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. Sridhar Navalpakam says:

    We (3 adults) are travelling in Japan from Apr 28 to MAy 4. Can you help with the right JR Pass covering the following itinerary for 7 days:
    Apr 28 NRT to Tokyo Station
    Apr 28 Tokyo Station to Shin-Aomori
    Apr 30 Shin-Aomori to Tokyo Station
    May 1 Day Trip from Tokyo to Mt.Fuji and Back
    May 2-3 Tokyo area
    May 4 Tokyo Station to NRT/ HND

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will be arriving at Narita Airport, staying in Daiba. Mostly visiting Tokyo areas (Shibuya, Akihabara). One day will go to Honda Collection Hall in Motegi via Tohoku Shinkansen. One day (maybe two) will go to Enoshima, Kamakura, and Yokohama.

    I believe the JR East Pass Tohoku covers the all these local JR lines to these locations? Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Yokosuka Line, Negishi Line, Yamanote Line, Keihintohoku Line.

    Will the JR East Pass Tohoku be worth it?

  3. JSGan says:

    Good morning Takeshi San,
    We are going to Tokyo from 16-22/2/2018.
    Transportation as follow:

    1.16/2, arrive Narita airport T2, to Shinjuku Station
    2. 18/2, Shinjuku station to Izu-hanafubuki.
    3. 19/2, Ito Station to Tokyo, Akasaka
    4. 22/2, Akasaka to Narita / Haneda airport.
    In between we will travel in Tokyo area
    Do you thing we should buy the 5 days JR East Pass? What is the best option for us.

    Thank you and Regards
    Gan

  4. Meryana says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Does JR East Pass (Tohoku) cover ALL types of shinkansens that are on the JR East lines and there is no exception (e.g. cannot use Hayabusa, or Komachi, or others)?

    Thank you for your help.

    Regards,
    Mery

  5. Toom says:

    Hello Takeshita,
    Day 1) I will be arriving at Narita 7am on 10 Jan’18 and I plan to use JR East pass Tohoku to travel from Narita to Nyuto Onsen Tazawako station). Can I reserve seat in advance before I arrive in Japan? Are all trains to Akita covered by this pass? Stay 2 nights
    Day 2) Tazawago to Yamagata. Stay 2 nights.
    Day 3) Yamagata to Atami. This part I find very confusing as which train to take and if it is covered by this pass.
    From Atami I will pick up rental car to do Mt.Fuji and Izu Peninsula for 4 nights
    Day 4) Atami to Shinjuku. Stay 2 nights in Shinjuku.
    Day 5) Shinjuku to Narita.

    The 5 days I use the pass are within 14 days limited period.

    I read that all the trains to Tazawako are reserved seat. I am worried that I won’t have time to do it when arriving in Narita.
    Thank you.

  6. Sara Lim says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    I would like to seek your assistance as we have this last minute trip!
    we will arrive in Tokyo on 12/11/2017 . We are thinking of going to Karuizawa upon arrival and go to Osaka after staying there for 3 days.

    Day 1: Arrive at Narita Airport and go to Karuizawa
    Day 2: stay at Karuizawa
    Day 3: same as day 2
    Day 4: Osaka, staying at Namba area for the rest of the trip
    Day 5: Kobe
    Day 6: Himeji
    Day 7: Kyoto
    Day 8: Osaka area
    Day 9: Osaka area
    Day 10: Osaka, flying out from KIX

    We are fine to make some changes to our itinerary.

    Please advise what pass should we purchase.
    Appreciate your help!

    Thank you!

  7. Lily says:

    Hi ,
    May I know JR East Tohoku pass ,
    1. can this pass be use on Aomori railway train to Misawa?
    2. After I make reservation of seat , is there any charges to make changes to my reservation ?
    3. Timetable state trains Hayabusa 55 leaving at Tokyo at 12.44 is this train running on 26 October as there is an asterisk sign that say this train only run on peak season ( when is peak season). Thank you

  8. Casandra says:

    Hi can I know if travel to Saitamshintoshin Station/Nishi-Kawaguchiko Station from Narita Airport or Tokyo Dome Station route is covered by this pass?

    Thank you:)

    • Hi Casandora,

      I think you meant Nishi-Kawaguchi station (not Nishi-Kawaguchi”ko”). If so, you can get either Saitamashintoshin or Nishi-Kawguchi from Narita airport or Suidobashi near Tokyo Dome by this pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Grace says:

    Hi Takeshi
    Can you confirm please that I can take train from Aomori to Ajigasawa with this pass without paying extra ?

    Many thanks
    Grace

  10. FX says:

    Hello Takeshi,
    Can you please help to find the best transportation option / rail passes for the following trip?
    Day 1 – Arriving in Narita, going to hotel in Shinagawa, possible sightseeing later
    Day 2 – Tokyo
    Day 3 – Kamakura (preferably by direct train from Shinagawa)
    Day 4 – Tokyo and trip to Hakone, overnight at Hakone
    Day 5 – Hakone and trip to Kyoto by Hikari Shinkansen
    Day 6-7 – Kyoto
    Day 8 – Kyoto and trip to Osaka, sightseeing there, hotel at Umeda
    Day 9 – Osaka, flying out from KIX

    Thank you

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