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.

85 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, which pass is most suitable for me on an itinerary like this? And which days do I use the pass on?

    1. Haneda Airport to Nagano
    2. Nagano to Snow Monkey Park
    3. Nagano to Tateyama Alpine Route
    4. Nagano to Karuizawa
    5. Nagano to Kanazawa
    6. Nagano to Matsumoto
    7. Matsumoto to Norikura Highland
    8. Matsumoto to Kamikochi
    9. Matsumoto City
    10. Matsumoto to Tokyo
    11. Tokyo
    12. Tokyo to Haneda Airport

    Thank you very much!!

    1. Hi Janice,

      JR pass is only choice to cover your trip.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      But JR pass does not cover the bus to Norikura and Kamikochi, and whole part of alpine route. You may add Tateyama Kurobe option ticket for alpine route. I have no idea about the deal for Kamikochi and Norikura.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thanks for the reply.

        Do you mean the 7 day Japan Wide JR Pass? Which 7 days should I use it on?

        I was thinking of using the JR East Niigata and Nagano Pass for some of the longer distances and add on the Tateyama Kurobe Option ticket. Would this be cheaper than the 7 days JR Pass?

        Thank you!

        1. Hi Janice,

          I meant JR Pass (nation wide) which I gave you the link in previous reply.

          You misunderstand the coverage of JR East Pass. JR East Pass does not cover Toyama and Kanazawa. After you complete Alpine route, you have to add the fare for Toyama to Joetsu-Myoko. When you go to Kanazawa, you have to add round trip fare for Joetsu-Myoko to/from Kanazawa. JR Pass will be cheaper.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Does that means I should use the JR Nation Wide Pass on the first 7 days of my trip? Since I must use it on consecutive days.

    1. Hi Janice,

      No. Toyama is not in coverage area. If you take this route, the pass covers the segment from Joetsu-Myoko to Nagano only. You have to add about 5000 yen for Toyama to Joetsu-Myoko.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Lucie,
    I’m planning travel to Japan in Mid November 2018.
    Should I buy JR east pass for Nagano & Niigata (5 days) as per my itinerary below :
    a) 19 Nov18 – Narita T2 to Yudanaka Station (1 night stay High Quality Aibiya)
    b) 20 Nov18 – Visit Snow Monkey Park (1 night stay High Quality Aibiya)
    c) 21 Nov18 – Ydanaka Station to Niigata (1 night stay Juraka Stay Niigate)
    d) 22 Nov18 – Niigata to Echigo-Yuzawa Station (1 night stay Yuzawa Grand Hotel)
    e) 23 Nov18 – Echigo-Yuzawa Station back to Tokyo
    f) 24 Nov18 – Day trip to Nikko
    g) 25 Nov18 – Tokyo Area & back to Narita T2 night flight

    Based on my above itinerary, it’s worth to buy JR East pass or should I reduce my visit area?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Alice,

      You can use JR East Pass for 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th. You have to add regular fare ticket for 25th. Or you may add other deal for trip to Nikko and use one of 5 days JR East Pass coverage for 25th. Please see the links below to fine more info about trip to Nikko.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/how-to-access-to-nikko-from-tokyo-there-are-three-ways-from-tokyo-shinjuku-and-asakusa.html

      P.A. Lucie is one of readers who asked me. I think she doesn’t reply to you.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank for the reply.

        One more question. Can I use JR east pass (Nagano & Niigata) travel from Tokyo to Odawara?

        Tks
        Alice

  3. Hi Takeshi

    Can I get to Shima Onsen using this pass ? I think the train route is Tokyo – Takasaki – Nakanojo ?

    Many thanks
    Grace

      1. Another question – Can I also use this pass to get to Omama Station (Watarase Keikoku Railway) ?

        Many thanks as always,
        Grace

  4. Dear Takeshi San,
    Thank you for taking the time and effort to provide so much valuable info on this site. I would like to seek your advice on whether i should buy the JR East Niigata Nagano Pass.
    We are a group of 4 adults. We’ll fly in to Narita and then travel to Matsumoto. Altogether we have 10 days to visit the Central Alps and Kanazawa and we are thinking of renting a car from either Matsumoto or Takayama. Then we’ll go back to Tokyo where we’ll spend about 5 days. Below are my questions, if you don’t mind:
    1. Does the pass cover the ride from Narita to Tokyo?
    2. Can i use the pass to travel to Matsumoto?
    3. We plan to do the Tateyama Alpine Route. Does the pass cover the ride from Matsumoto to Shinano Omachi and the bus ride to Ogizawa?
    4. Back in Tokyo, we plan to make a day trip to Nikko.
    5. Will it be worthwhile buying the pass? Or should we travel by bus from Shinjuku to Matsumoto and vice versa, and rent a car in Matsumoto?
    Thank you very much.

    Cheers,
    Karen

    1. Hi Karen san,

      1. Yes. You can take Narita Express:
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/narita-express.html

      2. Yes. You can take Limited Express Azusa:
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/limited-express-azusa-super-azusa-and-kaiji.html

      3. You can get Shinano-Omachi but the bus to Ogizawa is not covered. Tateyama Kurobe option ticket is recommended if it’s available in this season:
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      4. Yes, it’s covered.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/how-to-access-to-nikko-from-tokyo-there-are-three-ways-from-tokyo-shinjuku-and-asakusa.html

      5. As long as you travel to Nikko, it’s worth while using this pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Dear Takeshi ,
    We are family of four (children age 4Y and 8Y) arriving Narita T1 on 10th Feb @ 1530 hrs until 17th Feb 1700 hrs .
    I have been trying to read through information on internet however it is very confusing .
    1) Should I buy JR east pass for Nagano (5 days flexi)?
    2) Are JR pass seats are unreserved ? Will i need to buy tickets on top of having JR(E) pass if we want to travel on reserved seats ?
    3) Based on below itinerary , will it be cheaper to buy single unreserved NEX , shinkansen tickets on travel day instead of JR E pass?
    4) We are planning to use SUICA card to travel within Tokyo & suburbs

    Requesting your assistance to suggest good/most economical transportation method for 1 week stay / travel to n fro Tokyo station .

    Detailed itinerary as follows ;
    10 Feb – Travel from Narita T1 to Tokyo station (we are staying at hotel within 400 meters)
    11 Feb – Visit Mt Fuji or Miura Komatsugaike parkfrom Tokyo station for day trip
    12 Feb – Travel to Yuzawa by joetsu shinkansen
    13-15 – at Yuzawa
    15 Feb – Travel to Tokyo station by joetsu shinkansen
    16 Feb – Travel to Disney Sea from Tokyo station
    17 Feb – Travel from Tokyo station to Narita T1

    Cheers/Amit

    1. Hi Amit,

      I recommend you to use Nex Tokyo round trip ticket for arrival and departure days.
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/nex_round.html?src=gnavi

      And Tokyo Wide Pass is recommended for trip to Yuzawa.
      https://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

      This combo is cheaper than JR East pass. These deals cover reserved seat. You don’t need to pay for reserved seat.

      Regular ticket for express bus is okay to visit Fuji.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

      If you go to Miura, you can use Suica.

      Tokyo Subway Ticket may be better than using Suica. Subway covers most part of Tokyo.
      https://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. Takeshi,
    Thank you for all the valuable info on this site. It’s amazing. I have two questions if you don’t mind:
    I have lived in Tokyo and Nagano-shi and plan on buying the JR East Pass Niigata/Nagano for an upcoming trip (early July) to visit both areas again. I feel the pass will be worthwhile for an 11 day trip including both Tokyo and Nagano-shi. I have spent time in the Soba/Ski areas around Nagano (Togakushi, Hakuba) but would like to visit someplace new on this trip with the use of the JR East Pass. If you could recommend one place, city or rural, in the JR East Pass Nagano area, what would it be?
    Also, do the 5 days of use for the pass need to be consecutive or can they be split up (for example, 2 days in a row and then 3 days in a row a few days later)?

    Thanks again for this website!
    David

    1. Hi David,

      I recommend you to visit Matsumoto, Kawagoe, Kamakura and/or Nikko.
      https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6050.html
      https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6500.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/how-to-access-to-nikko-from-tokyo-there-are-three-ways-from-tokyo-shinjuku-and-asakusa.html

      You can use the pass any 5 days in 14 days period. You can use it for 2 days and 3 days, or even one day each in 14 days period. It does not need to be consecutive days.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks for detailed explanation. I am planning my trip from Narita to Shinjuku by NEX, Tokyo downtown, then Shinjuku-Kawagoe, Shinjuku-Yokohama, Shinjuku to Echigo-Yuzawa and back to Haneda airport. Is the whole itinerary covered by JR Pass Nagano-Niigata?
    I am considering from Tokyo downtown to Matsumoto as well and then get on the bus to Takayama-Shirakawago, is it possible if I make this trip within 1 day and back to Tokyo in the evening?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Lucie,

      All trips are covered by this pass.

      One day trip to Takayama and Shirakawago is not possible. It takes 5.5 hours to get Takayama from Shinjuku by train and bus. And you will spend another one hour to get Shirakawago. And also the lats bus for Matsumoto from Takayama leave at 16:50. It is too early to make a trip to Shirakawago.

      If you are okay with traveling Shirakawago and Kanazawa, one day trip can be made.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1-day/sample-itinerary-of-day-trip-to-kanazawa-and-shirakawago-from-tokyo.html

      In this case, you need JR Pass 7 days and need the fare for taking bus between Kanazawa and Shirakawago.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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