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JR East Welcome Rail Pass 2020

JR East Welcome Rail Pass 2020

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For people living in Japan and holding a foreign passport, the Japan Rail (JR) East Welcome Rail Pass 2020 represents great value for money and convenience. Valid for 3-days of consecutive use from date of purchase (or nominated activation date), the pass covers major rail lines in the eastern half of Honshu for travel in prefectures including Nagano, Niigata, Gunma, Yamanashi in Central Japan, along with Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Fukushima, Yamagata, Akita, Miyagi, Iwate and Aomori.

All JR East shinkansen lines other than the Tokaido are covered by the pass including: Hokuriku / Joetsu / Tohoku / Yamagata / Akita.

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Multiple other train lines and services are also covered across eastern Japan. The following charges apply:

On sale from October 16th 2020 until February 26th 2021, passes are valid for use from October 16th 2020 to February 28th 2021.

How To Purchase A Pass

Passes can be purchased at the following JR offices:

Nagano Station / Tokyo Station / Shinjuku Station / Ueno Station / Matsumoto Station / Narita Airport / Haneda Airport / Akita Station / Hamamatsucho Station / Ikebukuro Station / Morioka Station / Niigata Station / Sendai Station / Shibuya Station / Shinagawa Station / Yokohama Station

In order to purchase a pass, you must attend one of the offices above and present your passport. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you are then free to purchase the pass. The pass is only eligible for use by the passport-holder.

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If you don’t want to use it on the day of purchase, make sure to request the date of activation while you are purchasing. Once the pass has been purchased, the date of activation cannot be changed.

Reserved Seats

Once you have your pass, you can reserve a seat on shinkansen and limited express services using the ticket vending machines or inside any JR East Travel Service Center, JR Ticket Office (Midori-no-Madoguchi or Travel Service Center (View Plaza) in any major station within the region covered by the pass.

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If you wish to reserve a Green Car or Gran Class seat, you can do so using your pass but will have to pay an additional fee. Visit the JR East website for further details.

Using the Pass to Travel to Nagano and Central Japan

Planning a short visit to Nagano and Central Japan in the coming months? Then the Welcome Pass might be a great option for you! Valid for 3-days use after activation, visitors heading to Nagano using the Hokuriku Shinkansen will automatically save by purchasing the pass.

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A one-way fare from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station would normally cost JPY8340 or JPY16,680 return. Even if you’re only headed to and from Nagano, at just JPY12,000 for adults, the Welcome Pass represents a saving of JPY4,680 on the standard shinkansen fare alone!

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The pass covers travel on the Hokuriku Shinknansen up to Joetsu-Myoko Station while also covering the Joetsu Shinkansen all the way to Niigata Station.

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More locally, the Limited Express Shinano service connecting Nagano to Matsumoto is covered along with the Oito Line from Matsumoto to Minami-Otari via Hakuba Station.

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For visitors heading to Matsumoto, the Limited Express Azusa service from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto is also covered – more fantastic value and allowing plenty of scope for travel.

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As the map above shows, the pass cover travel on all JR East Shinkansen Lines other than the Tokaido and includes plenty of local lines and limited express services as far north as Aomori.

Discover Central Japan

With big savings on offer through this and the national ‘Go To Travel’ campaign, there’s never been a better time to discover Nagano and Central Japan!

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One of the great joys of visiting Central Japan is exploring the region’s pristine natural beauty and numerous outdoor destinations. While we always encourage you to prioritise a visit to Central Japan, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 makes the open space and therapeutic character of the region’s natural landscapes more attractive than ever.

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Here’s our suggestion of some of the best outdoor destinations waiting for your in Central Japan.

Combine Your Welcome Pass with a Travel Package, Tour or Charter


Allowing three days of use, the Welcome Pass perfectly suited for a quick getaway to Central Japan, and as a convenient stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen – between 80 to 110-minutes from Tokyo depending on the service you choose – Nagano Station is ideally-suited as the start and end point for that adventure!

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Based in Nagano and operating all year round, Snow Monkey Resorts is a participating travel agent with ‘Go To Travel’, and Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator.

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We offer a range of travel packages including transport, accommodation, tours, restaurants, ticketing and other add-ons; and of course, being based in Nagano we’ve also got you covered for ski packages!

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With big savings on offer through the Welcome Pass and our Go To Travel deals, there’s never been a better time to plan, book and save on your next trip to Nagano! Contact us at snowmonkeyresorts@machinovate.com and let’s get planning together!

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