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.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Day 1 / KIX (Kansai airport) to Osaka

Kansai Airport Express Haruka
JR Limited Express Haruka is one of the popular way from KIX to get Osaka.

Before you choose the deals, you have to make sure these things:

      Location to stay
      Plan after arrival your accommodation

There are several deals available.

Let’s see which deal is the best by location.

Shin-Osaka

ICOCA and Haruka is most recommended. It includes one way or round trip between any JR stations in Osaka and Kansai airport by limited express Haruka non reserved seat, and 1500 yen e-money in ICOCA. This e-money can be used for any trains in Kansai area.

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

Limited Express Haruka is most comfortable way to get Shin-Osaka. But if you are very sensitive with the cost, Kanku Chikatoku Ticket is the best. It is sold at 1000 yen only. Even though you have to transfer at Namba from Nankai Railway to Osaka Subway Midousuji line, the cost is cheaper than Haruka Discount Ticket at 1,300 yen.

Kanku Chikatoku Ticket

If you arrive early and intend to visit somewhere in Osaka after arrival hotel, there are some options. If you choose ICOCA and Haruka, it gives you 1500 yen e-money to take any trains. Kanku Chikatoku Ticket gives you only airport access. But you can purchase Enjoy Eco Card (Osaka Subway and Bus unlimited travel pass) or Osaka Visitors Ticket. You know that subway fare for Shin-Osaka to Umeda is 240 yen and Shin-Osaka to Namba is 280 yen. Please see the link below to find more information about deals

And also Kansai Thru Pass is considerable too. This pass covers any “NON JR” trains. You can get almost anywhere in Kansai area. Especially if you intend to visit somewhere outside of Osaka after arrival, Kansai Thru Pass is a good choice. Be careful that Kansai Thru Pass does not cover Haruka by JR. This pass does not give you any direct access to Shin-Osaka. If you want to have comfortable way, ICOCA and Haruka is still the best choice.

At last, Yokoso Osaka Ticket gives you a great value. It includes Nankai railway’s limited express train “Rapi:t” from KIX to Namaba and unlimited ride of Osaka subway. This is one day subway pass portion of this deal can be used on next day.

Namba

Most affordable way is just taking Nankai Railway rapid train. You can take this train by base fare only which is 920 yen.

But Namba Access Rapi:t ticket is most recommended. But if you intend to drop by somewhere on the way back to the airport, such as Rinku town, Kanku Tokuwai Rapi:t Ticket is your choice. “Rapi:t” is Nankai Railway’s direct limited express train between KIX and Namba. It gives you most comfortable way to get Osaka beside JR’s limited express “Haruka”.

Namba Access Rapi:t Ticket
Kanku Webtoku Ticket

Namba Access Rapi:t Ticket is almost same price as Kanku Chikatoku Ticket. Even Kanku Webtoku Ticket is only 130 yen higher than Kanku Chikatoku Ticket. But Kanku Chikatoku Ticket does not include Rapi:t Express surcharge at 510 yen.

ICOCA and Haruka can be used for access to Namba. But you have to transfer at Tennoji from Haruka to local train to JR Namba. And JR Namba station is a bit away from the center of Namba area. If you want to have ICOCA, it’s not a bad choice. But please keep in in mind JR Namba station location and transfer at Tennoji.

Yokoso Osaka ticket and Kansai Thru Pass may be considerable too if you make some more trips after arrival in Namba. It is same reason as staying in Shin-Osaka. Please see the above.

JR Osaka / Umeda

There are several options to get Umeda/JR Osaka station area. JR Kansai Airport Rapid is only direct train service from KIX to Osaka. This is most recommended way.

Access to Kansai Airport and Wakayama from Osaka. Kansai Airport Rapid Service and Kishuji Rapid Service

You can use a single fare if you use this train. However you can use ICOCA and Haruka for this train if you want to have ICOCA. Because single fare is 1190 yen for taking this rapid train. If you purchase ICOCA card only, it is sold at 2000 yen (1500 yen preload e-money and 500 yen deposit). So total cost is 3190 yen (1190 + 2000). But ICOCA and Haruka one way ticket to Tennoji is sold at 3,100 yen. This deal can take you to any JR stations in downtown Osaka. It means that this deal covers Haruka only to Tennoji. It does not mean you can get only Tennoji. So you can use Tennoji version of ICOCA and Haruka to get Osaka.

Remember that ICOCA can be used for any trains. It includes even non JR trains, like subway. And also you can pay by ICOCA to shop in the convenience store. ICOCA does not give you any discount. But it is very convenient and gives you ticket free trip. In case that you use ICOCA and Haruka, you can take Haruka to Shin-Osaka or Tennoji and transfer to local train to get Osaka if you like.

If you are very sensitive a cost, Kanku Chikatoku Ticket is your choice. It is sold at 1000 yen. You have to transfer the train at Namba from Nankai Railway to Subway Midousuji line. But it is 190 yen cheaper than JR single fare.

And Yokoso Osaka ticket and Kansai Thru Pass may be considerable too if you make some more trips after arrival in Osaka/Umeda. It is same reason as staying in Shin-Osaka. Please see the above.

Other places near subway stations

Your first choice is Kanku Chikatoku Ticket. If you intend to make some trips after arrival, Kansai Thru Pass may be your choice.

Yokoso Osaka ticket and Kansai Thru Pass may be considerable too if you make some more trips after arrival in Namba. It is same reason as staying in Shin-Osaka. Please see the above.

Other places near JR stations

As long as you stay on Osaka Kanjo line, such as Tennoji, Kyobashi, Nishikujo, single fare is the best option. It is same thing as staying in Osaka/Umeda area. And many places can be accessed by Osaka subway. Kanku Chikatoku Ticket is your choice if you are very sensitive with the cost. Please see the map in the link below to find more information about location in Osaka.

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

Day 2 / Day trip to Kyoto

Togetsukyo bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto. ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO
Togetsukyo bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto. ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

I put Kyoto on day 2 in this sample itinerary. But you can switch any trips. You can stay in Osaka, visit Kobe, Nara or other spots. This is just sample.

The key is how many times you will take a train. So you have to find where you go in Kyoto before you pick up the pass. First of all, please see the following post:
Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Kyoto can be accessed by three railways, JR (Osaka – Shin-Osaka – Kyoto), Hankyu Railway (Umeda – Kawaramachi/Arashiyama), and Keihan Railway (Yodoyabashi – Kyobashi – Kiyomizu-Gojo – Shijo – Sanjo). So make sure where you will stay in Osaka and where you go in Kyoto.

In Kyoto, there are four different areas, West (Arashiyama, Kinkaku-ji temple), Central (Nijo castle), East (Higashiyama, Kiyomizudera, Yasaka shrine, Ginkaku-ji) and South (Fushimi Inari, Uji). In my opinion, it is not impossible to visit all four places in one day, but not realistic. I recommend you to spend 2 days or at least 1.5 days. If you complete West, Central and East, you can combine South area with Nara. Because Fushimi and Uji are located between Nara and Kyoto.

If you do this above one full day Kyoto and Kyoto+Nara in one day, the best choice fis Kansai Thru Pass. Only this pass cover round trip to Kyoto by both Hankyu and Keihan, and subway, bus and railway other than JR in Kyoto. I explain this trip at the following link:

Kansai Thru Pass sample itineraries

If you don’t want rush and have easy slow trip, single fare and/or Kyoto all day bus pass may be better. For example, if you want to visit just Arashiyama, one way fare to Arashiyama from Umeda by Hankyu Railway is 400 yen. If you stay in other than Umeda, you will take subway or JR train to get Umeda. You will spend approximately 500 to 600 yen for round trip to Umeda. But Kansai Thru Pass 2 days pass is sold at 4000 yen. So you have to make 2000 yen worth in one day. Trip to only Arashiyama is not enough to use Kansai Thru Pass.

If you visit one more place beside Arashiyama, how about it? In Kyoto, All day bus pass (Kyoto bus unlimited train) is sold at 500 yen. If you stay in Umeda, total cost is 1300 yen. It is way cheaper Kansai Thru Pass. But All day bus pass does not cover any train services in Kyoto. If you want to take subway in Kyoto, you have to purchase Kyoto city sightseeing card at 1200 yen. But total cost is 2000 yen. It is same cost as Kansai Thru Pass. In this case, Kansai Thru Pass is better.

Even you intend to visit only Arashiyama, you may take subway for evening in Osaka for eat or shop. Remember that one way subway fare for Umeda-Namba is 240 yen. You will spend about 500 yen for this trip.

If you are very sensitive about the cost, you have to calculate very exactly. But if you have Kansai Thru Pass, it is very flexible.

By the way, you can get Kyoto by JR train. Especially Special Rapid train is the fastest train to get Kyoto from Osaka.

Single fare
Shin-Osaka or Osaka – Kyoto 560 yen

When you use JR trains, the problem is that most of popular sites are not located around JR Kyoto station. You have to take subway or bus. JR has Kansai Area Pass at 2060 yen. But single fare is way cheaper than this deal. So if you have ICOCA and enough fund in ICOCA, you can use JR train to get Kyoto and purchase All day bus pass or Kyoto city sightseeing card.

If you do half Nara and half Kyoto in one day by JR trains, total cost (Osaka-Nara-Kyoto-Osaka) is more than 2000 yen. In this case, you can use Kansai Area Pass instead of Kansai Thru Pass.

Day 3 / Day trip to Nara

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

As I mentioned above, you can make half Nara and half Kyoto in one day. But some of you want to visit Nara only. Let’s see it.

Nara can be accessed by JR and Kintetsu Railway (Osaka-Namba – Kintetsu-Nara). The post below shows you about trip to Nara by JR pass basically. But you can get some information about access to Nara:
How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient.

Most of popular spots in Nara are located within walking distance from Nara station. So you will get a chance to use the pass to take the train to Nara only. You may not have many chances to use the pass after arrival in Nara.

Single fare for Kintetsu Railway
Osaka-Namba – Kintetsu-Nara 560 yen.

If you stay in other than Namba, you will spend 500 to 600 yen for round trip to Namba by subway. The total cost is very close to the worth of Kansai thru Pass. So if you make some more trips by subway in Osaka or other trains before/after trip to Nara, Kansai Thru Pass can be the choice. Otherwise single fare is cheaper.

On the other hand, Nara can be accessed by JR train too. Especially if you stay in Osaka/Umeda, you can take Yamatoji Rapid train to get Nara directly.

Single fare
Osaka – Nara 800 yen
Shin-Osaka – Nara 920 yen

Kansai Thru Pass does not cover any JR trains. JR has Kansai Area Pass at 2060 yen. But if you have round trip to Nara from even Shin-Osaka, single fare is still cheaper. And also Kansai Area Pass covers only JR trains. In my opinion, it is not very useful for exploring in Osaka before/after trip to Nara. I believe that Kansai Thru Pass is more useful.

Day 4 / Day trip to Kobe or Kobe and Himeji

Kobe is closer than Kyoto and Nara from Osaka. Let’s see the single fare.

Single fare for Hankyu or Hanshin Railway
Umeda – Sannomiya 320 yen

You will have some chances to take a bus in Kobe. If you use Kansai Thru Pass, Kobe city bus and subway are covered. But single bus fare is 210 yen. If you take a subway, you can get most of places by base fare ticket at 210 yen. So actually it is quite hard to get the worth to use Kansai Thru Pass. If you use ICOCA and Haruka, it is a good idea to use ICOCA e-money for this trip.

But if you intend to make some more trips in Osaka before/after trip to Kobe, Kansai Thru Pass may work. It is same situation as trip to Nara. And also one of famous Onsen, Arima Onsen is closed to Kobe. If you want to have something different, try to visit Kobe and Arima in one day. Kansai Thru Pass does work for this trip. Please see Kansai Thru Pass sample itineraries.

If you visit both Himeji and Kobe in one day, it is different story. Please see the posts about Kansai Thru Pass sample itineraries.

Kansai Thru Pass work for Kobe and Himeji trip. However JR’s Special Rapid train is way faster than Hanshin/Sanyo railways that are covered by Kansai Thru Pass. Please see the following post:

How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka

If you want to have quick access to Himeji by JR Special Rapid, use Kansai Area Pass at 2060 yen for one day. It is cheaper than single fare.

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

Day 5 / Sightseeing in Osaka

When you stay in Osaka, don’t think about using Kansai Thru Pass and Kansai Area Pass. You can get most of places by Osaka subway. Please see the map in the link below:

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

As you see, only USJ cannot be accessed by subway. But if you will visit USJ, you will spend one whole day there. So single fare is fine.

There are many deals available in Osaka, such as subway pass, Amazing Pass, Osaka Kaiyu Ticket. Please see the link below to find the detailed information:

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Day 6 / Trip to Mt. Koya

Mt. Koya (Koya san) is very popular for the tourists from overseas. You can use Kansai Thru Pass for this day trip.

Single fare for Nankai Railway
Namba – Gokurakubashi – Koyasan 1260 yen

As you see, if you have round trip to Mt. Koya from Namba, total cost is 2520 yen. Kansai Thru Pass is way cheaper.

But if you will stay overnight in Mt. Koya, Koyasan-World Heritage Ticket may be better choice.

Koyasan-World Heritage Ticket

It is valid for 2 days. If you purchase it for Namba – Mt. Koya ticket, the ticket is 3,710 yen. This includes round trip fare to Koyasan from Namba, Nankai Rinkan bus and discount for some attractions and souvenir shop.

You can use Kansai Thru Pass for overnight trip to Koyasan too. The coverage is not much differnet. But Kansai Thru Pass can be used for other destinations, such as Kobe, Kyoto and Nara. If you want to use Kansai Thru Pass 3 days for these destinations, and need another deals to get Koyasan, Koyasan-World Heritage Ticket is your choice.

Day 7 / Back to KIX

Please refer the above at “Day 1”. You can use same deal as arrival day.

Some of you are thinking about drop by Rinku Town on the way to KIX. If you get off at Rinku Town, you cannot use any deal. Single fare is your choice.

For the trip to outside of Kansai area

Kinosaki onsen, Kurashiki, Okayama and even Hiroshima can be accessed as day trip. I recommend you the following deals if you will visit outside of Kansai area.

For the trip to Kinosaki onsen, Kurashiki and Okayama
JR West rail pass for Kansai and Okayama, Kurashiki, Kinosakai and Shingu area, Kansai WIDE Area Pass

For the trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima
Sanyo Area Pass. Good deal for the tourist who visits Kansai, Hiroshima and Hakata

235 thoughts on “How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.”

  1. Hello Takeshi,

    You are a very big help for all of us who will visit Japan. I hope you can also help me in planning for our itinerary and how to go to each destination.

    I will be going to Osaka and Kyoto with my elderly parents in April and we will stay near Nishi-Nagahori Station. I am thinking of buying Kansai Thru 3-Day Pass and ICOCA.

    Question 1: Is it ok if we will buy Kansai Thru Pass upon arrival even if we will use it on our 3rd day in Osaka/Kyoto? And given the itinerary, is it best to buy ICOCA and Kansai Thru Pass?

    Below are our itinerary and my plan on how to go to places. Please see if it is correct and please comment and give suggestions if you have a better idea. Thank you very much.

    Day 1, arrival in Kansai International Airport (KIX)

    1. KIX to Namba OCAT (ride the airport limousine bus and use separate airport limousine bus ticket – buy 2 way ticket)

    2. From Namba OCAT to Nishi-Nagahori Station (use ICOCA)
    a. Take Sennichimae Line to Nishi-Nagahori Station

    3. Or alternatively, from KIX to Shinsaibashi (ride the airport limousine bus and use separate airport limousine bus ticket)

    4. From Shinsaibashi to Nishi-Nagahori Station (use ICOCA)
    a. Take Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line to Nishi-Nagahori Station

    Question 2: Which is the better option if we should go to Nishi-Nagahori? (KIX to Namba OCAT or KIX to Shinsaibashi)

    Day 2, Universal Studios Japan (USJ)

    5. From Nishi-Nagahori to USJ (use ICOCA)
    a. Take Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line to Dome-Mae Chiyozaki
    b. Transfer to Hanshin Namba Line to go to Nishikujo Station
    c. Transfer to JR Yumesaki Line (Sakurajima Line) to go to Universal City Station

    Day 3, Kyoto day trip using Kansai Thru Pass to visit Fushimi Inari, Higashiyama District and Gion

    6. From Nishi-Nagahori to Kyoto by Keihan Electric Railway(Day 1 of using Kansai Thru 3-Day Pass)
    a. Take Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line and go to Shinsaibashi Station
    b. Transfer to Midosuji Line and go to Yodoyabashi Station
    c. Transfer to Keihan Electric Railway to go to Fushimi Inari Station

    Question 3: How do we know that we are in the correct train? Because in the Kansai-Thru Map, the Keihan Line splits into two. For example, in Temmabashi, one line is going to Kyobashiand one is going to Kitahama of Nakanoshima Line. We need to be in the train going to Kyobashi to Kyoto.

    The other station is in Hirakatashi. There are two lines, Keihan and Katano lines. Another station is in Yawatashi where there are the Keihan Line and Otokoyama Cable Railway. Another in Chushojima Station with the Keihan Line and Uji Line.

    But we only need to be in the Keihan Line to go to Kyoto Fushimi Inari Station.

    Question 4: In the Kansai Thru Map, it says that we can partially use the Keihan Electric Railway and we should write down the date of use on the back of the Pass with a permanent ink pen to show it to a member of staff at the time of use. What date shall we write, all the 3 days that we will use the Pass? And shall we write all the other lines that we will use, like the Kinki Nippon Railway (Kintetsu)? Because we will use Kintetsu also.

    d. Visit Fushimi Inari, Higashiyama District and Gion
    e. From Gion, take the KeihanElectric Railway to go back to Osaka (Yodoyabashi Station)

    Question 5: Which is better in going back to Osaka from Gion? (take Bus No. 100 and go to Kyoto Station then use Kintetsu Line; or take Keihan Line to go to Yodoyabashi Station)

    Day 4, Kyoto day trip using Hanshin Electric Railway and Kintetsu Line to visit Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji

    7. From Nishi-Nagahori to Kyoto(Day 2 of using Kansai Thru 3-Day Pass)
    a. Take Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line to go to Dome-Mae Chiyozaki Station
    b. Transfer to Hanshin Namba Line and get off at Osaka-Namba Station

    Question 6: At the Sakuragawa Station of Hanshin Namba Line, how do we know if we are in the correct train going to Osaka-Namba Station? Because at Sakuragawa, there are two lines going to Shiomibashi of the Nankai Shiomibashi Line and the other going to Osaka-Namba.

    c. At Osaka-Namba Station, transfer to KintetsuNamba/Nara Line and get off at Kyoto Station

    Question 7: How do we know we are in the correct train? In the Kansai-Thru Map, two lines are in Fuse Station – KintetsuNamba/Nara Line and Kintetsu Osaka Line.

    That is also my question for Ikoma Station and Yamato-Saidaiji Station. We need to go to Kyoto Station.

    d. From Kyoto Station, take Kyoto Bus or Raku Bus still with the use of Kansai-Thru Pass to go to Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji
    e. From Ginkakuji, go back to Kyoto Station by bus and go back to Osaka-Namba Station
    f. Dinner at Dotonbori

    Day 5, Osaka tour using Osaka Subway to visit Osaka Castle, Umeda Sky Building and shopping at Shinsaibashi

    8. From Nishi-Nagahori to Tanimachi 4-Chome to visit Osaka Castle
    a. Take Nagahori Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line to go to Tanimachi 6-Chome
    b. Transfer to Tanimachi Line and get off at Tanimachi 4-Chome

    9. From Osaka Castle, visit Umeda Sky Building
    a. From Tanimachi 4-Chome Station, take Tanimachi Line and go to Higashi-Umeda Station

    10. From Umeda Sky Building, go to Shinsaibashi for shopping
    a. Take Midosuji Line and get off at Shinsaibashi Station

    That’s all. I’m sorry if I have so many questions. Thank you very much for your help.

    1. Hi Ria,

      1. Yes. You can purchase it in advance.

      2. Maybe Shinsaibashi route is better. But I have never changed bus to subway at Shinsaibashi. As long as I checked the route, Shinsaibashi looks easier than Namba-OCAT.

      3, 6 and 7. There are lots of signage. You can find the right train and direction easily. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/signage-and-announcement-in-the-station-and-train.html

      4. I don’t understand it actually. When you use the pass, you can insert it into the ticket gate. I think that’s all you need to do.

      5. Keihan is better.

      I think you need 2 days Kansai thru pass because you will take subway only on day 5. Subway pass is cheaper than difference between 2 days and 3 days Kansai thru pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hello Takeshi,

        Thank you very much for your help. We will buy Kansai 2-day Pass and Enjoy Eco Card for our Kyoto and Osaka tours. As for USJ, we will use Icoca.

        God bless you!

  2. Hi Takeshi San,

    I am going to visit Osaka this coming April and stay in Osaka for this all 10 days, but plan to travel to Kyoto and Nara , ShiragawaGo.

    I am staying in Osaka, Tengachaya station .Thinking to spend 4 days in Kyoto, 1 days in Nara, 1 day to Shiragawa Go, 4 days in Osaka ( included 1 day in USJ ).

    Day1- Osaka, ( Dontoburi )
    Day2-5- Kyoto(Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera, Toji, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Yasaka-jinja, Gio-ji Temple)
    Day6-Nara,
    Day7-ShiragawaGo,
    Day8-10-Osaka( Sigh-seeing in Osaka Castle, Dontoburi, USJ , Shinsaibashi,,Tenjimbashisuji Shopping Street, Momofuku Instant Ramen Museum )

    Need your advise on which pass i should get as I am not so sure if i should get Kansai Thru Pass or JR pass would be better since i thinking to visit ShiragawaGo.

    Appreciate if you can advise and suggest on the pass that i can get for my itinerary.

    Thank you.=)

    1. Hi Mandy san,

      You may use Kansai thru pass for Kyoto and Nara, and use Takayama Hokuriku area pass for visit Shirakawago.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/takayama-hokuriku-area-pass-perfect-deal-to-get-takayama-kanazawa-toyama-shirakawago-from-nagoya-or-osaka.html

      You can use Takayama Hokuriku area pass to visit some places in Osaka. And also you can use this pass to get Kyoto. But it does not cover any local transportation in Kyoto. All you can do is access to Kyoto by JR train. You cannot use this pass to get Nara. So this deal is used basically for visit to Shirakawago and visit some places in Osaka.

      And also you will stay in Tegachaya. This is subway and Nankai railway station. Takayama Hokuriku area pass does not cover Nankai railway and subway. You need to pay single fare to get Shin-Imamiya to take JR trains.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    Our trip to JPN is as below for April .

    Day 1 –
    From KIX to Tengachaya line (Airbnb)
    -Osaka Museum of Natural History
    -Dotonburi

    Day 2-
    Osaka Kaiyukan Ticket
    Kaiyukan>osaka castle > umeda sky garden.

    Day 3
    -Kurumon Market
    – Minoh Natural park

    Day 4
    Travel from Osaka to Kyoto, staying at Bakpak hostel
    – Nishiki Market
    -Maruyama Park
    -Gion?

    Day 5
    – Arashiyama
    – Sagano scenic railway
    -Gion?

    Day 6
    -Day trip to Kobe (buying the Hankyu tourist pass)

    Day 7
    -Travel Kyoto to Nara, Staying in Hotel Pagoda

    Day 8
    – Travel from Nara to KIX.

    I cant decide if i should buy a travel pass from Osaka > Kyoto.
    since there is no pass to travel from Kyoto > Nara, do you recommend the JR line?

    1. Hi Kit Chan,

      Single ticket is the best option for several days in your trip, like day 1, 3, 4, 7 and may be day 6 too. I recommend you to have Kansai one pass instead of cash payment.
      http://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      2500 yen e-money is in this card but 2500 yen is not enough. You can add more fund into this card at the vending machine in JR stations. You cannot get unlimited ride by this card but you don’t need to purchase a ticket one by one. And also you can show this card, you can get discount at many attractions.

      For the last day, you can use Nara access ticket.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/nara.html

      If you are okay to pay more and want to have direct access to KIX, limousine bus is your choice.
      http://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/NR

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hai Takashi

        Thanks for your reply.

        Do you recommend to use the Hankyu pass for the day trip to Kobe or the single journey ticket for Day 6?

        I plan to do a trip down to eat Kobe beef.

        Nara Access ticket single journey

  4. Hello!

    Can you recommend what ticket to purchase for our travel?

    We will be arriving 8:00pm at Kansai Airport and we would be staying in Osaka alone for our 5 days and 4 nights stay in Japan.

    We want to visit Nara but we are afraid to get lost. Please help us. Thank you

    1. Hi Jai,

      You have to decide which place in Osaka you will stay first and then you can choose the deal for arrival day and departure day. Please refer the post, “day 1” chapter to find more info.

      You can choose the deals for sightseeing in Osaka in the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Single fare is okay if you visit major places in Nara, such as Deer park, Big Buddha.
      http://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/how-to-access-to-nara-by-japan-rail-pass-if-you-dont-use-jr-pass-kintetsu-railway-is-more-convenient.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hello Takeshi,

        Thank you for your reply. We will be staying near Nippombashi Station. I’am a bit overwhelmed with all the tickets and pass that Osaka is offering. Which is better and easier to visit? Kobe or Nara? Thank you

  5. Hi Mr Takeshi,
    Could you please suggest which train pass I should use?
    Day 1 : Arrive Kansai Airport. Train to Kyoto. Hotel near Gion area. Visit Fushimiinari Taisha Shrine, Nijo Castle, Gion and Pontocho Alley.
    Day 2 : Kyoto. Visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kinkakuji Temple, Ginkakuji Temple.
    Day 3 : Kiyomizudera Temple. Train from Kyoto Station to Osaka Station. Hotel in Dotonbori area. Visit Kuromon Ichiba market, Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, Hozenji Temple.
    Day 4 : Osaka Castle, Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, Kuchu Teien Tenbo-dai.
    Day 5 : Train from Namba to Kansai Airport.

    1. Hi Fiza,

      Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/visit-kyoto-osaka-nara-and-kobe-for-5-to-7-days-sample-itinerary.html

      You may remove Nara portion of the sample in the link above. You may use ICOCA for transfer to Osaka from Kyoto. You still have some funds in ICOCA even if you use it for Kyoto to Osaka. You can use it for visiting Fushimi and Arashiyama when you are in Kyoto. Train is much better to visit these spots. And you can add all day bus pass in Kyoto.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi-san,
    Good day!
    I’m very confused the more I read on which pass is the best deal as there are too may train operators in Osaka. Can you help me to check if my itinerary is good to use base on the best deal on the pass?

    Day 1 (Wed): I will be arriving Osaka (Kansai) on 25 Jan, 2120hr. My destination is to Nippombashi station (AirBnB apartment). As I’m arriving late night, I’m afraid that I will not be on time to catch the last subway from Tengachaya station to Nippombashi station. I will plan to purchase “Limited Exp. Rapi:t” ticket (¥1430, purchase at the counter). Need to take the line that is towards Namba Station.
    Question 1: Should I get Kanku Chikatoku ticket (¥1000) or Kansai Thru Pass (3 days)? My main concern is that if I can get on the last subway from Tengachaya station to Nippombashi station.

    Day 2 (Thur): USJ. Will be using the single trip ticket from Nippombashi station to Universal City Station (¥310).

    Day 3 (Fri): Kyoto (Southern Higashiyama). Will be using Kansai Thru Pass (3 days).

    Day 4 (Sat): Nara & Kyoto (Arashiyama), half day each. Will be using Kansai Thru Pass (3 days).

    Day 5 (Sun) Morning: The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum (@Ikeda Station).
    Day 5 (Sun) Afternoon: Back to Osaka, explore around Grand Front Osaka, Umeda Sky Building.
    Question 2: I had purchased a 1 day Osaka Metro Pass from Singapore Changi Recommend (SGD9). It says that this pass covers the one-day all-you-can-ride pass for Osaka’s subways, Nanko Port Town Line and buses (http://attractions.changirecommends.com/japan/osaka-metro-pass). Do you know if this covers the subway train from Nippombashi station to Ikeda Station? If not, can I use the Kansai Thru Pass (3 days) to travel to Ikeda Station?

    Day 6 (Mon): Thinking of going to Kobe for half day and back to Osaka to do the last shopping. Will be using single trip ticket.

    Day 7 (Tue): Flying back to Singapore (flight @ 110hr). Will be using Kanku Chikatoku ticket (¥1000).

    Please help to provide your advice base on my itinerary.

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Joey

    1. Hi Joey san,

      Let’s see the deals one by one.

      For day 1, I don’t think you can catch the last Rapi:t. Because it departs at 22:35. I think you will spend more than 1 hour to clear custom, immigration, move to station and purchase a ticket. But there are many more trains until 23:30. You will get Nippombashi anyway.
      You can take either way, KIX-Tengachaya-Nippombashi or KIX-Namba-Nippombashi. But if you want to use Kanku Chikatoku, you have to take Namba route. You cannot change trains at Namba. You cannot change it at Tengachaya.
      Just for your info. Nippombashi is in walking distance from Namba. These are connected by underground shopping arcade. I don’t recommend you to walk with luggage. But when you want to go to Namba in daily sightseeing, you can walk as well.

      Day 2 and 6 are okay.

      For day 3 to 5, use Kansai thru pass 3 days. Ikeda cannot be accessed by subway. You have to take Hankyu railway from Umeda to Ikeda. It’s not subway but it’s covered by Kansai thru pass.

      For the last day, it’s same idea as arrival day. If you want to use Kanku Chikatoku, you have to go to Namba. You can use single fare to get Tengachaya and then you can take Rapi:t there.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks Takeshi-san for your advise.

        Can I use the kansai thru pass when I’m taking train in Kyoto to travel from station to station for sightseeing? As I see that there are Kyoto pass too.

        Regards,
        Joey

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    Me and my family are going to Osaka on 27th Dec 2016 to 6th Jan 2017. I have some question to ask you regarding the pass I use and my itinerary.

    Day 1- 28th Dec (9.55am reach KIX)
    To Kyoto –> Haruka single trip ticket
    To Airbnb Hostel  Hanazono station
    -Tofukuji-
    -Fushimi Inari
    -Fushimi Sake district
    -Otesujidori Shoppring Arcade
    All these spots will be using Kansai One Pass (KOP)

    Day 2- 29th Dec
    Kyoto sightseeing pass 1
    -Kinkaku-ji
    -Daikaku-ji
    -Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street
    -Bamboo Grooves
    -Tenryuji
    -Monkey Park
    -Kyoto Tower
    -Shinkyogoku shopping district

    Day 3- 30th Dec
    Kyoto sightseeing pass 2
    -Sanjusangen-do Temple
    -Kiyomizudera Temple
    -Kodaiji Temple
    -Higayashima street
    -Yasaka Shrine
    -Nishiki Market

    Day 4- 31st Dec
    Depart to Osaka (Minamihorie) from Kyoto (Hanazono stat.)  KOP
    Osaka Kaiyukan Ticket
    -Tempozan Market Place
    -Tempozan Ferris Wheel
    -Osaka Aquarium
    -Takoyaki Museum
    -Dontonburi
    -Kitamido Temple (CNY)

    Day 5- 1st Jan
    Osaka Amazing 2 pass
    -Umeda sky building
    -Sumiyoshi Taisha
    -Abeno Harukas
    -Shitennoji Temple
    -Tsutenkaku
    -Shinseikai
    -Midosuji Illumination
    -Shinsaibashi

    Day 6- 2th Jan
    Osaka Amazing 2 day Pass
    -Aqua-Liner
    -Osaka Castle
    -Hep Five ferris wheel
    -Tenmangu Shrine
    -Tenjmbashisuji shopping street
    -Natural spa

    Day 7- 3th Jan
    JR Kansai area pass
    -Akashi Ohashi Bridge
    -Himeji Caslte
    -Kobe port area

    Day 8- 4th Jan
    Kansai One Pass
    -USJ

    Day 9- 5th Jan
    Nara -Single trip fare (KOP)
    – Kofuku-ji
    -Kasuga-Taisha
    -Todaiji temple
    -Nara deer park
    -Higashimuki shopping street

    Day 10- 6th Jan
    Depart to KIX from Osaka (Minamihorie)
    -Nankai Line (KOP use)

    Question:
    1. I am using KOP as it is similar with IC but have special discount in some place and the total trip fare I pay without using pass is 4650 yen. So it is better to use KOP or other deal better?

    2. Is all the pass I use for my itinerary is the best deal?

    3. Do you have any suggestion for viewing sunrise other than Umeda sky building and cosmo tower?

    4. For the day 7 and 9, will Kansai Thru pass give a better deals?

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Xin Hui

    1. Hi Xin Hui,

      1. Kansai One Pass is the best choice.

      2. yes.

      3. Actually I’m not very familiar with sunrise view in Osaka. I know only Umeda Sky Building. I have never been to even Cosmo Tower.
      If you go to Umeda Sky Building, you have to be there by 5:00 am. If you get there around 6:00 am, you have to wait on the long line up and you will miss sunrise. I think the situation is same in other spots too. Train runs almost 24 hours from Dec 31 to Jan 1. So you can move anywhere in even late night or very early morning.

      4. I think Kansai area pass + Kansain one pass is okay. Especially when you go to Himeji, JR trains is much faster other train that is covered by Kansai thru pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi, I am in Osaka now and I bought Kansai Thru Pass 2 days. I plan to go to Himeji using Kansai Thru Pass. How to go to Himeji by using Kansai Thru Pass, which line should I take and where to transfer at? Thank you !

  9. Hi Takeshi,

    I will travel to Japan on April 2017. I need your suggestion on my trip either to get Kansai Thru Pass or Kansai Area Pass

    5th April – arrival 7.20am (Kansai Thru Pass)
    – Arrive KIX airport to Osaka-Shin (airbnb till 11th April)
    – Nara and Shiga
    6th April (Kansai Thru Pass)
    – Himeiji and Kobe
    7th April (Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass)
    – Arashiyama : Togetsukyo Bridge / Tenryuji Temple / Bamboo Groove
    8th April (Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass)
    – Fushimi Inari
    – Uji
    – Nijo Castle
    9th April (Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass)
    – Kanazawa and Shirakawa-go
    10th April (Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass)
    – Osaka
    11th April (Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass)
    – Shin-Osaka to Nagoya
    – Nagoya to Tokyo by Willer night bus
    12th till 15 April
    – Tokyo

    I am wondering either I can use Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass in any JR Line? Or i need to buy any separate subway ticket for above mention location?

    For Kansai Thru Pass, do I need to pay extra 500 yen to get to Shin-Osaka station? Or i can use Nankai Electric Line without extra charge?

    Appreciate your help

    Thank you

    -Isma-

    1. Hi Isma,

      I have a few things to mention to you.

      On day 1, which area of Shiga do you go? I have to make sure before choosing Kansai area pass or Kansai thru pass. Basically Kansai area pass is better choice to get Shin-Osaka because you can take direct express train, Haruka without any extra. If you use Kansai thru pass, you can take Nankai railway ordinary train. You have to pay 510 yen extra if you take limited express train “Rapi:t”. And also you have to change Nankai to subway at Namba.

      On day 2, JR train is much faster to get Himeji. You can take Special rapid train to get Himeji from Shin-Osaka. It’s direct and faster. You can get Himeji by Kansai thru pass but you have to change subway and Hanshin railway at Umeda. It’s much slower.

      If you really need to have Kansai thru pass to get somewhere in Shiga. But basically Kansai area pass is better choice for day 1 and 2

      Regarding Takayama Hokuriku area pass, you can get Kyoto station from Shin-Osaka. But that’s it. This pass does not cover any other trains from Kyoto. You have to pay extra for access to Arashiyama, Nijo, Fushimi and Uji. But you need to have this pass to get Kanazawa and Shirakawago. You still can use this pass to cover the trip to Kyoto partially.

      For the trip from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto, Takayama Hokuriku area pass does not cover all part of this trip. If you intend to take Shinkansen to get Nagoya. this pass does not cover at all. If you use this pass to get Nagoya, you need to take Special rapid train to get Maibara. And change local train to Gifu.And then take another local train to get Nagoya. On this trip, Takayama Hokuriku area pass does not cover for Maibara to Gifu. If you really save your cost, you can take this way. But it’s very inconvenient and so slow. If you want to maximize your time in Nagoya, just pay full fare to get Shinkansen. You can find the fare at Hyperdia.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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