The hardest part of buying a commuter pass (定期券 ) in Japan is actually deciding whether you need one or not. If you find yourself traveling on the same route five times a week and back, then it is worth buying the commuter pass as it will cover the cost between two stations of your choice. Any less and it depends on how much you visit the same stations.
It’s a good idea to keep track of how much you currently spend on transportation, which stations you often visit, and whether they all lie along a single route. At the same time, check whether there are alternative stations that could be incorporated into your route, a little more walking could save you a good amount of money every month.
I highly recommend checking the price of one or two stations after your home or work station. If you ever use these stations for shopping and the like, include them in your pass. More often than not, the price doesn’t change and it gives you slightly more flexibility.
Once you’ve crunched the numbers, it’s time to buy the pass itself.
Buying a commuter pass at the station
In most cities, the machine will be marked 定期券 and will be near the station gates. In other places, simply use the ticket machines and press the button marked 定期券. This will lead to another screen, where you will be given the option to get a new card (新規), renew a pass (継続), reissue a pass or change cards (発行替え).
|Renew a pass||継続||keizoku|
|Reissue a pass||発行替え||hakkou gae|
After pressing the issue new card 新規 button, the next page will ask you to choose whether you want a one month, three month, or six-month pass (有効期限). Be aware of the card prices, as buying the three or six-month pass offers a reasonable discount.
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