JR East Pass. Flex 5 days unlimited travel within 14 days in Eastern Japan.

jr-east-pass

*JR East Pass will be divided into two passes on April 1, 2016. Those are JR East Pass (Tohoku area) and JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area). Current JR East Pass will be discontinued on March 31, 2016. Please find more information about these two new deals at the links below:
JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.
http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/jr-east-pass-niigata-and-nagano-flex-5-days-pass-in-14-days-period-to-cover-kanto-region-nagano-and-niigata.html

This pass covers eastern part of Honshu island (main island) in Japan, such as Tohoku region, surrounding Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Izu peninsula and most part of Nagano. You can take any trains in the coverage area with a few exception. If you will be a temporary visitor, you are eligible to purchase this deal.

The biggest difference from any other JR Passes is valid periods. You don’t need to use this pass in consecutive days. You can pick any 5 days within 14 days.

Let’s see the details about this pass. I also compare with other passes, such as JR Pass and Kanto Area Pass.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Area

This pass covers all part of JR East territory. JR East is one of Japan Railway Group companies. The area is all part of Tohoku region (Aomori, Akita, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima) and all part of Kanto region (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma) and some part of Niigata, Nagano, Shizuoka and Yamanashi. You can find the detailed map at the JR East official site map.

Other part of Japan, such as Hokkaido, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Takayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Kyushu are not covered by JR East Pass. So if you plan to travel throughout Japan or travel Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, Japan Rail Pass is suitable for you.

I tell you about the border of this deal clearly.

North side (Aomori)

If you travel to the north, you can go to the end of Honshu island, Aomori prefecture. But you cannot go into Hokkaido. There are Seikan tunnel between Honshu island and Hokkaido under the sea. The border station is Nakaoguni station where is located just before Siekan tunnel. Please see the map to make sure the location.

Tsugaru line runs to Minmaya station. Nakaoguni is located on the way to Minmya. You can use the pass to go to Minmaya. Nakaoguni is just the border to Hokkaido.

West side (Nagano and Niigata)

If you travel in Niigata and Nagano, most part of these prefectures are covered. When you go to Nagano, Matsumoto, Hakuba, Shino-Omachi, Niigata, Nagaoka, Echigo-Yuzawa and Karuizawa, this pass covers your trip. On March 14, 2015, Hokuriku Shinkansen will open from Nagano to Kanazawa. JR East pass will cover the segment between Nagano and Joetsu-Myoko. After this day, conventional line between Nagano and Naetsu will be transferred to non JR companies, Shinano Railway and Echigo Tokimeki Railway. JR East pass will cover the segment between Arai and Naetsu on Echigo Tokimeki Railway only. Please see the map below to make sure the coverage area in Nagano and Niigata.

Until March 13, 2015
jr-east-pass-shinetsu-area-map1

After March 14, 2015
jr-east-pass-shinetsu-area-map2

On the map above, coverage lines are indicated by red bold line (conventional line), navy bold line (Shinkansen line) and green bold line (Non JR line that is covered by JR East pass). So you cannot take the train at the following segments.

  • Between Minami-Otari and Itoigawa on Oito line
  • From Naoetsu to the west on Hokuriku line such as Toyama and Kanazawa
  • Between Nagano and Arai on Echigo Tokimeki Railway line and Shinano Railway line
  • From Joetsu-Myoko to the west on Hokuriku Shinkansen line such as Toyama and Kanazawa
  • From Shiojiri to the southwest on Chuo line such as Nakatsugawa and Nagoya
  • From Tatsuno to the south on Iida line such as Iida, Komagane and Toyohashi

But there is NON JR railways between Echigo-Yuzawa and Naoetsu, between Arai and Naoetsu. Those are Hokuetsu Kyuko line and Echigo Tokmeki railway line. Those are some of exceptions of this pass. Hokuetsu Kyuko and Echigo Tokimeki Railway between Arai and Naoetsu are covered by this deal.
*Strictly this railway runs between Muikamachi and Saigata. But many trains do not stop at these stations and go through Naoetsu and Echigo-Yuzawa.

South side (Yamanashi and Shizuoka)

If you travel to Izu, Hakone and Mt. Fuji, it may be tricky for you. Please see the map below.

jr-east-pass-tokaido-area-map

First of all, I have to mention to you about Shinkansen. You cannot take any trains on Tokaido Shinkansen. Even though Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Odawara and Atami stations are located in JR East area, you cannot take any trains on Tokaido Shinkansen. Because Tokaido Shinkansen is not owned by JR East but JR Central. Those companies are same JR group, however strictly it is a different company. Therefore when you travel to Izu and Hakone, you have to take trains on Tokaido line. You can get on Limited Express Odoriko, Limited Express Super Odoriko and Tokaido Rapid train.

Regarding Shinkansen, JR East owns different Shinkansen, such as Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano, Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen. Those are covered by JR East Pass

Please look at the map above again. Let’s see around Mt. Fuji. You can get Odawara by this pass as I mentioned. But if you go to Hakone, you have to pay extra because that is not JR line but Odakyu and Hakone Tozan Railway. On the other hand, there is another NON JR railways at north side of Mt. Fuji. That is Fuji Kyuko Railway between Otsuki and Lake Kawaguchi. This railway is covered by Kanto Area Pass that is other JR East’s deal. But JR East Pass does not cover this railway.

Around Mt. Fuji, there are two JR lines. Those are Minobu line (Kofu-Fuji) and Gotemba line. These lines belong to JR Central. Therefore JR East Pass does not cover these lines either.

At last, if you go to Izu, you can use this pass to get Atami, Ito, Shimoda and most of places at east side of Izu peninsula. the segment between Ito and Izukyu-Shimoda is not JR line but Izu Kyuko line. But this is one of exceptions of this deal. This railway is covered by JR East Pass.

Direct service to Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen

Both JR and Tobu Railway operate direct train service, Limited Express Nikko and Limited Express Kinugawa, between Shinjuku and Nikko / Kinugawa-Onsen. This train runs on Tobu Railways line partially. Therefore Japan Rail Pass and Kanto Area Pass do not cover fully for this train. But JR East Pass covers this train trip fully. So if you go to Nikko, this may be a big asset.

If you don’t take this train, you can get Tohoku Shinkansen and transfer to local train at Utsunomiya. Otherwise take Tobu Railways train from Asakusa. In this case, you have to pay single fare or purchase Tobu Railway’s deal.

Discount bus fare to Takayama

JR East Pass holder can get special deal for access to Takayama. You can purchase the bus ticket between Matsumoto and Takayama at half price. Please see Hida Takayama website. If you may visit just Takayama in outside of coverage area, you may be able to use this deal.

Price, eligibility and how to purchase

We used to choose form 5 day, 10 day, and flexible 4 day pass. But JR East changed and now only flex 5 days is available. It is sold at 22000 yen and child (6-11 years) are half price at 11000 yen. This pass is available for temporary visitor only. If you are resident, you can’t purchase it. Please check the price and conditions on the JR East Pass website.

You can purchase this pass at authorized travel agents or online. But it is very hard to find the authorized agent. Even travel agent who sells Japan Rail Pass sometimes sells only Japan Rail Pass. Procedure to issue JR East Pass is more complicated than Japan Rail Pass. So online and purchasing at the stations will be the way to purchase. If you want to purchase it on the spot, you can purchase it at the major stations. You can find the the list of sales location at the official site of JR East Pass.

Compare to single fares

Base fare and surcharge for the major segments are the following. Please compare the price of JR East Pass and these fares. If you use JR East Pass, these following fare (base fare and surcharge) are covered.
*All surcharges in the following table are regular season rate. In peak season, another 200 yen is added on regular surcharge. In shoulder season, 200 yen is subtracted from regular surcharge. Base fare is same in all season.

Segment Base fare Surcharge
Tokyo – Shinjuku 190 yen
Tokyo – Yokohama 450 yen
Tokyo – Odawara 1450 yen 1410 yen (*2)
Tokyo – Narita airport 1280 yen 1660 yen
Shinjuku – Matsumoto 3980 yen 2820 yen
Ueno – Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi 2940 yen 2190 yen (*3)
Tokyo – Nagano 3890 yen 4080 yen
Tokyo – Niigata 5460 yen 4810 yen
Tokyo – Sendai 5780 yen 4810 yen (*1)
Tokyo – Akita 9560 yen 7250 yen (*4)
Tokyo – Yamagata 5780 yen 5250 yen
Tokyo – Aomori 9870 yen 6500 yen (*1)

*1 This rate is applied for Hayate, Yamabiko and Nasuno. Another 300 to 500 yen is added on this surcharge for getting on newer and faster train, Hayabusa.
*2 This rate is for Limited Express Odoriko because JR East Pass does not cover Shinkansen for this segment.
*3 This rate is for Limited Express Kusatsu between Ueno and Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi directly. If you take Joetsu Shinkansen from Ueno to Takasaki, surcharge will be about 500 yen higher than this rate.
*4 This rate is applied for Komachi. Another 500 yen is added on this surcharge for getting on newer and faster train, Super Komachi.

As you see above, if you have round trip to Sendai from Tokyo, it will be almost same value of JR East Pass at 22,000 yen. It is not difficult to spend more than 22,000 yen.

Valid period

You can choose any 5 days within 14 days. One day means 0:00 to 23:59. So try to start in the morning. It does not make sense to start to use in the evening.

If you travel 6 days or more, you can purchase another pass on the spot. But anyone cannot have two or more passes at same time. You have to finish your current pass and then you can purchase next one. However Japan Rail Pass 7 days is sold at 28300 yen and 14 days pass is sold at 45100 yen. And also Green pass is not available for JR East Pass. If you think about 6 day or more or taking Green car, you should compare with Japan Rail Pass.

JR East Pass Special are sold from March 1 to June 14, 2012 at overseas and sold from April 1 to June 21, 2012 in Japan. Exchange Orders purchased overseas must be redeemed by June 21, 2012.

Validity

I have already mentioned several things at “Area” above. In this chapter, I compare JR East Pass, Japan Rail Pass and Kanto Area Pass.

Trains JR East Pass Japan Rail Pass Kanto Area Pass
Local trains Y Y Y
Green class N Y (Green pass) N
Limited express Y Y Y
Tohoku Shinkansen Y Y Tokyo-Kuroiso
Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa Y Y Add fare
Tohoku Shinkansen Hayabusa Gran class Add fare Add fare Add fare
Joetsu Shinkansen Y Y Tokyo-Jomo Kogen
Hokuriku (Nagano Shinkansen) Tokyo-Joetsu Myoko Y Tokyo-Sakudaira
Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo-Kyoto/Osaka) N Y
*except Nozomi
N
Sanyo Shinkansen (Shin Osaka-Hakata) N Y
*except Nozomi and Mizuho
N
Kyushu Shinkansen (Shin Osaka-Hakata) N Y
*except Mizuho
N
Tokyo Monorail (Haneda-Hamamatsucho) Y Y Y
JR-Tobu direct train (Shinjuku-Nikko/Kinugawa-Onsen) Y N N
Izu Kyuko Railway (Ito-Shimoda) Y N Y
Fuji Kyuko Railway (Otsukki-Kawaguchiko) N N Y
Hokuetsu Kyuko Railway (Echigo Yuzawa-Naoetsu)
after March 14, 2015
Y N N
Echigo Tokimeki Railway (Myoko Kogen-Naoetsu) Arai-Naoetsu N N
Aoimori Railway (Aomori-Metoki) Y N N
IGR Iwate Galaxy Railway (Morioka-Metoki) Y N N
Sendai Airport Transit (Sendai-Sendai Airport) Y N N
Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit Rinkai Line (Osaki-Shinkiba) Y N N
JR Bus to Lake Towada N Y N

Assessment

If you are pretty sure to travel in Tokyo, Shinshu or/and Tohoku, I strongly recommend you to purchase this pass. Especially you don’t need to use this deal in consecutive days. It is much more flexible than other JR deals. But if you travel in Tokyo and surrounding area only, JR East Kanto area pass is more suitable for you. But don’t forget about direct service to Nikko and Kinugawa from Shinjuku. Only JR East Pass offers this special deal.

In the past several years, JR East sold Spring Special JR East pass at 15000 yen for 3 flex days from March to June. I wrote about this deal at Only 15,000 yen for unlimited ride in Tokyo and Tohoku area!!! JR East Pass Special. I will update when I get new information about this seasonal deal.

If you travel in Tohoku area by this pass, that will be a great support to the areas where are seriously damaged by Tsunami and earthquake. I am really happy if you visit even one place in that area.

50 thoughts on “JR East Pass. Flex 5 days unlimited travel within 14 days in Eastern Japan.”

  1. Hello,
    We are a family of 5 ( 49,47,14,12 and 8) and arrive in Tokyo(Narita) on 20th January2017. We are staying in Tokyo for 2 nights then catch a train to Myoko- Kogen for 6 nights then return to Tokyo for 4 nights. We will travel to Disneyland while in Tokyo.
    I am looking at JR East 5 Day flexi pass. Will this cover our travel.
    Thanks in advance
    David

    1. Hi David,

      If you mean the pass in this link, it’s no longer available. But you can use JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/jr-east-pass-niigata-and-nagano-flex-5-days-pass-in-14-days-period-to-cover-kanto-region-nagano-and-niigata.html

      This pass covers your trip. But you can get Joetsu-Myoko station. If you need to take a local train from Joetsu-Myoko to Myoko-Kogen, you have to pay extra. But it costs 500 yen per person one way. 8 years old is half price.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for the great website, I was planning on buying a JR East pass for 5 days of non-consecutive train travel but was informed by another company that the 5 days must be consecutive. My example itinerary is:
    27th Jan: NEX airport train
    30th Jan: Tokyo-Nagano
    4th Feb: Hakuda-Matsumoto
    5th Feb: Matsumoto-Tokyo
    6th Feb: NEX airport train
    Do you know if this would be possible? The JR website says ‘any 5 days’ but this could also mean any 5 day period..

    Cheers,
    Damo

    1. Hi Damo,

      You can pick any 5 days in 14 days period. JR East official site says, “Flexible five-day pass (any five days within 14 days of issuance, including the day of issuance)”.

      So you can use this pass for your trip. Don’t trust “another company”. There are many travel agents that do not have enough knowledge of trip to Japan actually.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for that, I thought the same thing but am sometimes a bit wary 🙂

        I notice when booking a ticket online there are different prices. Your website says 22,000 yen, the JR website* says 18,000 (17,000 online) and ACP rail (where you order the ticket) says 20,000 yen.

        I guess prices have changed recently, but which website is right? Do you think I can still get a ticket in person at Narita airport for 18,000 Yen?

        Cheers,
        Damo

        *http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass_n/index.html

        1. Hi Damo,

          You have read old page in my website. 22000 yen is the price of previous version of JR East Pass. I wrote the note on top of the post.
          I think ACP shows the price at your currency. They convert from Japanese Yen price to other currency by the updated currency rate. When I check the price at ACP, it shows US$179. I have never seen Japanese price at ACP.

          Anyway ACP is official dealer of JR East. So you can purchase it at their price anyway if you want to purchase it online. Otherwise you can purchase it after you arrive in Japan at domestic sales price.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,
    My wife and I will be debarking a cruise ship in April 2017 at Osanbashi pier in Yokohama and leaving immediately for Kanazawa. We will be staying in Kanazawa for 4 nights and then go to Tokyo to stay for 1 night before going to Narita to catch our flight home. While in Kanazawa we may take day trips to Shirakawa-go, Gokayama or Kaga Onsen. Would it be best to purchase a JR East pass or individual train tickets during my stay? Or do you need more information to help with my decision? Thanks/Tom

    1. Hi Tom,

      JR East Pass does not cover Kanazawa. I recommend you Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-osaka-hokuriku-arch-pass-user-guide-clarify-valid-trains-coverage-area-and-compare-single-fare-and-pass.html

      This does not cover Yokohama. But regular fare for local train to get Tokyo from Yokohama is only a few hundred YEN. It’s not an issue. Once you get in
      Tokyo, you can start using this pass and covers until you get Narita.

      You can purchase or exchange this pass at JR Yokohama station.
      http://hokuriku-arch-pass.com/en/location.html

      If you go to Kagao onsen, this pass covers it. But if you go to Gokayama and/or Shirakawago, you need to take a bus and it’s not covered by this pass. Single fare is only your choice.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,
    I lost my JR pass. I am figuring out in what way I can travel best now.
    My plan is to go from Kyoto to Takayama, from Takayama to Nikko and than from Nikko to Tokyo.
    Is this all covered by the JR east pass?
    Many thanks for your help!

    1. HI Petra,

      Sorry to hear that.
      JR East Pass is not a right choice. Unfortunately there is no deals available to cover all part of your trip. You have to purchase single fare ticket from Kyoto to Takayama and Takayama to Tokyo. After arrival Tokyo, purchase Tokyo Wide Pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-wide-pass-is-newer-version-of-kanto-area-pass-nikko-fuji-gala-yuzawa-and-odaiba-are-covered-by-this-pass.html

      It covers Tokyo-Nikko-Tokyo.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi,
    I will be in Tokyo in August for 12 days. Should I wait until closer to the date to buy the JR East pass. Today I experimented on the JR website and it says first day of use being today! but I won’t be there until August. I thought I can redeem my online exchange order within 3 months of purchase, so if I bought today i have until 2016-08-12 to pick up and then nominate when I want the 14 day period to begin?

    First day of use: 2016-05-12
    Version: Flexible
    Class of service: Ordinary
    Validity duration: 5 days within 14 days
    Sales Conditions: Refundable within 1 year from the date of issuance. A 10% cancellation fee applies. Non-refundable after the first date of use. Refunds are limited to completely unused and unvalidated passes, tickets and exchange vouchers.

    Thanks for your advice. Yvonne
    PS Your info about the Kosagoe-Shinjuku was very helpful

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      Why do you want to purchase it now. You don’t need to purchase now. It’s never be sold out.
      I have never used online purchase before. But in my understanding, you can pick the date when you exchange it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. HI Takeshi
        You are so right! I get a bit tunnel visioned….
        I think I can even purchase them when I arrive in Japan as long as I have a non-japanese passport and departure air ticket.
        Cheers,
        Yvonne

  6. Hi, is JR East Nagano can be used for Kawaguchiko, Chiba, Hakone, Kamikochi and Japan Alpen Route Morodu? I want to buy JR East Pass Nagano and go to Kyoto and Osaka by lokal train after visiting Shirakawago.

    1. Hi Nur,

      You may get Otsuki on the way to Kawaguchiko. But after arrival Kawaguchiko, you need to take Fuji Kyuko railway that is not covered by this pass. When you go to Hakone, it covers only Odawara.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

      Chiba is covered but you cannot get Alpine route and Kamikochi by train. You need to take bus from Matsumoto to Kamikochi and Shinano-Omachi (or Nagano) to Alpine route. Those are not covered by this pass too.

      You may use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket to get alpine route.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. So if I want to go to Japan Alpen Route, I can use JR East Pass to take Shinkansen Azusa from Shinjuku to Matsumoto/Nagano? And then take a bus and buy Japan Alpen route pass in Matsumoto?
        Thank you for your answer
        おせわになり、まことにあがとうございます。

          1. ちょっとしつもんがあうんです。
            is yamanote line covered by JR East pass too? or another non JR train? Thanks anyway.

  7. Hello,
    – Can I purchase and use two consecutive day Tsugaru free pass between my five flexible day JR East Pass (Tohoku Area)?
    – Does Tsugaru free pass cover transportation between Hirosaki Station to Mount Nakano Shrine in Kuroishi?

    Thank you in advancce.
    Eddy.

    1. Hi Eddy,

      – Can I purchase and use two consecutive day Tsugaru free pass between my five flexible day JR East Pass (Tohoku Area)?
      Yes, you can.

      – Does Tsugaru free pass cover transportation between Hirosaki Station to Mount Nakano Shrine in Kuroishi?
      I’m sure that it covers the train to Kuroishi. But I don’t know about this shrine at all.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi,
    We are travelling from Tokyo to Aomori on 19/2/2016, returning 27/2/2016.
    We would like to use GranClass with JR East pass but since we arrive in Haneda at 5:30am on 19/2/2016 we cannot pick up the tickets at 9:00pm the night before.
    Is there another way to reserve & pickup GranClass seats on Hayabusa?

    Thanks,
    Fraser

    1. Hi Fraser,

      Unfortunately there is no way to book in English site. Only Japanese site Eki-net offers that service.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/how-to-reserve-seat.html

      You may check the availability Cyber station. It’s Japanese site but I show you how to use it at the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/how-to-find-seat-availability-of-trains-jr-cyber-station-guide.html

      If the space is available in the last minutes, you can purchase it on the spot after arrival.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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