If you’re traveling in and around the Tokyo area, the JR TOKYO Wide PASS is one of the most cost-effective options for foreign visitors. It’s valid on a variety of services throughout the Kanto region, including Shinkansen and other trains that require a seat reservation. In this article, we’ll explain how to purchase and use the JR TOKYO Wide PASS, as well as some of the recommended sightseeing spots you can visit with it.
What is the JR TOKYO Wide PASS?
The JR TOKYO Wide PASS covers all JR lines and Shinkansen services in the Kanto region, which includes the Greater Tokyo Area and seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. In addition, you can ride the Fujikyu Railway Lines and Izu Kyuko Lines that access the suburbs of Kanto.
The JR TOKYO Wide PASS is valid for three consecutive days and costs 10,180 yen for adults and 5,090 yen for children (6-11 years). It is available for all visiting passport holders (other than Japanese), including those with tourist, student, and work visas.
How to buy and use the JR TOKYO Wide PASS
The JR TOKYO Wide PASS is only sold in Japan, so it’s not possible to purchase it from overseas travel agencies or online. If you’re flying into Haneda Airport or Narita Airport, you can purchase the pass at the JR East Travel Service Centers, with branches found in Haneda Airport’s International Terminal and Narita Airport’s Terminal 1, 2 and 3. Alternatively, you can pick them up at JR Ticket Offices (Midori no Madoguchi) at major stations. These include Tokyo, Shinjuku, Ueno, Shibuya, Yokohama, Hamamatsu-cho, Ikebukuro, Mito, and Shinagawa. You’ll need to have your passport with you to purchase the pass and can pay using cash or a credit/debit card.
JR EAST Travel Service Center
JR Ticket Offices (Midori no Madoguchi)
Once you have purchased a JR TOKYO Wide PASS, you will need to show it to the station staff when passing through ticket gates. Some Shinkansen and sightseeing trains, such as Joyful Trains, require you to have a reserved seat, so you’ll need to make a reservation before boarding.
The following table lists services that require a seat reservation, which can be made at JR Ticket Offices (Midori no Madoguchi) at the relevant station or at JR East Travel Service Centers. Other trains don’t require a reservation, and you can alight just with your JR TOKYO Wide PASS.
Train types/names Reserved seat ticket required Online reservation Reservation at the station Note Shinkansen (non-reserved seat)* X - - *Some Shinkansen have reserved seats for all cars and no non-reserved seats. Shinkansen (reserved seat) ○ ○ ○ Joyful Rain ．HIGH RAIL 1375 ．SLGunma（Minakami、Yokokawa） ○ ○ Joyful Rain ．Iroha ○ X Nikko, Kinugawa, SPACIA Kinugawa ○ ○ Odoriko, Super View Odoriko ○ ○ Narita Express ○ ○ Narita Express and Fuji Kaiyu (Fuji Excursion Limited Express) require you to have reserved seats. You can alight with only a JR TOKYO Wide PASS, but you will need to give up your seat if another passenger has a reservation for it. Seat reservations are available for no additional charge, so it’s recommended that you get one.
Recommended spots to visit using your JR TOKYO Wide PASS depending on the season
Spring: Mount Fuji and Kawaguchiko
If you’re visiting Japan in spring, you can use your JR TOKYO Wide PASS to visit Mount Fuji and the sparkling lakes that nestle at its base. Cherry blossoms frame this iconic scene, which has been depicted by Japanese ukiyo-e painter Katsushika Hokusai in his series "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji”. After climbing to the snow-capped peak, you can relax along the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, which offers photogenic views of Mount Fuji.
Arakurayama Sengen Park
The JR TOKYO Wide PASS allows you to travel on all Fujikyu Railway Lines, with the journey from Shinjuku to Kawaguchiko Station along the Fuji Excursion Limited Express taking around two hours. Normally this round-trip would cost 8,260 yen(for reference only).
Summer is an ideal time to travel to the mountain resort town of Karuizawa, which is renowned for its mild temperatures and outdoor pursuits. It lies at the foot of Mount Asama and is home to the photogenic Shiraito Waterfall that can be accessed following a short forest hike. Soak up the views from the Usui Pass Observation Deck, then browse the shops that line the old town streets of Kyu-Karuizawa.
Usui Pass Observation Deck
The journey from Tokyo to Karuizawa Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen takes around 80 minutes. Normally this round-trip would cost 11,640 yen(for reference only).
Autumn: Nikko and Kinugawa Onsen
With the changing leaves igniting Japan, autumn is a stunning time to visit Nikko in the mountains north of Tokyo. It’s famed for the Toshogu shrine, which was established in the 17th century and features a gilded gate and sanctuary nestled in a cedar grove. A visit to Nikko can be combined with a soak in the hot spring baths of Kinugawa Onsen or a traditional wooden boat ride down the Kinugawa River.
The journey from Shinjuku or Ikebukuro to Nikko Station on the Nikko or SPACIA Kinugawa trains takes around two hours. Normally this round-trip would cost 11,900 yen (for reference only).
Winter: Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort
Just 75 minutes from Tokyo on the Joetsu Shinkansen, this ski and snowboard resort is one of the easiest to access from the Japanese capital. You’ll see the ski center as soon as you exit the Gala Yuzawa Station’s ticket gate, with rental skis, snowboards, and sleds available here. The Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort also boasts an onsen facility where you can soak your weary muscles at the end of the day. If you visit with a JR TOKYO Wide PASS, you can enjoy exclusive discounts at the resort.
Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort
The journey from Tokyo to Gala Yuzawa Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen takes around 75 minutes. Normally this round-trip would cost 14,040 yen(for reference only).
- GALA Yuzawa Ski Resort
- Nigata Pref. Minamiuonumagunyuzawamachi Yuzawa Chihira 1039-2
Additional uses for the JR TOKYO Wide PASS
The JR TOKYO Wide PASS can also be used to access destinations throughout the Greater Tokyo Area, including the two airports. Haneda Airport can be accessed along the Tokyo Monorail Line at no extra charge, or you can ride the Narita Express directly from Shinjuku Station to Narita Airport.
Tokyo Monorail Line