JR East's Welcome Rail Pass 2020

 

Finally! A JR Rail Pass that Japan residents can use (but not Japanese citizens) - JR East Welcome Rail Pass 2020! It went on sale on October 16th, and October 16th I bought it, and boarded the first Shinkansen to Aomori the next day. Here are my trips using the pass

What is it? 
It's a ticket designed to boost domestic tourism in eastern Japan, by allowing travel from Tokyo to Aomori and everywhere in between. 

What is covered?
  • All JR lines under the company JR East, including local trains, limited express, and most importantly, bullet trains! 
  • This covers seat reservations too - an unlimited amount of. 

Where do I buy it? 
The website says online purchase is allowed, but as you'll still have to claim it, there's no need to pay online. Showing a non-Japanese passport is needed, and all they did was check my passport. They didn't check the visa, nor did they open the passport. 
It can be purchased, cash or credit card, at any JR East Travel Service Center, JR Ticket Office (Midori-no-madoguchi), or Travel Service Centers. You can reserve seats anywhere you can normally reserve seats at. 
You'll get three pieces of paper - the actual ticket, receipt and instructions. Throw the other two away, the most important one is this:
The ticket has no names, no anything. So if this is lost, there is no way they'll be able to reimburse/refund or do anything with it.

At first use, the turnstile automatically punches a hole and print where you went it. They will print up to three stations. 

Here it is, seven bullet train and hours' worth of train rides later.

I'm neither Japanese nor a student. Can I buy it?
Yup! Only foreigners can buy it actually. Student or any other status does not factor in. 

How much?
JPY12,000. 

What's the catch?
  • It has to be used in three consecutive days, and you have to give the date when you buy it, as they print the dates on the ticket. 
  • It's only available from October 16, 2020 to February 28, 2021. 
How do I use it?
Just put it in the turnstiles like any other ticket. 
When reserving a seat, just show the ticket. They'll issue the ticket 

I changed my mind. How do I return it?
Bring it to any place that sells it - as long as it is unused AND still within the validity date. 
If paid via credit card, bring the same credit card you used (this one I'm not sure of).
There will be a handling fee of around JPY500 I hear. 

Awesome! Any other similar tips?
I wrote a quick post about navigating Japan, but you can leave a comment as to where you're going (and from where) and I can directly address your question. ;)

Comments

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