Category Archives: Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO
Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO

There are several deals for sightseeing in Kyoto. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Kyoto and want to visit the places there. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Kyoto from other cities, such as day trip to Kyoto from Osaka, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information about the deal that covers Kyoto and other cities in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area Continue reading

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO
Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO

There are many deals for sightseeing in Osaka. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Osaka and want to visit the places in Osaka. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Osaka from other cities, such as day trip to Osaka from Kyoto, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass is most recommended. Because Kansai Thru Pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area Continue reading

Guide to take trains in Kobe. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Night view of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park
Night view of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park

You may be overwhelmed by train services in Kobe. Actually it is much easier to handle than Osaka and Kyoto. Most of places to see are located in downtown Kobe. Many of them can be accessed on foot from major stations directly. However understanding train system is a key to save your time. Kobe can be combined with Himeji easily. You may spend half day in Kobe and enjoy in Osaka rest of the day.

For travelling in Kansai area, there are many types of deals, such as ICOCA, Kansai Thru Pass, JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass and many more. Each pass has different conditions. You have to understand which train system is covered by your pass. And also Kobe is very closed to Osaka. You may not have many chances to take a train and that means single fare may be the best option for you.

In this post, I will show you the route map and explain all train systems in Kobe. Continue reading

Trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium by Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.
Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

The last time I went to Osaka Kaiyukan is 20 years ago. At that time, Kaiyuka had just opened and very busy. In my memory, there was only huge tank and I did not have a good memory. In this past March, I visited there and the first time in last 20 years. My daughter wanted to go and my family members wanted to go there with us too. I recognized Kaiyukan Aquarium was not bad at this time.

Anyway I used Osaka Kaiyu Ticket at this time and I would like to share my experience in Kaniyukan Aquarium with you. Continue reading

Namba stations guide. How to change the trains among Nankai, Kintetsu, Hanshin, subway and JR.

Nankai Namba station building (C) By Own work (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Nankai Namba station building (C) By Own work (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Namba is one of two downtown cores with Umeda in Osaka. This is popular spot to shop and sightseeing. And also some of you may transfer trains at Namba. But there are many railways and stations in Namba. You may be overwhelmed to understand the location and station structure.

In this post, I would like to show you the locations of each Namba stations. And you will learn how to change the trains in Namba. Continue reading

How to choose the deals for access to/from Kansai Airport

Kansai Airport arrival  level at ground floor
Kansai Airport arrival level at ground floor

If you arrive in Kansai airport, most of you go to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe or maybe Nara, Wakayama. There are many deals that you can choose. You maybe confused and overwhelmed to pick up. In this post, I would like to show you all available deals and help you to find the best deal for you.

If you have plan to stay in Osaka for entire stay and make day trips to other places from Osaka, the following post may help you to build your itinerary.

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.
Continue reading

Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel both Kansai and Hiroshima.

The landmarks . Tsutenkaku tower (Osaka/left) and Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima/right)  ©JNTO (Osaka/left) / ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Hiroshima/right)
The landmarks . Tsutenkaku tower (Osaka/left) and Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima/right) ©JNTO (Osaka/left) / ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Hiroshima/right)

Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass is one of JR West’s new products that was introduced in March, 2015. This is the first ever deal that covers Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe) and Hiroshima area. At this point, we have to choose the deal from very limited selections, Kansai Wide Area Pass or Sanyo Area Pass. We have to pay extra if we use Kansai Wide Area Pass. Sanyo Area Pass is too much and it does not include outside Kansai area, like Kii peninsula and Kinosaki Onsen. This pass will be the One for the traveller who travel both Kansai and Hiroshima. It is cheaper than Sanyo Area Pass. And it is wider coverage area than Kansai Wide Area Pass.

I believe this pass will be very popular. I am very excited to show you this pass in this post. Continue reading

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.

Dotonbori is very popular place to eat and shop near Namba. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
Dotonbori is very popular place to eat and shop near Namba. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

I think many travellers prefer to stay in one place and visit surrounding areas as day trip. I have received many inquiries about Osaka stay and visit surrounding areas, like Kyoto, Kobe, Nara as day trip. I understand that it’s quite easy to stay in one place and enjoy the trip with luggage free.

But many of you struggle to plan and choose the deals. In this post, I show you 5 days Osaka stay sample itinerary. You will learn how to choose the deals for your trip. Of course you can extend to stay, like 6 days, 7 days, as many as you want. Continue reading

Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO
Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO

I have received inquiries about the trip to Kansai area many times. So I make a basic itinerary that includes Kansai area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara only. This is 7 days itinerary. But you can shorten or extend as you can.

Now I would like to tell you the best route and most economical deals about this trip. Continue reading

Kyoto station guide. How to transfer among Shinkansen, Kintetsu, Subway and JR local trains.

Karasuma central exit is the main entrance of Kyoto station. (C) JP Rail
Karasuma central exit is the main entrance of Kyoto station. (C) JP Rail

Kyoto is the biggest name in Japan. Most of you will visit Kyoto. JR Kyoto station is probably the first step to Kyoto for you. There are so many trains, such as Shinkansen, Limited Express Haruka from Kansai airport, Limited Express Thuderbird to Kanazawa, commute trains to Osaka, Kobe and Nara, Kintetsu train, Kyoto city subway and many many more to depart and arrive in this station.

Now I would like to explain about Kyoto station. I will show you how to transfer among many trains there. Continue reading

How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka

There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO
There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO

Himeji castle is National Treasure, National Heritage Building, one of the best 100 castles in Japan and UNESCO World Heritage Site. I think this castle is most well known and popular castle in Japan and I believe everybody agree with me.

Under restoration work, Himeji castle was covered. But now it was removed and the exterior can be seen. (C) JNTO
Under restoration work, Himeji castle was covered. But now it was removed and the exterior can be seen. (C) JNTO

Himeji castle is still under restoration work. But in this past June, whole part of exterior was unveiled. Now Himeji castle is so white! The following link is Kobe Newspaper in Japanese. But you can see two different photos, before and after.

Kobe Newspaper, Himeji castle is too white!?

All restoration work will be completed in March 27, 2015. But if you want to see “White” Himeji castle, now it is time to go.

In this post, I would like to explain about access to Himeji by several kinds of trains. Since Kobe is located on the way to Himeji, I also mention about Kobe. You can drop by when you go to Himeji easily. Continue reading

How to access to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe from late arrival flight at Kansai Airport-KIX

Kansai airport is a manmade island.  Ltd/©JNTO
Kansai airport is a manmade island. Ltd/©JNTO

I have received many inquiries about access to Osaka from the flight that arrive after 21:00 at Kansai airport (KIX). Some of you cannot have any idea how long you will spend after arrival to get the station. And you may not know what time the last train departs from Kansai airport.

You must know these information before you touch down at Kansai airport. In this post, I will tell you about it. Continue reading

Guide to take trains in Osaka. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail
Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail
Dotonbori is "Must-See" place in Osaka.  	©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
Dotonbori is “Must-See” place in Osaka. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

I wrote about train system in Kyoto before. But I have received many inquiries about Osaka too. I think it is very complicated for travellers from overseas. There are three types of railway, JR, Osaka Municipal Subway and Private company’s railways. Once you understand train system, you can find the best location to stay, the best deal for trains ride and the fastest way to visit that you want to see. Continue reading

Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Click to enlarge. (C) JP Rail
Click to enlarge. (C) JP Rail
Toji temple is just 10 minutes away from Kyoto station. © Q.Sawami/© JNTO
Toji temple is just 10 minutes away from Kyoto station. © Q.Sawami/© JNTO

Train system in Kyoto may be complicated for you. There are three types of railway, JR, Kyoto City Subway and Private company’s railways. Actually it’s a key to travel in Kyoto smoothly and avoid wasting your valuable time. Of course city of Kyoto has city wide bus service. But during peak season, bus service runs behind the schedule sometimes due to traffic congestion.

And also, there are many types of deals, such as ICOCA, Kansai Thru Pass, JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass, Kyoto city pass. Each pass has different conditions. You have to understand which train system is covered by your pass.

In this post, I tell you about using these deals and explain all train systems in Kyoto. Continue reading

ICOCA and Haruka and Haruka discount ticket. Very flexible and good deal for tourist who stay in Kansai.

Limited Express Haruka at Kansai Airport station
Limited Express Haruka at Kansai Airport station

You may travel in Kansai area only and not travel throughout Japan. You may have one way trip from Osaka to Tokyo. For these travelers, ICOCA and Haruka gives you a good deal for Kansai airport to Osaka, Kyoto and Nara.

This deal gives you access to Osaka and Kyoto by Limited Express Haruka and 1500 yen preloaded e-money in ICOCA card.

I will tell you what this deal is and how to use it. Continue reading

Kansai Thru Pass sample itineraries

There are lots of NON JR trains in Kansai. Most of them can be taken by Kansai Thru Pass.
There are lots of NON JR trains in Kansai. Most of them can be taken by Kansai Thru Pass.

If you go to Osaka, Kansai Thru Pass may be your choice. But as I explained about this pass on the post, How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare, we need to take a train many many times. And I compared single fare and the price of pass. But it may be complicated for some readers. Some of you may be overwhelmed. So I show you more detailed itineraries in this post. I hope you can understand this pass much easier. Continue reading

How to use JR West Kansai Area Pass. Compare pass and single fare.

Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.
Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.

The post, How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area is one of most popular one in this site. Since I published this post, I have received many comments and questions. I have written about Kansai Thru Pass in the previous post. This pass covers most of private railway companies, subway trains and some bus services. It may give you the great value if you use it. But JR West Kansai Area Pass is more suitable for some travellers. Especially if you go to Kyoto or Shin-Osaka from Kansai Airport, this pass gives you very good deal.

In this post, I would like to share the information about JR West Kansai Area Pass with you. And I will compare the price of pass and single fare. Continue reading

How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.

Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.
Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.

The post, How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area is one of most popular one in this site. Since I published this post, I have received many comments and questions. So I would like to explain about Kansai Thru Pass more. And I show you sample itineraries and total cost. I hope it will help you to compare this deal and single fare. Continue reading

How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient.

Todaiji is one of the popular spot in Nara. ©Nara Prefecture/©JNTO

Nara is former capital city in Japan and it is older than Kyoto. Some of shrines, temples and districts are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you travel in Kansai area, you may think about trip to Nara or stay in Nara. If you go to Osaka or Kyoto from other cities, such as Tokyo, you can get on Shikansen. It is easy and very accessible. How about Nara? It is not very accessible as much as Kyoto or Osaka. But it is easy. Especially if you use Japan Rail Pass, JR West Kansai Area Pass and Kansai WIDE Area Pass, you can access to Nara by JR lines without any extra charge. And Kintesu Railway (private railway company) connects Osaka/Kyoto with Nara too.

In this post, I would like to share the information about access to Nara by train. Continue reading

Shin Osaka station guide. How to change Shinkansen, Haruka, Thunderbird and local train access to Osaka, Umeda and Namba

Conventional lines platform (front), Shinkansen terminal (back) (C) Outside view of the Shin Osaka station/Ariake

Shin-Osaka station is the place where you change to/from Shinkansen. If you travel in Osaka, you may use this station at least once. All Shikansen trains stop at this station and many limited express trains on conventional lines stop or depart from this station, Shin-Osaka.

In this post, I would like to show you some images and explain about this station. You will get the information about transfer among trains. Continue reading

Osaka and Umeda stations guide. How to change JR trains, subway trains and other private railways

Osaka station platforms (C) Asacyan

Osaka station is the biggest station in west part of Japan. Osaka station is located at one of two biggest downtown cores, Umeda. This may make you be confused. JR Osaka station is completely same as Umeda station. You can transfer JR trains and other trains at Osaka and Umeda stations.

Even though Shinkansen does not stop at JR Osaka station, many limited express trains depart and arrive at this station. And three subway lines (Midousuji line, Tanimachi line and Yotsubashi line) and two private railways (Hankyu and Hanshin) have stations as “Umeda” station.

In this post, I would like to explain about JR Osaka station and other Umeda stations. You will find the information about Osaka and Umeda station. And also you will find some idea about transferring among JR trains, subway lines, Hankyu and Hanshin lines at Osaka station. Continue reading

Kansai WIDE Area Pass, the best deal for Kansai and Okayama, Kurashiki, Kinosakai and Shingu area

Kinosaki Onsen is one of most popular hot springs in Japan. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO
Kinosaki Onsen is one of most popular hot springs in Japan. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO
Kansai Airport Express Haruka
Of course, Kansai Airport Express Haruka is covered by this rail pass

Since Kansai WIDE Area Pass was released in April, 2012, this deal has been very popular for the tourist who wants to travel outside Kansai, like Kinosaki Onsen, Kii peninsula and Okayama/Kurashiki. This pass covers much bigger area than other Kansai area passes, like JR West Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Thru Pass. I am very happy that tourist tries to visit not only Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe but also outside Kansai.

In this post, I would like to show you the details of this pass and make sure the difference from other passes.

Continue reading

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area

Dotonbori (道頓堀) is one of the popular spot around Osaka Namba area. ©JNTO
Dotonbori (道頓堀) is one of the popular spot around Osaka Namba area. ©JNTO

I wrote about the transfer among Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe in the previous post. There are lots of railways by Japan Railway and several private railways, such as Hankyu, Hanshin, Kintetsu and Keihan. This means you have many many choices to choose the ticket or pass. All private railways have own pass. And also JR West has Kansai Area Pass. You may be overwhelmed to choose the right ticket.

In this post, I would like to share the information about the discount ticket and pass that cover Kansai area. But if you stay in Kyoto or Osaka and visit the places in the city, you may find the deals in the links below:

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Kyoto
How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka Continue reading

How to transfer among Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama. Compare Japan Railway and private railways.

Kobe Harborland © Kobe Convention & Visitors Association/© JNTO
Kobe Harborland © Kobe Convention & Visitors Association/© JNTO

As you probably have already known, train system in Japan is very complicated. Especially in urban area, there are lots of railways. You might not understand the difference between Japan Railways (JR), subways and private railways.

Especially in Kansai area, such as Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and Wakayama, many trains runs among these cities. You may be overwhelmed. But it is very important to understand the train system. You will make a trip much smoothly and save your trip time.

I would like to explain about JR lines and private railway companies in Kansai area in this post. You may find which train line is the best for your trip. Continue reading

How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?

Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO
Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO

I supposed to write about the transfer among Kobe (神戸), Osaka (大阪) and Kyoto (京都). But I should explain about JR (Japan Railway) lines in downtown Osaka. I believe the information about the location of JR stations and rail system let you understand the rail system outside of Osaka easily.

And this post may help the tourists who will start the trip from Osaka. Some of you are not sure to buy 7 days pass or 14 days pass for your trip. You may learn how much you can use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. For example, if you travel in Japan for 10 days and stay in Osaka for the first 3 days, you may not use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. As a result, you can buy 7 days pass.

Anyway I show you JR line in downtown Osaka and I compare JR lines and Osaka subway lines. Continue reading