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Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 10:10
Hello Everyone,
I will travelling to Japan next month with my 12 year old son who is still in elementary school.
Hence my confusion about transport fares for him.

On this site and many others it says that 12 and above pay adult fares whereas on the Tokyo Metro website it stated that if the 12- year old is still in elementary school then they are eligible for the child fares.

So does this rule apply to JR lines and Shinkansen?

If so what do they need to prove that the child is still in elementary school given that student cards in Australia are only issued for secondary school students?

Thank you for your help.
by Sam (guest)  

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 11:13
My understanding is that children who do not attend Japanese elementary school will be treated as adults when they reach age 12.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 14:32
Regarding your question,
it does not count
whether a foreign kid is a schoolchild or not in his/her home country.

For regular fees of railways and buses,
Japanese elementary school age and junior high school age
are used for age classification of passengers.

Child rate regular fees
are mostly set at the half price compared to adult rate fees.
(Exceptions: Gran Class and Green surcharges are set at the same price.)

(A) Your son's 13th birthday is April the 2nd or a later day in 2020.

He should reach the Japanese junior high school age
when the date changes from March the 31st to April the 1st;
so, until March the 31st, the child rate should apply to regular fees for him.

In this case, you had better not buy a Japan Rail Pass for him.
Any applicant for a Japan Rail Pass
who is 12 years old when his/her Exchange Order is issued
is regarded as an adult passenger.

(B) Your son's 13th birthday is April the 1st in 2020 or an earlier day.

He already reached the Japanese junior high school age,
therefore the adult rate should apply to regular fees for him.
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Clarification 2019/8/24 14:43
Let me replace
"you had better not buy"
by
"it may be better not to buy"
in my previous message.

Reason
: Depending on the itinerary and timeline,
logically the price of an adult JRP may be much less than the amount of the child rate fees covered by that pass.
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 14:44
Thank you everyone for your advice.

Just to clarify, if my son turned 12 in June 2019, and will turn 13 in June 2020, then hefs still eligible for child rates on public transport (metro, buses, JR lines) except for JR pass if we go next month?

Is that right?

by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 15:14
Is that right?

Yes; because if he lived in Japan he would still go to elementary scroll in September 2019.
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 15:38
As you see,
guides written in English do not always explain this classification by the school ages.

Tokyo Metro's explanation which you cite
sounds friendly to foreign passengers in clearly explaining this rule.
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 16:21
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2460.html as an example reference.
Not so clear - your "adult" is schooled in Australia and cannot show they are in "elementary" school in Japan.
A 12-yo is an adult, much like the airlines generally charge adult fares for 12-yo and child for 11-yo.
While @omotenashi has provided an explanation that is applicable to Japanese people (i.e. 12-yo in elementary school can travel (sometimes) on child fares), I do not believe that applies in your case. Similarly, I don;t think you could get a child Pasmo/SUICA as a 12-yo.
While imperfect, https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ticket/types.html defines adults as 12-yo plus. I have seen this discussed elsewhere.
Better is https://www.jreast.co.jp/kippu/06.html but 12 years old or older (elementary school children are gchildrenh even at 12 years old) requires a special definition of "elementary school" as applied in Japan and the Japanese school system.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 18:15
Thank you Omotenashi and JapanCustomtours for the information.

I think I am more confused now but what I understood is that because my son does not attend a Japanese elementary school the child fare rules that apply for children of his age who attend a Japanese elementary school donft apply to him. He will be charged as an adult.

If so, then he canft or is not allowed to use the child Suica card that he got on our previous trip when he was 10, and I need to get him an adult one, right?

Also, if I want to get the Tokyo subway 72hr pass for him, it will be the adult one or will that be decided by the person who checks his passport before giving it to us based on his birthdate?

Thank you and sorry for the many confused questions..




by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 18:55
I don't see the confusion. He is 12. Every transport company in Japan I have dealt with classes a adult seat fare as 12 years or older.

Yes when purchasing ticket or passes, you need to hand over his passport. You might strike it lucky and get child fares. But I'd be strongly prepared for adult fares.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 20:32
Thank you hakata14.

It seems that my question to clarify confusing information on various has upset you.

I simply thought like you that 12 year old pay the adult fare in Japan until I came across the Tokyo Metro website which presented a different information.

When I purchased our flight tickets 2 months before his 12th birthday, I was told by the travel agent that he would be charged the adult ticket fare because he would be 12 when we arrive in Japan and I was fine with that. But to our surprise he was charged the child ticket fare not the adult one so we understand that the date of purchase rather than date of arrival was the determing factor.

I donft to break the law in Japan, but I also donft want to pay extra money unnecessarily.
Hence my query.

So I guess I will wait and see what decision they make there when they check his passport regards passes.

But a question remains, can he still use his child Suica card or should I get him an adult one?

Thank you.
by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/24 23:06
For you to buy a new Child Suica Card for your son
(who will turn 13 in June 2020),
you present his personal data including his name and date of birth
to a JR attendant at a ticket window,
and a computer calculates from his date of birth
that the validity period should be until March the 31st of 2020.

JapanCustomTours
I do not believe that applies in your case.

As long as regular fees are concerned,
the JR rules have no provision
about the nationality of passengers to whom the rules apply.

At ticket windows in Japan,
there may be railway attendants
who don't know
that the rules based on the school ages should apply regardless of nationalities
and draw a meaningless line between Japanese kids and foreign kids.

JapanCustomTours:
requires a special definition of "elementary school" as applied in Japan and the Japanese school system.

Here that definition sounds needless,
because this rule is about railway services inside Japan
and it is written in Japanese, the only common language in Japan.

In English,
the above-cited Tokyo Metro's explanation looks good,
but still it can be improved as is shown below, I think.
: While a 12-year-old passenger is young enough to be Japanese elementary school's pupil, he/she is regarded as a "Child" for application of provisions in this set of rules.
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Transport fares for a 12- year old child 2019/8/25 14:32
Thank you omotenashi for this info.

I will take it on board when I go to Japan.
I will bring my sonfs child Suica card that he had from last year and see if he is still allowed to use it. If not, I will get him an adult one.

Your information has been extremely helpful and clarified my confusion.

Thanks again
by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

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