How to Ride the Shinkansen Cheaply in Japan

How to Ride the Shinkansen Cheaply in Japan Japan

Shinkansen trains are so convenient because they get you around so incredibly fast!

But the only drawback is the high fare.

Isn’t the Shinkansen fare expensive?

We use the Shinkansen because it is convenient, but wouldn’t you like to reduce the fare as much as possible anyway?

I want to use the Shinkansen as cheaply as possible, so I have been researching and practicing various ways to make it cheaper.

As I have more opportunities to use the Shinkansen, I have learned a lot of things, so I would like to take this opportunity to summarize all the ways to make the Shinkansen cheaper.

Structure of Shinkansen Fare

Fares for the Shinkansen are not always the same, no matter when you take them.

The fare changes depending on the time of year, the type of Shinkansen you take, and your seat.

There is no need to memorize it perfectly, but if you know it somehow, you will be able to have fewer doubts about the fare structure.

Fares change depending on the off-season, regular season, and peak season.

Shinkansen fares differ slightly depending on the season and day of the week.

There is a system of off-peak, normal, and peak season, and the express fare changes depending on what kind of condition we are in now.

Non-reserved seats are cheaper than reserved seats.

There were two types of seats on the Shinkansen: reserved seats and also non-reserved seats, Right?

Each of them are having name implies, with the difference categories whether you are assigned a seat or can sit freely.

Non-reserved seats are cheaper, but they tend to be crowded because anyone can sit in them. The number of cars is also small.

On the other hand, if you have a reserved seat, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you can be sure of a seat if you can get a reservation. The fare is a little higher for that reason.

Green Car and Grand Class are also reserved seats, but they are also one or two ranks higher.

When you compare the different ranks, you will find that the passengers are of different ranks and the comfort of the seats is clearly different.

Fares are differ depending on the type of Shinkansen.

Shinkansen trains run in various places, and  fare may differ depending on the type of Shinkansen.

If you take a reserved seat in Hayabusa, Komachi, Nozomi, or Mizuho, the express fare is a little higher than others.

This is the basic concept so far, but I would like to cover the know-how that is not easily taught at the Shinkansen counter!

Use Express Reservation

Express reservation is the cheapest way to save money on the Shinkansen.

You can save more money by making a reservation for the Shinkansen through Express Reservation than by buying a regular ticket.

Express reservation itself is a service that requires an annual membership fee, but if you take the train several times a year, it will certainly pay for itself, and you will get benefits more thang, so there is no reason not to use it!

Redeem Green Program points for free rides in green cars

When you use Express Reservation, you will accumulate points called Green Program.

When you accumulate a certain amount of points, you can ride the Green Car for the price of a standard reserved seat.

It is a steady accumulation, but you can feel a sense of superiority when you can save money by using points.

If you take a regular Green Car from Shin-Kobe Station to Tokyo Station, it usually costs 20,250 yen.

The fare for a green car with express reservation is 19,030 yen.

We were curious to know how much cheaper each of these costs would be by using the Green Program, so we made a list.

10-35% discount if you make a reservation with “Ekinetto Tokudatte”.

Using JR East’s “Ekinett Tokudatte Tokudatte” service, you can save 10 to 35% on the Tohoku Shinkansen, Hokkaido Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen, and Hokuriku Shinkansen.

It is quite a bargain to get such a discount just by knowing about it.

However, it is not possible to make reservations at any time, so if you know in advance the date you will be taking the Shinkansen, it is recommended that you make reservations ahead of time.

20% discount with “Ekinetto Student Discount

Ekinet also offers a student discount, which gives you a 20% discount on the fare.

However, limited express tickets are not discounted, and only train tickets are discounted by 20%. This is a little regrettable.

As a student, you probably don’t have a lot of money, so be sure to actively use services that offer student discounts, such as Ekinet, to avoid wasting it.

Buy coupon tickets

If you plan to use the same section of the train several times in a short period of time, buying coupon tickets is one way to do so.

The cost per trip is lower than the cost of a regular ticket.

If you use a credit card to buy coupon tickets, probably you can also save money.

However, coupon tickets are also not valid from April 27 to May 6, August 11 to August 20, and December 28 to January. 

Buy coupon tickets in bulk at a money store.

Buying coupon tickets may have been a hurdle indeed…

However, you may have more opportunities to use the coupon tickets themselves than you think.

You can find coupon tickets sold in bulk at money stores and Yahoo! Auctions, etc., and they are cheaper than regular tickets.

It is not a dramatic saving, but if you have a golden ticket store nearby and can use them, it is one of the surefire ways to save money.

Please be careful when using them, as they may not be sold at certain times of the year.