Rail Pass Increase
On April 14, 2023, the JR Group dropped a huge bomb and announced that the cost of the popular Japan Rail Pass will be drastically increased sometime around October 2023. The exact date is yet to be confirmed.
The pass still won’t cover the Nozomi and Mizuho trains without an additional ticket, despite the price rise. Information on these extra tickets will be released at a later date. On the other hand, pass holders will now have access to a variety of discounts at particular tourist attractions.
It goes without saying that after the price increase, it will be harder for the pass to pay for itself. A 7-day pass will not be cost-effective even for a round-trip between Tokyo and Fukuoka, which costs about 45,000 yen with an ordinary ticket. Although the pass will continue to be a compelling deal for people who frequently take long-distance trains over a short period of time, it is anticipated that its popularity will significantly decline.
Alternative passes and means of transportation are probably going to become more popular, assuming they won’t be subject to comparable price rises. Regional rail passes like the Hokuriku Arch Pass and the JR West All Area Pass may emerge from the shadow of the Japan Rail Pass. Additionally, domestic flights may become more competitive, particularly for journeys to Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido, where trains may lose their economic advantage.