shinkansen, bullet train
Photo: Blanscape/DreamstimeTokaido shinkansen

New train deal: kids can ride the Nozomi shinkansen for free for a limited time

From November 24 to December 19, kids get free seats on the route between Tokyo and Hakata via Kyoto and Shin-Osaka

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner

Right in time for autumn leaves season in Japan's Kansai and Kyushu areas, JR Central and JR West launched a new discount campaign (in Japanese only), offering free rides for children on the Nozomi shinkansen.

The deal is available between November 24 and December 19 on the Tokaido-Sanyo shinkansen lines. It covers all stations served by the Nozomi shinkansen between Tokyo and Hakata Station in Fukuoka, including Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Okayama and Hiroshima. Primary school children aged between six and 12 are eligible for this free deal. The Nozomi is the fastest train service on the route, and parents will be able to save up to ¥19,120.

However, there are a few conditions in order to make use of this promotion. First, you’ll need to make sure you and your child each have IC transport cards like Suica or Pasmo. Next, you’ll have to make a booking via the Express Yoyaku or Smart EX reservation systems, both of which let you use your IC card to board the shinkansen. During the process, you’ll be asked to register the IC card serial numbers of each person in the booking. After you’ve made the booking at full price via your credit card, the child fare will be refunded to your bank account.

Note that you’ll need to book at least two tickets at the same time, one for an adult and one for a child. The offer is only available for reserved seat tickets, as well as Green Car first-class tickets.

The cheap ticket campaign is part of the celebration of the Nozomi shinkansen’s 30th anniversary in March 2022. For more information, visit the website (in Japanese only).

More travel deals in Japan

JR West Kansai Wide Area Excursion Pass is now available to foreign residents in Japan

JR East passes for Nagano, Niigata and Tohoku are now available to foreign residents

JR Kyushu now has three rail passes available to foreign residents

Foreign residents can use the JR Tokyo Wide Pass to travel around Kanto

Zipair now offers budget flights between Tokyo and Los Angeles from just ¥27,500

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