With international travel halted, we’ve seen more and more special deals being offered for domestic tourism. JR East has extended its half-price shinkansen tickets until September and if you miss flying, you can even hop on a plane for a scenic flight instead. On top of that, JR Hokkaido will also be offering a discounted seven-day transport pass for a limited time.
The Hokkaido and Higashi Nihon Pass (¥11,330, children ¥5,660) allows you an unlimited number of rides on any local JR Hokkaido line, local JR East line (except for shinkansen, but including Bus Rapid Transit), Aoimori Tetsudo line, Iwate Ginga Tetsudo line and Hokutetsu line trains for seven whole days. Do note that the pass doesn’t include travel on the Hokkaido Shinkansen between Shin-Aomori and Shin-Hakodate Hokuto stations – for that trip, you’ll need to purchase a separate limited express ticket.
The rail passes are available for purchase in summer (June 20 to September 24) and winter (December 1 2021 to January 4 2022). The summer passes must be used between July 1 and September 30, while the winter passes have to be utilised between December 10 2021 and January 10 2022.
For an additional ¥6,110 (children ¥3,050) you can choose to add a one-day pass that will allow you to hop on the Hokkaido Shinkansen from Shin-Aomori to Shin-Hakodate Hokuto stations, as well as giving you unlimited access to JR Hokkaido limited express trains for an entire day.
The upgrade is easily worth it if you’re doing a lot of travel and want to skip the hassle of purchasing individual express tickets each time. The add-on pass is only available for purchase with the Hokkaido and Higashi Nihon Pass and cannot be used from August 1 to 19 and December 28 to January 6.
You’ll be able to buy the Hokkaido and Higashi Nihon Pass (and the optional one-day add-on) at most Hokkaido JR stations, major travel agencies, JR East ticket offices and travel centres within Japan. The one-day pass can also be purchased at reserved seat ticket machines at JR stations.
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