New Discount Travel Packages Designed for Your Convenience and Freedom Available from March 1

Going on sale on March 1, 2011, Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) and JAPANiCAN.com are proud to announce two brand new bargain travel package products designed to help visitors from overseas make the most of their trips to Japan.

Adding to the top-selling line of Train & Hotel Packages, which offer discounted Shinkansen tickets and hotel rooms together, a new discount Shinkansen product is soon to be made available: the Open Ticket Package. The Open Ticket Package was created with the customer’s freedom in mind and offers greatly discounted non-reserved Shinkansen bullet train tickets for a round-trip visit to Kyoto from Tokyo. The tickets allow use of any bullet train between the two cities and are perfectly suited for those hoping to visit Kyoto on their own schedule and without breaking the bank. E-Vouchers for the Open Ticket Package are to be sold exclusively on JAPANiCAN.com. As an added bonus, the package also includes a Kyoto One-Day Sightseeing Pass which is good for unlimited rides on many of the local buses and subway lines in Kyoto.

Also available for booking from March 1 is the new Central Japan Stay & Rail-Excursion Package. Interested in visiting central Japan’s most popular spots like Takayama and Kanazawa? These packages offer hotel stays in Nagoya and Gifu with included one-day excursions to Kyoto, Takayama, Kanazawa, Ise, and Shizuoka in various combinations, all at incredible bargain prices.

Keep reading below to find out more about these exciting new additions to JR Central and JAPANiCAN.com’s long-running collaborative line-up, or jump to the product of your choice with the links below:

 Bullet Train Open Ticket Package (E-Voucher)
So you’re heading to Kyoto from Tokyo, and two things are on your mind: price and flexibility. Enter the Bullet Train Open Ticket Package. Starting at just JPY 21,000 per adult, you can purchase an E-Voucher for the package on JAPANiCAN.com. This is 21% off the normal price for round-trip non-reserved tickets. At the time of purchase, you set a general departure date for your trip to Kyoto, but you’re not necessarily stuck with that date: the E-Voucher can be exchanged for departing tickets up to a month before or a month after the date you indicate when purchasing. Furthermore, you don’t have to pick a returning date to Tokyo — your return tickets are valid for up to a week (7 days) from the departure date you end up choosing, so you can come back the same day or spend as much as a week in Kyoto, depending on your plans. The tickets are for non-reserved seating, which means you have your choice of the non-reserved cars on any of the Shinkansen bullet trains between Tokyo and Kyoto (Kodama, Hikari, and Nozomi) at any time of day. To sweeten the deal a bit more, all Kyoto Bullet Train Open Ticket Packages also come with a Kyoto Sightseeing One-Day Pass which grants unlimited rides on various public transit around Kyoto, and there are plans including a 1-night stay in Kyoto and 4, 5, or 6-night stays in Tokyo.

So, let’s review. Here’s what you get with the Kyoto Bullet Train Open Ticket Package:

  • Round-trip Tokyo to Kyoto bullet train tickets (non-reserved seats)
  • A Kyoto Sightseeing One-Day Pass for local transportation around Kyoto
  • The freedom to choose your departure date* and how long you stay in Kyoto (up to 7 days)
  • Optional hotel stays in Kyoto or Tokyo also available
  • The convenience and peace of mind of booking online in advance
*Some conditions do apply.

The conditions and E-Voucher exchange procedure for using this package can seem a bit complicated at times, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. Here’s a general outline of how to do it, from purchasing the E-Voucher to heading to Kyoto:

  1. Purchase the E-Voucher on JAPANiCAN.com. While purchasing, select a tentative departure date.
  2. After coming to Japan, go to an E-Voucher exchange counter (JR Tokai Tours office in Tokyo or Shinagawa Station).
  3. Select a departure date (in accordance with the Conditions). Can be exchanged for tickets on the same day as departure.
  4. Receive your departing tickets along with your return tickets which are valid for 7 days starting from your departure date.
  5. Head to Kyoto on the Shinkansen of your choice (non-reserved cars) on your selected departure date.
  6. Don’t forget to pick up your Kyoto Sightseeing One-Day Pass at the Bus Information Center outside of Kyoto Station!
  7. After enjoying Kyoto, catch a Shinkansen back to Tokyo within 7 days of your original departure date to Kyoto.
Bullet Train Open Ticket Package vs. Similar Products
As we mentioned above, saving you money is one of the main themes of the new Bullet Train Open Ticket Package. Compared to round-trip, non-reserved seat tickets purchased at normal rates, you’ll save about 21% (JPY 5,620), not to mention getting the Kyoto Sightseeing One-Day Pass as an added bonus! Even when comparing it to purchasing the JR Group’s popular Japan Rail Pass, if you’re just interested in visiting Kyoto, you’ll save a whopping 44% (JPY 16,800) off the price of the 7-day Green Rail Pass or about 26% (JPY 7,300) off the 7-day Ordinary Rail Pass by using the Open Ticket Package. Furthermore, while the Rail Pass must be purchased from an agent overseas before coming to Japan, the E-Voucher for the Open Ticket Package can be purchased online anywhere in the world on JAPANiCAN.com, even after you’ve already come to Japan.

The Bullet Train Open Ticket Package is perfect for travelers looking to check out Kyoto with some flexibility and without breaking the bank. Loyal JAPANiCAN.com customers may notice that the Open Ticket Package shares some similarities with one of our most popular packages: The Shinkansen Tour Train & Hotel Package. Both are great products designed specifically for convenience and frugality, but they are fundamentally different on several points. Check out the table below for a breakdown comparing these two great bargain packages!

  Kyoto Bullet Train Open Ticket Package (New Product) Kyoto Train & Hotel Package (JAPANiCAN.com Best-Seller)
Reserved Seats
The Open Ticket Package is for non-reserved cars only.

Reserved seats included (though specific seats cannot be chosen).
Flexible Travel Schedule
Tickets are good for any bullet trains on the designated day(s).

Tickets will be issued for specific trains at set times.
Long Trips to Kyoto
The tickets allow you to stay in Kyoto for up to 7 days.

Kyoto Train & Hotel Packages are available in durations of up to 6 days.
Hotel Stays
Optional hotel stays in Kyoto and Tokyo are available.

Kyoto hotel stays included with a range of hotel choices.
Guide Service
Both of these packages are unguided free plans.
Sightseeing and Other Activities
Because these are both free plans, no planned activities are included.
Added Bonus
Includes a Kyoto Sightseeing
One-Day Pass.

Includes bullet train tickets and
Kyoto hotel only.

 Central Japan Stay & Rail-Excursion Package
The Central Japan Stay & Rail-Excursion Package is another new collaborative product between JR Tokai and JAPANiCAN.com going on sale from March 1. These packages offer discounted hotel stays in Nagoya or Gifu with sets of round-trip train tickets (Shinkansen and local lines) for taking excursions to some of central Japan’s top spots. Available destinations include Kyoto, Takayama, Kanazawa, Ise, and Shizuoka. Both the Nagoya and Gifu Stay Plans come in 5-night and 3-night variations, with the 5-night packages including 3 one-day excursions and the 3-night packages including 2 one-day excursions. Here are the details:

Nagoya Stay Plans

The packages including multi-night stays in Nagoya will put you right on top of Nagoya Station in the Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel, an extremely convenient location for going on out-of-town excursions and for enjoying Nagoya itself. As an added bonus, you’ll also get a coupon for free tebasaki, Japanese-style chicken wings and a Nagoya specialty, at izakaya (Japanese pub) Yama-chan.*

*Please note that the Yama-chan coupons are included with bookings for departure dates from April 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012.

Gifu Stay Plans

The packages including multi-night stays in Gifu (City) net you a room at the Gifu Miyako Hotel which is located on the banks of the Nagara River a short bus ride from JR Gifu Station. As an added bonus, you’ll also get an “ayuka” smart card bus pass to use for traveling between the hotel and the station.

Like the Open Ticket Packages described at the top of this article, the Central Japan Stay & Rail-Excursion Packages are also unguided free plans. For a breakdown of included services, check out the table below:

  Nagoya Stay Plans Gifu Stay Plans
Reserved Seats
Non-reserved seat tickets from Nagoya Station are included.

Non-reserved seat tickets from Gifu Station are included.
Flexible Travel Schedule
Receive your tickets when checking in at Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel and travel on your own.

Receive your tickets when
checking in at Gifu Miyako Hotel
and travel on your own.
Excursions
Tickets for day trips from Nagoya Station to each included destination are included.

Tickets for day trips from Gifu Station to each included destination are included.
Hotel Stays
5 and 3-night stays are available at the Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel.

5 and 3-night stays are available at the Gifu Miyako Hotel.
Guide Service
These packages are unguided free plans.
Sightseeing and Other Activities
Because these are free plans, no planned activities are included.
Added Bonus
Includes a coupon for famous Nagoya pub Yama-chan.*

Includes a smart card bus pass to get between the hotel and station.
*Please note that the Yama-chan coupons are included with bookings for departure dates from April 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012.