If you are a junior high, high school, university, or any special school student, Japan Rail (JR) offers 20% discount for travels involving more than 100 kilometers (one way). If you plan your trip well, you can get an additional 10% off by buying a round trip ticket! However, take note that this discount is only applied to the actual fare. To illustrate, I’m going to take my trip from Tokyo to Osaka using a student discount form issued by my university to get a 20% discount from JR Shinkansen Nozomi. Since I’m not sure if I can go home in time after my appointment, I did not buy my ticket on the way back which means I am losing the 10% off I could have gotten from buying the roundtrip ticket. Read on up to the Tips section to save more money!
What you need:
1. Student discount form issued by the school. If you are from Tokyo Institute of Technology, you can automatically get this from the certificate machine. The form from Tokyo Institute of Technology looks like this:
2. Your student ID (to show the ticket sales office).
Sample Case: Shibuya, Tokyo to Shin-Osaka, one way ticket
Whether you are going to Shin-Osaka from Tokyo station or Shinagawa station, the Shinkansen fare will cost 8750 Yen. The seat fee for an unreserved seat (whether you get to sit down or not) is an additional 4870 Yen. On the other hand, a reserved seat costs as high as 5700 Yen during peak season. The student discount is only applicable to the fare. This means that you will have to pay the full price of the seat fee.
Hence, a one way ticket with student discount will cost 8750×(1 – 0.20) + 4870 = 11,870 Yen, saving me 1750 Yen.
Sample Case: Shibuya to Shin-Osaka, roundtrip ticket
Again, buying a two-way ticket will get you an additional 10% off a one-way ticket on top of the 20% student discount. Hence, a two-way ticket will cost 8,750×(1 – 0.30) + 8,750×(1 – 0.20) + 4,870×2 = 22,625 Yen, which would have saved me 27,240 – 22,625 = 4,915.
Since I did not buy my ticket immediately, making me miss the 10% additional discount, I will pay about 8,750×(1 – 0.20)×2 + 4,870×2 = 23,740 Yen and then I would only save 3,500.
1. Buy the ticket at the nearest JR station that connects to the Shinkansen station.
If you are lucky enough to live along the JR Yamanote Line or along any JR line where the JR Shinkansen Nozomi will stop, the Shinkansen’s fare price will include the trip going to that station. That means you get to save more money! For example, I got my Shinkansen ticket from Shibuya station. Shibuya has the JR Yamanote line. From JR Yamanote Shibuya station to the JR Yamanote Line Tokyo Station, it would normally cost 200 yen. If you buy your Shinkansen ticket from Shibuya, using the Shinkansen ticket from Shibuya will save you an additional 200 yen.
2. Shop for great deals from Booking.com
3. If you opt to use AirBNB but still have no account, get up to 40USD discount using this link.
4. It’s okay to eat your meals or snacks in the Shinkansen but you would save more if you buy them outside the station (e.g. convenience stores) or bring your own. Rice meal bentos sold in the station start above 900 yen.
Questions? Tips? Hit us up in the comments section below! 😘
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