The only silver lining for Japan’s restrictions on international travel is the ever-growing number of domestic travel promotions offering shinkansen tickets or hotel packages at a fraction of the usual price. JR East has already cut bullet train prices in half until March 2021, and now JR Central is following suit with its own limited-time offer. From now until September 26, the railway company is offering new domestic travel plans for trips to Kyoto, Nagoya and Osaka from Tokyo that include a round-trip shinkansen ticket and one night at a hotel.
With the new plan, Tokyoites can take a round trip to Kyoto from just ¥18,500, Osaka from ¥17,400 or Nagoya from ¥25,100. Those living in Nagoya or Shin-Osaka can also score a round trip to Yokohama from ¥17,300 or Tokyo from ¥14,700. Don’t worry, the company has ensured all reserved seats will be separated by one empty seat to maintain social distancing protocols.
This is a good deal. Just take the Kyoto package for example. A return journey on the Nozomi train from Tokyo to Kyoto would normally set you back ¥28,000 (with reserved seating). This JR Central package offers you the same train plus a one-night hotel stay from just ¥18,500.
The offers are primarily limited to weekends, so you can go on a spontaneous overnight trip without having to change your work schedule. Along with the round-trip ticket and one-night hotel stay, JR Central is also throwing in one ‘new travel style ticket’ with every package, which can be used as a discount voucher for selected activities.
If you’re in Kyoto, you can use the ticket to dock ¥1,500 off your bill at the famed K36 rooftop bar, trade it in for a one-day use of the Pippa bike-sharing service, or pick from a range of other options. Those visiting Osaka can use the ticket to gain access to the top deck of Tsutenkaku Tower or use it to board the Aqua-Liner for a cruise down the Okawa River.
The terms and conditions for each package vary – some must be purchased as a set for a minimum of two to four people while others are valid even for solo travellers. See the campaign’s official website (in Japanese only) for the full list of plans and activities on offer.
The campaign will only last until September 26, so hurry and book your trip before the tickets are snatched up.
Check our guide on going out safely in Tokyo – or anywhere, for that matter.
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