Advice for buying rail passes (JR pass and resort shirakami)

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We're going for a week-long trip thru Tohoku this summer and need to purchase rail passes. I've found the JR websites very confusing and need help!

We haven't nailed down exactly where we'll go in Tohoku yet, but we're especially interested in taking the Resort Shirakami that runs Aomoiri to/from Akita. We figured we'd invest in the first class train pass for comfort's sake since we're flying in/out of Tokyo. 

Does the JR pass cover the resort shirakami trains? If we wanted box seats on those trains, how can we book them? 

Can anyone suggest resources to help us make sure we're getting the passes we need prior to the trip? Thanks!
Toraneko Toraneko, Lived in Japan

Answered 2 months ago

You don't give your full schedule, but if it fits in your plans, you should also consider the JR East Tohoku Area Pass. It is way cheaper, and you might find it a better choice. More details of it are here.
Nearly any major travel agency that sells air tickets to Japan can also sell rail passes. If you still want more options, there is a list of several vendors on the JR Pass official site.
Before you buy any pass though, you should check to see if you are at least breaking even. You can use this rail pass calculator or use Hyperdia to check regular fares, schedules, and transfer info.
Susumu Matt Matsumoto Susumu Matt Matsumoto, Living in Japan

Answered 2 months ago

It’s covered by the JR pass. 

Seats can be booked through internet but you cannot select specific seat number and box seats. If you definitely want to reserve box seat, you have to physically come to ticket office at any JR stations and reserve it. 

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