JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.

Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO
Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita 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 Tohoku in this post.

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

Prices and valid period

JR East Pass Tohoku FLEX 5 days pass

Validity period Purchase outside Japan
or online
Purchase inside Japan
Adult
12 years and older
19,000 yen 20,000 yen
Child
6 to 11 years old
9,500 yen 10,000 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 (or exchange).

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 3000 yen lower than current JR East Pass. However the coverage area is smaller. This Pass does not cover most part of Niigata and Nagano.

Coverage Area

Matsushima is a few steps away from Sendai. This place is known as one of "Three Scenery of Japan". (C) JNTO
Matsushima is a few steps away from Sendai. This place is known as one of “Three Scenery of Japan”. (C) JNTO

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

This pass covers the following major spots in the area.

  • Nikko
  • Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi), Fuji-Q Land
  • 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
  • Aomori
  • Hirosaki
  • Akita
  • Kakunodate
  • Sendai
  • Matsushima
  • Aizu-Wakamatsu
  • Yamagata
  • Hiraizumi

This deal does not cover most part of places in Niigata and Nagano prefectures, such as Nagano, Matsumoto, Hakuba, Shinano-Omachi and Niigata. Those places are covered by another new JR East Pass “Niigata and Nagano”. However you can access to Gala-Yuzawa, Karuizawa and Kobuchizawa by this pass even though those places are located in Niigata and Nagano prefectures.

I will tell you the coverage railways at next chapter.

Valid trains and lines

The newest train on Tohoku Shikansen E5 series (C) sukhoi37
Tohoku Shinkansen and other Shinkansen lines in Tohoku region are covered by this pass fully. (C) sukhoi37

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

  • Tokyo Monorail (Haneda-Airport – Hamamatsucho)
  • Izu Kyuko Line (Ito – Izukyu-Shimoda)
  • Aoimori Railway (Aomori – Metoki)
  • IGR Iwate Galaxy Railway (Morioka – Metoki)
  • Sendai Airport Transit (Natori – Sendai Airport)
  • 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.

When you go to Nikko, JR East Pass Tohoku covers limited express train to Nikko from Shinjuku directly 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.

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 Tohoku 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 Tohoku.
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 Tohoku

When you think about purchasing this deal, you need to know that it is worth using in your plan. I show you some sample rates. If total fares in your plan reach 20,000 yen, you can go for it.
*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 Sendai from Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 11,200 yen for one way.

Trip to Akita from Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 17,800 yen for one way.

Trip to Aomori/Shin-Aomori from Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 17,350 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.

Assessment

If you are sure that you will travel in Tokyo, surrounding Tokyo and Tohoku region only, this pass is your choice. This pass does not cover western part of JR East area, such as Niigata and Nagano. And of course Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Kobe, Nara, Takayama, Kanzawa, Hiroshima, Kyushu and Hokkaido either. Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) covers all part of Japan. JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass covers same area as this pass plus southern Hokkaido, such as Hakodate, Otaru, Sapporo.

JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass user guide. Perfect deal for the travelers who visit Tokyo and Sapporo by train.
Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum.

Please try to find the best deal for your trip and save your cost to stay in Japan!

36 thoughts on “JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.”

  1. Hi Takeshi-San,
    My family and I would like to explore Tohoku region and enjoy Hanami around this region from April 19th to April 25th.

    1. I’d like to get your advise on how to map out the trip. We fly into Tokyo early in the morning of Apr 19th, and fly out of Tokyo in the evening of Apr 25th
    2. The places I’d like to visit are: Yamagata, Akita, Aomori/Hirosaki but if you think there are certain areas that are must-see in Tohoku? During the visit, I’d like to experience a traditional Japanese onsen, thus would appreciate any recommendation along the way.
    3) I think the JR EAST PASS (flexible 5 day pass) is the best value to travel around these areas, which day should I start using it?
    4) Does this pass cover NEX express to Tokyo?

    Appreciate the help!!

    1. Hi Chi San,

      1. You may get somewhere in Tohoku on arrival day. But at this point, that’s all I can say. You haven’t made the detailed plan yet and you may add some more places.

      2. Kakunodate is must-see. Kitakami is very beautiful too.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3601.html
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5077.html

      Nyuto Onsen is amazing. You may combine this place with Kakunodate.
      http://ryokan.glocal-promotion.com/#story

      3. It’s the right choice. But I cannot say how you can use this deal. Because you haven’t made the detailed plan yet.

      4. Yes.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi san ,
    Can i just check with you the following regarding JR East Pass Tohoku ?
    1) From what you type , this pass should cover my trip from Ueno to Haneda right ? cos Yamanote Line is covered from Ueno to Hamamatsucho then Tokyo monorail from there to Haneda ?
    2) It will also cover Nartia Express ( N’ex) to tokyo station right ?
    Thanks

  3. I was wondering how to figure out the Green Car cost for the Hayabusa. I will have the Tohoku Rail pass. The ordinary car fare is covered by the pass. Is there an upcharge for the Green Car or does the pass does not cover Green Car at all.

  4. Hi there! My 3rd time here for my 3rd trip to japan!

    Can I check if this JR east tohoku pass will be better for my travels or a 7-14 days jr pass or a combination? Itinerary:

    8-9 jan: tokyo
    10 Jan: yokohama (day trip)
    11-12 jan: tokyo
    13 Jan: mt Fuji/kawaguchiko (day)
    14 Jan: zao onsen ski resort (yamagata)
    15 Jan: Yamadera and sendai
    16 Jan: sendai
    17 Jan: matsushima bay (day)
    18 Jan: Shiroishizao/zao Fox village (day)
    19 Jan: Geibikei and Tokyo
    20 Jan: mt nokogiri-yama (day)
    21-22 jan: tokyo

    Please advise if possible, thanks!

    1. Hi Chow Xue Hua,

      JR East Pass Tohoku is the best choice. You may use 5 days coverage for the following trips:
      14 Jan: zao onsen ski resort (yamagata)
      15 Jan: Yamadera and sendai
      18 Jan: Shiroishizao/zao Fox village (day)
      19 Jan: Geibikei and Tokyo
      20 Jan: mt nokogiri-yama (day)

      You may use single fare ticket for Matsushima.

      There are some deals available for Yokohama.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html

      Express bus is okay for access to Lake Kawaguchi.
      http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/highway/detail/id/1

      Tokyo subway ticket is the best for Tokyo.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hello Takeshi,

    Our family, 5 of us including 2 kids ( 8 & 10) are taking our first trip to Japan. I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to plan out our itinerary and map our travels on trains and in between cities…it’s been ok until….I started looking into which passes to use, when each pass works, which train lines, etc. Oh my goodness….there is so much information.

    I would like to know if it would be possible for you to take a look at my intinerary below and give me some suggestions on my “pass” choices. I have looked into JR Kansai wide vs. Kansai thru pass vs. 7 day JR pass for Tokyo to Osaka and Niigata, Suica pass for Tokyo…I’m pretty confused.

    If you have any thoughts, it would be so helpful!!!

    Thank you very very very much
    Cherlene

    Nov 9 – land in Haneda and train to Ichikawa-shi, Chiba
    Nov 10 & 11 – train to Disney Sea on both days
    Nov 12 – check out and shinkasen Kujo Station in Osaka
    Nov 13 – Shinkasen from Osaka to Nara for deer park, kasuga temple and todaiji temple and back to Osaka
    Nov 14 – Shinkasen from Osaka to Kyoto – nijo castle, Arashiyama, monkey park, shinkasen back to Osaka
    Nov 15 – Shinkasen from Osaka to Kyoto – fushimi shrine, kiyomizu-dera temple and shinkasen back to Osaka
    Nov 16 – Osaka Aquarium, Tempozan Ferris wheel, Floating garden – shinkasen from Osaka to Otsuka Station on JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo
    Nov 17 – Shinkasen from Otsuka to Niigata station for Koi breeding farm day tourand shinkasen back to Otsuka station
    Nov 18 – Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo Nature and Science Museum and Akihabara district
    Nov 19 – Tokyo Imperial Palace, Ginza, Roppongi, Harajuku
    Nov 20 – Otsuka station to Nokogiriyama Park and Nohon-ji Temple – not sure how to do this…hahahaha
    Nov 21 – check out of airbnb, keep luggage in station locker and walk around Tokyo free time until time to go. Arrive at Haneda at 5pm for departure

    1. Hi Cherlene,

      You can use JR Pass 7 days for Nov 12 to Nov 18. But you should go to Nokogiriyama on Nov 18. Because only this place is outside Tokyo after Nov 19. You can use Subway pass for downtown Tokyo. But Nokogiriyama is far away from Tokyo. Please see the link below:
      http://www.mt-nokogiri.co.jp/pc/p130000.php

      JR pass covers most part of your trip from Nov 12 to 18. But it does not cover subway, city bus and non JR trains. Please see the train network info at the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        You are FAST with your response. Thank you for your suggestion on the 7 day JR pass and the link to your other site.

        Do you recommend the Suica prepaid pass for my arrival day and transit to Disney Sea for 2 days…as well as my last 5 days in Tokyo?

        Thank you!
        Cherlene

        1. Hi Cherlene,

          You can use Suica to get Ichikawa. But I’m not sure how you visit Disneyland from Ichikawa. I think there are some bus but I’m not sure you can use Suica for the bus.
          You also can use Suica for the last 5 days in Tokyo. But if you visit several places in one day, subway pass may be cheaper. Please see the link below to find some more info.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi , like to check , understand the JR east pass is separated now , so say if i am doing a 14 days in Japan and plan to cover Tohoku and maybe the alpine route in Nagano area , it will be best for me to get the 14 days JR pass instead of the 2 JR east pass rite ? ( fly in and out from tokyo )

    1. Hi Ced,

      You can use 14 days JR Pass. Or JR East pass Tohoku and Hokuriku Arch Pass is cheaper than 14 days JR 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

      Hokuriku Arch Pass covers Toyama and you can go through alpine route from Toyama to Nagano. JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano does not cover Toyama.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi takeshi ,
        7 day pass – 29000 yen
        14 days pass – 46300 yen
        jr east – tohoku – 19000 yen
        Hokuriku Arch pass : 24000 yen
        if i get the jr east + arch pass = 43000 yen

        so it’s better for me to get the 14 day pass ? cos difference of about 3500 yen but it covers all my 14 days ?
        Also JR pass will cover all of JR east + Hokuriku Arch pass right ?
        also even Hokuriku Arch pass don’t cover the alpine route ? i will still need to get the option pass at 9000 yen right ?
        http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

        1. Hi Ced,

          If you don’t care about the cost difference, you can go for JR Pass. You have to purchase Tateyama Kurobe option ticket anyway. Both passes do not cover this route. As you think, JR pass covers all 14 days. It’s more convenient.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. I am trying to understand the 5 days period of use. Is that five consecutive days? Or any five days within the 14-day period? Thank you!

  8. Hi Takeshi
    I would like to ask if i want to go to mount Fuji area with this pass, this that possible?

    Thank you so much in advance

  9. Hello,

    I will be going to the Hitachi Seaside Park from Ueno. I would like to ask if Limited express hitachi and Limited express tokiwa are included in the JR East Pass?

    Thank you!

    Cheers,
    Gigi

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for your reply! Sorry may I ask one more question – is Tsugaru Railway covered by JR East Pass?

        Thank you!

        Cheers,
        Gigi

          1. Hello Takeshi,

            Thank you so much for your help. Regarding the use of JR East Pass (Tohoku area), which train(s) can only be taken with reservations? For example, are Hayabusa and Komachi reservation-only? Is it possible to get standing tickets free of charge instead, with the use of JR East pass?

            Thank you so much!

            Cheers,
            Gigi

          2. Hi Gigi,

            Reservation is required to take Hayabusa and Komachi. You cannot take these trains without reservation. When you check the timetable at hyperdia, if only reserved seat is shown at “seat fee”, you need to have reserved seat. Otherwise you cannot take it.

            Reserved seat fee is included in JR East Pass. So try to make a booking for all trains.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

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