JR East announced that they will sell Tohoku Ouen Pass (東北応援パス). “Ouen (応援)” means Supporting in Japanense. This pass will be sold for supporting Tohoku region where is seriously damaged by the great earthquake in this past March. This pass motivate tourists go to Tohoku region and spend money there to revitalize economy there. Anybody can buy this pass. If you travel outside from Japan, you can buy Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass. But if you live in Japan as a student or work permit, you cannot buy these pass for visitors. This pass may be considerable for you.
Anyway I would like to share the information about this pass with you.
Price and Valid Periods
This is 2 days pass. This pass will be sold at 9500 yen/adult and 4000 yen/child (2-12yrs). You can use this pass on the following periods.
- December 3 (Sat) to 4 (Sun), 2011.
- December 10 (Sat) to 11 (Sun), 2011.
- December 17 (Sat) to 18 (Sun), 2011.
- December 23 (Fri) to 24 (Sat), 2011.
- December 24 (Sat) to 25 (Sun), 2011.
This pass will be started to sell on the day prior one month at the reservation window, “Midori no “Madoguchi”.
*Midori no Madoguchi is located at most of stations in Tokyo and major stations in other area. You can find it very easily.
So if you want to use this pass on Dec 10, you can buy this pass on November 10. But you can buy this pass on even departure day. You don’t need to be rush.
Valid Train Routes
This pass gives you unlimited travel on Local and Rapid train’s ordinary non reserved seat for consecutive two days. This pass cover the following area and lines.
- All JR East line
All JR lines in Tohoku and Kanto area, and most of lines in Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Nagano and Niigata
- Izu Kyuko Line (between Ito and Izukyu-Shimoda)
- Hokuetsu Kyuko Railway Hokuhoku Line (between Echigo-Yuzawa and Naoetsu)
- Aoimori Railway(
- IGR Iwate Galaxy Railway
This pass does not include any express train. But if you add just express surcharge, you can take even Shinkansen.
Compare this pass and single fare
I compare these following sections in regular season fare. The peak season is from December 24, 2011 to January 8, 2011. The express surcharge is 200 yen higher in peak period.
Tokyo to Aomori by Tohoku Shikansen
JR East official site compare this section when you travel by the fastest train Hayabusa.
Return fare and Hayabusa express surcharge — 31,760 yen
Tohoku Ouen Pass and Hayabusa express surcharge — 23,500 yen
Narita Airport to Izukyu-Shimoda
Izu is not in Tohoku. But you still can use this pass.
Return fare — 10,280 yen
Tohoku Ouen Pass — 9,500 yen
Tokyo to Niigata by Joetsu Shinkansen
Return fare and Shinkansen express surcharge — 19,520 yen
Tohoku Ouen Pass and Shinkansen express surcharge — 18,100 yen
So this pass has a great cost performance. Please try to use this pass for your weekend excursion in December!