JR East Pass Nagano Niigata user guide. Flex 5-day pass in 14 days period to cover Nagano, Niigata, Tokyo and surrounding area.

matsumoto castle naganoRail pass for visitors
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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

There are two kinds of JR East Pass, Nagano Niigata and Tohoku. In this post, I would like to explain about JR East Pass Nagano Niigata in this post.

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Prices and valid period

Validity periodPurchase outside Japan
or online
Purchase inside Japan
Adult
12 years and older
17,310 yen18,330 yen
Child
6 to 11 years old
8,650 yen9,160 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 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.

How to buy JR East Pass Nagano Niigata

You may buy it online at ACP Rail. ACP Rail is the official retailer of JR East:

JR East Pass online purchasing at ACP Rail

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 as well. You may compare this pass and Tokyo Wide Pass if you visit these places only.

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 Nagano Niigata covers many “NON JR” railway trains. The following railways are NON JR companies but these are covered by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata.

  • 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. However other JR deal, Tokyo Wide Pass covers more.

When you go to Nikko, JR East Pass Nagano Niigata covers the direct limited express train from Shinjuku to Nikko or Kinugawa-Onsen but Japan Rail Pass does not. This is one of the benefits of this rail pass. Please see the post below to learn about this train:

However this deal does not cover Fujikyu Railway to get Kawaguchiko from Otsuki. 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 Nagano Niigata 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 a rapid train or the Limited Express Odoriko. These trains are covered by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata.

Compare single fare and JR East Pass Nagano Niigata

When you think about purchasing this deal, you have to make sure that you can get the worth of this pass or not. I show you some sample fares.
*All rates are based on the base fare andthe reserved seat limited express supplement in the 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 Nagano Niigata and Tokyo Wide Pass

I have compared 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 by the trains and the areas.

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

 

YesNo

Both passes do not cover the 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 Nagano Niigata is sold at 17,000 yen for any 5 days in 14 days period. JR East Pass Nagano 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 Hokuriku Arch Pass.

I hope you have found that this deal suits your trip plan or not. Enjoy your trip.

Comments

  1. Miranti says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I want to ask you several things:
    1. if we want to go to Kusatsu Onsen, does this pass covered all the trains & bus fully? i will be traveling from Tokyo and stay 1 night there.
    2. Then after Kusatsu Onsen do you think it’s possible to go to Matsumoto or Karuizawa before heading back to tokyo? and whether this pass also cover all the transportation.
    3. Is going to Hitachi Seaside park is also cover fully?
    4. I read that if you go to Nikko, this pass is cover also, but we have to use train from Shinjuku station only (back and forth). Is that right? May i know if the pass also cover the bus to toshogu shrine?
    5. when we go to Yokohama, we can’t use tokaido shinkansen, is there any limited express train that we can ride that covered by this pass?
    6. What about Kamakura and Enoshima? is it covered also?

    Thanks
    Sorry for so many question, since we have to be exact the validity of this pass whether it’s worth the money.

    Regards,
    Miranti

  2. Jakob says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    Thank you very much for all your work. Our itinerary is as follow

    Feb 8- arrive in Haneda late; will buy local transport
    Feb 9- Tokyo to Nagano by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata(1)
    Feb 10- to Snow Monkey Park by separate pass
    Feb 11- relax in an onsen
    Feb 12- Nagano to Akita using JR East Pass Nagano Niigata(2)
    Feb 13- Akita to Niigata by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata(3)
    Feb 16- Niigata to Tokyo by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata(4)
    Feb 17- Tokyo to Kamakura by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata (5)

    The main trip is Tokyo-Nagano-Akita-Niigata-Tokyo. Would you confirm that I get this correctly that I can use the pass as above? Thank you very much.

    • Hi Jakob san,

      Unfortunately Akita is not in the coverage area of JR East Pass Nagano Niigata. If you take the following route, you have to add the fare about 4,000 yen for one way base fare + one way reserved seat fee:
      Nagano – Takasaki – Niigata – (Sakata) – Akita

      The segment between Sakata and Akita is outside the coverage area. When you book a seat by JR East Pass Nagano Niigata, you can buy this additional ticket too. You may ask a staff that you want to travel from Niigata to Akita by this pass and you understand to pay additional. You don’t need to get off at Sakata.

      If you check the timetable, you may find the following route.
      Nagano – Omiya – Akita

      This route is actually much faster but if you take this route, your additional cost is about 15,000 yen. Because this is all Shinkansen route.

      JR pass (nationwide) covers all places but you have to use the pass in 7 consecutive days. It does not meet your trip plan.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Rabbi says:

    Before anything else, I would like to appreciate your efforts in replying to each question from your visitors.

    We are going to Tokyo on 22-28 January, and we have already purchased the vouchers for JR East Pass Nagano-Niigata. Our hotel will be in Nippori so we’ll be going back and forth. Here is our itinerary:

    Jan.22: Not activate JR pass yet. Go to hotel and do a bit of sight seeing. We’ll take the bus from Narita to Ginza/Tokyo

    Jan.23: Nagano – Zenkoji Temple, Jogikudani Snow Monkey Park (Dentetsu line not covered?), Iiyama Kamakura Snow huts

    Jan.24: Ski Resort in Jomo Kogen Station

    Jan.25: Matsumoto – Matsumoto Castle, Nawate Dori. Then hop on the train to Karuizawa, where we will be going to Shiraito Falls, Kumoba Pond and Prince Shopping Plaza

    Jan.26: Nikko – Shiraito Falls, Toshogu Shrine, Shinkyo Bridge

    Jan.27: Nikko – Kegon, Ryuzu falls (anything else you can suggest? )

    Jan.28: Head to airport via bus.

    Question – Can I use the JR East pass from Tochigi to Nikko? I see in Google Maps that we will use Tobu-Nikko line but I’m not sure if it’s covered by the pass.
    What do you think of the itinerary above? Is it too jampacked? Or too loose? Appreciate your opinion! 🙂

  4. Isabelle Buzzetti says:

    I think the 5 day flexi east nagano pass would be best for me. Please advise.
    Day 1. Narita airport to Asakusa
    Day 2: stay local area
    Day 3: Travel from Asakusa to Hakuba
    Day 4: stay local
    Day 5: Travel to Nagano snow monkeys and maybe more tourist destinations – would like to see Mt Fuji
    Day 6: Stay local
    Day 7: Stay local
    Day 8: Travel from Hakuba to Shinjuku
    Day 9: Travel from Shinjuku to Narita

  5. NMas_hi says:

    Takeshi,
    Thank you for the reply earlier but there is a change in our plan. Please advise the best transportation for the following:

    Day 1: Landed Narita at 7.30am, take limousine bus for Disneyland day. Check in Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel.

    Day 2: check out hotel. Take the earliest flight to Sapporo 7.30am for 1h 40min.
    Sapporo TV tower – Odori Park – Sapporo clock tower – Otaru

    Day 3: Sapporo
    Sapporo factory – Tanukikoji – Mitsui Premium Outlet

    Day 4: Fly back to Narita. Check in Okubo airbnb. Harujuku – Shibuya – Shinjuku

    Day 5: Ueno – Nippori – Akihabara

    Day 6: Tsukiji – Asakusa – Odaiba

    Day 7: Free

    Day 8: Depart from Narita

  6. NMas_hi says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    Which JR pass should I purchase for destination to Shirakawago, takayama and Nagano Snow Monkey?

  7. Nicole says:

    We are a group of 8 ( 2 families) arriving Tokyo 9 dec 2019 . We have arranged private trf from Narita airport to knot hotel shinjuku. We will be in Tokyo for 4 days – tours booked and some local train/bus connections required.We then head to hakuba for 4 days. From what I can see Shinkansen and bus easiest to transfer 8 people with luggage
    Return to Tokyo Disney for 3 days. It still looks best to get jr east Nagano pass to just cover Tokyo/ Nagano return trip and then will have to use on 3 other days …. is this correct?

  8. Lora says:

    Hello,

    I got a JR East Nagano/Niigata Pass, I would like to visit Shirakawago from Nagano. What is the best available JR train to ride?

    thank you in advance

  9. Diana Perren says:

    Hi,

    I need to get from Nagano to Nikko in February. Will the JR East Pass Nagano Niigata cover this, and then from Nikko to Shinjuku.

    Will the pass also cover Hakuba to Matsumoto?

    Thank you.

  10. Vironica says:

    Hi

    For “JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)”.

    if i depart from UENO to visit TOYAMA.
    can i use “JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)”. ?

    Planning to visit “Takayama and Shirakawa-go Day Trip from Toyama”

    any advise which train or bus which can be used or cover by “JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)” ? or we need to purchase separate tickets ? (any bus website link to purchase online ? )

    please advise and many thanks 🙂

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