Hokuriku Arch Pass
The Hokuriku Arch Pass allows unlimited travel on JR trains in the Hokuriku region from Tokyo to Osaka.
In addition to the country-wide JR Pass, Japan's extensive rail network offers a multitude of regional passes for foreign visitors. Among them is the Hokuriku Arch Pass.
This regional pass, a combined initiative of the JR East and JR West rail companies, grants you unlimited access to JR trains in the less-traveled Hokuriku region.
This region contains some of the country's most picturesque landscapes, historic cities, and cultural hubs such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka.
This pass is perfect for explorers who wish to travel from Tokyo to Osaka. But it also allows you to journey beyond the main cities to discover rural delights such as the Japanese Alps, the Takasaki hot springs, and the ski resorts of Nagano.
How it works
What is included
- JR Train services from Osaka to Tokyo, such as the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa, including the Asama, Kagayaki, Hakutaka, and Tsurugi trains. The Joetsu Shinkansen between Tokyo and Niigata is also included (on Toki and Tanigawa trains)
- Limited Express and Local Trains: Access a myriad of local routes including intercity lines
When is it good for?
The Hokuriku Arch Pass is valid for 7 consecutive days from the activation date. It grants you unlimited rides on the services noted above during this time.
Note that the validity of the pass is based on calendar days rather than 24 hour periods. Therefore, it is valid from midnight on the activation date to midnight on the 7th day of validity.
Nevertheless, if you are riding a train on the last day and the validity period expires, the train fare will still be covered by the pass as long as you do not depart the train.
The Hokuriku Arch Pass is good value if you’re planning on making a round trip between Osaka or Kyoto and Tokyo via the Hokuriku Region. You make a significant saving even if you only embark on a round trip between Tokyo and Kanazawa.
However, if you’re only planning on a one-way trip between these cities, and plan to go on to travel in other parts of Japan, then a 7-day JR Pass may be a better investment.
Eligibility and validity requirements
The following conditions apply to the Hokuriku Arch Pass:
- For Tourists: The pass is available only for international tourists visiting Japan for a short duration.
- Temporary Visitor Status: Upon arrival in Japan, travelers must possess a "Temporary Visitor" entry status.
- Proof of Entry: retain your passport as evidence of your short-term visitor status.
- Purchase Location: The Pass can be purchased online outside of Japan or at designated stations within Japan.
- Activation: After purchase, you'll need to present the Exchange Order within 3 months at designated a JR station to activate the Pass before first use.
- Flexibility: Although the pass has a set validity period, it provides the freedom to plan your journey as you see fit within that time frame.
- Start Date: Choose your starting day when activating your pass at the station, giving you control over your travel.
You can reserve seats for free on any of the services covered by the Pass, except for the Hayabusa and Komachi trains that operate between Tokyo and Omiya. On these services, you can only use the Pass to ride in the non-reserved section.
Additionally, the Hokuriku Arch Pass does not permit you to reserve seats on the Haruka Airport Express between Osaka Kansai International Airport and Kyoto.
For all other services, you can make seat reservations at JR station ticket offices or ticket machines. There is no limit to the number of seat reservations you can make at a ticket office. However, A limit of 6 seat reservations applies when using a ticket machine.
Why a Regional Pass?
A regional rail pass, like the Hokuriku Arch Pass, is a prime choice for visitors keen on exploring this specific area of Japan. Here's why:
- Cost-Effective: Eliminates the need to pay for a nationwide JR Pass if you're focused on a particular region.
- Flexible Validity: Different validity periods with specific days provide tailored travel options.
- Children's Pass: JR offers regional passes for children aged 6 to 11 at half the adult price, making family trips more affordable.
- In-Depth Exploration: Enables a more focused exploration of the region's cultural, historical, and natural attractions.
Whole Japan Rail Pass
Considering hopping across multiple regions? Here's why a nationwide JR Pass might be your best bet:
Unlimited Access: Roam freely across Japan's regions without restrictions.
Covers all of Japan: The JR Pass covers all JR trains. From the north to the south, it’s the ultimate explorer's ticket.
Full Shinkansen Network: Experience Japan's iconic bullet trains across their extensive routes.
Main Airport Transfers: Easily navigate between cities and major airports, ensuring a smooth journey.