Japan Highway Holiday Discount Partially Delays

Today (March 11, 2009), NEXCO (Nippon Expressway Company Limited) Group announced that they will not be able to complete the system upgrade fully.

Therefore, they will start discount on March 28th. This delay mainly affect the driver who will go through Tokyo, Osaka area, Honshu-Shikoku Bridges and/or Tokyo Aqua Line.

Overview of Japanese Highway Holiday Discount Program

As the part of Japanese government economic stimulus program, they passed the law to approve the budget in order to execute the discount of Japanese regional expressway.

The weekends and holiday discount includes

  • 1,000 yen all-you-can-drive in regional area (Partially starting on Mar 28)
  • 1,000 yen discount rate of Shikoku-Honshu Toll Bridges and Tokyo Aqua Line Tunnel (starting on Mar 20)
  • 20-30% discount for Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan highways

*If you drive short distance, and the the price will be less than 1,000 yen.

This discount program is only effective if you:

  • Drive regular passenger cars, or motorcycle
  • Install Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) device in your car or motorcycle
  • You must make at least two payments a year

Very Complicated Charging System

I got confused at the beginning about this pricing system.

So let me explain to you.

If you drive from Aomori to Kagoshima and avoid Tokyo area, you will have to pass Osaka metropolitan area where they only have 20-30% discount.

So the pricing will be….

  • Regional Area [Aomori- Subarban Osaka + Subarban Osaka-Kagoshima] = 1,000 yen
  • Metropolitan Osaka Area = 1,500 yen
  • The Total 2,500 yen

So as long as you don’t exit the highway, the charge of regional area will be fixed to 1,000 yen. And if you drive through Tokyo, Osaka, Bridges and Tokyo Aqua Line Tunnels, you will be charged additional discounted rate.

What’s Late

However, due to the delay of the system upgrade…… the temporary pricing will be like this

  • Regional Area [Aomori-Suburban Osaka] = 1,000 yen
  • Metropolitan Osaka Area = 1,500 yen
  • Regional Area [Suburban Osaka-Kagoshima]= 1,000 yen
  • The Total 3,500 yen

So currently, whenever you passed Tokyo, Osaka, Bridges or Tokyo Aqua Line, the charge will be reset to zero. And it will start calculating again.

They said they will try to finish upgrading the system by Golden Week season in May.