JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Kanto region, Nagano and Niigata.

Zenko-ji temple in Nagano (left) and Yuzawa Onsen in Niigata (right)  (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO
Zenko-ji temple in Nagano (left) and Yuzawa Onsen in Niigata (right) (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO

JR East has decided to divide JR East into two regional passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano, and JR East Pass Tohoku. Current JR East pass will be discontinued in the end of March and these two JR East passes will be on sale. In this post, I would like to explain one of these passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano in this post.

Prices and valid period

JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano FLEX 5 days pass

Validity period Purchase outside Japan
or online
Purchase inside Japan
Adult
12 years and older
17,000 yen 18,000 yen
Child
6 to 11 years old
8,500 yen 9,000 yen

*Child who is 5 years old and younger is free but you have to share the seat with child. If you want to have a seat for child too, you have to purchase child pass for even younger than 5 years old.
*This pass will be available from April 1st, 2016. Online purchase is available also on April 1st, 2016. But you can purchase an exchange order at the authorized dealer in advance. There is no Green pass choice.

This pass is FLEX type pass. You can pick any 5 days to use in 14 days period. This is same type of pass as current JR East Pass. 14 days period is counted from the day of purchase.

One day means midnight to midnight, technically 0:00 to 23:59. Even if you start using the pass at 23:00. you will spend one full day for just one hour. So try to start in the morning. It does not make sense to start to use in the evening.

Current JR East Pass is sold at 22,000 yen to cover whole part of JR East area, such as Tohoku, Tokyo, Nagano and Niigata. This pass is sold at 5000 yen lower than current JR East Pass. However the coverage area is much smaller. The coverage area of this pass is a bit bigger than Tokyo Wide Pass.

Coverage Area

Matsumoto castle is one of four castles which have the original tower.
Matsumoto castle is one of four castles which have the original tower.

This pass covers all JR trains in Kanto area, such as Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Yamanashi, Gumma, Ibaragi and Tochigi, and Niigata and Nagano area. And the pass also cover some places in Shizuoka, such as Izu peninsula.

This pass covers the following major spots in the area.

  • Nikko
  • Odawara (Gate station to Hakone)
  • Izu peninsula (Atami, Ito, Shimoda)
  • Katsuta (Gate station to Hitachi Seaside Park)
  • Karuizawa
  • Kusatsu
  • Kamakura
  • Kawagoe
  • Echigo-Yuzawa, Gala Yuzawa
  • Niigata
  • Nagano
  • Hakuba
  • Shinano-Omachi
  • Matsumoto
  • Niigata

This deal does not cover any places in Tohoku region, such as Sendai, Akita, Aomori. Those places are covered by another new JR East Pass “Tohoku”.

Nikko to Echigo-Yuzawa/Gala-Yuzawa on the list above are covered by Tokyo Wide Pass. I think this new JR East Pass should not be compared with current JR East Pass but Tokyo Wide Pass.

JR East official site – Tokyo Wide Pass

I will tell you the coverage railways at next chapter.

Valid trains and lines

JR deals covers basically JR trains only. Non JR railway’s train and subway are not covered. But JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano covers many “NON JR” railway trains. The following railways are NON JR companies but those are covered by JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano.

  • Tokyo Monorail (Haneda-Airport – Hamamatsucho)
  • Izu Kyuko Line (Ito – Izukyu-Shimoda)
  • Hokuetsu Express Line (Muikamachi – Saigata)
  • Echigo Tokimeki Railway (Arai – Naoetsu)
  • Limited Express Nikko, Spacia Nikko, Kinugawa, and Spacia Kinugawa (Shinjuku – Tobu-Nikko / Kinugawa-Onsen)
  • Tobu Railway local trains and rapid trains (Shimo-imaichi – Tobu-Nikko/Kinugawa-Onsen)

Those covered trains are the benefit of this deal. Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) covers only Tokyo Monorail. But Tokyo Wide Pass covers more.

When you go to Nikko, Tokyo Wide Pass covers limited express train to Nikko from Shinjuku directly. JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano covers this train trip but Japan Rail Pass does not. This is one of the benefits of this rail pass too.
How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.

However this deal does not cover Fujikyu Railway. Tokyo Wide Pass covers this railway. It gives you the access to get Lake Kawaguchi without any extra charge. If you want to get Lake Kawaguchi by this deal, you need to pay extra for Otsuki to Kawaguchiko on Fuji Kyuko line.

Tokaido Shinkansen
The segment of Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Atami is in the coverage area of this pass. But this pass does not cover this Shinkansen line because this does not belong to JR East but JR Central.

JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano does not cover Tokaido Shinkansen. Even if you want to use this Shinkansen in JR East area, like Tokyo to Atami or Tokyo to Odawara, this pass does not cover at all because Tokaido Shinkansen is not operated by JR East but JR Central. When you want to get Odawara (Hakone) or Atami, your choice is rapid train or Limited Express Odoriko. These trains are covered by JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano.
No express surcharge! Fast, economical and convenient! Rapid service network in Greater Tokyo
Access to Izu and Atami from Tokyo/Yokohama. Limited Express Odoriko / Super View Odoriko

Compare single fare and JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano

When you think about purchasing this deal, you need to know this is paid off in your trip or not. I show you some sample.
*All rates are based on base fare and reserved seat limited express supplement in regular season.

Trip to Nikko or Kinugawa-Onsen from Shinjuku or Ikebukuro by direct limited express train, Nikko or Kinugawa

Total fare is 4,000 yen for one way to either Nikko or Kinugawa-Onsen.

Trip to Nikko from Tokyo by Shinkansen and local train

If you stay at east side of Tokyo, like Shinagawa, Tokyo, Ueno, this route may be faster than direct express from Shinjuku.
Total fare is 5,580 yen for one way.

Trip to Otsuki from Shinjuku by Limited Epxress Azusa or Kaiji

Total fares are 2,770 yen from Shinjuku for one way.

Trip to Matsumoto from Shinjuku by Limited Epxress Azusa or Kaiji

Total fares are 6,900 yen from Shinjuku for one way.

Trip to Gala Yuzawa from Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 6,870 yen for one way.

Trip to Odawara, Atami or Izukyu-Shimoda from Tokyo by limited express train, Odoriko or Super View Odoriko

Total fare is 2,940 yen to Odawara for one way by Odoriko and 3,190 yen for one way by Super View Odoriko.
Total fare is 3,800 yen to Atami for one way by Odoriko and 4,180 yen for one way by Super View Odoriko.
Total fare is 6,260 yen to Izukyu-Shimoda for one way by Odoriko and 6,640 yen for one way by Super View Odoriko.

Trip to Karuizawa from Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 5,910 yen for one way.

Trip to Nagano from Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 8,200 yen for one way.

Trip to Niigata from Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 10,570 yen for one way.

Trip between Narita Airport and Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku or Yokohama

Total fares are 3,020 yen for Tokyo, 3,190 yen for Shinagawa or Shinjuku, and 4,290 yen for Yokohama.

Trip between Haneda Airport and Hamamatsucho by Tokyo Monorail

Single fare is 490 yen for one way.

Fares in downtown Tokyo

You can take any local trains, like Yamanote line, Chuo line, Keiyo line by this pass. But the fares in downtown Tokyo is quite reasonable. If you take a local train from Tokyo to Shinjuku, the fare is 200 yen. When you calculate the fares and compare this pass and single fare, you can ignore the fares in downtown Tokyo. It does not help to get worth very much.

Compare JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano, and Tokyo Wide Pass

I sometimes compare these two deals in this post above. Because Tokyo Wide Pass is cheaper but shorter valid period and a bit smaller coverage area. Now I would like to compare these two passes completely.

Destination JR East Pass
Niigata and Nagano
Tokyo Wide Pass
JR trains in
downtown Tokyo
Yes Yes
Narita airport Yes Yes
Nikko Yes Yes
Karuizawa Yes Yes
Gala Yuzawa Yes Yes
Kusatsu Yes Yes
Kamakura Yes Yes
Yokohama Yes Yes
Niigata Yes No
Nagano Yes No
Matsumoto Yes No
Hakuba Yes No
Shinano-Omachi Yes No
Nozawa-Onsen Yes No
Joetsu-Myoko Yes No
Katsuta
nearest station to
Hitachi Seaside Park
Yes Yes
Tobu railway of Shinjuku to Nikko
or Kinugawa-Onsen
Yes Yes
Fuji Kyuko railway
to Lake Kawaguchi
No Yes
Izu Kyuko railway
to Ito, Shimoda
Yes Yes
Tokyo Monorail
to/from Haneda airport
Yes Yes
Tokyo Rinkai line
to Odaiba
No Yes
Hokuetsu Express line Yes No
Echigo Tokimeki Railway/td> Yes No

Both passes do not cover subway, non JR trains other than the companies on the list above. And both pass do not cover outside Kanto and JR East area, such as Hokkaido, Tohoku region, Toyama, Kanazawa, Takayama, Shirakawago, Nagano, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Hiroshima, Shikoku and Kyushu. But you can access to Takayama, Shin-Hotaka, Kamikochi from Matsumoto by bus. And also you can access to Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route from either Shinano-Omachi or Nagano. But the pass does not cover any transportation on Alpine Route and any bus services to Takayama, Kamikochi and Shin-Hotaka.

Assessment

Tokyo Wide pass is sold at 10,000 yen for 3 days. JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano will be sold at 17,000 yen for any 5 days in 14 days period. JR East Pass Nagano and Niigata gives you 2 more days and a bit wider coverage area than Tokyo Wide Pass. If you visit Niigata or/and Nagano area, this pass will be recommended. Otherwise Tokyo Wide Pass is enough for you. If you want to have bigger coverage area, consider to use JR pass or Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass.

Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum.
Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass user guide. Clarify valid trains, coverage area and compare single fare and pass.

33 thoughts on “JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Kanto region, Nagano and Niigata.”

  1. Hi Takeshi san
    Would like to ask about using the JR east Nagano Niigata pass for toyama-kurobe alpine route
    If i use this pass to go to Matsumoto, then use the alpine route option to go through the alpine route to Toyama,
    Then on the way back to tokyo, which option would be better and more economical between:
    1. Go through Hokuriku arch back to Matsumoto then continue to tokyo. I understand that this pass does not cover section from toyama to matsumoto, how to pay for this section? How long would this take?
    2. Go to Tokyo via Nagoya. I understand that this whole route is not cover by this pass, how much would it cost?and how long this would take?

    Is there an article about going to Hitachi Seaside Park that you wrote?

    I based my last 2 trip (tokyo-fuji-osaka and North Kyushu) on information from your site. They were great help

    1. Hi Wobbegong_th san,

      The best route is not either your option 1 or 2. You can purchase single ticket for Toyama to Joetsu-Myoko. Joetsu-Myokoot to Tokyo is covered by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata. The extra fare (base fare + Shinkansen seat fee ticket) is around 5,000 yen. You can book and purchase this extra ticket when you exchange your JR East Pass. And you don’t need to get off at Joetsu-Myoko. You can get same seat from Toyama to Tokyo.

      I don’t have any article about Hitachi Seaside Park. Actually I have never been there yet.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi there Takeshi.
    I would like to clarify if the JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano can be used in Narita Express from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station?

  3. Hi Takeshi

    Would wish to enquiry on travelling from Nagano station to Sakata station using this pass.

    Is it more realistic to go via
    1. Nagano> Joetsumyoko > Niigata > Sakata
    2. Nagano > Takasaki> Niigata> Sakata.

    I am planning my trip in End December and am not keen in ski-ing, perhaps to enjoy some sight seeing. Given that travelling to Niigata > Sakata is time consuming, is it time worthy to go? Please kindly advise. Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Melaine,

      Actually you can take either way. Both trips are covered by JR East pass. Trip time of option 2 is a bit shorter but not much different. It takes around 5 hours. Trains run more frequently on option 2.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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