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

Kansai Airport Express Haruka is covered by JR West Kansai Area Pass. This is the biggest advantage. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

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.


Coverage area

Please refer the map in JR West Kansai Area Pass official site.

The pass cover most of points of interest, such as Osaka (Umeda), Namba, Universal Studio Japan, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Kansai airport, Himeji

Major spots that are not covered by this pass are Wakayama and Mt. Koya. But if you want to go to Mt. Koya, Nankai Railway is the best way. But Nankai Railway is not covered by JR West Kansai Area Pass anyway. Nankai Railway’s Koyasan World Heritage Ticket or Kansai Thru Pass is a right choice for trip to Mt. Koya.

Nankai Railway Koyasan World Heritage Ticket
How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.

After March 1, coverage area is bigger, but price is higher. You can find the coverage area after March 1, 2015, at the map below:
Kansai Area pass map

Wakayama, Iga, Tsuruga, Hikone, Ako and some more places will be in the coverage area after March 1, 2015.

Who is eligible

Visitors who land as “Temporary Visitor” status can purchase this pass. If you live in Japan, you cannot purchase it. Kansai Thru Pass may be your choice.

Types and prices

You can choose from 1 day to 4 days. The price will be higher after March 1, 2015.

Before February 28, 2015

Duration Adult Child (6-11yrs)
1 Day 2,060 yen 1,030 yen
2 Days 4,110 yen 2,050 yen
3 Days 5,140 yen 2,570 yen
4 Days 6,170 yen 3,080 yen

After March 1, 2015

Purchase outside Japan or online Purchase inside Japan
Duration Adult Child
(6-11 years old)
Adult Child
(6-11 years old)
1 day 2,200 yen 1,100 yen 2,300 yen 1,150 yen
2 days 4,300 yen 2,150 yen 4,500 yen 2,250 yen
3 days 5,300 yen 2,650 yen 5,500 yen 2,750 yen
4 days 6,300 yen 3,150 yen 6,500 yen 3,250 yen

*5 year old or younger child is free. Maximum 2 children per one adult.

The pass must be used in consecutive days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night (midnight to midnight).

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

The pass can be purchased once per visit. So you cannot purchase multiple passes for one person, like 1 x 2 days pass.

Valid trains and bus lines

This pass covers all JR local trains and non reserved seat of Limited Express Haruka. You CANNOT ride any other express trains, such as Tokaido Shinkansen, Limited Express Thunderbird. But as long as you travel in Kansai area, you don’t need to ride Limited Express trains. Rapid Services Network is very convenient. It is fast and frequent. The following list shows you trains that you can ride by JR West Kansai Area Pass.

Of course, you can ride any local trains that are not shown on above list.

On the other hand, which trains you cannot ride by this pass? JR West Kansai Area Pass does not cover any private railway lines, subway lines and bus lines. Most of major private railway companies and subway lines are shown on the following list:

Kiyomizudera is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. But you cannot get there by JR trains only. ©Sue Ann Simon/©JNTO

  • Osaka Municipal Transportation (Subway)
  • Kyoto Municipal Transportation (Subway and city bus)
  • Nankai Railway (Namba-Kansai airport, Namba-Mt.Koya)
  • Kintetsu Railway (Namba-Nara, Kyoto-Nara)
  • Hankyu Railway (Sannomiya-Umeda-Kawaramachi)
  • Keihan Railway (Yodoyabashi-Kyobashi-Shijo-Sanjo)
  • Hanshin Railway (Namba-Sannomiya, Umeda-Sannomiya-Himeji)
  • Sanyo Railway (Umeda-Sannomiya-Akashi-Himeji)

These above railways and bus lines are NOT covered. When you are in Osaka or Kyoto, subway trains and city bus services are very convenient. So you may have pay a single fare or purchase day pass. I think this is the biggest disadvantage of JR West Kansai Area Pass. I wrote about JR trains and Kyoto subways/buses in Kyoto at this post, Japan Rail Pass is the best way to explore Kyoto? How to use Japan Rail Pass in Kyoto. The rules of JR West Kansai Area Pass is almost same as Japan Rail Pass. The only difference to use in Kyoto, JR West Kansai Area Pass does not cover any JR bus services. If you think about use Kansai Area Pass in Kyoto, I believe this post may give you some ideas.

Compare cost between pass and single fare. Best way to use.

First of all, please see the fare table for major sections below:

Stations Osaka Shin
Kyoto Kansai
Nara Himehji JR Namba
Osaka - 160 540 1160
390 780 1450 190
160 - 540 1330
540 890 1450 210
Kyoto 540 540 - 1830
1050 690 2210 890
- 1660
390 540 1050 1660
- 1210 950 690
Nara 780 890 690 1660
1210 - 2210 540
Himeji 1450 1450 2210 2730
950 2210 - 1620
JR Namba 190 210 890 1030
690 540 1620 -

*If there are two fares, basic fare is shown at the top and limited express surcharge at the bottom. For example, if you travel from Kansai airport to Shin-Osaka, basic fare is 1330 yen and surcharge is 1150 yen.

Special Rapid Service operated by JR West 223 series.

Special Rapid Service dominates Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe-Himeji transfer.

As you saw the fare table above, most of trips from Kansai airport is very efficient because of limited express Haruka. If you travel to Osaka, Kansai airport rapid may be better than Haruka because Haruka do not stop at Osaka. But if you think about getting on Haruka, Kansai Area Pass is considerable. Even one day pass is cheaper than basic fare + surcharge. If you go to Namba, you can access there by JR trains. But Nankai Railway gives you much better access to Namba. Especially if you think about transfer to subway at Namba, Nankai Railway Namba station is much easier to transfer to most of subway lines. Please see the details at the post, How to access from Kansai airport to downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

Next, I recommend you to use this pass for the trip to Himeji. Special Rapid Service connects Osaka with Himeji in 62 minutes. This train is the fastest and most frequent service. If you think about Kansai Thru Pass, this pass do not cover JR trains. If you go to Himeji by Kansai Thru Pass, the pass cover all part of your trip to Himeji. But you will spend more than 90 minutes. Kansai Thru Pass is very efficient for the trip to Kyoto or Mt. Koya. But if you go to Himeji, I recommend you to use JR West Kansai Area Pass.

If you go to Kyoto, Nara or Kobe from Osaka, it may not be very efficient. The fare range is between 500 and 1,000 yen. The difference between 1 day pass and 2 days pass is 2,000 yen. If you will purchase 3 days or 4 days, the price difference is 1,000 yen. If you have two trips, from Kansai airport by Haruka and trip to Himeji, you will already make more than 4,000 yen worth. You can use the pass to Kyoto, Kobe or Nara. But if you use 2 days pass for trip from Kansai airport and trip to Kyoto, Nara or Kobe, you may not be able to make more than 4,000 yen worth.

JR West also sell ICOCA and Haruka. This discount ticket include trip from Kansai airport by Haruka and 1,500 yen value e-money in ICOCA prepaid card. If JR West Kansai Area Pass is too expensive for your trip, ICOCA and Haruka may be suitable for your trip. ICOCA can be used for not only JR trains but also Kyoto subway, Osaka subway and other major private railway companies. ICOCA is more flexible than JR West Kansai Area Pass. Please see the details about ICOCA at the post, ICOCA and Haruka ticket. Very flexible and good deal for tourist who stay in Kansai..

At last, if you want to explore some more places, I strongly recommend you JR West Kansai WIDE Area Pass. This pass is available in 4 days pass only. But the area where is covered is much bigger. And limited express train and Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Okayama are covered by this pass. And the price is only 1,000 yen higher than Kansai Area Pass 4 days. I am very happy if you are interested in other places outside of Kansai area.

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146 Comments to “How to use JR West Kansai Area Pass. Compare pass and single fare.”

  1. Janit says:

    Dear Takeshi

    I will arrive Osaka late night of april 28 and will take nankai train or airport bus to my hotel near namba station.

    Day 1 : Osaka – Kobe – Osaka ->> which pass should I use to travel to Kobe ?
    Day 2 : Osaka – Kyoto –>> Can I start using JR Kansai Wide Area Pass to ride JR train to kyoto
    Day 3 : Kyoto – Icoca card or any pass for Kyoto’s 2 day visit ?
    Day 4: Kyoto – Osaka – Okayama – Osaka –>> Kansai Wide Area Pass + icoca card
    Day 5 : Osaka – Nachi fall /wakayama – Osaka –>> Kansai Wide Area Pass to Kiikatsaura ?
    Day 6 : Osaka – Nara – Osaka – Kansai Airport –>> Can I use Kansai Wide Area Pass to ride LTD Haruka express from Osaka to the airport ?

    1. Does it sound ok for this ?
    2. Other from Kansai Wide Area Pass, any combination you would like to advise ?
    3 Do I need to make reservation for JR train ? KWAP doesnt apply for reserved seats so I have to pay extra fee as indicated in hyperdia table right?
    4. Icoca can use for subway , non JR train, and bus in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe ?

    Your comments would be very much appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Hi Janit,

      Hanshin Tourist Pass is recommended for trip to Kobe.

      1. It looks good to go. You can start to use Kansai Wide area pass on day 2. It will cover all part of your trip by JR train to the end. You don’t need ICOCA on day 3. It covers Haruka too.
      2. No. Kansai Wide Area Pass is the best choice.
      3. It’s not required, but this period is Golden Week and it’s one of the busiest period. If you want to reserve, you can go ahead as long as you are okay to pay extra. It’s very hard to guess that you really need to book or not at this point. I guess if you show up at the platform, like 30 minutes prior to departure time, you will be able to get a seat on non reserved car. I haven’t done the trip in Golden Week in last 10 years. So I’m not really sure.
      4. Yes. It covers all trains and bus in these cities.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. dooyoo says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    First, thank you very much for this post wich is really interesting and full of good tips !
    Let me ask you a question, my friend and i plan to go Osaka (arrival on the first of may and departure on the 9th) wich is a total of 8 days, unfortunatly the pass the JR west rail pass is only for 4 days. What do you recommand us to use ? Thank you very much for your help !

  3. Racheal says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will be visiting Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. My itinerary as follows:

    11 May : arrive Osaka Airport, staying in hotel in Osaka/Umeda station area
    12 – 15 May : will explore Osaka, Himeiji, Kobe and maybe Nara if time allows
    16 – 18 May : move to Kyoto, staying in hotel around Gojo subway station
    19 May : depart for Kansai Airport

    Your advise on which pass(es) will be appreciated.
    Thanks you!

  4. Eugenia says:

    Hi takeshi,

    Good day! It’s my first time to osaka, need your advice on which pass to use during my stay.

    April 29- kansai airport to kyoto
    April 30- kyoto
    May 1- kyoto to kobe
    May 2- Kyoto to namba
    May 3- namba to Nara
    May 4- namba to kansai airport

    Thank you


  5. Ruby says:

    Hi Takeshi. I’ll be in kyoto for 7 night this April. I’m flying into Osaka Kix & want to travel by train to kyoto, my base for the entire stay. I hope to visit Nara & Osaka during my stay, including a day trip to to Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu. Is it a gd idea for me to purchase the JR West ticket as it covers the kyoto- Yahata station sector?n I can use it on the haruka too? Really appreciate your input. Tqvm.

  6. Soo Seah says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    Good day to you.

    I am first timer to Japan and would like to seek your advice on JR pass

    I will be arriving at HANEDA-TOKYO airport on the 8 April.
    April 8 : tokyo
    April 9 : Mt fuji (day trip )
    April 10. travel fron tokyo to osaka
    April 11 : Osaka-Kyoto-Osaka
    April 12: Osaka sightseeing
    April 13:osaka (namba) to HANEDA-TOKYO

  7. Tita says:


    I want advice on what passes to get for upcoming trip to Japan:-
    28 Apr Arriving Kansai Airport morning, wanna go around osaka
    29 Apr Universal Studio (full day)
    30 Apr Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka
    1 May i will go to Kawaguchiko
    2 May – 9 May Tokyo and i will go back to indonesia from narita > i prefer suica card in here

    Thank you.

  8. Estee says:

    I would appreciate advice on what passes to get for upcoming trip to Japan:-
    9 Apr Arriving Kansai Airport early morning, going straight to Himeji for 3 nights.
    Would like to take day trip to Okayama.
    12Apr. Leave for Osaka for 4 nights, staying at Shin-Osaka
    Plan to make day trips to Kyoto and Nara.
    16Apr flying home from Kansai Airport.
    Thank you.

  9. Christine says:


    I am going to Japan for the first time in the middle of May for 5 days.
    I booked a hostel next to Shin Osaka Station.
    Our schedule:
    Monday: arrive in Osaka and explore Osaka
    Tuesday: Osaka-Kyoto-Osaka
    Wednesday: Osaka-Nara-Osaka
    Thursday: Osaka-Kobe-Osaka
    Friday: leave for Kansai Airport in the morning

    From your posts, I think the JR West Kansai Area Pass would be the best deal, especially because we are staying near Shin Osaka, but I wanted to confirm with you.
    Thank you.

  10. Precious Kymn Kayleigh says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    Greetings. I’m first timer to Japan and would like to seek some advice.

    Will JR pass be useful or worth if my trip is as planned below:

    April 5: Singapore to Kansai Airport (reaching 9:30pm – using exchange order to change JR pass)
    April 6: Osaka-Kyoto-Osaka (day trip)
    April 7: Osaka-Nara-Osaka (day trip)
    April 8: Osaka-Tokyo (morning train timing)
    April 8-11: Within Tokyo, would love to visit Mt.Fuji is time and budget permits (Using local subway card within Tokyo?)
    April 11-13: Tokyo-Osaka-Kansai Airport

    Are there any other passes or cards for consideration as well? I remembered reading somewhere that a local card is used within Kansai area.
    I will be staying at Hotel Nikko @ Tokyo. That’s another different private subway line, is that correct? Does Pasmo card covers that?

    Thank you for your kind attention and looking forward to your kind advice.

Leave a Reply

I always welcome your comment. But before you leave a comment, please remember these following:

  • This is not an official website. This website, JPRail.com is a private website. I don't sell any tickets or passes.
  • I am not a travel agent. Please do not ask me to make an itinerary. I can check your itinerary and give you suggestion. I think making an itinerary is a part of your travel. Please try to make it by yourself. Enjoy! :)
  • If you need access information to your hotel, please don't ask me but ask your hotel.
  • If you are looking for the information about timetable, please refer Japan Railway's timetables.
  • If you are looking for the information about the fare, please refer Fare Calculation.
  • If you are looking for the information about reservation, please refer, How to reserve seat.
  • If you want to post, please comment to relate to the post. I will delete any unrelative comment to the post without notice.

If you still have a question, of course I can answer your question.
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