If you’re looking to do a few days of travel in the Kantō region — maybe a long weekend, or a bit of sightseeing before you head elsewhere — the JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a money-saving hack you need to know. Unlike most other JR passes, this one can be used by all foreign passport holders (not just tourists!).
The pass covers travel from Tokyo to many popular destinations, including: Nikkō, Izu, Fuji Five Lakes, Karuizawa, and ski resort Gala Yuzawa. Read on to learn more about what you can do with this pass and how it can save you money.
The JR Tokyo Wide Pass at a glance
|3 consecutive days
|Foreign passport holders
*Passes for children 6–11 are half-price
If you’re going to be based in Tokyo, with just a couple of day trips or an overnight adventure to one of the nearby prefectures, this may be the best Japan train pass for you.
On the other hand, if your travel plans take you further afield for longer, you might want a classic, all-country Japan Rail Pass (for foreign visitors on tourist visas only) or a regional rail pass, like those from JR East (eligibility varies by pass).
What is covered by the Tokyo Wide Pass?
The Tokyo Wide Pass covers unlimited train travel on JR lines (and select lines from other operators) in the greater Tokyo/Kantō area. It also includes select Shinkansen routes and limited express trains (including reserved seats).
However, you cannot use the Tokyo Wide Pass on any part of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (the Shinkansen that runs between Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto). Similarly, you can’t use it the fastest of the Tōhoku Shinkansen trains (Hayabusa and Komachi). The pass also does not cover subway travel in Tokyo or Yokohama, or any buses or ferries.
Trains you can ride with the Tokyo Wide Pass:
- Hokuriku Shinkansen trains to Sakudaira, via the resort town of Karuizawa (in Nagano Prefecture).
- Jōetsu Shinkansen trains to Gala Yuzawa, via the hot spring town Echigo Yuzawa (in Niigata Prefecture).
- Tōhoku Shinkansen trains to Nasu Shiobara (in Tochigi Prefecture).
- Kawaguchiko-bound Fujikyū Railway trains, included the limited express Fuji Excursion train (for Fuji Q Highlands, Fuji Five Lakes, and Mt. Fuji).
- Izu-bound Izu Kyūkō trains all the way to Shimoda, including the limited express Odoriko train (but not the new Saphir Odoriko).
- Nikkō and Kinugawa Onsen-bound trains, including limited express Nikkō, SPACIA Nikkō, Kinugawa, and SPACIA Kinugawa trains that run on Tōbu lines (so long as you depart from or arrive at a JR station; more on that below).
- Jōshin Dentetsu line trains for the historic Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture, plus select JR trains in Gunma (including the JR Jōetsu line for Minakami and Shibukawa, and the JR Agatsuma line for Kusatsu).
- Saitama New Urban Transit line trains between Omiya and the Railway Museum.
- Rinkai line trains for Odaiba.
- Narita Express (N’EX) limited express trains to/from Narita Airport.
- The Tokyo Monorail to/from Haneda Airport.
There are more JR trains you can ride but these are all the trains that go places you might want to visit. For a full map of all the routes covered (and all the fine print), see the official JR Tokyo Wide page.
Where can I go with a JR Tokyo Wide Pass?
This pass can take you lot of places! We’ve put together a full Tokyo Wide Pass itinerary here that covers Mt. Fuji, Ikaho Onsen in Gunma Prefecture, and Nikkō. Besides that, here are five other possible excursions, with the prices you’d pay without the pass, for the sake of comparison.
Karuizawa¥12,040 round trip
Karuizawa is a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, 75 minutes from Tokyo.
Karuizawa is a mountain getaway in Nagano Prefecture, known as a great place to escape the summer heat. In addition to fresh air and scenic mountain vistas, the town itself is cute, with a main street lined with boutiques, cafés, and gourmet shops. Meanwhile in the colder months, there are hot springs and ski slopes to enjoy.
A round trip from Tokyo costs almost as much as the pass, so with just a little more travel you’ll start to see some savings.
Kusatsu Onsen¥14,240 round trip
It takes two transfers from Tokyo and about 3 hours to get to Kusatsu
Kusatsu, in Gunma Prefecture, is one of Japan’s most famous onsen towns, with famously sulphur-rich water. There are lots of baths here (naturally) but you can also see (and smell!) the source spring in town. Even better, the source spring is illuminated at night for a dramatic effect. For more ideas, see our budget guide to Kusatsu.
To get here take either the Hokuriku or Jōetsu Shinkansen to Takahashi. Than transfer to the JR Agastuma line for Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi. At Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi, you’ll need to tale a bus for the 25-minute ride to Kusatsu Onsen (not covered by the pass). The journey should take about 3 hours total plus transfer time.
The round-trip train fare is ¥14,240; while the extra bus fare comes to ¥1,420. Other Gunma spots you can visit with the Tokyo Wide Pass: onsen town Ikaho; outdoor sports center Minakami; and the historic Tomioka Silk Mill.
Izu Peninsula¥12,120 round trip
JR limited express Odoriko trains travel to Atami (90 minutes), Itō (1 hr 45 min), and Shimoda (3 hours).
The Izu Peninsula, south of Tokyo in Shizuoka Prefecture, is the place to go for beaches, seafood, rugged coastal scenery, and even onsen. With the Tokyo Wide Pass, you can travel down the coast all the way to Shimoda, a historic port at the tip of the peninsula, stopping off at hot spring hot spots Atami and Itō along the way.
Nikkō¥8,160 round trip
Multiple routes are covered by the Tokyo Wide Pass
Nikkō, in the mountains north of Tokyo, has the spectacularly ornate Tōshogū Shrine (the resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu) as well as hiking trails and hot springs. It’s also one of the nearest places to Tokyo to witness Japan’s stunning fall foliage displays in the wild (though there will be crowds!).
To ride the Tōbu limited express trains that travel to Nikkō with the Tokyo Wide Pass, you need to depart from (or arrive at) a JR station. The most straight-forward option is to take the limited express Nikkō train, which departs from Shinjuku Station and travels direct to Tōbu Nikkō Station in two hours. However, these trains are exceedingly infrequent (last check showed only one morning departure). You can take a slightly more frequent Spacia Kinugawa train from Shinjuku and transfer at Shimo-imaichi for a regular train for the final 10-minute journey to Nikkō.
Or you can take the Tōhoku Shinkansen to Utsunomiya and transfer to the JR Nikkō line for JR Nikkō Station (90 minutes plus transfer time).
Gala Yuzawa¥14,040 round trip
Just 90 minutes on the Jōetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station
Gala Yuzawa, in Niigata Prefecture, is one of the closest ski resorts to Tokyo. It famously has an almost ski-in-ski-out Shinkansen station, for super convenient access. Visit as a day trip or spend the night in neighboring hot spring town, Echigo-Yuzawa.
Other spots you can visit with the Tokyo Wide Pass include: Kairakuen, a garden in Mito that is famous for its late winter plum blossoms; Hitachi Seaside Park, popular for its spring nemophilia blooms; and Ashikaga Flower Park, which has an annual wisteria festival.
You can also use the pass to visit the Mt. Fuji area. However, depending on what you plan to do there, taking the bus might be a better option. For more info, read up on the different ways to get to Mt. Fuji.
Where can I buy the JR Tokyo Wide Pass?
The easiest way to get a JR Tokyo Wide Pass is by ordering it online. You’ll be able to retrieve the actual pass from an electronic ticket machine at Ueno Station — no need to visit a ticket office during business hours.
You can now also purchase passes directly from select JR electronic ticket machines; see details and instructions here.
Or just buy the pass the old-fashioned way from a JR East Travel Service Center or from the ticket office at major JR stations. Sales points include:
- Narita Airport (all terminals)
- Haneda Airport
- Tokyo Station
- Shinagawa Station
- Hamamatsuchō Station
- Ueno Station
- Shinjuku Station
- Shibuya Station
- Ikebukuro Station
- Yokohama Station
Make sure to take your passport with you, as the sales staff will want to see it before handing over the rail pass.
Important: Keep your passport with you when you use the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, as you may be asked to show it when going through ticket gates.
Making seat reservations with the JR Tokyo Wide Pass
For Shinkansen and limited express train journeys, you have the option to make seat reservations at no extra charge. We recommend doing this — if only to make sure you don’t end up standing for hours on end. You can make reservations in person at any JR ticket office (these are called Midori no Madoguchi) or online via the JR East Reservations website.
If you’re not sure whether you need to reserve a seat, just ask the station staff.
Should I get a Tokyo Wide Pass?
Don’t get a Tokyo Wide Pass if you’re just traveling around the Tokyo/Yokohama area. Buying regular tickets or using a rechargeable IC card is generally cheaper. Remember: You can’t use the pass on subways or most private lines (including many commuter lines like those operated by Odakyū, Tōkyū, and Keiō).
To make the pass pay off, you’ll want to do at least one long haul excursion (like the ones mentioned above).
This pass makes most sense for people (travelers or residents!) based in or around Tokyo to make day or overnight trips. If you want to visit one of these greater Tokyo area destinations on the way to some place further afield, you might be better off with the countrywide JR Pass, even with the recent price increase, or one of the regional passes from JR East. For example, JR East’s Nagano & Niigata Area Pass (which any foreign passport holder can purchase) gives you five days of travel for ¥27,000 and lets you travel deeper into Nagano and Niigata Prefectures.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in August, 2017. Last updated in October 2023.