JR Tokyo Wide Pass: Experience Shinkansen on a Budget
Tokyo is going to host a major event in 2020 that would draw millions of tourists in the country. This is the second time that Olympics will be held at the land of the rising sun. In 1964, this event paved way for the development of the complicated and efficient transportation system of Japan. One of the notable products of Tokyo Olympic 1964 is shinkansen or bullet trains that shorten the travel time between Tokyo and Osaka.
Riding shinkansen is often included in the itinerary of tourists. If you are staying in Tokyo, going to Osaka entails 6-hour travel time for two-way trip and roughly around 30,000 yen.
However, there is an option available to non-Japanese passport holders to experience bullet trains within an hour around Tokyo area – JR Tokyo Wide Pass.
Below are the details that will cover important details about this money-saving option in seeing Mt. Fuji, Gala Yuzawa and Nikko through riding shinkansen.
About the JR Tokyo Wide Pass
This special promo ticket allows you to travel at the area around Tokyo which is known as “Kanto Region” for three (3) consecutive days. You can do unlimited travel on JR trains including shinkansen. It is exclusive for non-Japanese passport holders and can only be purchased in Japan.
As of June 2018, JR Tokyo Wide pass cost is 10,000 yen for adults (12 years of age or older) and 5,000 yen for children (between 6 and 11 years of age).
Train lines coverage of JR Tokyo Wide Pass
JR Tokyo Wide Pass holders can freely go on and off the reserved and non-reserved seats in ordinary cars of limited express (including Shinkansen), regular express and local trains of JR East Line in the free area, Fujikyu Railway, Izu Kyuko Line, Tokyo Monorail, Joshin Dentetsu Line, the section between Omiya and Tetsudo-Hakubutsukan on the Saitama New Urban Transit and Tokyo Waterfront Area Rapid Transit. You can also ride reserved speats in limited express trains including “Nikko,” “Kinugawa” and “SPACIA Kinugawa” of the Tobu mutual direct limited express operation. You can reserve seats of shinkansen and main limited express trains online.
Where to go using your JR Tokyo Wide Pass
There are many tourist attractions you can visit using the pass. Some of the famous ones are the following:
Known as a vacation spot for wealthy Japanese and overseas visitors especially during summer, Karuizawa is labeled as an international resort destination. During autumn it is also has the best viewing spots for autumn leaves like Kumoba Pond and Lake Shiozawa. There are also shopping malls and museums around the area. The Shiraito Falls is another major attraction of Karuizawa.
Considered as one of Japan’s most sacred places, you will be visiting temples that have thousands of rich history. Nikko houses three (3) UNESCO heritage sites – Toshugo Shrine, Rinno-ji Temple and Futarasan Jinja Shrine. It is also abundant with nature’s beauty which makes it ideal for viewing autumn foliage.
Located closely to the Shinkansen station, this ski and snowboarding resort is a crowd favorite during winter. When you get off the bullet train, Gala Yuzawa is the first thing you will see. The mountain resort is also known for its high quality suits for winter sports. You can rent skiing or snowboarding gears in this resort and attend beginner’s class which makes this destination a hassle-free day tour in Tokyo.
JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a cost-efficient option for exploring Tokyo and experiencing shinkansen. A round trip to Nikko or Karuizawa will cost you 10,000 yen. Using the pass, you can visit both and even add another area at the same price.
Where and how to buy JR Tokyo Wide Pass
If you are now convinced to experience shinkansen thru JR Tokyo Wide Pass, head out to the following offices of JR EAST Travel Service Center:
Narita Airport Terminal (1-3)
Haneda Airport Terminal
You should bring your passport when purchasing the pass, so the sales staff will be able to check your nationality. You will also be asked on your preferred dates. Your pass will be valid midnight to midnight of the first and third day.
JR Tokyo Wide Pass is ideal for side trips near Tokyo. You can easily do a day tour in each of the places included in the pass. If you want to go further Tokyo, you should consider another JR pass.
Finding these offices can be tricky for tourists. If you are keen on purchasing your JR Tokyo Wide Pass and knowing where to go on that day, your best option for information is a local. Luckily, Tokyo Localized offer a Night Tour in Shinjuku where you can ask for tips and guide about purchasing and using your JR Tokyo Wide pass.
There are many things to do in Tokyo but you should make sure you get the most out of your Japan trip through joining free walking tour in Tokyo — you’ll get the most interesting tips and secrets as told by a local!
Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!
About the writer
Rocel is a believer of living life to the fullest through creating memories with her loved ones – family, friends and self. One of the things she enjoys doing with them is travelling where they get to experience new cultures, new cuisines, new stories to share and memories to look back. In 2018 alone, she travelled to 5 continents which exposed her to the world’s wonders. After all those trips, Japan is still one of her favorite countries because of its unique and rich culture and natural resources. She lived and studied in Tokyo, Japan for one year where she developed deeper love and appreciation towards the country.