- 4 min read

Smart Travel with the JR EAST PASS

The easiest and most affordable way to see it all

So, you’ve finally taken the first step of your journey to Japan. Leave has been approved, plane tickets are ready, you’ve got bucket list destinations ready to be checked off—but are you ready for Japan’s incredible rail system? It’s a simple system to get from A to B, but put the JR EAST PASS in your travel kit and it becomes affordable and even easier.

If you’re traveling from Tokyo to the north of Honshu (and anywhere in between) then there’s no reason not to purchase the JR EAST PASS. Explore the perks of the pass:

The JR EAST PASS

Photo: Toshinori baba / CC BY-SA 4.0

Anyone with a foreign passport—even residents of Japan—can purchase a pass. Whether you choose the Tohoku area pass or the Nagano and Niigata area pass, you’ll enjoy unlimited travel for five glorious days on JR lines, shinkansen lines (reserved seats in ordinary cars), and even JR buses in the free area.

Do I need it?

Having a JR EAST PASS with you during your travel in Japan ensures that you don’t have to worry about train tickets or fumbling for the fare. The pass makes your holiday smoother while also allowing you the freedom to change plans at the last minute.

The savings and flexibility are two of the big reasons why the JR EAST PASS should be in every traveler’s pocket.

Prices per passenger

JR EAST PASS

Tohoku area

JR EAST PASS

Nagano, Niigata area

Adult

¥20,000

¥18,000

Child

¥10,000

¥9,000

Validity

Either JR EAST PASS—the Tohoku area or Nagano, Niigata area—are valid for five days of consecutive rides throughout their respective regions. In many cases, you can reserve seats in ordinary cars at no extra cost (green cars cannot be used).

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

The JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) is valid on JR trains, shinkansen (reserved seats are only for ordinary cars) (the Tokaido Shinkansen cannot be used), and local JR buses in these prefectures:

Photo: JR EAST

JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)

The JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) is valid on JR trains, shinkansen (reserved seats are only for ordinary cars) (the Tokaido Shinkansen cannot be used), and local JR buses in these prefectures:

Photo: JR EAST

Purchase

The dates are set! There must be a million exciting thoughts buzzing inside your mind—but before you get carried away, it’s important to collect yourself and get the basics ready. The JR EAST PASS is a basic necessity for any traveler. Let’s walk through the steps of getting one and using it.

JR EAST has made purchasing the passes as simple as possible. In just three steps, you’ll be ready for your dream vacation.

Three simple steps:

1. Purchase Register online ahead of your travel plans and purchase the pass that best suits your needs.

2. Pick up After you’ve arrived in Japan, visit one of the pick-up locations and show your passport and confirmation email (or the credit card you used) to receive your JR EAST PASS.

3. Go It’s time to begin your adventure in Japan! Reserve a seat in advance or at any station now that you have a JR EAST PASS.

Usage

You’ve got your ticket and you’re good to go. Insert your JR EAST PASS into the automatic ticket gate. It's really that easy!

Enjoy Japan!

Where to go

Now that Japan is at your fingertips, where exactly should you head first?

Top Tohoku tourist spots:

Wa Rasse Nebuta House in Aomori

Wa Rasse Nebuta House in Aomori

Wa Rasse Nebuta House is the perfect opportunity to see Nebuta for those unable to visit during Aomori's famous festival. See..

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Tsuchiyu Onsen in Fukushima

Tsuchiyu Onsen in Fukushima

Tsuchiyu Onsen is known as the birthplace for the "Tsuchiyu Kokeshi" — a unique type of wooden doll that originated from the T..

Trekking on Mount Zao

Trekking on Mount Zao

Zao Mountain - Trekking across a volcanic landscape in summer and skiing in winter, plus winding down in hotspring waters.

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Visit to Genbikei Gorge

Visit to Genbikei Gorge

Most people go to Hiraizumi for the temples listed as World Heritage Sites. However, you can’t go to this area and miss seeing..

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Lake Tazawa, Akita 6

Lake Tazawa, Akita

Lake Tazawa is a breathtaking lake in Akita, Tohoku. What sets this apart from most others is that in addition to being the deepest..

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Need more Nagano and Niigata:

GALA Yuzawa Snow Resort

GALA Yuzawa Snow Resort

The GALA Yuzawa Snow Resort is less than 80 minutes from Tokyo by Joetsu Shinkansen, which means that even a day-trip to this ski..

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Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani

Snow Monkeys in Jigokudani

During the cold winter, the hot spring of the Jigokudani is a real Eden for the monkeys living there. Jigokudani Monkey Park is..

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Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple in Nagano prefecture is considered one of Japan's most popular temples in Japan and the largest after Nara's..

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5

Join the discussion

Justin Velgus a year ago
This is a great deal. I roundtrip Tokyo to Sendai costs less than this 5-day pass! Allowing foreign residents to also use it will allow visiting friends and family to travel together for a reasonable price. I am looking to forward to see more visitors come to Tohoku!
It's unfortunate that they changed it last year or so. In 2019 I also used the Nagano pass, but back then it was valid for 5 non-consecutive days within a 14 day period. For the exact same price (or even a bit cheaper when ordered beforehand). Which made it way more usable. After all, I don't buy a rail pass to be on the train all the time, I want to have time to explore the area. And you do still need to travel quite a bit to make it worth it.
Kim a year ago
It would be cool if they offered both! 5 consecutive days would work for me in some cases (short trips where I didn't have 2 weeks to spare) but I can understand how the 5 non-consecutive days in 2 weeks would also be really beneficial.
Elena Lisina a year ago
5 days is not enough for those great destinations!
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