JR East shinkansen
Photo: Shortycolossus/Pixabay

JR East now offers half-price shinkansen tickets until September 2021

Limited express and bullet train tickets from Tokyo to Akita, Aomori, Sendai and even Hakodate are now 50 percent off

By Youka Nagase

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on pretty much all inbound tourism in Japan. So Japanese tourism agencies have been making an effort to entice residents to travel domestically with special deals. Even the government has gotten involved with its Go to Travel campaign to boost domestic tourism. (Note: while the travel subsidy is on hold at the moment, it is expected to resume later this summer, pending on the coronavirus situation in the country.)

With Japan’s current entry restrictionsoverseas tourists will have to be patient for the time being, but for those of us already in Japan, domestic travel is looking better and better. East Japan Railway Company (JR East) has announced that it's offering 50 percent discount on selected shinkansen and limited express train tickets.

The promotion is currently running until September 30 2021, with the generous discount available on selected JR East shinkansen and limited express lines. Do note that this half-price deal only applies to tickets purchased through the official JR East website between 20 days and one month prior to your departure date. Also, only limited amount of tickets are available per train.

This really is one of the best shinkansen deals we've seen so far. A one-way shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Akita usually costs ¥17,920, whereas if you buy the ticket in advance during the promotion, you’ll be able to snag it for just ¥8,950, so it’s worth planning ahead and going online. 

Check the list below for the trains and destinations that are part of the campaign. For more information, see this link (in Japanese only).


  • Hayabusa, Hayate (between Tokyo and Morioka/Shin-Aomori/Shin-Hakodate Hokuto)
  • Yamabiko (between Tokyo and Koriyama/Fukushima/Sendai/Morioka)
  • Nasuno (between Tokyo and Nasushiobara)
  • Tsubasa (between Tokyo and Yamagata)
  • Komachi (between Tokyo and Akita)

Limited Express Trains

  • Hitachi (between Tokyo and Haranomachi/Soma/Watari/Iwanuma/Sendai)
  • Kusatsu (between Tokyo and Shibukawa/Nakanojo/Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi, promotion until June 30)
  • Inaho (between Tokyo and Tsuruoka/Amarume/Sakata)
  • Nikko, Kinugawa, Spacia Kinugawa (between Tokyo and Tobu-Nikko/Kinugawa Onsen)

Looking for more train deals to explore Japan for less? Two JR East rail passes are now available to foreign residents in Japan.

More news

Take our Time Out Index survey and tell us what life is like in Tokyo

New Asahi 'draft beer' recreates a head of foam in the can – but it's almost sold out

Japanese airlines are offering special scenic flights instead of international travel

Kurkku Fields in Chiba has reopened, offering farm stays, Yayoi Kusama art and more

teamLab is holding a new exhibition inside a soy sauce warehouse in Okayama

Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.

Latest news