How to Travel Tokyo Cheaply with the JR TOKYO Wide Pass

April 05, 2017

If you are a first time visitor in Japan particularly Tokyo, you probably are confused whether buying a JR pass is worth it or not. In this post, I am going to talk about the JR TOKYO Wide Pass in detail and whether it is economical to have one or buy individual train rides.

I have been to Japan thrice already and my two other trips didn't make sense that I pick up one of the many available passes as I was traveling mostly with planes from Fukouka to Tokyo and Tokyo to Sapporo. I only had few days in Tokyo before flying out and it was more economical to travel without buying any of the JR Passes.

The JR TOKYO Wide Pass is a discounted pass for unlimited rides in Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto area. Valid for three days, the pass is good for unlimited rides using reserved seats on ordinary cars on Shinkansen, limited express and other trains in the valid use area. The JR TOKYO Wide Pass makes it easy to visit popular tourist destinations such as Mt. Fuji, Izu and Karuizawa, GALA Yuzawa.

 The pass costs 10,000 yen or about Php 5,000.00  and is valid for three (3) consecutive days. It means that when you activate the pass on your first day, you would need to use it the next day and on the third day. Else, you won't be able to maximize usage of the pass. The key here is planning your next three days very carefully to ensure you can get your money's worth. And oh by the way, you can choose to activate the pass too from the airport (Terminal 2)  after buying it.

My JR TOKYO Wide Pass Itinerary

First Day

To illustrate, I decided to activate my JR TOKYO Wide Pass from the airport in the morning that I arrived in Tokyo. I was hoping to go to Mt. Fuji in the afternoon (which proved to be a long shot, after all). I took the Narita Express (a roundtrip ticket costs 6,040 yen) train to Shinjuku as my Airbnb accommodation is about two stops from there. I had trouble looking for the apartment I booked as the streets looked too similar. Then finally by the time I found it, I was too exhausted (I took a red eye flight that early morning). 

I decided to catch few hours of sleep and then off I went to Shibuya (to see some lights and the famous Shibuya Crossings, said to be the busiest crossing in the world). 

I also decided to say hello to the famous and loyal dog of all time, Hachiko.

 It was my second time to see it (and yet I find myself excited still) but in Shibuya, I decided to reserve my Shinkansen rides to Yuzawa and Mt. Fuji altogether. This is necessary to ensure that you have a guaranteed seat as not all Shinkansens have unreserved seating.

Second Day

My second JR TOKYO Wide Pass day was to visit Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort.

 Gala Yuzawa isn't open all year round and so I figured this day is the best day to see some now and play with it.

Half of my day was spent in Gala Yuzawa and in the afternoon, I decided to check out some shopping adventures by visiting outlet stores in Karuizawa which is also covered by the JR TOKYO Wide Pass. 

Third Day

The third day was Mt. Fuji day- and so I was so elated to finally see more snow and the mountain very symbolic to the Japanese people.

In summary, the JR TOKYO Wide Pass is an excellent investment for traveling within Tokyo and nearby cities. I saved a lot of moolah instead of buying the train tickets individually. 

If you have a limited time in Tokyo and would like to see places outside of Tokyo, I highly recommend buying this pass. Also, please remember that time is essential with the JR TOKYO Wide Pass and so it needs your excellent planning (and traveling) skills.

Enjoy your Japan adventure!


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