While we await the details of the Japanese government’s “Go to Travel” campaign to boost tourism, here’s some good news for budget travelers in Japan.
From August 20, 2020 to March 2021, JR East (East Japan Railway Company) will give a 50% discount on select shinkansen and limited express train tickets. This applies to JR East bullet trains, with some exclusions, like Hokuriku Shinkansen trains bound for Kanazawa and Toyama, which will be half-off until September 30, 2020.
Shinkansen train lines that qualify for this discount include Hokuriku Shinkansen which connects Tokyo and Nagano and the Tohoku Shinkansen (the longest JR East bullet train line) which runs between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori and includes stops in Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture), Morioka (Iwate), and other cities.
The tickets must be purchased on the JR East website at least 20 days before the date of departure.
And if you've missed out on this deal, don't fret! The Japan Rail Pass, which applies to many of Japan's major cities, is also a great option for budget travelers.
Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen - Hayabusa/Hayate
Tohoku Shinkansen - Yamabiko
Tohoku Shinkansen - Nasuno
Yamagata Shinkansen - Tsubasa
Akita Shinkansen - Komachi
Joetsu Shinkansen - Toki/Tanigawa
Hokuriku Shinkansen - Kagayaki (discount until September 30, 2020)
Hokuriku Shinkansen - Hakutaka (discount until September 30, 2020)
Hokuriku Shinkansen - Asama
Joban Line - Hitachi
Chuo Line - Azusa
Chuo Line - Kaiji
Soboto Line - Wakashio/Shinjuku Wakashio
Uchibo Line - Sazanami & Shinjuku Sazanami
Sobu Main Line - Shiosai
Uetsu Main Line - Inaho
JR/Tobu Direct Express - Nikko/Kinugawa/Spacia Kinugawa