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

Hirosaki castle ©Hirosaki City/©JNTORail pass for visitors
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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

This is one of the deals by JR East. This pass suits a traveler who travel in Tokyo, surrounding area (Kanto region) and Tohoku region. Tohoku offers lots of hot springs, very famous summer festival and lots of nature. In this post, I would like to explain you how to use JR East Pass Tohoku.

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Prices and valid period

JR East Pass Tohoku FLEX 5-day pass

Validity periodPurchase outside Japan
or online
Purchase inside Japan
Adult
12 years and older
19,350 yen20,360 yen
Child
6 to 11 years old
9,670 yen10,180 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.
  • Green seat pass is not available.

This pass is FLEX type pass. You can pick any 5 days to use in 14 days period. When you exchange/purchase this pass, you can pick the date when you start using this pass. That is the first day of 14 days period. The first day is not the date when you exchange/purchase this pass.

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.

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
  • Odawara (Gateway to Hakone)
  • Izu peninsula (Atami, Ito, Kawazu, Shimoda)
  • Katsuta (Gateway 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 pass, JR East Pass Nagano Niigata. 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
The 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. JR Pass covers only Tokyo Monorail.

When you go to Nikko, JR East Pass Tohoku covers the limited express train to Nikko from Shinjuku directly but JR Pass does not. This is one of the benefits of this rail pass too. Please see the post below to find more information about the access to Nikko from Shinjuku:

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 the 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 the 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.

Compare single fare and JR East Pass Tohoku

I will show you some sample rates. If total fares in your plan reach 20,000 yen, you can get the worth of this pass.

*All rates are based on base fare and reserved seat limited express supplement in regular season. The rate is varied by the season.

Trip to Nikko or Kinugawa-Onsen from Shinjuku or Ikebukuro by direct limited express train, Nikko or Kinugawa

Total fare is around 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 around 6,000 yen for one way.

Trip to Otsuki from Shinjuku by Limited Express Azusa or Kaiji

Total fares are around 3,000 yen from Shinjuku for one way.

Trip to Matsumoto from Shinjuku by Limited Epxress Azusa or Kaiji

Total fares are around 7,000 yen from Shinjuku for one way.

Trip to Gala Yuzawa from Tokyo by the Joetsu Shinkansen

Total fare is around 7,000 yen for one way.

Trip to Odawara, Atami or Izukyu-Shimoda from Tokyo by the limited express Odoriko or Super View Odoriko

One way fare and the limited express seat fee are around 3,000 yen to Odawara ,around 4,000 yen to Atami, 6,500 yen to Izukyu-Shimoda.

Trip to Karuizawa from Tokyo by the Hokuriku Shinkansen

Total fare is around 6,000 yen for one way.

Trip to Sendai from Tokyo by the Tohoku Shinkansen

Total fare is around 11,500 yen for one way.

Trip to Akita from Tokyo by the Akita Shinkansen

Total fare is about 18,000 yen for one way.

Trip to Aomori/Shin-Aomori from Tokyo by the Tohoku Shinkansen

Total fare is around 17,500 yen for one way.

Trip between Narita Airport and Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku or Yokohama

Total fares are 3,000 to 4,500 yen to Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku and Yokohama by Narita Express.

Trip between Haneda Airport and Hamamatsucho by Tokyo Monorail

Single fare is around 500 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, you may pick up this deal. 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. 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. Please make sure where you will visit before you decide to buy the pass. You can find the link below to find the information of JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass and JR Pass:

Please try to find the best deal for your trip and save your cost.

Comments

  1. Chi San says:

    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!!

  2. Ced says:

    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. John says:

    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. Chow Xue Hua says:

    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!

  5. Cherlene says:

    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

  6. Ced says:

    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 )

  7. Nadia says:

    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. JJ says:

    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. Gigi says:

    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

    • Yes. It’s covered, Gigi.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • Gigi says:

        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

        • Hi Gigi,

          No, it’s not covered.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • Gigi says:

            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

            • 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

  10. Tanya says:

    Hello,
    Does JR East pass – Tohoku cover otsuki and Fujikyu railway to kawaguchiko?

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