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. Joe Pan says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,
    I understand this pass covers super view odoriko and resort 21. It’s odoriko for reservation only and the other isn’t?
    How about izu craile, is it covered as well with or without the meal package ?
    Cheers

  2. Mint says:

    Hi,Takeshi
    Can I use this pass to cover between Ueno – Saku-Daira and paying full reserved seat fare between Saku-Daira and Nagano to ride Kagayaki Shinkansen to Nagano from Ueno ,or I can only use train that stops at Saku-Daira.I can’t use JR pass or JR east Nagano Niigata,because JR pass is too expensive and JR east Nagano Niigata don’t cover most of my destination in Tohoku.
    Regards,
    Mint

    • Hi Mint,

      You can take Kagayaki by JR East Pass Tohoku and full fare for Saku-daira to Nagano. You don’t need to get off and exit at Saku-daira. But when you book a seat, you have to show your pass and tall the staff at the window that you can pay a full fare for Saku-daira to Nagano. You will be able to stay at same seat from Ueno to Nagano.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Yina says:

    Hello! Can I go to ashikaga flower park using the jr east tohoku pass?

  4. Tera Prameswara says:

    Hello Takeshi,

    Is it will be a problem if for some reasons I need to change my passport after purchase a JR Deals (such as JR East Pass Tohoku Area)? Only the passport number will be different, All other informations (name, gender, date of birth, etc) in the changed passport will remain the same.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Regards,
    Tera Prameswara

  5. Annie Poh says:

    Hi, l understand that JR East Tohoku pass does not cover the shinkansen from Shinyokohama to Tokyo station, so if l decide to take the shinkansen between these two stations, l need to pay the full fare, am l right? However, l can use this pass to travel between these two points by the local lines like Shonan Shinjuku Line and Tokaido Line?

    Thank you.

  6. Andrew says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Do you have a 10 days sample itinerary whereby I could use the JR East Pass Tohoku region from Haneda Airport. I have explored all the touristy places before (Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Tokyo, Sapporo), but I would like to explore places like Nagano, Nikko, the snow monkey, Tohoku region, such as Aomori and things like that. I will be going there in February 2019. Is this the right pass for me? Thank you

  7. Bintang Iman says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Does all JR train in Tokyo area is also covered by JR East Pass Tohoku?

    Regards,

    Bintang

  8. Brian says:

    Hello Takeshi san,

    This site is so wonderful. the best thing anywhere for understanding Japanese trains! My question is so big but you are so helpful so… what is the best solution for this 21day itinerary?

    Nagoya to Tokyo to Tokorozawa
    5 days in Tokyo
    Tokyo to Sendai
    Sendai to Yamadera
    Yamadera to Tsuruoka
    day trip Mt Haguro
    Tsuruoka to Kanazawa
    Kanazawa to Osaka
    6 days in Kansai
    Kyoto to Nagoya

    I have thought of 21 day JR Pass, of a combination JR East-Tohoku + Kansai Thru Pass + some individual tickets, or just all individual tickets. It’s very difficult to decide! Your help will be much appreciated.

  9. Joe Pan says:

    Hi Takeshi-San,

    Would you please give me advice on how to active this pass and reserve seats in advance before landing in Japan?
    Does any other JR companies also offer pre-active and pre-reserve service in advance for its pass?
    Thank you very much

  10. Joann Hernandez says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    We are really having a huge confusion on what pass we can buy. here is our itinerary:

    Day 1- Narita-Shibuya/Shrines
    2- Disney Sea
    3- Mt Fuji
    4- Nagano
    5- Nagano
    6- Shirakawa-go
    7- Kyoto
    8- Kyoto/Nara
    9-12 Osaka/KIX

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