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

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

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

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

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

What is Haruka?

ICOCA card regular type. You will get different design card when you purchase ICOCA and Haruka (C) Matthieu Michon
ICOCA card regular type. You will get different design card when you purchase ICOCA and Haruka (C) Matthieu Michon

Haruka is limited express train that gives you direct transfer from Kansai International Airport (KIX) to Tennoji, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto. This train does not stop at Osaka station (Umeda). But it is only one station away from Shin-Osaka. This is only direct train service to Kyoto from KIX. If you go to Kyoto, I highly recommend to take this train because this is the fastest and most convenient choice. Please see the post, Limited Express Haruka to get more details.

Direct access to Shin Osaka, Kyoto from Kansai airport, Kansai Airport Limited Express “Haruka”

What is ICOCA

It is e-money IC card. This deals included 1500 yen e-money. You may get some more information at the link below:

JR West Official ICOCA user guide (PDF)

You can use this e-money not only JR trains but also Osaka subway, Kyoto subway, most of private train companies (Hankyu, Keihan, Kintetsu and many more) and even city bus in major cities, like Kyoto. You can use it for shopping in kiosk in the station, nation wide convenience store (Lawson, Family Mart, Seven Eleven) and even some of major electronics retail store.

If you go to other major cities, like Tokyo, Nagoya, Sapporo, Hakata, Hiroshima after staying in Kansai area, you still can use ICOCA. So you can take most of trains in other areas by ICOCA, such as subway in Tokyo, JR train in Sapporo and many more.

Kansai One Pass

This card is same type card as ICOCA. But this card is designed for overseas tourist. You can take any trains and most of bus services in Kansai area. The way of using Kansai One Pass is exactly same as ICOCA. And also you can get a discount at many many attractions. If you intend to purchase ICOCA, Kansai One Pass is better option now.

Please see the link below to find the detailed information.

Kansai One Pass official site

Price

Actually you can get only Haruka discount ticket. If you do not need ICOCA card, you can purchase Haruka discount ticket only.

ICOCA and Haruka price table

Destination Haruka service section One way Round trip
Osaka, Shin-Osaka KIX – Shin-Osaka 3,300 4,600
Tennoji, JR-Namba KIX – Tennoji 3,100 4,200
Kyoto, Saga-Arashiyama KIX – Kyoto 3,600 5,200
Nara KIX – Tennoji 3,400 4,800
Kobe, Sannomiya KIX – Shin-Osaka 3,500 5,000

Haruka ticket only price table

Destination Haruka service section One way Round trip
Osaka, Shin-Osaka KIX – Shin-Osaka 1,300 2,600
Tennoji, JR-Namba KIX – Tennoji 1,100 2,200
Kyoto, Saga-Arashiyama KIX – Kyoto 1,600 3,200
Nara KIX – Tennoji 1,400 2,800
Kobe, Sannomiya KIX – Shin-Osaka 1,500 3,000
  • One way type ticket is only available both direction, such as KIX to Osaka and Osaka to KIX. But you cannot purchase the ticket to the airport online. You have to purchase it at the station after arrival.
  • One way type ticket must be used on the day of purchase. Round trip ticket is valid for 14 days.
  • ICOCA can be used whenever you want. ICOCA will be expires in case that you will not use ICOCA in 10 years at all. If you will come back to Japan in next 10 years, you still will be able to use same ICOCA.
  • This deal can allow you to use non reserved seat of Haruka or other local and rapid train. You cannot use reserved seat or Green seat of Haruka and other limited express trains, such as Shinkansen.

If your child is 5 years or younger, it is free of charge.

I will tell you price comparison later.

How about child deal

ICOCA and Haruka is not available for child. But if you travel between Kansai airport and Shin-Osaka or Kyoto, Kansai Area Pass child rate is cheaper than single fare.

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

If you want to compare exact fare and pass, single fare rate table can be found below. Child rate is applied to 6 years to 11 years old child. 5 years old or younger child is free if you share your seat with your child. But when you take a train and there are lots of empty seat, you can give a seat to your child.

ICOCA can be purchased itself beside Kansai area pass. You cannot share your ICOCA Card with your child. Child ICOCA is availble. Please see next chapter.

How to use ICOCA

Most of you use ICOCA to take a train. The biggest advantage of this card is that you don’t need to purchase the ticket when you enter the station and take the trains. All you have to do is touch your ICOCA card at the ticket gate when you enter/exit station. It is automatically calculated and subtract the fare from your ICOCA card. You can save the time when you take a train.

Even if you don’t have enough fund in your ICOCA, you can still enter the station and take the trains. (But you must have minimum fares plus 500 yen deposit in this card) You can add some more fund before you exit the station when you arrive. You can add some more fund in your ICOCA at other major cities where other IC cards are available, such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Hakata. These cites have own IC cards and could not be used in other areas before. But since March 2013, major 10 different IC cards were standardized.

Actually 2000 yen e-money in ICOCA that is included in this deal also includes 500 yen deposit. Therefore your fund in your ICOCA is 1500 yen. If you empty this card and do not use it any more, you can get this 500 yen deposit refund at the station. But if you want to keep ICOCA card itself for your souvenir, you cannot get refund. Especially ICOCA card for this deal is designed for overseas tourist. It looks different from common ICOCA card. There are two versions available, Wind or Thunder God on the screen (National treasure) or No.1 world famous Japanese character ‘Hello Kitty!’.

If you go to other than Kansai area and want to get refund, complete to use this ICOCA when you stay in Kansai area and get refund. You cannot get any refund in other cities, like Tokyo.

Child ICOCA is sold at 2000 yen that is 1500 yen e-money and 500 yen deposit. It has same value as adult ICOCA card. But if your child use Child ICOCA, child fare is deducted to take a train. Child fare is half amount of adult fare. So it takes longer to spend 1500 yen e-money than using adult ICOCA.

How to use this deal

This deal includes 1500 ICOCA e-money and one way/round trip to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara or Kobe. You cannot use this deal to Himeji, Wakayama and other than Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. Please see the map at ICOCA and Haruka user manual (PDF).

If you go to Sannomiya, Kobe and other stations between Kobe and Shin-Osaka, you have to take Haruka to Shin-Osaka and transfer local, rapid or Special Rapid Service at Shin-Osaka. Of course this ticket covers all part of this trip. However limousine bus runs between Kansai airport and Kobe directly. If you go to Kobe, limousine bus is better way. You can find limousine bus information at the link below:

Kansai airport limousine bus between Kansai airport and Kobe

If you go to Nara, Haruka takes you Tennoji. And then you need to change to Yamatoji Rapid Service to get Nara. There is no direct train service to Nara either. This is same as access to Kobe. Limousine bus takes you to Nara directly. You can find limousine bus information at the link below:

Kansai airport limousine bus between Kansai airport and Nara

Price comparison to basic fare

Upper rate is basic fare and lower rate is non reserved seat limited express surcharge.

Adult(12 yrs and up Child (6-11 yrs)
KIX – Tennoji 1060 yen
650 yen
530 yen
330 yen
KIX – JR Namba 1060 yen
650 yen
530 yen
330 yen
KIX – Shin-Osaka 1360 yen
970 yen
680 yen
480 yen
KIX – Osaka (Umeda) 1190 yen
970 yen
590 yen
480 yen
KIX – Kyoto 1880 yen
970 yen
940 yen
480 yen
KIX – Sannomiya 1710 yen
970 yen
860 yen
480 yen

This deal is cheaper for all destinations than regular fares.

In next chapter, I will talk about going to Namba, Osaka (Umeda) or other location in downtown Osaka. You should consider other deals. Please see next chapter.

Compare to other deals, Kansai Chikatoku Ticket, JR West Kansai Area Pass and Kansai Thru Pass

If you travel to Shin-Imamiya or Namba, you can use Nankai Railway. Basic fare is only 920 yen if you take other than limited express Rapi:t. Nankai Namba station is located at central of Namba and it is much better location than JR Namba. Even if you want ICOCA, you can purchase only ICOCA itseld at 2000 yen that includes 500 yen deposit. Actual total fare, this deal plus ICOCA, is 2,600 yen if you get 500 yen refund.

If you go to somewhere in Osaka, like Shinsaibashi, Nihonbashi, Uehonmachi, by subway, Nankai Namba is much easier location to transfer to subway Namba station. If you have very tight budget, Kanku Chikatoku ticket is sold at 1000 yen. This includes Nankai Railway basic fare to Namba and one way trip to any Osaka subway stations. As I mentioned, basic fare from KIX to Namba by Nankai Railway is 920 yen. Osaka subway fare is starting at 180 yen. If you have the shortest trip from Namaba, like to Shinsaibashi, total fare (Nankai plud Subway) is 1100 yen. You can use this deal, Kanku Chikatoku ticket for the trip to Umeda where is same location as JR Osaka station. Osaka Subway Midousuji line can take you from Namba to Umeda. This is cheaper than JR basic fare 1060 yen. If you want to get more information about Kanku Chikatoku Ticket, please see Nankai Railways website.

If you go to Nara after you arrive in KIX, you may consider to use Kansai Thru Pass. Kintetsu Railway is better to access to Nara because Kintetsu Nara station is better location than JR Nara station. So I recommend you to use Kansai Thru Pass to get Nara. Please see the post, How to access to Nara.

If you go to Himeji, JR West Kansai Area Pass is the best and the fastest. Kansai Thru Pass can be used to get Himeji. But it is too many transfers and spend many hours. JR trains, Haruka and Special Rapid Service, are much faster.

I explained all deals for airport access at the link below. Please refer this post too.

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

Sample itinerary by ICOCA and Haruka

KIX – Kyoto – Umeda – KIX plus day trip to Kobe

Day 1 KIX to Kyoto by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
Day 2 Kyoto city pass or single ticket for sightseeing.
*You can use ICOCA if you want.
Day 3 Kyoto – Osaka by JR Special Rapid Service (fare 540 yen)
*After you arrive in Osaka, you can use ICOCA to explore in Osaka.
Day 4 Day trip to Kobe by JR Special Rapid Service (fare 390 yen X 2)
Day 5 Osaka to KIX by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
In this itinerary, use 1320 yen from ICOCA. Osaka subway basic fare is starting from 200 yen. You can spend 1500 yen easily.

KIX – Kyoto – Umeda – KIX plus day trip to Kobe

Day 1 KIX to Kyoto by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
Day 2 Kyoto city pass or single ticket for sightseeing.
*You can use ICOCA if you want.
Day 3 Kyoto – Osaka by JR Special Rapid Service (fare 540 yen)
*After you arrive in Osaka, you can use ICOCA to explore in Osaka.
Day 4 Day trip to Kobe by JR Special Rapid Service (fare 390 yen X 2)
Day 5 Osaka to KIX by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
In this itinerary, use 1320 yen from ICOCA. Osaka subway basic fare is starting from 200 yen. You can spend 1500 yen easily.

KIX – Kyoto – Umeda – KIX plus day trip to Nara

Day 1 KIX to Kyoto by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
Day 2 Kyoto city pass or single ticket for sightseeing.
*You can use ICOCA if you want.
Day 3 Day trip to Nara by Kintetsu (fare 610 yen X 2)
Day 4 Kyoto – Osaka by JR Special Rapid Service (fare 540 yen)
Day 5 Osaka to KIX by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
In this itinerary, use 1760 yen from ICOCA. ICOCA will be empty.

KIX – Kyoto – Namba – KIX plus day trip to Kobe

Day 1 KIX to Kyoto by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
Day 2 Kyoto city pass or single ticket for sightseeing.
*You can use ICOCA if you want.
Day 3 Kyoto – Osaka by JR Special Rapid Service (fare 540 yen)
Transfer to Osaka Subway Midousuji line to Namba (fare 230 yen)
*After you arrive in Namba, you can use ICOCA to explore in Osaka.
Day 4 Day trip to Kobe by Hanshin Railway (fare 400 yen X 2)
Day 5 Osaka to KIX by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
In this itinerary, use 1570 yen from ICOCA. ICOCA will be empty.

KIX – Shin-Osaka – KIX plus day trip to Kyoto and Namba

Day 1 KIX to Shin-Osaka by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
Day 2 Day trip to Kyoto JR Special Rapid Service (fare 540 yen X 2)
Day 3 Day trip to Namba by Osaka Subway Midousuji line (fare 270 yen X 2)
Day 4 Osaka to KIX by ICOCA and Haruka round ticket
In this itinerary, use 1620 yen from ICOCA. ICOCA will be empty.

As you see, 1500 yen e-money can be used very easily. Especially Osaka and Kyoto subway fare table are much higher than other railways. If you want to use ICOCA more efficiently, try to avoid using ICOCA for these public railways and use single fare or day pass.

971 thoughts on “ICOCA and Haruka and Haruka discount ticket. Very flexible and good deal for tourist who stay in Kansai.”

  1. Dear Takeshi san,

    Thank you for the interesting advices. It is not always easy to choose between all the existing deals. Could you give me your advice about my itinerary?

    day1: arriving at KIX and travel to Kyoto (night in Kyoto)
    day 2: travel to Ohara and back to Kyoto (night in Kyoto)
    day 3: travel to Kibune and back to Kyoto from Kurama (night in Kyoto)
    day 4 travel to Nara (night in Nara)
    day 5: travel to Kyoto (night in Kyoto)
    day 6 to 10: stay in Kyoto
    day 11: travel to Osaka then to KIX

    I was planning to take a ICOCA and Haruka round ticket but do you have a better suggestion?

    Many thanks for your answer!!

    Caroline

    1. Hi Caroline san,

      You can use Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA. It’s same type of card as ICOCA but it offers discount at many attractions:
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      You can add this on ICOCA and Haruka instead of ICOCA card.

      I think Kansai thru pass 3 days is the best choice for day 4, 5 and 11. You intend to visit Osaka on the way to KIX. If you use ICOCA and Haruka from Kyoto, you cannot stopover at Osaka. If you use Kansai thru pass, you can take subway in Osaka and get KIX by Nankai railway. I think this gives you more flexibility.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      And also you may add city deal in Kyoto from day 6 to 10.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    Thank you very much for your great sharing. I will be visiting Kansai on April 2018 together with my family. Could you please advise on what kind of pass / transport should I get based on my draft itinerary as below ?

    Day 1: KIX (Arrival 3.30pm) – Heading to Kyoto Nijo Station around 5.00pm
    
Day 2: Kyoto Nijo Station – Arashiyama – Kyoto
    
Day 3: Kyoto – Uji Byodoin, Uji Day Tour – Kyoto
    
Day 4: Kyoto Half Day Tour – Heading to Osaka 
at 2.00pm
    Day 5: Osaka – Nara Day Tour – Osaka
    
Day 6: Osaka – Himeji Castle & Kobe – Osaka 
Day 7: Osaka Day Tour
    Day 8: Osaka – KIX (Kansai Airport departure time at 4.00pm back to KL)

    I am still considering about the accommodation at Osaka. In between Namba Station and Osaka Station which is more convenient? Please advise. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Basically you can follow my sample itinerary in the link below:
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/visit-kyoto-osaka-nara-and-kobe-for-5-to-7-days-sample-itinerary.html

      But I don’t think you need any deals in Kyoto. You can use Kansai one pass (instead of ICOCA) for day 2 and 3. And you can use Kansai thru pass 3 days for day 4 to 6.
      http://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      If you stay near JR station in Osaka, Kansai area pass is better choice than Kansai thru pass even though you may need to add the fare to take city bus in Kyoto.
      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

      Namba is most convenient place and in this case, your choice is Kansai thru pass. Osaka is a good place too and in this case, Kansai area pass is your choice. Shin-Osaka is also good place too. It’s not located in downtown core but average hotel rate is cheaper than Namba and Osaka.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi,

        Thank you for your prompt attention. You are very helpful and very much appreciated.

        Kind regards
        Anna

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    Thank you for your very helpful posts. My itinerary is as follows:-
    Day 1 — Arrive in Tokyo in morning
    Day 2 — Tokyo
    Day 3 — Take Shinkansen to Kyoto
    Day 4 — Kyoto
    Day 5 — Kyoto travel to Osaka
    Day 6 — Osaka to KIX (early morning flight to Korea)

    I already have an ICOCA card. Could you please advise on which passes I should use for the Kyoto Osaka region, or if I should even get one? Thank you so much!

      1. Hi Takeshi, just wanted to thank you for your reply to my comment. It was just in time and I followed it with great success! In total my JR ticket cost 14,700 yen from Tokyo to Kansai airport. I stopped along the way at Kyoto and then at Osaka as recommended. Thanks again!

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