Introducing the JR East Tohoku Rail Pass
Note that this rail pass is different from the national JR Rail Pass which is quite well known overseas.
"If it was easy to get to, it would be tracked out."
Here are some reasons we think it's best to keep the rail pass buying to you:
Leaving the Rail Pass purchase up to your initiative is useful as we've found that some people want to use their pass before the trip, keep on using if after the trip, or buy a different type of pass which extends the regions you can travel.
Since this trip only uses 2 days of the 5-day pass, you're left with 3 free days at the end of the trip and 6 days to use them. Or to take the opposite approach, come to Japan 6 days early and use 3 days on the pass before the trip even starts! Options!
If you want to take full advantage of all the days on the pass, consider skiing in the Yuzawa area before meeting up with the tour--the Yuzawa area includes Gala Yuzawa and Naeba, among many, many other ski hills.
Another option is to head north and ski at Zao before the trip to get some warm-up days in. Zao is famous for its skiing AND has the most incredible slope-side hot springs; they are not to be missed especially if your pass can get you there for free!
Alternatively, some people get a rail pass for all of Japan (known as the "Japan Rail Pass" so that they can go by rail to destinations which the JR East Pass won't go--like Sapporo, Niseko, Hakuba, Nagano or Kyoto.
If you're thinking of combining this trip with skiing in Hokkaido such as Niseko, there is different pass that'll make that a reasonable reality as well. For just 7,000yen more, you can upgrade to the JR East Hokkaido Pass which gives you the ability to access Niseko and Sapporo by train--which is a natural movement at the end of the trip since you're just a short tunnel ride away from Hokkaido anyways!
If you're interested in more information on how this trip can be combined with other alternate adventures and endings, check out our Alternate Endings page.
See? It all makes sense. To see further details on the Logistics of this trip, go back to the Logistics page here.