Let’s explore the options to use the Nozomi Shinkansen and the Mizuho Shinkansen with a Japan Rail Pass. JR introduced the option to purchase a special upgrade ticket to the Nozomi and Mizuho trains for JR Pass holders on October 1, 2023.
There are hundreds of routes that can be upgraded on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines.
Click on the button below for all prices and available route upgrades.
Tokyo to Nagoya – 4,180 JPY
Tokyo to Kyoto – 4,960 JPY
Tokyo to Shin-Osaka – 4,960 JPY
Tokyo to Hiroshima – 6,500 JPY
Shin-Osaka to Hakata – 4,960 JPY
Kyoto to Himeji – 2,530 JPY
Tokuyama to Tokyo – 7,040 JPY
Shin-Kobe to Hiroshima – 4,170 JPY
Kyoto to Hiroshima – 4,170 JPY
Nagoya to Okayama – 4,170 JPY
Fukuyama to Kyoto – 4,170 JPY
Hiroshima to Kumamoto – 5,930 JPY
Nagoya to Kokura – 5,930 JPY
Shin-Osaka to Tokuyama – 4,620 JPY
Shin-Osaka to Sendai – 8,830 JPY
Sendai to Hakata – 3,870 JPY
The faster NOZOMI and MIZUHO trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Lines are not included with the JAPAN RAIL PASS. But, if you get a special ticket called “ONLY WITH JAPAN RAIL PASS NOZOMI MIZUHO Ticket” before you get on the train, then you can use these speedy Shinkansen trains with your JR Pass.
This ticket gives you more choices and faster transportation, but comes with a hefty price tag. “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” are the quickest Shinkansen trains, yes – but it’s not that much faster. The time difference between Hikari and Nozomi between Tokyo and Kyoto is only 15 minutes, taking you to Kyoto in 2h 30m with Nozomi Shinkansen instead of 2h 45m with Hikari Shinkansen.
The train itself is not faster, but does less stops along the way, getting you to your destination faster.
Some long-distance cities may require less changes of trains while using the Mizuho or Nozomi Shinkansen trains.
The upgrade ticket is only valid for a single ride. If you intend to do roundtrips, you need to upgrade each train ride.
The hefty price tag for the upgrade is not worth it for most people and visitors for the time you save using other trains.
The upgrade can only be bought while in Japan and after your Japan Rail pass has been activated.
The “Only with Japan Rail Pass Nozomi Mizuho ticket” are available for purchase at various locations across Japan. You can conveniently buy them at JR ticket offices, also known as “Midori-no-madoguchi,” as well as from reserved seat ticket machines and Travel Service Centers.
Japan Rail Pass holders can purchase tickets for Green cars, reserved seats in standard cars, and non-reserved seats in standard cars.
However, Ordinary JR Pass holders can only buy tickets for reserved seats and non-reserved seats in standard cars, while Green JR Pass holders can upgrade to an class (Except Grand Class). The tickets for Green cars and reserved seats in standard cars are sold per train, while non-reserved seats in standard cars are available on a one-way basis. It’s important to note that there are limits on the number of reserved seats in both Green and standard cars, and availability may vary, even if there are open seats.
Children with JR passes have the option to upgrade to the Nozomi Mizuho Ticket for the Japan Rail Pass as well, and at a cheaper price. This allows them to access the high-speed Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansen trains.
The following information is provided by JR and is only regarding the Nozomi & Mizuhu upgrade: Refunds for tickets can only be processed at the locations where the tickets were purchased.
Refunds are allowed before the ticket’s valid term or within the valid term if unused, minus a handling fee. The handling fee is 340 yen for Green car and standard car reserved seats, and 220 yen for standard car non-reserved seats. No refunds are given after the start of travel. In cases where trains can’t run, refunds are granted up to the price of one ticket, following regulations. The refund deadline is within one year from the incident date.
If you lose your ticket, buy another one for the railway section you’re traveling. Even if you find the lost ticket later, no refunds will be given.
When using a NOZOMI MIZUHO ticket, in addition to the normal terms and conditions, the JR Railways Group’ rules and general conditions of carriage, as well as the laws of Japan, will apply.
You can change Green car and reserved seat tickets to the same type before the designated train departs. Non-reserved seat tickets can be changed to a different day within the valid period, as long as it’s for a non-reserved seat in a standard car. Changes are allowed only before the departure of the originally booked train.
As you prepare for your remarkable journey in Japan, don’t forget your Japan Rail Pass. Your Japan Rail Pass is a requirement to upgrade and the base you need to start travelling across Japan. It’s not just a ticket; it’s your golden opportunity to explore the country while saving big. Whether you’re pursuing cherry blossoms, delving into history, or enjoying Japan’s efficient train system, the Rail Pass ensures a seamless travel experience. Have a safe and enjoyable time on your Japanese dream trip!