Is the New JR Go Value It?


A chill ran up the backbone of each potential international customer to Japan in mid-2023, when it was introduced that costs for the Japan Rail Go could be going up in October. And going up considerably, to the tune of 70 per cent.

That 7-day Japan Rail Go, which used to price simply over 200 USD on the present change price? Nicely, it’ll run you ¥50,000 (~340 USD) now, and that’s solely the start. Even worse? Whereas nationwide JR Go value will increase are probably the most extreme, costs are going up for all regional Japan Rail Go merchandise as properly.

This has led many vacationers to ask a easy query: Is the brand new JR Go value it? Concern not, I’m right here to provide the not-so-simple reply.

Japan Rail Go Costs Simply Went Up—a Lot

Earlier than deciding whether or not the JR Go continues to be value it, you should first reckon with the fact of the worth improve. Listed here are the brand new JR Go costs (previous ones are in parentheses):

  • ¥50,000 for a 7-day Japan Rail Go (¥29,650)
  • ¥80,000 for a 14-day Japan Rail Go (¥47,250)
  • ¥100,000 for a 21-day Japan Rail Go (¥60,450)

NOTE: Whereas Inexperienced Automobile passes have additionally seen commensurate will increase, I’m not itemizing them as a result of I don’t usually think about the Inexperienced Automobile to be value it.

And why, precisely, are Japan Rail Go costs rising now? Nicely, for one hand, they haven’t gone up in additional than a decade. That is despite the truth that the Japanese yen is now value round half of what it was at its peak within the early 2010s, when it traded at simply 77 JPY per USD. One more reason? JR is aware of the various vacationers nonetheless see the go as an extremely worth. However is it?

Direct vs Third-Celebration Ordering

  • In case you order your go straight from Japan Railways, you possibly can benefit from the comfort of constructing seat reservations on-line; you may as well decide up your go as soon as in Japan with nothing however your passport and order affirmation quantity.
  • Ordering from a third-party like will prevent a bit of cash, but additionally introduces a few inconveniences. Specifically, which you could’t reserve seats on-line, and that you just’ll want a bodily “Change Order” coupon to choose up your go.

Why the JR Go is (Generally) Nonetheless Value It

Limitless station entry

Once you purchase a Japanese Shinkansen or Restricted Specific prepare ticket outright, it permits you one entry to the origin station and one exit from the vacation spot station. With the Japan Rail Go, then again, you possibly can entry all JR and Shinkansen platforms and limitless variety of occasions during your go. That is particularly beneficial in case you are driving a Shinkansen and not using a reservation (resembling on a day journey from Kyoto or Osaka to Himeji Citadel) and need to have the ability to enter the station spontaneously. 

Straightforward on-line reservations

The Japan Rail Go (presuming you purchase it straight, and never by way of a 3rd social gathering) can be good for reserved seats, nevertheless. You need to use the identical dashboard on the official JR Go website to make reservations to your whole journey simply and in English. I like to recommend doing this as quickly as attainable after you purchase your go.  That approach, once you decide up your go, the affiliate who processes the order can print out the reservation chits. Is JR Go nonetheless value it? Undoubtedly, a minimum of when it comes to comfort.

Peace of thoughts

Comfort, and peace of thoughts: There’s one thing to be mentioned for understanding that you just’ll be capable of get your self from Level A to Level B, even in the event you haven’t fairly determined A, B or any of the opposite letters of the alphabet. Moreover, the brand new JR Go will supply reductions at quite a lot of points of interest in Japan, which can additional improve your financial ROI. Mixed with the convenience of reservations and the flexibleness of station entry, having a Japan Rail Go can relieve plenty of the stress of touring in Japan.

Entry to Nozomi and Mizuho

One other factor that makes the brand new JR Go value it? The truth that you’ll quickly be capable of use the super-fast Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen trains, which have historically been off limits to JR Go holders. Whereas the dangerous information is that utilizing these trains would require you to pay a small surcharge, the excellent news is that doing so can shave hours off particular person journeys, which may result in a way more environment friendly use of time when zooming out to your whole journey.

Time vs. cash

Certainly, this encapsulates a giant bigger level of mine relating to the JR Go: That even when you find yourself solely breaking even, and even paying a bit extra, you’ll save time with the Japan Rail Go. You don’t want to attend in line to make seat reservations; you may make these on-line or at a ticket machine. You don’t must waste time on the Hikari or Sakura; you possibly can take the Nozomi and Mizuho as an alternative. A Japan Rail Go allows primarily frictionless journey in Japan—isn’t that value its weight in gold?

How Do I Maximize My JR Go in Japan?

As a normal rule, the extra you employ your go—particularly, on costly Shinkansen and Restricted Specific trains—the extra bang to your buck you get. Listed here are some sensible methods to let your Japan Rail Go do the give you the results you want:

  • Use the Narita Specific (versus the Keisei Skyliner) in the event you fly into or out of Narita Airport.
  • Journey to Nikko utilizing the Tohoku Shinkansen, as an alternative of a personal operated Tobu prepare.
  • In case you go to Mt. Fuji, use the Fuji Tour prepare from Shinjuku Station, as an alternative of driving a Fujikyu Bus.
  • Entry the Japanese Alps metropolis of Takayama utilizing the Shinkansen to Toyama or Nagoya, then the Hida Restricted Specific from there.
  • Go to Kyushu island and the Tohoku area (moderately than Shikoku island and the San’in) area, for the reason that former locations have extra Shinkansen and Restricted Specific trains than the latter ones.
  • Spend fewer days in every place—and go to extra locations—so that you just’re overlaying extra floor all through your journey.



Different FAQ Concerning the New JR Go

Is JR Go limitless rides?

The Japan Rail Go gives limitless rides on JR-operated trains, together with the Shinkansen bullet prepare, during go’ validity. Nonetheless, in some instances, you might must pay a surcharge, often if the JR prepare travels on privately-owned railway tracks (resembling on the Nanki Restricted Specific, which travels a part of the between Shingu and Nagoya on Kintetsu Line tracks).

Is the JR Go value it if solely staying in Tokyo?

As a normal rule, the Japan Rail Go just isn’t worthwhile if used just for Tokyo’s metropolis heart prepare traces, such because the JR Yamanote Line. Alternatively, in the event you plan to make numerous day journeys from Tokyo—significantly far-off ones, resembling Hiroshima and Sendai—you then could possibly make the case that having a JR Go is value it.

What are some alternate options to the Japan Rail Go?

In case you don’t wish to purchase a nationwide Japan Rail Go, you might as an alternative order any variety of regional JR Passes, such because the Hokkaido Rail Go or the Hokuriku Arch Go. Alternatively, you might reap the benefits of personal rail techniques (Tobu and Keisei within the Tokyo space; Keihan, Hankyu and Kintetsu within the Kansai area) and use your PASMO or Suica card for seamless journey when not utilizing JR.

The Backside Line

Is the brand new JR Go value it? As irritating as it could be to listen to, that merely is dependent upon your itinerary. In case you plan to take Shinkansen and Restricted Specific trains on most or all days of your journey, a Japan Rail Go might be value it, even on the “new costs.” Alternatively, the previous axiom—{that a} 7-day JR Go prices the identical as a round-trip Shinkansen journey between Tokyo and Kyoto—is now not true. Want personalised assist assembling all facets of your subsequent journey to Japan? I do hope you’ll think about commissioning a customized Japan itinerary, and letting me sweat the essential particulars.



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