Is the Japan Rail Pass still worth it after the 65% + price hike?

It’s no secret that for those wanting to experience Japan to the full, the best way to do it is via a Japan Rail Pass. Giving you the chance to explore this breathtaking country by train, you’ll have the opportunity to see an array of different landscapes, from the bustling metropolis of Tokyo to the tranquil and picturesque Kyoto.

A budget-friendly option, it has flat fees, and unlimited access to all of the national trains, ferry services and bus services – making it a great option for those wanting to explore Japan on their own schedule. However, there has now been a price hike announced, with the proposed changes taking effect later this year in October (2023). This has led many travellers to wonder whether the Japan Rail Pass is still worth it – or if it’s a better idea to book onto trains without it. 

To help guide you in the right direction, we’ve rounded up the latest information.

How much is the Japan Rail Pass increasing by?

It’s predicted that prices will increase by more than 65% – a huge increase and the biggest that the JRP has faced in several years. 

This price increase means that the 7-day pass (one of the most popular options for those purchasing one), will go from just under £179 to approximately £297 – with a 69% increase expected.  And for a Green Pass (first class) for 7 days, it will go up from £240 to £424 with a 77% increase expected. 

For a regular 14-day pass, the price will increase from £285 to £470 (a 69% increase). And for a Green Pass for 14 days, it will increase from £387 to £670

If you want to opt for the 21-day pass, this will increase from £387 to £639 (a 65% rise). And if you want to push the boat out and opt for the 21-day Green Pass, this is increasing from £503 to £845 (a 68% rise). 

What else is changing to the Japan Rail Pass?

Not only will there be a significant price hike, but there are other changes coming to the Japan Rail Pass. For example, there will no longer be a discount available for those who wish to purchase the Japan Rail Pass outside of Japan ahead of their trip. However, travellers that are interrailing with their family in tow will be pleased to know that their children (if they are aged between 6 and 11) will still benefit from 50% off their passes. 

It’s clear that the price hike is significant. And no doubt this is done to an array of factors, including inflation and the increase of Japan’s VAT.

Is a Japan Rail Pass still worth it?

This is probably the question that most people will have with the hike in prices. And although these new proposed prices are hard to ignore, it’s all about weighing up whether the price is worth the flexibility. It’s no denying that if you want to explore Japan to the full, the flexibility that comes with a JR Pass is perfect. Plus, it’s easy to use – as it’s valid on all Japan rail lines, including the Shinkansen. You also get some discounts, like on the ferry from Hiroshima to Miyajima.

With the pass in your hand, you won’t have to worry about having to buy separate tickets for each leg of your journey. It also adds a touch of spontaneity to the trip, as you can work your schedule around using the pass. And all that’s left to do is have an unforgettable time exploring this breathtaking country!