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


Tsutenkaku tower is one of the icon in Osaka. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

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 itinerary and total cost. I hope you can find which one is cheaper, pass or single fare.

Rakuten
Rakuten

Who is eligible

First of all, overseas tourist with short stay status and Japanese who lives abroad can purchase it. And also person with overseas tourist as guide can purchase the pass. The pass can be purchaseed at Kansai airport and many visitor centers in Kansai area. Please see the list of sales location at Kansai Thru Pass official website.

Next, person who lives in Japan other than Kansai area can purchase the pass actually. Why is the pass not available for person who lives in Kansai? Because this pass is not sold in seven prefectures, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama, Shiga and Mie for local tourists.

At last, if you live in Kansai area, 3 days ticket is usually sold during spring season (mid Mar to mid May), summer season (late Jul to late Aug) and autumn season (late Oct to late Dec). Please check the details at Surutto Kansai Pass official site (Japanese page).

Types and prices

Kansai Thru Pass has two types.

TYPES Adult Child (7-12yrs)
2 Days 4,000 yen 2,000 yen
3 Days 5,200 yen 2,600 yen

*Children under 6 years old is free.

The pass must be used on consecutive days for locals in Japan. Visitors and Kansai local can use the pass on unconsecutive days on the sales period, such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The sales period is usually divided into two season, Apr – Sep and Oct – Mar. But please make sure it before you purchase. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night. Child (6-11 years) is half price. Under 6 years is free.

ex) If you start to use 3 days pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 3.

I would line to show you price comparison between pass and single fare later.

Covered area

Please refer the map in Kansai Thru Pass official site. The conditions are same for both overseas visitors and person living in Japan (includes Kansai area).

The pass cover most of Kansai area, such as Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama, Kansai airport, Osaka airport, Kobe airport, Himeji, Mt. Koya and Otsu (beside Biwako lake)

You can go almost every popular spots by this pass. As long as I know, there are a few major spots where cannot be accessed by this pass. Those are Universal Studio Japan (USJ), Houryuji temple (Nara, one of the oldest temple in Japan), and Yoshino (well known as cherry blossom and a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”). You can use the pass a part of the trip to Houryuji or Yoshino. But you need to pay extra. USJ can be accessed by JR Yumesaki line. It is not far from Umeda or Namba. The fare from JR Osaka to Universal City station is only 170 yen. It is not a big issue.

Valid trains and bus lines

Kansai Thru Pass do not include limited express surcharge. You need to pay additional for riding Nankai Airport Express Rapi:t.

The pass cover trains and bus services. But highway bus and airport limousine bus are not covered by Kansai Thru Pass. And the following Nankai and Kintetsu limited express trains have reserved seat. These seat surcharges are not covered.

  • Kintetsu limited express trains among Osaka-Nanma, Osaka-Uehonmachi, Tsuruhashi, Kyoto and Nara
    All seats are reserved seat on Kintetsu limited express trains. You have to pay 510 yen.
  • All seats of Nankai limited express “Rapi:t” between Kansai airport and Namba.
    There are two types of seat. You need to pay 100 to 510 yen to take regular seat and need to pay 720 yen to take super seat.

  • All seats of Nankai limited express “Koya” and “Rinkan” between Namba and Hashimoto/Gokurakubashi.
    You need to pay 510 yen to Hashimoto and 780 yen to Gokurakubashi.
  • Nankai limited express “Southern” between Namba and Wakayama.
    There are non reserved seat too. You can take it with no extra charge. But accommodation is completely different. Reserved seat is like Shikansen’s seat but non reserved seat is a commute trains’ interior. If you want to take reserved seat, extra charge is 510 yen

Other railway company, such as, Hankyu, Hanshin, Keihan, Sanyo, operate limited express trains. But these trains are just the fastest train. Some of trains have better interior than local trains. But you don’t need to pay any extra because all seats are non reserved.

Kaiyukan aquarium is one of the most popular venue in Osaka. It can be accessed by Osaka subway. Of course Kansai Thru Pass cover Osaka subway. ©JNTO

Compare cost between pass and single fare

I show you some trip plans and compare the cost. Actually it is not easy to spend same cost as 2 days pass 3,800 yen.

Kansai airport to Osaka (Namba and other area in downtown)

If you go to Namba area, Nankai railway is the best choice. The fare is 890 yen. But as I mentioned above, you need to pay another 500 yen at least to take Limited Express “Rapi:t”. Of course there are many express trains without any extra charge between Kansai airport and Namba. If you want to save the money, don’t take Rapi:t.

You can transfer to most of subway lines at Namba. You can access to most of places in downtown Osaka by subway. Subway fare is from 200 yen. If you go to Umeda from Namba, fare is 230 yen. But if you will stay in Shin-Osaka area, consider to take limited express Haruka. It gives you direct access there. Even if you stay in Umeda area, JR Kansai Airport Rapid takes you JR Osaka station (Umeda) directly. Please refer the post, How to access from Kansai airport to downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

If you use one of two days in Kansai Thru Pass, you need to spend another 3,000 yen on next day. Otherwise it is hard to get your money worth. I think it is not a good idea to use the pass for Kansai airport access. I recommend you to use Rapi:t Tokudane Return-trip ticket (round trip by Rapi:t between Namab/Shin-Imamiya/Tengachaya and Kansai airport) or
Kanku Chikatoku ticket (Nankai railway base fare from Kansai airport to Namba and subway one way ticket) at 980 yen.

Kansai airport to Kyoto

Actually it is not a good idea. Total fare is 1,550 yen. You can spend more than access to Osaka. But there is no direct train. The best way to Kyoto from Kansai airport is the following:

Kansai airport -> (Nankai) -> Tengachaya -> (Osaka subway Sakisuji line/Hankyu) -> Awaji -> (Hankyu) -> Kawaramachi

Subway Sakaisuji line and Hankyu go through the trains each other. But usually you need to transfer the train at Awaji. You have to transfer at least twice at Tengachaya and Awaji. And there are only commute trains between Tengachaya and Kawaramachi. And also if you stay around JR Kyoto station area, you need to transfer to Kyoto subway at Karasuma. I think it is too much right after you arrive by international flight. If you really want to take this route (Nankai-Subway-Hankyu), you can use Kyoto Access Ticket at 1,200 yen. This gives you better deal. You may be stay in Kyoto on next day for sightseeing. You can purchase Kyoto city pass (subway and city bus) at 1,200 yen for one day. Total cost will be much cheaper than Kansai Thru Pass.

But I recommend to use JR lines instead of above route, especially limited express Haruka. That train take you to Kyoto directly. It is much more comfortable and there are a few good deal, JR West Kansai area pass and ICOCA and Haruka. Please refer the post, Direct access to Shin Osaka, Kyoto from Kansai airport, Kansai Airport Limited Express “Haruka”.

Kansai airport to Kobe

There is no direct access as well. Total fare is 1,290 yen. Kobe Access Ticket at 1,100 yen is also available. If you want to save your days of Kansai Thru Pass, this ticket gives you better deal. The fastest and easiest way it the following:

Kansai airport -> (Nankai) -> Namba -> (Walk) -> Osaka-Namba -> (Hanshin) -> Sannomiya (Average travel time is 100 minutes)

If you take Rapi:t, travel time is getting 5 to 10 minutes shorter. Hanshin’s Osaka-Namba station is not far from Nankai Namba station. But you need to exit from Nankai station and walk about 5 minutes at least.

If you take JR trains, single fare is 1,660 yen. And travel time is almost same.

Kansai airport -> (limited express Haruka) -> Shin-Osaka -> (Special Rapid) -> Sannomiya (Average travel time is 90 minutes)
or
Kansai airport -> (Kansai Airport Rapid) -> Osaka -> (Special Rapid) -> Sannomiya (Average travel time is 105 minutes)

If you worry about transfer at Namba, I recommend you to take JR. You still need to transfer the train even if you take JR trains. But you can transfer the trains in the station. There are many more signs and it is obviously easier.

Kansai airport to Nara

There is no direct access as well. Total fare is 1,430 yen. Nara Access Ticket at 1,200 yen is available as well. If you want to save your days of Kansai Thru Pass, this ticket gives you better deal. The fastest and easiest way it the following:

Kansai airport -> (Nankai) -> Namba -> (Walk) -> Osaka-Namba -> (Kintetsu) -> Nara (Average travel time is 100 minutes)

If you take Rapi:t, travel time is getting 5 to 10 minutes shorter. Kintetsu’s Osaka-Namba station is same station as Hanshin Osaka-Namba station. These two railway companies’s trains go through each other. You need to exit from Nankai station to get Kintetsu Osaka-Namba station and walk about 5 minutes at least.

If you take JR trains, single fare is 1,660 yen. And travel time is a bit shorter than Nankai-Kintetsu combination. If you take Haruka, you can save another 10 to 15 minutes.

Kansai airport -> (limited express Haruka) -> Tennoji -> (Yamatohji Rapid) -> Nara (Average travel time is 75 minutes)
or
Kansai airport -> (Kansai Airport Rapid) -> Tennoji -> (Yamatoji Rapid) -> Nara (Average travel time is 90 minutes)

Transfer at Tennoji by JR trains are much easier than transfer at Namba between Nankai station and Kintetsu station.

Day trip to Kyoto from Osaka

Kiyomizudera is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©Sue Ann Simon/©JNTO

Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway take you to Kyoto from Umeda by Hankyu, from Yodoyabashi, Tenmabashi and Kyobashi by Keihan. One way fare to Kyoto is about 400 yen. Most of you take subway or city bus for sightseeing in Kyoto. If you purchase one day city pass for subway and city bus, it is 1,200 yen for one day and 2,000 yen for 2 days. But Kansai Thru Pass includes Kyoto subway and city bus.
So if you use Kansai Thru Pass for this trip, you can spend 2,000 yen worth at least. But if you have same trip in two days in row, total cost is 2,000 yen (Kyoto 2 days pass) + 1,600 yen (Keihan or Hankyu two round trips) = 3,600 yen. Actually Kansai Thru Pass 2 days is not cheaper. There are still some more cases that you can spend more.
*If you stay in Namba or other areas and need to take Osaka subway to get Hankyu or Keihan station, you will spend another 200 yen worth. At result, Kansai Thru Pass may be cheaper.
*If you go to Arashiyama and other areas (Kyomizudera temple, Kinkakuji temple, etc) in one day, you may be take Keifuku Railway, subway and bus in one day. Keifuku Railway runs among Arashiyama, Kitano-Hakubaicho (near Kintakuji) and Shijo-Omiya. Basic fare is only 200 yen. But this 200 yen makes your cost of Kansai Thru Pass cheaper than regular fare.
*If you go to Kurama by Eizan Railway, one way fare is 410 yen. If you go to Kurama, Kansai Thru Pass is the best choice.

Day trip to Kyoto from Kobe

The only difference from day trip to Kyoto from Osaka is round trip fare to Kyoto. One way is 600 yen by Hankyu. But Hankyu do not have any direct train from Sannomiya (downtown Kobe) to Kyoto. You need to transfer the train at Juso (junction of Kyoto line and Kobe line) or Umeda. One day total cost (Hankyu fare+Kyoto 1 day Pass) is 2,400 yen. It is smart way to use Kansai Thru Pass.

Day trip to Nara from Osaka or Kyoto

Actually Nara is very accessible by Kintetsu Railway from both Kyoto and Osaka. You can catch Kintetsu train at Osaka-Namba, Kintetsu-Nihonbashi, Osaka-Uehonmachi and Tsuruhashi. Osaka-Namba station is located within walking distance from Nankai Namba and Subway Namba. And also Kintetsu-Nihonbashi is same location as Subway Nihobashi, Osaka-Uehonmachi is same location as Subway Tanimachi Kyuchome and Tsuruhashi is same location as JR Osaka Kanjo line Tsuruhashi.

On way fare from Namba/Kintetsu-Nihonbashi/Osaka-Uehonmachi to Nara is 540 yen and travel time is 40 minutes. Travel time and fare from Tsuruhashi to Nara are 480 yen and 35 minutes.

If you access to Nara from Kyoto, you can use Kintetsu line too. Kintetsu Kyoto station is exactly same location as JR Kyoto station. One way fare is 610 yen and travel time is 50 minutes.

But actually most of popular spots are within walking distance from Kintetsu Nara station. Please refer the post, How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient. to get the details about Nara. If you access to the spots where is located at other than city center of Nara, like Houryuju temple, Heiankyo, you need to get some more trips. But as long as you see the spots around Nara stations, Kansai Thru Pass is not the best choice. Total fare is too low to use Kansai Thru Pass.

Day trip to Kobe from Osaka or Kyoto

You can get discount when you go in Port tower at Harborland by Kansai Thru Pass. ©JNTO

Sannomiya (downtown Kobe) can be accessed by Hankyu or Hanshin. From Umeda, both Hanshin and Hankyu have stations. Travel time and fare are completely same. Those are 310 yen and 30 minutes.

If you depart from Namba, you can catch Hanshin train at Osaka-Namba. Travel time is 40 minutes and fare is 400 yen.

If you depart from Kyoto, it is reverse way from Kobe to Kyoto. You can take Hankyu but you need to transfer at Juso or Umeda. Travel time is 70 minutes and one way fare is 600 yen.

As you see, return fare to Kobe is not so expensive. If you want to use Kansai Thru Pass for trip to Kobe, you need to take extra transportation in Kobe. There are Kobe subway and Port Liner. You can take subway to Harborland (Kobe port waterfront area) and Port Liner to Port Island. Basic fare starts at 200 yen. If you have several trip, you can make around 500 yen value.

Day trip to Himeji from Osaka, Kobe or Kyoto

Himeji Castle is most beautiful castle in Japan. It is well know as UNESCO World Heritage Site. ©JNTO

Sanyo Railway runs train service between Sannomiya (Kobe) and Sanyo-Himeji (same place as JR Himeji station). Both Sanyo and Hanshin go through the train each other. “Direct Limited Express” connects Hanshin Umeda with Sanyo-Himeji directly. Some of Sanyo trains operate to Hankyu Sannomiya station too. You can transfer from/to Sanyo and Hankyu at Sannomiya station.

If you access from Sannomiya (Kobe) or Umeda, you can take Direct Limited Service to Sanyo-Himeji. If you access from Kyoto, the easiest way is using Hankyu to Sannomiya and transfer to Sanyo trains. Travel time and one way fare are the following:

From Sannomiya to Sanyo-Himeji – 60-65 minutes / 940 yen
From Umeda to Sanyo-Himeji – 90-100 minutes / 1,450 yen
From Kawaramachi (Kyoto) to Sanyo-Himeji via Hankyu Sannomiya – 130 minutes / 1,540 yen

If you use Kansai Thru Pass for trip to Himeji, you can easily get more value than price of pass. However, if you use JR trains Special Rapid Service, it is so much faster.

Kyoto -(28 minutes)- Osaka -(22 minutes)- Sannomiya -(40 minutes)- Himeji

Special Rapid Service is operated between Himeji and Kyoto directly. It is 30 minutes shorter between Osaka and Himeji, and 40 minutes faster between Kyoto and Himeji. It is much faster and more convenient. So JR West Kansai Area Pass may be considerable. JR’s return fare between Osaka and Himeji is 2,900 yen. It is much cheaper than 1 day Kansai Area Pass at 2,000 yen.

Day or overnight trip to Mt. Koya

Nankai Railway connects Namba with Mt. Koya. This train is the easiest and the fastest to get Mt. Koya. Please refer the post, How to access World Heritage Mt. Koya. Japan Rail Pass can be used to get Mt. Koya?.

One way fare from Namba to Mt. Koya is 1,230 yen by Nankai Railway and Nankai Koyasan Cable Car. If you want to take Limited Express “Koya”, you need to pay express surcharge, 760 yen. This surcharge is not included in Kansai Thru Pass. And also Kansai Thru Pass cover most of local bus lines on Mt. Koya. So you can get maximum value to use the pass for the trip to Mt. Koya.

However if you stay in Mt. Koya, you spend 2 days. It is very hard to get same value as Kansai Thru Pass 2 days at 3,800 yen. It is very hard to get the value of 3 days either. If you have overnight trip to Mt. Koya, please think about Koyasan-World Heritage Ticket. It includes return fare, local bus and limited express surcharge too. Of course you can use this ticket for day trip too.

Conclusion

If you use Kansai Thru Pass for trip to Kyoto, Himeji and Mt. Koya, you must get more value than price. On the other hand, it is hard to get the value for trip to Kobe and Nara basically. And you have to compare Kansai Thru Pass and other pass/ticket, such as JR West Kansai Area Pass, Koyasan-World Heritage Ticket for trip to Mt. Koya or Himeji.

However this pass is still useful. Because you might use the pass after you finish your day trip. Especially if you stay in Osaka, you might have a lots of chance to take Osaka subway after you finish day trip for shopping or dining. Minimum fare of Osaka subway is 200 yen. For example, if you have return trip to Shinsaibashi from Namba, it costs 400 yen. You can make 1,000 yen value easily for just using Osaka subway.

And also you can get discount at more than 350 attractions by Kansai Thru Pass. This is a big benefit, like 100 yen discount at Kaiyukan aquarium, Osaka castle, and many more.
Full list of facilities where you can get benefit (PDF file)

If you stay in Kansai area for 4 or more days, think about using multiple passes, such as Kansai Thru Pass and JR West Kansai Area Pass. I hope this post will help you to find the best and most economical way.


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183 Comments to “How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.”

  1. Natalie says:

    Hi,

    I will be traveling with my family (4 adults plus 2 yrs old son) to Kansai next year.

    Please help comment / improve on my itinerary.

    Day 1 (01/04) – arrived Kansai airport at 7.15am and heading to Kyoto (1st night – near Gion)

    Day 2 (02/04) – staying at Kyoto (2nd night)

    Day 3 (03/04) – Day trip from Kyoto to Nara (3rd night)

    Day 4 (04/04) – Day trip from Kyoto to Kobe (4th night)

    Day 5 (05/04) – From Kyoto to Osaka (1st night – Namba or Umeda)

    Day 6 (06/04) – Staying at Osaka (2nd night)

    Day 7 (07/04) – Osaka : Universal Studio (3rd night)

    Day 8 (08/04) – Back to Malaysia

    I’m planning to buy Osaka unlimited 2-days pass for day 5 and day 6. So, What pass do you recommend from day 1 to 5 (from Kyoto to Osaka) and day 7 to 8?

    Thanks

    Natalie

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Natalie,

      I have just one suggestion about your itinerary.

      In Day4, do you want to go back to Kyoto from Kobe. Kobe is closer to Osaka than Kyoto. It takes less than 30 minutes from Umeda but it take almost one hour from Kyoto. If you really want to stay in Kyoto for 4 nights, it’s okay. But if you can switch day 4 and 5 and go to Kobe from Umeda on day 5, you will get extra one hour.

      Regarding ticket, first of all, I recommend you to use ICOCA and Haruka.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html
      There is no direct service from KIX to Kyoto Gion area. So if you take Haruka, you can get JR Kyoto station directly from KIX. And then you will take a taxi or bus to get Gion.
      This deal includes ICOCA 1500 e-money. You can use it for almost everything, such as JR trains, Kyoto subway, other private railway trains. If you want, you can use it for Kyoto sightseeing, but the best way to use it for return trip to Nara and Kyoto-Osaka transfer. If you like to use it more, you can add your fund into ICOCA.
      I think you don’t need to use lots of transportation for Kyoto sightseeing because you will stay in Gion. Most part of Higashiyama area can be accessed by walk. You can use taxi instead of bus because you are party of 4. Taxi fare will be equal to total bus fares.
      You can purchase Kyoto city pass at 1200 yen for one day and 2000 yen for 2 days. But it may not be required for your trip.

      I gave you some suggestions, but it depends of your itinerary. Other deals may be better.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Arisa says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    If i were to take limited express train from Tennoji to Wakayama and Tennoji to Kyoto, should i get a pass or use ICOCA to let them auto deduct the fare would be better?
    In addition, I will doing sightseeing in Kyoto, does Kansai Thru Pass includes journey from Tennoji to Kyoto or just transportation around Kyoto only?
    As I will be bringing luggage to Kyoto, i hope to have a direct train from Tennoji to Kyoto station, so i need not walk and change train so much.

    Please advise,

    Thanks! :D

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Arisa san (Viviana san?),

      Actually ICOCA cover only basic fare. If you take limited express train, you have to pay limited express surcharge beside ICOCA.
      If you use pass, only Kansai area pass will be your choice. But single fare is slightly cheaper than this one day pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/how-to-use-jr-west-kansai-area-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      Kansai Thru Pass cover both Kyoto and trip from Tennoji to Kyoto. But you have to transfer at least once at Yodoyabashi or Umeda. And also if you go to JR Kyoto station area, you have to transfer one more time. Please see the following link:
      http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/travel-information/pass/kansai/

      If you have a luggage, I don’t recommend to use Kansai Thru Pass to get Kyoto from Tennoji.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Arisa says:

        Dear Takeshi-san,

        Thanks for the reply! :)

        Okay, but Kansai Area Pass according to website, it say it does not cover any subway or bus lines. Therefore, it means i can’t use in Kyoto for transportation right. Would it be cheaper if i use single fare + buying a Kyoto sightseeing card/ Surutto card or Traffica Kyoto card? Which one would you recommend?

        Thanks! :D

        • JPRail says:

          Hi Arisa,

          That’s right. Kansai Thru Pass cover everything you want. Kyoto Sightseeing Card cover only Kyoto city transportation (subway and bus) and that does not cover Arashiyama. But are you going to spend more than 1900 yen worth a day? Kansai Thru Pass 2 days price is 3800 yen. If you take Keihan, Subway and Randen from Kiyomizu-Gojo to Arashiyama, total fare is 600 yen for one way. You have to make four times of this kind of trip a day. Otherwise single fare may be cheaper.

          Kansai Thru Pass is most convenient to use for sightseeing in Kyoto. But price is slightly expensive for just using in Kyoto.

          Even if you use Kyoto city card, one day price is 1200 yen. Bus fare is flat rate 220 yen and subway fare from 210 to 350 yen. If you take subway from Sanjo to Uzumasa-Tenjingawa, it costs 250 yen. So you have to take a bus at least 5 times a day.

          So make sure your wish list in Kyoto and how many trips you will have. And then you will be able to compare pass and single fare.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Arisa says:

        Hi Takeshi-san,

        Sorry, one more question. If i were to visit places such as Arashiyama and Kiyomizudera and others nearby. Would Kansai Thru Pass be better or Kyoto Sightseeing Pass card? As i am unsure would train or subway and buses would be more convenient?

        Sorry for the long enquires

        Thanks! :)

  3. whosme says:

    Can I use Kansai Thru Pass for this trip? Or any other better passes that I can use to save cost?

    I will be traveling with my wife and 2yr old son to Kansai for 8 days.
    I have already confirmed hotels and bought air tickets.

    Please help comment/improve on my itinerary :) We are not fans of temples or shrines so only cover one or two in this itinerary.

    26 Oct 2013 (Sat)

    Depart Singapore for Osaka

    26 Oct 2013 (Sat) OSAKA

    Getting to USJ Hotel Kintetsu (1 night) Cost 21,600YEN/272SGD

    * Take limousine bus from Kansai airport to USJ (Approx 45mins)

    Travel time : approx 45mins
    Cost/pax : 1300YEN/16SGD
    Total cost for 2 : 2600YEN/32SGD

    27 Oct 2013 (Sun) OSAKA

    * Check out USJ at 12pm

    Getting to Dotonbori Hotel (5 nights) Cost 49000YEN/616SGD

    – Walk to Universal City Station (About 5 mins)
    – JR Sakurajima Line Train towards Nishikujo (5 mins, 2 stops) Cost 160YEN/2SGD
    – Nishikujo Station (Platform 1)
    – Hanshin Namba Line Train towards Kintetsunara (8 mins, 4 stops) Cost 200YEN/2.50SGD
    – Osakananba Station
    – Walk to Dotonbori Hotel Osaka (About 4 mins)

    Travel time: about 22 mins
    Cost/pax : 360YEN/4.50SGD
    Total cost for 2 : 720YEN/9SGD

    * Check in Dotonbori Hotel at 1500hrs
    * Visit Dotonbori/Shinsaibashi-ju/Amerikamura/Hozenji Yokocho/Nanba HIPS/Osaka Organic Building/Den Den Town/HEP Five

    28 Oct 2013 (Mon) OSAKA

    Kobe Harborland

    Dotonbori Hotel
    – Walk Namba Station (About 5 mins)
    – Namba Station (Line 2)
    – SubwayMidosujisen line Shin-Osaka (8 mins) Cost 230YEN
    – Umeda Station (Osaka Municipal)
    – Walk Osaka station About 7 minutes (8 mins in transfer)
    – Osaka Station
    – Electric train JR Tokaido-Sanyo (25 mins) Cost 390YEN
    – Kobe station
    – Harbor Land Station

    Travel time: about 46 mins
    Cost/pax : 620YEN/8SGD
    Total cost for 2 : 1240YEN/16SGD (ONE WAY)

    29 Oct 2013 (Tue) KYOTO

    Getting to Arashiyama “Sagano Scenic Railway”
    http://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/eng/

    Dotonbori Hotel Osaka
    – Walk to Nanba Station (About 5 mins)
    – Nanba Station (Platform 2)
    – Midosuji Line Each stop Subway Towards Senrichuo (8 mins, 4 Stops) Cost 230YEN/3SGD
    – Umeda Station
    – Walk to Osaka Station (About 7 mins, 11 mins to make Transfer)
    – Osaka Station (Take a sneak peek at the waterfall images)
    – JR Tokaido / Sanyo Main Line New Rapid Train Towards Yasu (29 mins, 3 Stops) Cost 540YEN/7SGD
    – Kyoto Station (Platform 32,33) (Illuminated stairway at night)
    – JR Sanin Main Line Train towards Kameoka (16 mins, 6 stops) Cost 230YEN/3SGD
    – Sagaarashiyama Station
    – Cross over to Torokko Saga Station to buy tickets

    Tram ticket (2 Ways) Cost/pax : 1200YEN/15SGD

    Travel time: about 1 hour 23 mins
    Cost/pax : 2200YEN/28SGD
    Total cost for 2 : 4400YEN/56SGD

    – Tram return to Torokko Sage station
    – Walk to Randensaga Station
    – Randensaga Station
    – Tram towards Arashiyama (2 mins, 1 stop)
    – Arashiyama Station
    – Walk to Togetsu-kyo bridge enjoy view and have lunch
    – Repeat itinery to go back

    Question : How to incorporate these into my itinerary :

    – Tenryuji
    – Gion (visit in evening)
    – Pontocho district
    – Kamo Gawa river
    – Back to Kyoto station in evening to see Illuminated stairway

    30 Oct 2013 (Wed) KYOTO

    Getting to Kiyomizu 3 Chome/Sannenzaka (Top priority)

    Dotonbori Hotel Osaka
    – Walk to Nanba Station (About 5 mins)
    – Nanba Station (Platform 2)
    – Midosuji Line Subway Towards Senrichuo (8 mins, 4 Stops) Cost 230YEN/3SGD
    – Umeda Station
    – Walk to Osaka Station (About 7 mins, 11 mins to make Transfer)
    – Osaka Station
    – JR Tokaido / Sanyo Main Line New Rapid Train Towards Yasu (29 mins, 3 Stops) Cost 540YEN/7SGD
    – Kyoto Station (bus)
    – Bus Municipal 206 Bus Towards Kitaooji bus terminal line (12 mins, 8 Stops) Cost 220YEN/3SGD
    – Shimizu road (bus)
    – Walk to Kiyomizu 3 Chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture (About 5 mins)

    Travel time: about 1 hour 17 mins
    Cost/pax : 990YEN/13SGD
    Total cost for 2 : 1980YEN/26SGD (ONE WAY)

    OR

    Getting to Tenjimbashi-Suji Shopping Street (Optional)

    Dotonbori Hotel Osaka
    – Walk to Osakananba Station (About 4 mins)
    – Osakananba Station
    – Kintetsu Nara Line Each stop Train Towards Yamatosaidaiji (1 min, 1 stop) Cost 150 yen
    – Kintetsunipponbashi Station
    – Walk to Nipponbashi Station (About 4 mins, 4 mins to make Transfer)
    – Nipponbashi Station
    – Sakaisuji Line Each stop Subway Towards Kitasenri (8 mins, 5 Stops) Cost 230 yen
    – Ogimachi Station
    – Walk to Kyushu soul kusudama Tenjinbashi store (About 5 mins)

    31 Oct 2013 (Thur) OSAKA

    Getting to Nara Park

    Dotonbori Hotel Osaka
    – Walk to Osakananba Station (About 4 mins)
    – Kintetsu Nara Line Train towards Kintetsunara Station (42 mins, 10 stops) Cost 540YEN/7SGD
    – Kintetsunara Station
    – Exit no.2 and walk to Nara Park (About 21 mins)
    or
    – Exit no.5 and take Bus number 70,97 (240YEN), alight at 4th bus stop

    Travel time: about 1 hour 7 mins
    Cost/pax : 780YEN/10SGD
    Total cost for 2 : 1560YEN/20SGD (ONE WAY)

    – Todai-ji
    – Nara shopping district
    – Naramachi

    1 Nov 2013 (Fri) OSAKA

    * Check out Dotonbori Hotel
    * Check in Star Gate Hotel Kansai Airport

    Getting to Star Gate Hotel Kansai Airport

    – Take a taxi to Nanba station
    – Nanba Station
    – Nankai Main Line Train towards Kansai Airport (33 mins, 9 stops) Cost 890YEN/11SGD
    – Izumisano Station
    – Continues as Nankai Airport Line (stay on board) Train towards Kansai Airport (3 mins, 1 stop)
    – Rinku Town station
    – Walk to Star Gate Hotel Kansai Airport (3mins)

    Travel time: about 40 mins
    Cost/pax : 890YEN/11SGD
    Total cost for 2 : 1780YEN/22SGD

    2 Nov 2013 (Sat) OSAKA

    * Check out Star Gate Hotel Kansai Airport

    – Take hotel FREE shuttle bus to Kansai Airport (10-15mins ride)

    • JPRail says:

      Hi whosme,

      You cannot get the worth for Kansai Thru Pass for this itinerary. Because you will use JR line mostly that is not covered by Kansai Thru Pass.

      If you want to use it, you have to take private lines, such as Hankyu or Keihan to get Kyoto instead of JR. Even if you use Keihan or Hankyu to get Kyoto, you still need to take subway, bus or Randen at least 5 times a day.

      But it may be possible.

      For Oct 29, take subway to get Umeda and transfer to Hankyu. Hankyu can take you Arashiyama. However Hankyu Arashiyama station is located at opposite side of Togetsukyo. So you have to walk to JR Saga-Arashimaya station to get JR train to Kameoka.
      After Arashiyama, take Randen to Shijo-Omiya and transfer to Hankyu. Hankyu takes you to Shijo-Kawaramachi. That is located near Pontocho, Gion and Kamo river.
      After Shijo-Kawaramachi area, take Keihan at Gion-Shijo station. Keihan takes you to Yodoyambashi. Yodoyabashi is located on Midousuji line between Umeda and Namba.

      for Oct 30, it will be same story.
      Take subway Midousuji line to get Yodoyambashi. Take Keihan from Yodoyabashi to Kiyomizu-Gojo. Kiyomizudera area is located within walking distance from Kiyomizu-Gojo station.

      If you use this itinerary, you don’t need to take JR train mostly (only Saga-Arashiyama and Kameoka)
      But you have to add some more trip on Oct 30. It is still not enough to get the worth of Kansai Thru Pass.

      So choice is yours.
      If you have Kansai Thru Pass. all subway in both Osaka and Kyoto, Hankyu (to Kyoto or Kobe), Hanshin (to Kobe from Namba directly), Kintetsu (to Nara from Namba directly), Keihan (to Gion and Kiyomizudera from Yodoyabashi), Keifuku railway (Randen / Arashiyama-Omiya) and Kyoto city bus can be taken without any extra charge. It will make you to take train much easier, because you don’t have to purchase one by one.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • whosme says:

        Thank you for your prompt reply!

        May I know if there are any passes beside Kansai Thru Pass that I can use if I am to stick to my original itinerary?

        Thanks.

        • JPRail says:

          Hi whosme,

          Unfortunately there is no option. If you take subway and bus more than 5 times a day, you can use Kyoto city pass. But I don’t think you will take it in your itinerary.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. James says:

    hi there
    i have the following plan:
    i only want to go from airport to namba and some small travelling by subway on the same day
    namba to mount koya on the next day
    and 3rd day back to the airport.

    I calculate that to be:

    day 1 – 1000 approx airport to namba
    day 2 – around 3000 to mount koya (using the heritage pass would be about this price)
    day 3 – 1000 back to airport

    Total: 5000

    There would be small incidental travels here and there which might make it worth it. Could you think of a better way to do it? if i bought those 3 above options separately i would have to spend a bit extra time buying tickets and i dont get to do any subaway travelling with it.

    if i am going about this the wrong way i would love to be pointed back on the right track!

    thanks

    • JPRail says:

      Hi James,

      I think your way is the best. Even though you will spend extra time to purchase a ticket, it is still the cheapest way.
      But I just want you to use one recommended ticket.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/top/ticket/pdf/chikatoku.pdf

      If you go somewhere other than Namba on arrival day, this ticket covers one way subway ticket in downtown Osaka. You can save the time and cost. You can use this ticket on the way back to KIX too.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Mafaz says:

    Thanks Takeshi -san for your most valuable input.

    The reason I was thinking of using the ICO + Haraku was due to the following reasons;
    1) special pricing and the pre loaded card, I don’t need to worry about purchasing tickets at every station.

    2) I had the impression that I can exit at Tennoji station on the JR line (from KIX ) and then take the subway to Shinsaibashi. This was the reason to get the return Haraku ticket. I will re look at the option you suggested.

    3) Plus the return ticket being valid for two weeks

    I read about one more ticket/ day pass not sure if its the same, ECO ticket / Osaka Visitor Ticket (This seems to be issued by the Osaka municipal subway ) I can’t locate where to purchase this. THe website states visitors have to purchase this outside of Japan, but it lists only a few countries like Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This ticket is about 800 Yen on weekdays and lesser during weekends.

    Regards,
    Mafaz

  6. Mafaz says:

    Hi Takeshi – san,

    Excellent resource for travelers planing to visit Japan. I have found it immensely useful.

    My wife and I plan to visit Osaka in June and since I’m traveling with my young Son, we are planing to take it easy and not over exert ourselves.

    Arriving on the 10th. staying near Shinsaibashi, planing to cover sights around hotel. Nanba, Dotonburi, etc
    11th Aquarium and bay area. modern transport museum etc.
    12th Osaka castle and oriental ceramics museum and surrounding areas.
    13th Umeda area, Sky Building, Kids Plza etc
    14th Day spent in Kobe
    15th Shitenojji temple and Nagai park area.
    16th Return to Malaysia

    To travel from Airport and return I plan to get the ICCOA and Haraku return pass.

    I am planing to get the Osaka 2 day pass to cover the sights around Osaka and utilize the subway.

    for the rest of the days I plan to use the subway standard rate via the ICCOA

    Do you think its advisable to get the kansai thru pass or the JR west pass for the Kobe trip ?
    I feel it may not be economical and may be better to pay the standard ticket price.

    If I chose to change my plans to visit Kyoto and Nara would it then be worth to take the JR west or thru pass? or is it still beneficial to use the standard tickets ?.

    Regards,
    Mafaz

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Mafaz,

      On arrival day, I think Nankai line is much more convenient than JR Haruka. Because Shinsaibashi is one station away from Namba. Subway Namba station is much closer to Nakai Namba than JR Namba. ICOCA and Haruka gives you a great deal. Especially ICOCA card is very useful as you plan. But there are other options for KIX-Namba transfer deals. Please see the link below:
      http://www.howto-osaka.com.e.iv.hp.transer.com/top/ticket/railway/

      Regarding Osaka 2 day pass, do you intend to use Osaka unlimited pass 2 days at 2700 yen? If so, single ticket may be cheaper than pass. For example, Shinsaibashi-Osakako (gate station to Kaiyukan aquarium) is 270 yen、Umeda-Shinsaibashi is 230 yen. Most of time, ticket is between 200 and 300 yen. If you take subway more than 10 times in 2 days, it will work.

      Kansai Thru Pass is not strongly recommended for you. Please see the sample itinerary at the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/kansai-thru-pass-sample-itineraries.html
      You have to visit multiple places to get the worth for this pass. It will be very busy trip.

      If you go to Himeji or Mt. Koya, Kansai Area Pass and Kansai Thru Pass may be considerable. But if you go to Kyoto or Kobe and visit a few places, single ticket will be cheaper.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Diane Chan says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    I have reviewed the links, and I wish to clarify the back-up plan in case I miss the Haruka.

    “But if you cannot make this train, you have to take rapid train to Osaka and transfer to another rapid “Special Rapid” at Osaka. In this case, you have to transfer twice at Tennoji and Osaka. You will be Kyoto around 1:00 am.”

    Is the first train (KIX to Osaka) the Kansai Ariport Rapid Service? http://jprail.com/travel-informations/how-to-get-kansai-airport-and-wakayama-kansai-airport-rapid-service-and-kishuji-rapid-service.html
    Is the second train (Osaka to Kyoto) the Special Rapid Service? http://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/rapid-service/special-rapid-service.html

    Hope you can clear things up.
    Thanks!

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Diane,

      That’s right. These two rapid trains can take you to Kyoto.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Diane Chan says:

        Hi Takeshi-san,

        I have already planned out my itinerary and have decided to incorporate Horyuji Temple which is only accessible via the JR line. Do you think that it’s best to just buy the 2 day JR Kansai Pass for Y4000 for the Himeji/Kobe and Nara/Horyuji trip instead of 1 day JR Kansai Pass for Himeji/Kobe and single ticket for Nara/Horyuji?

        Thanks as always,
        Diane

  8. Samantha says:

    Hi, I recently bught a Knsai Thru Pass.

    I was reading from your website saying that “All seats are reserved seat on Kintetsu limited express trains. You have to pay 500 yen”,

    and another passage below saying “If you access to Nara from Kyoto, you can use Kintetsu line too.”

    May I ask does Kintetsu line” is also refer to Kintetsu limited express trains or the Kintetsu local train…or? Do I have to pay for the seat even when I already have the Kansai Thru Pass?

    It’s going to be my first time to Japan and I’m quite confused….I thought that Kansai Thru Pass covers the train seats as well….Please correct me if i’m wrong

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Samantha,

      You have to pay surcharge when you take Limited Express train. Local, Rapid, Rapid Express or Express fully covered by Kansai Thru Pass.

      Kintetsu’s Limited Express is totally different from other Kintetsu train.
      http://www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/useful/limited_express/3-3.html

      Kansai Thru Pass cover basic fare, so you don’t need to pay as long as train without any surcharge. But if you want to take Limited Express, you need to book before on board and pay surcharge.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  9. Johnny says:

    Hello,

    I’ll be traveling within the Kansai region, particularly Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto and Nara.

    I’d like some advice on what pass to purchase to make the trip more convenient based on the following details.

    1. Direct trains ONLY (no transfers) between cities, also alternatives between shortest possible time or cheapest route if you can provide
    2. Kobe day trip will go this route: Osaka > Arima Onsen > Mt. Rokko > Kobe > Osaka
    3. Whether it’s possible to get convenient / non-stop trains from Namba to other cities (if only possible at Umeda, please advise)

    Thank you very much for your time.

  10. Jad says:

    Hello,

    I am visiting Japan for the first time. I will be in Kyoto from June 16 to June 20. On june 17, I want to take a train to Himeji to visit the castle and come back in the afternoon to Kyoto. On June 18 I want to take the train to Nara to visit the Todaiji temple.

    On June 20, I will be going from Kyoto to Osaka. On June 22 I will be going from Osaka to Koyasan, then on the 23rd go back from Koyasan to Kyoto.

    I am confused as to which pass I should use. I was thinking of using the 3 day Kansai Thru Pass on the 17th and 18th to visit Himeji and Nara and use it for buses in Kyoto during those 2 days. Then I will use a regular bus pass on the 19th in Kyoto. Then use the last day of the Kansai Thru Pass on 20th to go to Osaka.

    I will then purchase another 3 day Kansai pass to use on 21 22 and 23 to use Osaka subway and buses, and go to Koyasan and come back to Kyoto.

    Is this a good plan? Do you recommend me using other passes? Please let me know!

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