JR East has announced that from August 20th, 2020 until March 31st, 2021, they will offer half price tickets for all Shinkansen trains operated by JR East.
Timed to coincide with the Japan government’s “Go To Travel” campaign for promoting regional tourism to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the discount will apply to both Shinkansen and limited express trains operated by JR East, including the Hayabusa service that runs to Shin-hakodate Hokuto in southern Hokkaido. For example, a one-way ticket to Shin-hakodate Hokuto which usually costs ¥23,230 will be reduced to ¥11,620, while a ticket from Tokyo to Kanazawa which usually goes for ¥14,180 can be had for ¥7,090.
How to get tickets
Tickets will be on sale from July 20th for travel between August 20th, 2020 and March 31st, 2021, although bookings on the Shinkansen can only be made one month in advance. Tickets will only be available through JR’s online ticketing web site “Eki-net“. Savings will not be limited just to Tokyoites. The discounts will be available for departure on all JR East Shinkansen and limited express trains from any point of departure within the JR East area.
Once you have input your dates and route, you will see the ticket selection page. The blue “Shinkansen e-ticket” section has three “tokudane” discount columns with either a 15%, 35% or 50% off discount. A green circle indicates good availability, an orange triangle indicates limited availability, while the “—” symbol shows no availability. With e-tickets you have the option to load the ticket on to a Suica card.
Limited Express Trains
|Kinugawa/Spacia Kinugawa||Shinjuku||Kinugawa Onsen|
Sample Route Prices
Here are some examples of how the discount will affect ticket prices.
|Service||Route||Normal price||Discounted price|
|Hayabusa||Tokyo -> Morioka||¥14,810||¥7,410|
|Hayate||Morioka -> Shin-hakodate Hokuto||¥13,240||¥6,630|
|Nasuno||Tokyo -> Nasuno-shiohara||¥5,820||¥2,910|
|Tsubasa||Tokyo -> Yamagata||¥11,350||¥5,690|
|Kagayaki||Tokyo -> Kanazawa||¥14,180||¥7,090|
Does this include destinations in western Japan?
No, it doesn’t. Japan Rail is split into 6 different companies—JR East, JR Hokkaido, JR Central, JR Shikoku, JR West, and JR Kyushu. The trains that run on the Tokaido Shinkansen are under the control of JR Central, while the trains that run on the Sanyo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata are controlled by JR West.