Everyone knows that the Shinkansen is one of the best ways to travel in Japan. These high-speed trains can take you almost anywhere in the country -- fast. And a JR East Pass keeps things affordable too, with potential savings of hundreds of dollars. But which JR East Pass should you choose? Let's take a closer look at two that are available -- the JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) and the JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area). Both of these rail passes are available to all foreign passport holders -- whether you are visiting Japan, or live here. The passes in this article will go up in price from October 1. To help you decide whether a pass is still right for you, we've included both current price info and what the price will be after the increase. For more information on the price hike, read our full breakdown. Introduction to the JR East Pass JR East operates trains in the Kant\u014d and T\u014dhoku regions of Japan, as well as parts of the Ch\u016bbu region. They have different options available, including: JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area): Partially covers the Hokuriku and J\u014detsu Shinkansen Lines. JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area): Fully covers the T\u014dhoku, Yamagata, and Akita Shinkansen Lines. In addition, both of these options include travel on local JR train lines, JR buses, and some private lines. Need a primer on Shinkansen in general? Check out our ultimate guide to Shinkansen travel. The basics: JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) vs. JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area) First things first, these two rail passes take you to very different parts of Japan. With the JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area), you'll be able to visit Nagano and Niigata. Meanwhile, the JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area) gets you to Aomori, Yamagata, and Akita. There is a little overlap though. Both cover Tokyo and the Kant\u014d region \u2013 meaning both are valid for travel in and around Tokyo, and as far as Nikk\u014d or It\u014d. They both also have partial coverage of other Shinkansen Lines. The JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area) covers the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Sakudaira and the J\u014detsu Shinkansen to GALA Yuzawa. Meanwhile, the JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) covers the T\u014dhoku Shinkansen Line to Nasushiobara. We'll look more closely at where each pass can take you below, but first let's start with a basic comparison. Pass Price Price after Oct. 1 Validity Eligibility Potential Savings Booking Process JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) \/adult,\/child \/adult,\/child 5 consecutive days Foreign passport holders, including residents + Book online here JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area) \/adult, \/child \/adult, \/child 5 consecutive days Foreign passport holders, including residents + Book online here As you can see, there is a slight price difference between the two passes. Otherwise, they are both valid for five consecutive days, and available to both foreign tourists and foreign residents of Japan. JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) \/adult,\/child Book online here The JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) is great for exploring the central Ch\u016bbu region of Japan. This region is home to the Japanese Alps, and therefore many ski resorts and onsen towns. When it comes to the namesakes of this pass, Nagano is famous for the ever-popular snow monkeys, while Niigata is well-known for its rice production and sake. As the pass covers areas close to Tokyo, you spend less time traveling and more time exploring. Who's it good for? This pass is perfect for a winter getaway. It gets you to a variety of ski resorts, along with well-known attractions and onsen. You can spend your days on the slopes and your evenings soaking in a hot spring. Sample itinerary If you follow this sample itinerary, you could save over in transport costs. Day 1 Leave Tokyo bright and early on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Your first stop is Karuizawa for a visit to Shiraito Falls, followed by an afternoon of shopping at the outlet stores. Day 2 Head towards Nagano City, and out to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Next, travel to Nozawa Onsen. At Nozawa Onsen hit the slopes, then finish your day in a hot spring. Day 3 Today head to My\u014dk\u014d for more snowsports and onsen. If you need a break, consider exploring My\u014dk\u014d-Togakushi Renzan National Park. Day 4 Next is Niigata City, where you can visit the Northern Culture Museum. Grab some sushi for dinner -- the high quality rice paired with fresh seafood will be hard to resist. Day 5 On your last day, stop by GALA Yuzawa. This ski resort has its own Shinkansen station, so you can ski or snowboard until the slopes close and then easily head straight back to Tokyo. JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area) \/adult, \/child Book online here If the area covered by the JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) is good because of its proximity to Tokyo, the charm of the JR East Pass (T\u014dhoku area) is that it can get you far, far away. The T\u014dhoku region is a rugged area, known for its natural beauty. However, foreign visitors to Japan (still!) rarely go there, making it a great place to get off the beaten track. Who's it good for? This pass is great for experiencing a quieter part of Japan. In particular, nature lovers will enjoy the range of landscapes and natural wonders. Sample itinerary If you follow this sample itinerary, you could save over in transport costs. Day 1 Leave Tokyo on the T\u014dhoku Shinkansen for Hachinohe to visit Oirase Gorge. Enjoy a hike along the gorge before returning to Hachinohe. Day 2 Head to Kakunodate to explore the old samurai district. In the afternoon drop by Lake Tazawa on your way to Morioka. Day 3 Travel south to Sendai and then out to the mountain temple of Yamadera. After exploring the temple, continue on to Ginzan Onsen. Day 4 Travel south to Shiroishi and out to Za\u014d Fox Village. Then head back to Shiroishi and enjoy a walk along the Shiroishi Riverbank. Day 5 On your last day, stop in Fukushima Prefecture to visit \u014cuchijuku. The old post town is known for its well preserved buildings with thatched roofs. For more information, have a look at our mega JR East Pass guide. While we do our best to ensure it\u2019s correct, information is subject to change.