See the northern snow on the cheap: JR East Pass

The JR East Pass allows unlimited travel on all JR (national rail) trains in Kanto and Tohoku.  This includes the use of Shinkansen (bullet) trains and limited express trains.  It is a flexible 5 day pass.

What does it cost?

Adults 22000 yen (about $180), Children 11000 yen (about $90)

When can I use it?


Is it worth it?

Just like the national Japan Rail Pass, you can save a lot of money with this pass. For example, one return ticket from Tokyo to a northern city is about the same price as this pass. A Willer Bus Pass is also a good choice as it is cheaper, but the number of available destinations is far more limited than the JR East Pass.

What are the rules?

  • For use only in Kanto and Tohoku.
  • You cannot use on non-JR (national rail) trains,
  • Only available to people with Tourist Visas,
  • When riding a Shinkansen train with the Japan Rail Pass, you need to reserve seats.  This can be done at the Shinkansen ticket office of any JR station with Shinkansen services.
  • Can be used on any 5 days in a 14 day period.
  • The pass cannot be used on the super fast Hokuriku or Tokaido Shinkansen trains, plus ‘Liner’ commuter trains or highway buses.

Where can I buy it?

You should buy the pass before coming to Japan.  We recommend APC Rail
Japan Rail Passes - Book Online

How do I use it?

Activating a JR East Pass differs according to who you buy it from, so check with the company you purchased from. You are usually given a slip which you then take to a major JR train station, then exchange for a pass (you will need to show your passport). You can exchange at major stations such as Shibuya, Tokyo and Shinjuku stations, as well as major airports.

Once you have your ticket, just show it to the station staff at the ticket gates and they will let you in.  They will sometimes stamp the pass.



JR East Fares and Passes

Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict