If you’re looking to do a few days of travel around Tokyo — maybe a long weekend near Mt. Fuji, or a bit of sightseeing in Nikkō before you head elsewhere — the JR Tokyo Wide Pass is a money-saving hack you need to know. Unlike most other Japan Rail passes, this one can be used by all foreign-passport holders (not just tourists).

The Tokyo Wide Pass covers travel from Tokyo to many popular destinations in the surrounding areas, including: Nikkō, Izu, Fuji Five Lakes, Karuizawa, and the ski resort Gala Yuzawa. Read on to learn more about what you can do with this transport pass, and how it can save you money.

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The JR Tokyo Wide Pass, at a glance

Validity periodEligibilityPriceBooking link
3 consecutive daysForeign-passport holders¥15,000Order online via JR East or KKday*

*Extra fulfilment fee applies

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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.

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On the other hand, if your travel plans take you further afield for longer, you might want a classic, whole-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?

Tokaido Shinkansen near Yurakucho
Head out of Tokyo on a little Shinkansen mini break, with the Tokyo Wide Pass. | Photo by iStock.com/Yongyuan Dai

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 of 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 with the Tokyo Wide Pass, but these are all the trains that go places you might actually want to visit. For a full map of all the routes covered (and all the fine print), see the official JR Tokyo Wide Pass page.

Where can I go with a JR Tokyo Wide Pass?

Shimoda skyline summer
Shimoda, at the tip of the Izu Peninsula, is one of the places you can visit with the Tokyo Wide Pass. | Photo by iStock.com/Sean Pavone

This pass can take you lot of places! We’ve put together a sample Tokyo Wide Pass itinerary 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

¥12,240 round trip
It takes two transfers from Tokyo and about 3 hours to get to Kusatsu

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Kusatsu, in Gunma Prefecture, is one of Japan’s most famous hot-spring (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, this spring is illuminated at night for a dramatic effect. For more ideas, see our budget guide to Kusatsu.

To get to Kusatsu from Tokyo, 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 take a bus for the 25-minute ride to Kusatsu Onsen (not covered by the Tokyo Wide 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

¥8,180 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 straightforward 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 two morning departures).

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

¥14,440 round trip
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.

Snow and skiiers at Gala Yuzawa
Hop on the Shinkansen for a day on the slopes at Gala Yuzawa. | Photo by Chris Kirkland

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. At the time of writing, the Tokyo Wide Pass is only available on KKday (but at a higher price) and on the official JR East website.

You can 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 JR 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 Tokyo Wide 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 for your particular route, just ask the station staff.

nikko bridge
Nikkō is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo. | Photo by iStock.com/SeanPavonePhoto

Should I get a Tokyo Wide Pass?

Here’s our advice: 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 Tokyo Wide Pass on subways or most private train lines (including many commuter lines like those operated by Odakyū, Tōkyū, and Keiō).

To make the Tokyo Wide Pass pay off, you’ll want to do at least one long-haul excursion (like the ones mentioned above). The Tokyo Wide Pass is best for people (travelers or residents) based in or around Tokyo, wanting to make day or overnight trips.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information — including pricing — is subject to change. Post first published in August, 2017. Last updated in May, 2024, by Maria Danuco and Carey Finn.

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