The JR East Tohoku Area Pass is a rail pass for exclusive use by foreigners in Japan, providing unlimited travel on JR trains (including shinkansen and limited express trains) and local JR buses in the Kanto and Tohoku regions on five consecutive days.

Purchase the JR East Tohoku Area Pass

JR East Tohoku Area Pass
5 days30,000 yen

Below is a simplified map of major train and bus lines that can be used with the pass:

Validity

  1. Unlimited use of trains operated by JR East in the Kanto (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi and Ibaraki Prefectures) and Tohoku (Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Akita, Iwate and Aomori Prefectures) regions. The pass is also valid on the Tokyo Monorail which connects central Tokyo with Haneda Airport.
  2. In the designated area, you can use all types of JR East trains, including shinkansen (except Tokaido Shinkansen, which is operated by JR Central), limited express trains and local trains (except some "liner" trains). The BRT buses along the Sanriku Coast are also covered.
  3. Seat reservations can be made for free (see details below).
  4. There are a small number of JR trains, which partially run on the tracks of different railway companies. When riding along a non-JR owned section, pass holders will have to pay the fare for the non-JR section on board of the train or at the station. Only the following non-JR train lines can also be used with the JR East Tohoku Area Pass:
    • Limited express trains between Shinjuku and Tobu-Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen and local trains between Tobu-Nikko, Shimo-Imaichi and Kinugawa Onsen
    • All trains along the Izukyu Line between Ito and Izukyu-Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula
    • All trains along the Iwate Ginga Railway and Aoimori Railway between Morioka and Aomori
    • All trains between Sendai and Sendai Airport
    • Tokyo Monorail between central Tokyo and Haneda Airport
  5. Unlimited use of local JR buses (but not highway buses) in the coverage area. Some of the more useful lines for tourists are:
  6. The pass is valid on five consecutive calendar days (midnight to midnight).
  7. The pass can be purchased and used only by holders of non-Japanese passports, including foreign residents of Japan.

Points of sale

The JR East Tohoku Area Pass can be purchased online through various websites, through selected travel agents outside of Japan and at major railway stations and airports in the area covered. If purchasing the pass outside of Japan or via the internet, the actual pass has to be picked up at a ticket office of a major station in the area covered before use.

Note that the pass is also sold at the official JR East website. An advantage of purchasing through the official website is that you can pick up your pass also at ticket machines that are equipped with passport readers. Purchasing passes inside Japan is also possible at these passport reader-equipped ticket machines.

Purchase the JR East Tohoku Area Pass

Seat reservations

Free seat reservations can be made at seat reservation ticket machines and at JR ticket offices. It is also possible to make online seat reservations on the JR East Train Reservation website; however, physical seat reservation tickets have to be picked up at a selected ticket machine or office before use.

Assessment

The JR East Tohoku Area Pass can be a good value for those visiting the Tohoku Region from Tokyo. At 30,000 yen, it costs already less than regular tickets for a single shinkansen round trip between Tokyo and Aomori.

Alternative tickets

The JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass covers the same area as the JR East Tohoku Area Pass plus southern Hokkaido as far as Sapporo. It is 5000 yen more expensive than the JR East Tohoku Area Pass and valid for one additional day.