JR East shinkansen
Photo: Shortycolossus/Pixabay

JR East will cut shinkansen ticket prices in half until March 2021

From August 20 this year, it'll be 50 percent cheaper to travel from Tokyo to Hokkaido, Nagano, Niigata and more

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 is getting involved, with its Go to Travel Campaign for domestic tourists set to launch later this year.

Japan’s current entry ban means most overseas 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 it will be offering 50 percent discount on all bullet train and some limited express train tickets.

The promotion will start from August 20 this year and will run until March 31 2021. The discount is available on all JR East shinkansen lines during that time, except the Hokuriku Shinkansen’s Kagayaki and Hakutaka trains (for destinations like Toyama and Kanazawa), which will be half price only until September 30 this year. 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. 

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. JR East’s shinkansen lines connect Tokyo to plenty of popular tourist destinations like Nagano, Hokkaido and Fukushima, just to name a few.

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


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)

Toki, Tanigawa (between Tokyo and Jomokogen/Niigata)

Kagayaki (between Tokyo and Toyama/Shin-Takaoka/Kanazawa)

Hakutaka (between Tokyo and Itoigawa/Kurobe-Unazuki Onsen/Toyama/Shin-Takaoka/Kanazawa)

Asama (between Tokyo and Nagano)

Limited Express Trains

Hitachi (between Tokyo and Haranomachi/Soma/Watari/Iwanuma/Sendai)

Azusa (between Tokyo and Haranomachi/Chino/Kami-Suwa/Matsumoto)

Kaiji (between Tokyo and Kofu/Ryo)

Wakashio, Shinjuku-Wakashio (between Tokyo and Oamishirasato/Ohara/Katsuura/Awa-Kamogawa)

Sazanami, Shinjuku-Sazanami (between Tokyo and Goi/Anegasaki/Kisarazu/Kimitsu/Tateyama)

Shiosai (between Tokyo and Sakura/Yachimata/Naruto/Yokaichiba/Asahi/Choshi)

Inaho (between Tokyo and Tsuruoka/Amarume/Sakata)

Nikko, Kinugawa, Spacia Kinugawa (between Tokyo and Tobu-Nikko/Kinugawa Onsen)

Wondering where to go with your half-price shinkansen tickets? Go check out some of the most beautiful places in Japan.

More news

Tokyo gets a new support centre for foreign residents

Calbee releases 47 flavours of potato chips, one for each prefecture

Japan releases new travel guidelines following ease in domestic travel restrictions

These are all the countries and regions affected by Japan’s entry ban

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is getting a new Doraemon XR ride

Latest news