The JR Tohoku South Hokkaido Rail Pass is a rail pass for exclusive use by foreign visitors to Japan, providing unlimited travel on JR trains (including shinkansen and limited express trains) in the Tohoku region and Southern Hokkaido on five days of your choice within a 14 day period. It is scheduled to be available for use from February 1, 2018 to April 13, 2019.

JR Tohoku South Hokkaido Rail Pass
If purchased online or outside Japan
If purchased inside Japan
19,000 yen
20,000 yen
Reduced rates (50% off) apply to children aged 6-11; a green car version is not available.

Below is a simplified map of major train lines that can be used with the JR Tohoku South Hokkaido Rail Pass:

Validity

  1. Unlimited use of trains operated by JR in the Tohoku Region (Fukushima, Miyagi, Yamagata, Akita, Iwate and Aomori Prefectures) and southern Hokkaido (as far as Sapporo), including shinkansen, limited express trains and local trains. The BRT buses along the Sanriku Coast are also covered.
  2. 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 Tohoku South Hokkaido Rail Pass:
    • All trains along the Iwate Ginga Railway and Aoimori Railway between Morioka and Aomori
    • All trains between Sendai and Sendai Airport
  3. Seat reservations can be made for free.
  4. The pass is valid on five days of your choice within a 14-day period. The 14-day period starts on the day the pass is issued. The validity of the passes is based on calendar days (midnight to midnight) as opposed to 24-hour periods. The dates of use do not need to be determined in advance.
  5. Only foreign visitors to Japan (with temporary visitor status) can use the JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass. It cannot be used by residents of Japan.

Points of Sale

The JR Tohoku South Hokkaido Rail Pass can be purchased from selected travel agents outside of Japan and at major railway stations in the area covered. If purchased outside of Japan, a voucher will be initially issued that has to be exchanged to the actual pass after arrival in Japan at a major station or airport in the area covered. If purchasing the pass inside of Japan, the cost is slightly higher, and there is a limit of one purchase per person and stay. There is no such limit otherwise.

Assessment

The JR Tohoku South Hokkaido Rail Pass can be a good value for those making a trip around southern Hokkaido and Tohoku. At 19,000 yen, the pass costs about 3,000 yen less than a regular one way ticket between Sendai and Sapporo. Travelers starting and/or ending their trip in Tokyo could consider the similar JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass which additionally covers the Kanto Region around Tokyo.