This is a short post to remind people traveling to Japan that the Japanese consumption tax, otherwise known as ‘sales tax’ or ‘GST’, will be increasing from 5% to 8% on April 1st. Everything and anything sold in Japan will go up in price slightly, from train and bus fares to convenience store products and lodging.
In most metropolitan areas, actual fares are rounded up to the nearest 10 yen. This practice will continue, though in Tokyo some of the major transit companies, including the subways and JR East, will introduce a special fare structure for those using contact-less IC cards (such as Suica and Pasmo) that round fares up to the nearest 1 yen, as they say this will more accurately reflect the new prices. This means that fares paid with IC cards will be slightly cheaper than paying with regular paper tickets.
For the casual tourist this may not be much, but continue using public transit frequently and the new savings will become more apparent.
Of course you could use a Japan Rail Pass… but of course, the consumption tax will be raising THOSE prices on April 1st as well. For example a 7-day ordinary rail pass for the Japan Railways will increase from 28,300 yen to 29,110 yen, while a 14-day ordinary pass goes up from 45,100 yen to 46,390 yen.
JR East has published some information in English, which can be viewed on their website, http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/
On a side note, I am hoping to continue sharing my Japan Diary soon. I’ve been swamped lately with marriage preparations 😦 Thanks for being patient!