Surrounding Tokyo are many cities and towns that make for great day trips. If you want to go some place that has a laid back and relaxed atmosphere, far from the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities, you can take a pleasant train ride to Kanto region’s countryside and treat yourself to some incredible natural scenery and partake in various outdoor activities. And, to help you travel conveniently and cost-efficiently, you can purchase a JR Tokyo Wide Pass. What is it and what can it do? How can it cut your transport costs and make your train journeys more enjoyable?
The JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a regional pass offered by JR East to non-Japanese passport holders. It allows unlimited rides on JR trains in the Kanto region for three consecutive days. With it, you can do return trips between Tokyo and famous tourist destinations an hour or two away, such as Mt. Fuji, Nikko, Atami, and GALA Yuzawa, using the Shinkansen or bullet trains, and other JR-operated trains, as frequently as you want in a period of three days.
The JR Tokyo Wide Pass costs 10,000 yen (for adults or anyone 12 years and older), or 5,000 yen (for children aged 6 to 11 years old).
|How much does the JR Tokyo Wide Pass cost?
|Adults (12 years old and above)
|Children (6 years old – 11 years old)
It is available at various JR East Travel Service Centers in Tokyo and the surroundings.
|Where can you buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass?
|Narita Airport Terminals 1, 2, and 3
|Haneda Airport International Terminal
When you buy a JR Tokyo Wide Pass, you will be asked to choose the date for when you want to start using your pass. The starting date will count as day 1 of the validity period, and the expiration date will be midnight of day 3.
The following JR and non-JR lines are covered by the JR Tokyo Wide Pass:
- All JR East operated Shinkansen or bullet trains in the Kanto region
- All JR East operated limited express, express, rapid, and local trains in the Kanto region
- Tokyo Monorail
- Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit Rinkai Line
- Saitama New Urban Transit Line (New Shuttle) that runs between Omiya and the Railway Museum
- Tobu Railway Line between Tobu-Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen
- JR/Tobu Limited Express Line between Shinjuku and Tobu-Nikko/Kinugawa Onsen
- Fujikyu Railway
- Izu Kyuko Line
- Joshin Dentetsu Line
During your JR Tokyo Wide Pass’ validity period, you can enjoy unlimited train rides on many JR and non-JR lines in the Kanto region (please refer to list of covered train lines above). When you are at a train station, you simply show your JR Tokyo Wide Pass to a staff at a manned ticket gate to enter and exit.
If riding the Shinkansen, you can go board a non-reserved ordinary car straight away, or drop by a JR Ticket Office or Travel Service Center before your desired departure time to get a seat reservation for free on a reserved ordinary car.
In the winter season, you can avail of discounted rates on onsen, lift, and ski rental services at Gala Yuzawa resort by presenting your pass.
JR Tokyo Wide Pass Sample Itinerary
Day 1: Day trip to Nikko
Take the first Shinkansen out from Tokyo Station to Utsunomiya Station. Then, transfer to the JR Nikko Line to Nikko Station. This one-way journey takes approximately two hours, and is fully covered by your JR Tokyo Wide Pass. (Note: Without the pass, it costs about 5,000 yen. So, a return trip should already pay off the full cost of your JR Tokyo Wide Pass.)
Visit the Toshogu Shrine and the Taiyuinbyo, where you can find the elaborately adorned mausoleums of Tokugawa Ieyasu and his grandson Iemitsu; the Rinnoji Temple, an 8th century landmark considered as Nikko’s most important temple; the Kanmangafuchi Abyss, where you can enjoy views of the lush gorge via a nice walking trail along a river; and more.
You can return to Tokyo before midnight by taking a JR Nikko train departing at around 9 pm for Utsunomiya Station, and transferring to the Shinkansen for Tokyo Station.
Day 2: Overnight at Mt. Fuji’s Lake Kawaguchiko area
Take the earliest JR Chuo Line train from Shinjuku Station headed to Otsuki Station, and then transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line going to Kawaguchiko Station. The one-way trip takes about two and a half hours, and is entirely covered by your JR Tokyo Wide Pass. (Note: Without the pass, it costs around 2,500 yen.)
Kawaguchiko is the most accessible area in close proximity to Mt. Fuji, and it has museums, hot spring baths, and walking trails, as well as picturesque views of the beautiful snow-capped peak of Japan’s highest mountain, and the gorgeous Lake Kawaguchiko. You can get around via rental car or the tourist loop buses.
Spend the night at a ryokan to experience traditional Japanese accommodation that provides rooms with tatami floors, sliding paper doors, and futons, and serves authentic multi-course Japanese meal known as kaiseki.
Day 3: Check out the Chureito Pagoda and surroundings before returning to Tokyo
Chureito Pagoda is a five-storey pagoda sitting on a mountain that affords amazing sceneries of the city below and Mt. Fuji from afar. From Kawaguchiko Station, you can take the Fujikyu Railway train to Shimo-Yoshida Station. The one-way journey takes only 10 minutes, and is covered by your JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to walk from the Shimo-Yoshida Station to the Akura Sengen Shrine complex, and 5 to 10 more minutes to climb up to the pagoda. In the spring and autumn seasons, the views are exceptionally breathtaking from above, with the sakura trees in full bloom and the vivid autumn foliage enveloping the city below.
After exploring the area, you can head back to Tokyo by taking the Fujikyu Railway line back to Otsuki Station, and then the JR Chuo Line to Shinjuku. All lines are covered by your pass.
Visit the JR East official website for more information on the JR Tokyo Wide Pass.