Save On Expenses! Transit Passes And Services For Short Trips In Japan

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Transportation cost is a source of stress for a lot of people when traveling in Japan. JR-EAST offers various passes and services to make your trip more affordable. This article covers the convenient JR TOKYO Wide Pass and other passes alongside recommended travel destinations near Tokyo.

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Use Transit Passes to Travel Around Eastern Japan


Photo by Pixta

Have you heard of microtourism?

Microtourism is short-distance travel in a small group, to local sightseeing spots. Ironically, we tend to not visit the sightseeing locations near our homes. Are there any places near you that you haven't traveled to yet?

Today, we will cover some local travel ideas using transit passes by East Japan Railway Company (JR-EAST).

Table of Contents

JR TOKYO Wide Pass: Great for Visitors with Foreign Passports

The JR TOKYO Wide Pass (or TWP) is a train pass sold by JR-EAST exclusively for visitors with foreign passports. For three days, this pass grants unlimited rides on JR trains, limited express trains, and shinkansen (bullet trains) within a select area. Check here for a guide on how to use the JR TOKYO Wide Pass.

Today we take a look at three locations in the JR TOKYO Wide Pass area that are ideal for travel in the fall. All three destinations are easily accessible by train. However, some trains and buses are not part of the JR-EAST network and do not accept the TWP. Be sure to plan out your transportation beforehand!

1. Nikko: World Heritage Sites and Hot Springs


From Nikko Toshogu Shrine - Complete Guide To A World Heritage Site Over 400 Years Old

Nikko, a city in Tochigi Prefecture, is a popular sightseeing spot only two hours away from Ueno Station.

From Lake Chuzenji to Kegon Falls, there is plenty of stunning natural scenery to enjoy. The highlight of Nikko is the World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Built over 400 years ago during the Edo period, the shrine's extravagant wooden architecture is a beautiful, historical landmark.

Nikko is home to many temples and shrines, as well as EDO WONDERLAND Nikko Edomura, a theme park where you can immerse yourself in Edo culture.

Some other sightseeing locations include Nikko Kanaya Hotel, where Einstein stayed, and the historic onsen village Kinugawa. With plenty to see, Nikko is a great city to enjoy over several days.

2. Lake Kawaguchi: Mt. Fuji and Fall Colors

Lake Kawaguchi

If you travel to Japan, you have to see Mt. Fuji. Located in Yamanashi Prefecture, the area around Lake Kawaguchi is a prime location for viewing the splendid mountain.

Thirteen meters tall, the Fuji-san Deck in Fujikawaguchiko Garden offers a great vantage point from which to see Mt. Fuji. With nothing obstructing your view, the landscape is sure to take your breath away!

During the fall, you will also want to visit the Maple Tunnel on the north side of Lake Kawaguchi. The canopy of maple leaves presents a breathtaking scene of autumn colors.

Bring a camera and capture the beauty of Mt. Fuji and the fall leaves!

3. Hitachi Seaside Park: A Hill of Firebrushes

Hitachi Seaside Park

Picture courtesy of Hitachi Seaside Park

Between September and October, Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki features firebrushes in their autumn colors. Firebrushes, or kochia, are unique, round plants that resemble porcupines. Their branches turn a rich maroon color during the fall season.

The hill in Hitachi Seaside Park is planted with 32,000 firebrushes. It's almost fantastical to witness the hillside turn into an ocean of red!

The firebrushes go from red to brown as soon as the fall season ends, so you can only enjoy this beautiful sight for a brief time each year.

A Guide to JR TOKYO Wide Pass

JR East

Picture courtesy of East Japan Railway Company

Let's go over the JR TOKYO Wide Pass in more detail. The JR TOKYO Wide Pass is a transit pass for visitors to Japan with foreign passports. The pass costs 10,180 yen for people over 12 and 5,090 yen for children 6 - 11. The JR TOKYO Wide Pass gives you three days of unlimited rides on trains within the supported area.

The significance of the JR TOKYO Wide Pass is the sheer size of its supported area. Centered in Tokyo, the area includes Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Tochigi, Gunma, and Nagano Prefectures! In addition to regular JR-EAST trains, you can also take unlimited rides on limited express trains and shinkansen. Plus, the TWP can be used at automatic ticket gates.

Earlier we covered popular sightseeing spots in Nikko and Lake Kawaguchi. But you can also travel to Karuizawa, Kusatsu, and Izu using this pass. The JR TOKYO Wide Pass area includes Haneda Airport (*) and Narita Airport, as well. The pass is great to use on a long weekend or a holiday.

*The Tokyo Monorail also supports the JR TOKYO Wide Pass.

Easy and Convenient! Purchase Your Passes on WAmazing


You can purchase a JR TOKYO Wide Pass at certain JR stations like Tokyo and Shinjuku, but we recommend picking one up online. Partnered with JR-EAST, WAmazing is an easy way to reserve and purchase a JR TOKYO Wide Pass.

After purchasing your pass, you will receive a QR code. Take that and your passport to the JR TOKYO Wide Pass machine inside Ueno Station to receive your pass. Since the process does not require personal interaction, there is no need to worry about health risks or having to speak Japanese.

Purchase a JR TOKYO Wide Pass at WAmazing

Other Transit Pass Options

So far we have covered the JR TOKYO Wide Pass. However, JR-EAST offers several other transit passes.

Tokyo 1-Day Ticket

This transit pass can be used on JR lines, subways, and buses within Tokyo's 23 wards. For one day, you get unlimited rides on supported lines including Tokyo Metro and Toei Bus.

Because you can use this pass across different trains and buses, it makes moving through Tokyo a lot easier. You can even use it with your transit IC card. Check the official website for more details.

The pass costs 1,600 yen for adults and 800 yen for children. *Only for non-reserved seats on ordinary train cars.

Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass

This one-day pass is exclusively for JR line trains within Tokyo's 23 wards. While it may seem limited, it still covers major stations such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, and Ueno. Its convenience makes it a useful everyday pass.

The Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass can also be used with your IC card. Check the website for more details.

The pass costs 760 yen for adults and 380 yen for children. *Only for non-reserved seats on ordinary train cars.

Styling the New: A New Way to Travel


Picture courtesy of East Japan Railway Company

The transit passes by JR-EAST are a great way to save on travel expenses. JR-EAST's Styling the New service also offers several options to help you better enjoy traveling. Let's take a look at them!

Shinkansen e-Ticket Service

Did you know you can reserve and purchase shinkansen tickets from the Eki-net website? You can use a smartphone or an IC card to ride on a shinkansen, so there's no need to buy a physical ticket. Health risks are reduced as well, since you can make your purchase online.

Touch de Go! Shinkansen

For non-reserved seating on a shinkansen, you can use Touch de Go! Shinkansen. Register your IC card at a ticket machine to ride on a shinkansen with just a tap at the ticket gate. No more buying tickets at the ticket counter!

Furatto Gran Class

Gran Class

Picture courtesy of East Japan Railway Company

On select JR-EAST shinkansen, you have the option to ride in the luxurious Gran Class. With just eighteen seats to a car, each seat is spacious! The high quality seats will keep you comfortable even on a long trip.

Additionally, from October 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021, you can pick up travel goods sold exclusively online.

Other Useful Services

Eliminating physical tickets and cash is essential for a safe, comfortable travel experience. You can reserve JR tickets at an affordable price online using Tokudane and earn JRE POINT by riding trains and making purchases at stations.

JR-EAST is also working on projects to support working people. STATION WORK provides capsule work stations and shared office spaces so you can conveniently get work done. Save on working hours by making use of time in between train rides.

Enjoy Short Trips with JR-EAST

From JR TOKYO Wide Pass to other transit passes and cashless services, JR-EAST is committed to making your travels more comfortable and more enjoyable.

Take a short trip outside of Tokyo to enrich your daily life!

Sponsored by East Japan Railway Company
Main picture courtesy of East Japan Railway Company

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Tokyo, Japan

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