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 periodPurchase outside Japan
or online
Purchase inside Japan
Adult
12 years and older
17,000 yen18,000 yen
Child
6 to 11 years old
8,500 yen9,000 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.

DestinationJR East Pass
Niigata and Nagano
Tokyo Wide Pass
JR trains in
downtown Tokyo
YesYes
Narita airportYesYes
NikkoYesYes
KaruizawaYesYes
Gala YuzawaYesYes
KusatsuYesYes
KamakuraYesYes
YokohamaYesYes
NiigataYesNo
NaganoYesNo
MatsumotoYesNo
HakubaYesNo
Shinano-OmachiYesNo
Nozawa-OnsenYesNo
Joetsu-MyokoYesNo
Katsuta
nearest station to
Hitachi Seaside Park
YesYes
Tobu railway of Shinjuku to Nikko
or Kinugawa-Onsen
YesYes
Fuji Kyuko railway
to Lake Kawaguchi
NoYes
Izu Kyuko railway
to Ito, Shimoda
YesYes
Tokyo Monorail
to/from Haneda airport
YesYes
Tokyo Rinkai line
to Odaiba
NoYes
Hokuetsu Express lineYesNo
Echigo Tokimeki Railway/td>YesNo

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.

55 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

    If I buy the pass online and then exchange the voucher when in Japan I understand it gets stamped each day when I use it. As I need to pre-book limited express from Shinjuku to Hakuba in the new year period and collect that ticket at least a day before travel how does this work? I want to use this ticket as part of the pass so when I collect the ticket do they stamp my pass with the travel date for the tickets in advance? I hope this makes sense…. thanks Sue

  2. Dear Takeshi,
    This is a follow-up from my previous questions here. Kindly ignore it since after reading thoroughly your post most of my questions seem irrelevant as you have answered them already in your post.
    I would like however to ask a different questions, if you don’t mind. Toyoma is obviously not covered by JR East, so from Tokyo, do you recommend I take a bus or train to Toyoma and which mode of transportation is best recommended or from Tokyo I travel to Niigata station and take a bus or train to Toyoma?

    I would like to maximize my day 1 of the pass, do you recommend I will take the joyful train? Is there enough time to do this and arrive at Toyoma in the evening?

    From Gifu going to Kamikochi or Matsumoto does JR East cover the cost of the train?

    Thanks for your attention.

    1. Hi Hazel,

      First of all, JR East Pass does not cover Toyama, Gifu and Nagoya. Nagano and Matsumoto are covered. But when you go to Matsumoto from Takayama, the bus is the best way and it’s not covered. So if you go back to Tokyo from Matsumoto or Nagano, JR East Pass will work. However if you go back to Tokyo, as you think, you cannot maximize your trip time. And also I recommend you to visit the places like the following route:

      Tokyo-Nagano
      Nagano-Alpine route-Toyama
      Toyama-Takayama
      Takayama-Matsumoto
      Matsumoto-Nakatsugawa (Nakasendo)-Nagoya (Chubu)

      JR East Pass covers for Tokyo-Nagano only and it doesn’t work. Unfortunately there is no deals to cover your trip plan. You need to pay regular ticket one by one. Some local deals are available and use it partially, like Tateyama Kurobe option ticket for Nagano-alpine route-Toyama, Snow Monkey pass. Please see the links below:
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/trip-report/2016-winter-tohoku-chubu-chugoku/trip-to-tohoku-chubu-and-chugoku-in-2016-winter-part-9-visit-snow-monkey-park-in-nagano.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Takeshi,
        Thank you for your patience. It seems my sojourn is an expensive route to take for a budget traveler like me. I’ll give a consideration your suggestion,

        『 Tokyo-Nagano
        Nagano-Alpine route-Toyama
        Toyama-Takayama
        Takayama-Matsumoto
        Matsumoto-Nakatsugawa
        (Nakasendo)-Nagoya (Chubu) 』

        From Toyama I suppose I’ll take a bus to Takayama but my concern for this route is my luggage, can I send my stuff from Nagano to Takayama? Is there a service for that? Thanks.

        1. Hi Hazel,

          Some of hotels have a contract with shipping company. Please ask your hotel which they can do or not.
          Tateyama Kurobe alpine route has delivery service but they send it to Toyama only.
          https://www.alpen-route.com/en/transport_new/baggage.html

          Even if you go to Shirakawago with luggage on the way to Takayama from Toyama, there is baggage storage service.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-get-shirakawa-go-%E7%99%BD%E5%B7%9D%E9%83%B7.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. I’m so glad to find this article. This shades light to my confusion and skepticism wether I should purchase the Nagano Pass. I have a question, from Haneda if I activate my pass to Tokyo, does the Jr East Nagano cover the monorail fare? Taking a shinkansen from which station in Tokyo to Toyama does it also cover the cost? Here’s my itinerary;

    Tokyo – TOYOMA Prefecture
    -Kurobe Gorge
    – Tateyama Alpine route

    GIFU Prefecture
    – Shirakawago day trip only
    – Takayama 【2 days】

    NAGANO Prefecture
    – Kamikochi 【hiking】
    – Matsumoto
    – Yudanaka 【Onsen, snow monkey】
    – Nagano for Nakasendo trail

    This is in particular order as the last day in Chubu should be closer to Tokyo. Please tell me at which areas/ places the JR East pass cover it’s cost of transportation. THANK YOU.

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I saw you wrote an article that says this pass covers the Genbi Shinkansen without additional charges. Just wanted to know if this pass will also cover the ordinary reserved seat charges e.g. Joetsu shinknsen btw Tokyo – Niigata .

    I’ve made seat ordinary seat reservations online and looking through the disclaimers I’m still unable to confirm.

    Thanks in advance!

  5. Hi Takeshi

    I felt sure that the trip from Shinjuku to Hakuba on the limited express was covered on this pass but when I look at the website it says:
    “The following limited express trains that directly run between the JR East lines and Tobu Railway lines: the Nikko, the SPACIA Nikko, the Kinugawa, and the SPACIA Kinugawa.”
    Isn’t the line I need called Azusa? I’m confused…
    Thanks

    Sue

    1. Hi Sue,

      Azusa is covered by this pass fully. Actually there are many more limited express train which are covered by this pass. Nikko, the SPACIA Nikko, the Kinugawa, and the SPACIA Kinugawa run on non JR lines. That is why only these four trains are mentioned.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi

    So looking at the JR website for the East Nagano pass it says the Hokuriku Shinkansen line is covered but as Kanazawa seems to be outside the allowed zone is Tokyo/Nagano to Kanazawa not covered? Would we get credit for part of the journey? Our main train journeys will be NEX one way, Shinjuku to Hakuba, Nagano to Kanazawa and Kanzawa to Tokyo (which I thought was covered by the pass but now I think not..) I’m trying to figure out what would be best. Thanks so much for your informative website.

    1. Hi Sue,

      JR East Pass Nagano Niigata is your choice. But as you noticed, Kanazawa is outside coverage area. You need to add single fare for the segment between Joetsu-Myoko and Kanazawa. Joetsu-Myoko is two stations away from Nagano on the way to Kanazawa. This is the border station in coverage area. one way base fare and Shinkansen surcharge is around 6,000 yen. You can purchase a ticket for Joetsu-Myoko to Kanazawa and Kanazawa to Joetsu-Myoko when you get JR East Pass Nagano Niigata. And you don’t need to exit at Joetsu-Myoko and you can get same seat for Tokyo/Nagano-Kanazawa.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Sorry another question – even though we won’t get out there will we have to use the line that stops in Joetsu-Myoko which is longer than the some that go more directly from Nagano/Tokyo to/from Kanazawa? If we book the more direct route will the East Pass not count for any credit? I hope this makes sense… Thanks again 🙂

          1. OK sure thanks Takeshi – from what I can see some trains go via Joetsu-Myoko and some don’t. Eg From Nagano to Kanazawa the Hakutaka 553 does go via Joetsu-Myoko and takes 90 mins. Kagayaki 505 only stops at Toyama and does not stop at Joetsu-Myoko taking 65 mins. Similar kinds of comparisons for Kanazawa to Tokyo. The slower lines are also only about once per hour and sometimes even longer between them for when I am looking so I would lose time in the journey and potentially waiting as well. To use the east pass for a segment of either trip, would I have to use the slower line? I hope this makes sense. Thanks again!

          2. Hi Sue,

            You will pay same extra fare to take either Hakutaka or Kagayaki. It doesn’t matter that train stops at Joetsu-Myoko or not. You will pay for Joetsu-Myoko to Kanazawa anyway.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. 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

  8. 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?

  9. 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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