JR East
Photo: Eq Roy/Dreamstime

JR East passes will be available to foreign residents starting April 2021

To get the JR East train and shinkansen passes, all you need is a non-Japanese passport, regardless of the type of visa

By
Emma Steen
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One of the most enjoyable ways to see the country, Japan’s train and shinkansen passes offer significant savings as well. However, they are mostly available only to foreign travellers who enter Japan under a tourist visa, much to the envy of foreign residents living in the country.

Good news, though, as this is about to change. Starting April 1, JR East will make its two of its most popular passes – Tohoku area pass and the Nagano, Niigata area pass – available to anyone with a foreign passport regardless of visa type. Previously, these passes could only be purchased by foreign passport holders entering Japan as a Temporary Visitor, but now, foreign residents can also take advantage of these train deals. 

Both the Tohoku area pass and Nagano, Niigata area pass offer unlimited rides in their respective regions over the course of five consecutive days. This includes local, rapid and limited-express trains as well as shinkansen, plus selected JR East bus services. 

With this new offer, the fares for the passes will also be adjusted from April 1. While the passes were once 5 percent cheaper when booked from overseas, the fare will now cost the same regardless of where they are purchased.

The Tohoku area pass will now cost ¥20,000 for adults and ¥10,000 for children. It allows for travel within these prefectures: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Fukushima, Yamagata, Akita, Iwate and Aomori.

The Niigata, Nagano area pass, on the other hand, will also cover Matsumoto and Hakuba. The five-day pass will be priced at ¥18,000 for adults and ¥9,000 for children.

These JR East passes can be purchased at any JR East Travel Service Centre or online through the official JR East website. 

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