JR East has a new four-day Hokuriku train pass covering Kanazawa, Fukui, Toyama and more

This discount rail pass offers one return shinkansen trip from Tokyo plus unlimited travel in the Hokuriku region

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen
Staff Writer, Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Sean Pavone/DreamstimeTsuzumimon Gate, Kanazawa Station

In the wake of a severe earthquake in Ishikawa prefecture on January 1, JR East recently launched a new discount travel pass called the ‘Hokuriku Ouen Free Ticket’ to aid economic recovery in Northwestern Japan. This four-day pass offers substantial savings through Hokuriku's unaffected areas within Ishikawa, Toyama and Fukui prefectures.

Priced at ¥20,000, the pass is now on sale until March 11 for travels until March 15. What sets this pass apart is its accessibility to all. Unlike other discount passes that are typically exclusive to tourists from abroad, the Hokuriku Ouen Free Ticket is also available to Japanese locals and foreign nationals living in Japan.

With it, you get one shinkansen round trip from Tokyo to Hokuriku, and unlimited travel on select lines within the region. You can embark from Tokyo or Ueno Station to various destinations in Hokuriku, with reserved seats on the Kagayaki or Hakutaka-class shinkansen for the outward journey and unreserved seats for the return trip. 

Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa
Photo: Roméo A./UnsplashKenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa

To give you an idea of the potential savings the pass offers, the regular cost of a round trip from Tokyo to Kanazawa will set you back ¥27,700 for a non-reserved seat on the shinkansen. Using the pass for this trip alone, you’d have gotten a 28 percent saving. For those wishing to explore Fukui prefecture, a round trip to Obama Station ordinarily costs ¥34,180 – so with this pass you’ll get a 41 percent discount. 

For the initial leg from Tokyo to the Hokuriku region, you’re entitled to a reserved seat in the regular cars of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (either the Kagayaki or Hakutaka service). On the journey back to Tokyo, you’ll have to make do with non-reserved seats in regular cars on the Hakutaka Shinkansen. 

Ainokaze Toyama Railway
Photo: Keiji Nishino/PixtaAinokaze Toyama Railway with the Tateyama Mountain Range in the background

Within the designated Hokuriku Free Area, the ticket grants the freedom to use a variety of services across the JR West Japan Line, Ainokaze Toyama Railway Line and the IR Ishikawa Railway Line. This includes unlimited access to limited express trains (including shinkansen), express trains and local trains over four consecutive days, providing ample opportunity to explore the region's diverse offerings.

You can buy the JR East pass at any major JR station in Tokyo. For more information, visit JR East’s website.

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