Zipang club is a membership for seniors living in Japan, offered by JR group railway companies, JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku and JR Kyushu. There are two member types: individual which Male member should be over 65 years old and female member should be older than 60. The other type is couple, which one of the couple must be older that 65. Which means if the husband is 65 but his wife is 40, wife can be the member too if applied as couple member. Each member receives Zipang club pocketbook with ID photo.
Membership fee is JPY 3840 for individual and JPY 6410 for couple. Therefore it is cheaper to join as couple member in case both husband and wife want to be the member. Membership fee applies each year and the members enjoy 20% discount for initial year and 30% from the second year. Discount applies for tickets which are more than 201 km and also for limited express tickets including Shinkansen but Nozomi and Mizuho trains of Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen are excluded.
It is similar to Japan Rail Pass but tickets must be bought each time at ticket office after filling out the pocketbook for requested tickets. Then, pocketbook are requested to show in case the conductor or station staff asks for it. Due to discount applies only in case the distance is more than 201 km, it is not suitable for day trip such as going to Nikko from Tokyo. However, due to validity is one year, if you go to Kyoto from Tokyo once per year, you will get reduction more than the annual membership fee.