of travel, subject to availability. Transiting between stations is not permitted.

A free Eki-net account is required to purchase tickets. Tickets are only sold through this platform and are not available at train stations. To open an account, you will need a credit card and an IC travel card (e.g. Suica/ICOCA etc.).

The online platform is currently only available in Japanese.

Example Fares

Example Fares

Here are some example fares with the applied discount (based on one-way fares).

Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto
Original Fare: ¥23,430
Discounted Fare: ¥11,610

Tokyo to Niigata
Original Fare: ¥10,760
Discounted Fare: ¥5,280

Tokyo to Kanazawa
Original Fare: ¥14,380
Discounted Fare: ¥7,090

Tokyo to Nagano
Original Fare: ¥8,340
Discounted Fare: ¥4,060

Shinjuku to Matsumoto
Original Fare: ¥6,620
Discounted Fare: ¥3,300

Though there may be quite a few hoops to jump through to obtain the discount, it is a great deal for those seeking to visit some of these destinations and revitalize the tourism industry in Japan over the next 8 months. However, please remember to follow coronavirus guidelines and social distancing where possible to ensure your trip is a safe one.

If you miss out on this deal or find that there are too many hoops to jump through, why not try an alternative method of discounted train travel by using the Seishun 18 Kippu?