1. Shinkansen
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  2. Shinkansen
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Best discount train deals and rail passes for trips from Tokyo

Head to Osaka, Kyoto, Nikko, Hakone and more with these cheap shinkansen and local train deals

Written by
Youka Nagase

Japan’s legendarily efficient train network is a thing of beauty. We love being able to zip around the country on a shinkansen for a weekend getaway, but that convenience often comes with a hefty price tag. A trip from Tokyo to Osaka can cost around ¥15,000 one-way.

Thankfully, Japan’s railway companies offer package deals for trips on a budget. Deals can include shinkansen tickets to and from your destination, unlimited public transport once you’re there, and even discounts on local attractions. 

Whether you want to spend a day exploring Tokyo, take a day trip to Nikko, or travel to Osaka for the weekend, be sure to check out these deals before you book your next trip. 

RECOMMENDED: Not sure where to visit first? Start with some of the most beautiful places in Japan

Weekend getaways

Nikko Discount Ticket
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Nikko Discount Ticket

Head to Tochigi’s historical old town of Nikko for the Toshogu Shrine and more with this bargain deal. The Nikko Discount Ticket includes a round-trip ticket from Asakusa to Nikko Station or Kinugawa Onsen, and unlimited rides on the Tobu Nikko and Kinugawa lines for four days. Plus, unlimited trips on Tobu buses in the entire Nikko area. You’ll also get a round-trip pass on the Akechidaira Ropeway, which takes you up to an observation deck with a spectacular view of Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji.

Keep your discount tickets with you when you’re going around Nikko, as many tourist attractions including the Chuzenji Lake Boat Cruise, Tobu World Square and Edo Wonderland offer special discounts.

Price: ¥3,800, children ¥980
Where to buy: Tobu Tourist Information Centers at Asakusa and Ikebukuro.

Hakone Freepass
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Hakone Freepass

Spend a weekend in Hakone enjoying the hot springs and mountain air. With the Hakone Freepass, you can get a round-trip ticket from Shinjuku Station to Odawara Station on the Odakyu line and unlimited rides on local public transport once you’re there.

Getting around Hakone is a breeze with the eight participating services: Hakone Tozan Railway, Hakone Tozan Cable Car, Hakone Ropeway, Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, Hakone Tozan Bus, Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus, the Tokai Bus (in designated areas) and the Kanko Shisetsu Meguri sightseeing bus.

You can choose between a two- or three-day pass, depending on the duration of your trip.

Price: Until September 30 – two-day pass ¥5,700, three-day pass ¥6,100. From October 1 2021 – two-day pass ¥6,100, three-day pass ¥6,500
Where to buy: Odakyu Sightseeing Service Centers and Odakyu line ticket machines.

Platt Kodama
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Platt Kodama

Platt Kodama gets you a discounted one-way ticket to destinations between Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station on the Kodama shinkansen, including destinations like Shizuoka, Nagoya and Kyoto. You can save anywhere from ¥1,500 to ¥5,000 depending on your destination, and you’ll even get a complimentary drink voucher you can use at the station. The Kodama shinkansen makes a stop at every station, so a journey from Tokyo to Osaka (pictured) will take around 4 hours.

Tickets are available from a month prior to the day before your departure date, and reservations cannot be changed after your purchase.

Price: From ¥4,800
Where to buy: Official website or the JR Tokai Tours office at Tokyo, Shinagawa and Shin-Yokohama stations.

  • Travel
  • Transport & Travel

If you’re a foreign resident, take advantage of the JR Tokyo Wide Pass to travel around the Kanto region. The pass will get you unlimited rides on JR East lines, the Tokyo monorail, Izu Kyuko line, Fujikyu Railway line, Joshin Dentetsu line, Saitama New Urban Transit line and Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit line for three consecutive days. You can visit the beautiful beaches down in Izu Peninsula, shop at the outlet malls in Karuizawa or even go skiing in Gala Yuzawa.

Price: ¥10,180, children ¥5,090
Where to buy: Official website and at JR East Travel Service Centers.

For day trips within Tokyo

Tokunai Pass
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Tokunai Pass

If you’re on a mission to see more of Tokyo in a single day, we recommend getting the Tokunai Pass which gets you unlimited rides on all local JR East lines within the 23 wards.

Price: ¥760, children ¥380

Where to buy: Ticket machines at any JR East stations within Tokyo, Midori no Madoguchi ticket offices, JR East Travel Service Centers and some travel agencies.

Kyujitsu Odekake Pass
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Kyujitsu Odekake Pass

If one day isn’t enough, opt for the Kyujitsu Odekake weekend pass, which gets you unlimited rides on all local JR East lines, the Tokyo Monorail, Rinkai line and selected shinkansen trains (between Tokyo Station and Honjo-Waseda/Koyama Station) for two whole days. You can head out as far as Okutama (pictured) or just zip around the city.

Price: ¥2,720, children ¥1,360

Where to buy: Ticket machines at any JR East stations within Tokyo, Midori no Madoguchi ticket offices, JR East Travel Service Centers and some travel agencies.

Yokohama-Minatomirai Pass
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Yokohama-Minatomirai Pass

Explore what Yokohama has to offer with this pass that gets you unlimited rides on the local JR East lines between Yokohama Station and Shin-Sugita Station, as well as the Minatomirai line between Yokohama Station and Motomachi-Chukagai Station. 

Price: ¥530, children ¥260
Where to buy: Ticket machines and Midori no Madoguchi ticket offices at stations on the JR Negishi line (between Yokohama Station and Shin-Sugita Station) and Travel Service Center View Plaza outlets.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

There’s no better way to spend a weekend in the capital than with a pass that gets you unlimited rides on the Tokyo Metro for two whole days, plus access to all the best museums and galleries in Tokyo. The Metro and Grutto Pass includes two 24-hour unlimited ride passes on all Tokyo Metro lines, and a booklet filled with discounted or free admission tickets to 99 museums, galleries and attractions in Tokyo.

Price: ¥530, children ¥260
Where to buy: Tokyo Metro Museum and all Tokyo Metro ticket offices, except the Nakano, Nishi-Funabashi and Shibuya locations.

Tokyo Skytree area ticket
Photo: Wen Xiao/Unsplash

Tokyo Skytree area ticket

Explore Tokyo’s shitamachi (downtown) with this pass that gets you unlimited rides on the Tobu line between Asakusa and Kitasenju stations. You can grab some street food around Asakusa’s Nakamise-dori, visit Sensoji Temple, go up Tokyo Skytree and check out the old-school neighbourhoods of Honjo and Mukojima all in one day.

Price: From ¥510, children ¥250
Where to buy: Ticket offices and ticket machines at Tobu stations.

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