Japan's Popular Rail Pass Is About to Get More Expensive

The price increase will go into effect on Oct. 1.

The Japan Rail Pass, one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to travel around the country, is going up in price this fall.

The cost of a 7-day rail pass, known as the JR Pass, will increase from as low as 29,650 yen ($201.19) when purchased from an authorized retailer to 50,000 yen ($339.28), a nearly 70 percent increase, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. The price increase will go into effect on Oct. 1 and become the first increase in several years.

A spokesman for the JR Group told The New York Times the increase follows improvements to its service, including extending lines and updating reservation systems.

“As a result, the actual benefits greatly exceed the product price,” the spokesman said, adding, “we have decided to revise the price to an appropriate level.”

When the price increase goes into effect, a 14-day JR Pass will rise from as low as 47,250 yen ($320.62) to 80,000 yen ($542.85) and a 21-day pass will rise from as low as 60,450 yen ($410.19) to 100,000 yen ($678.56). Passes for children 6 to 11 years old will cost 50 percent of the adult price.

Passes for the Green Car will also increase in price from as low as 39,600 yen ($268.71) for a 7-day pass to 70,000 yen ($474.99).

<p>Hiro1775/Getty Images</p>

Hiro1775/Getty Images

With the new system, travelers will also be unable to purchase rail passes from ticket offices in Japan. Instead, the passes will only be available to buy online or through authorized retailers.

Japan’s rail system is known for having some of the fastest trains in the world, including bullet trains that run at more than 200 mph. The trains criss-cross the country, allowing travelers to hop between major cities at a clip as well as access regional lines.

But while Japan is increasing the cost of unlimited rail passes, several countries in Europe are making it easier and cheaper to access trains there. Portugal, for example, just launched a new rail pass traveling up and down its coast for under €50 ($53.65). And countries like Spain, France, and Germany have unlimited passes available.

For more Travel & Leisure news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.