By Charlie Hua
You can travel throughout the East of Japan with comfort on a number of train lines for 22,000 yen for a flexible five-day pass.
The places covered by the JR East Pass extend across the entire JR East nework. They include major sightseeing areas like Yamagata, Aomori, Akita, Kakunodate, Sendai, Niigata, Nikko, Koriyama, Yokohama, Nagano and Tokyo. You also get to take several other local train lines such as the Ou Main Line, Joban Line, Tokaido Line, Narita Express, Tobu Nikko Line, Hokuetsu Kyuko Line and the Yamanote Line.
Best of all, you can get the chance to take the new generation Shinkansen trains, the Super Komachi Shinkansen or the Hayabusa Tohoku Shinkansen.
This five day pass is valid for two weeks and you can travel on any of the five days that within the two weeks. You can travel and visit Akita, Niigata, Sendai, Aomori and Nikko all within the span of two weeks.
In addition, to use the pass, this is what you should do (if you are taking shinkansen trains)
- Head to any JR East Ticketing office and go straight to the customer service desk (do not use the automatic vending machine) and tell the service staffs of the destination that you want to go (example: I want to go to Akita).
- Pass them your JR East Pass and they will stamp the pass and sign the date on it.
- Take the ticket that is issued to you and your JR East pass from the counter.
- Go to the Shinkansen gates, present your pass and the ticket to the personnel present at the gantry. They will stamp both your pass with a red circular stamp and then pass through the gates to your designated platform number.
- Board the train and wait for it to leave to your preferred destination (sometimes they will ask for your ticket, so keep them at hand together with your pass and don´t lose them!).
If you are taking the local trains (non shinkansen), just present your pass to the personnel at the gate and head in to take the train, There is no need to reserve any tickets at the ticketing counter or any need for validation.
Do note that whenever you enter a JR Station, your pass gets stamped and once all the days are used up, your pass becomes invalid. So use wisely and make sure you utilize the pass. Take to the furthest reaches of Tokyo with a Shinkansen and enjoy the cost savings this pass provides.
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Experiences, Experiences Experiences! or if you like, Experencia, Experencia, Experencia! The only thing I seek for while traveling is to gain experiences. Why? Well, travelling provides us with the platform to learn, and the more people you meet, the more you understand the underbelly of the country. The more local food that you eat, the more you understand their culinary delights. The more time you spend in a country, the more you become a local. In the end, you learn and that`s what I`m seeking for. To learn and to grow, and to share it with you:)