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


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

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

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

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

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

Overview of train system in Kansai area

Please find the map below. It looks very complicated, but please do not upset. I will explain you one by one.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

I tried to make this map as simple as possible. But it still shows you many train lines. This map actually does not show all stations and all train lines. It shows you only major stations, transfer points and the station that is near popular sightseeing spot.

At this point, you just need to know that there are many train lines among cities. You have to pick one of those things. Now I would like to explain train lines one by one.

JR trains

JR used to be Japanese National Railway. It has lines throughout Japan. In Kansai area, JR network is wider than any other railways. I would like to show you only JR lines in Kansai area at the map below:

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

You can catch JR train right after you arrive in Kansai airport. You can go almost anywhere in Kansai area, like Osaka (both Umeda and Namba), Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama and Himeji.

If you use Japan Rail Pass or any other JR deals, of course, try to use Japan Railway trains as much as you can. JR has two kinds of railways, Shinkansen and conventional lines.

Conventional line’s trains in Kansai area

Special Rapid Service operated by JR West 223 series.
Special Rapid Service dominates Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe-Himeji transfer.

There are many kinds of train on conventional lines.

  • Limited Express, such as Haruka (Kansai airport – Shin Osaka – Kyoto)
  • Rapid
  • Local

Most of you will take rapid trian service. This is a sort of commute train. But it stops at major stations only. This train service gives you high speed transfer among cities..

Especially if you want to move among Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Himeji, Special Rapid Service gives you a fast transfer. The trip time for major segments are the following:

  • Osaka / Sannomiya (Kobe) — 22 minutes
  • Osaka / Kyoto — 28 minutes
  • Sannomiya / Kyoto — 50 minutes
  • Osaka / Himeji– 1 hour 10 minutes

There are many more rapid train services in Kansai area, such as Nara, Kansai airport and Wakayama. Please see the link below to get more information about rapid train services in Kansai area:

Most economical transfer, No express surcharge! Rapid Service Network in Kansai area
.

Shinkansen (a.k.a. Bullet Train)

Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. Shinkansen stops at Maibara, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Nishiakashi and Himeji in Kansai area.
Shinkansen stops at Maibara, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Nishiakashi and Himeji in Kansai area.

Shinkansen is a high speed train service as you probably know. It is much faster than any trains on conventional lines. Shinkansen usually used for long distance transfer, such as Tokyo to Osaka.

Check the details about Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen

But it can be used for short distance, like Shin-Osaka to Kyoto. It connects Shin-Osaka and Kyoto in 13 minutes, and Shin-Osaka to Shin-Kobe in 15 minutes. This is so fast. But if you leave from Umeda or other stations in Osaka, you may have to add some extra time to transrfer at Shin-Osaka. Because Shin-Osaka is one station away from Osaka (Umeda). Let’s compare trip time for Osaka (Umeda) to Kyoto between Shinkansen and Special Rapid Service.

By Special Rapid Service
Osaka – 28 minutes – Kyoto
By Shinkansen
Osaka – 4 minutes – Shin Osaka (5 to 10 minutes for transfer) – 13 minutes – Kyoto

It may take 25 minutes even if you take high speed train, Shinkansen.
Shinkansen is not much faster than Special Rapid Service.

How about trip to Kobe by Shinkansen? In my opinion, it is not a good idea if you think about using Shinkaksen from Osaka. It is same situation as trip to Kyoto. You have to move to Shin-Osaka to catch Shinkansen. And also Shin-Kobe station is one station away from Sannomiya by subway.

By Special Rapid Service
Osaka – 22 minutes – Sannomiya
By Shinkansen
Osaka – 4 minutes – Shin Osaka (5 to 10 minutes for transfer) – 15 minutes – Shin Kobe (5 to 10 minutes transfer) – 2 minutes – Sannomiya


View Downtown Kobe in a larger map

In this case, Shinkansen is slower than Special Rapid Service.

If you use JR pass, you can take Shinkansen for this short transfer because it is fully covered by JR pass. It is not worth taking Shinkansen for these short transfers by single fare.

Private Railways in Kansai area

There are many private company’s railways (=NON JR) in Kansai area. Actually these trains are more convenient than JR trains in many cases. I would like to show you all major companies in Kansai area.

This map shows you only NON JR railways (private railway and subway). Click to enlarge.
This map shows you only NON JR railways (private railway and subway). Click to enlarge.

Hankyu Railway

Hankyu Railway runs Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Takarazuka. In Osaka, Umeda is the terminal station. Umeda is same location as JR Osaka station. All trains depart from Umeda to all destinations. In Kyoto, you can reach Kawaramachi (near Gion) and Arashiyama. This train service takes you to Sannomiya in Kobe.

This map shows you Hankyu Railway and Osaka Subway Sakaisuji line. Click to enlarge.
This map shows you Hankyu Railway and Osaka Subway Sakaisuji line. Click to enlarge.
9300 series is mainly used for limited express on Kyoto line.
9300 series is mainly used for limited express on Kyoto line.

There is no direct scheduled trains between Kyoto and Kobe. You need to change the trains because they don’t have any scheduled direct train from Kyoto to Kobe. You need to change the train at Juso or Umeda. Juso is the junction of Kobe line, Kyoto line, and Takarazuka line. This station is only two stations away from Umeda. In peak period, like spring cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons, direct train service to Arashiyama from Umeda or sometimes Sannomiya is available. But in most cases you have to transfer at Katsura.

Hankyu Railway operates several kinds of trains, like limited express, express, local. But express supplement is not required for takeing any trains, even limited express. It is same category as JR’s Special Rapid Service.

The trip times for major segments are the following:.

  • Umeda / Sannomiya — 27 minutes
  • Umeda / Kawaramachi — 43 minutes
  • Umeda / Arashiyama — 45 minutes

I show you Osaka Subway Sakaisuji line in the map above. Because this subway train go through Hankyu Railway line. You may get Kyoto by direct service from many places in downtown Osaka.

Keihan Railway

Keihan 8000 series have one double deck can in the formation. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Keihan 8000 series have one double deck can in the formation. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Keihan Railway is another way to get Kyoto from Osaka. At Osaka, Yodoyabashi and Nakanoshima are the terminal stations. But the primary station is Yodoyabashi. Most of express trains depart from Yodoyabashi. And this station is connected with Umeda and Namba by Osaka Subway Midousuji line.You can also take this railway at Kyobashi. You can transfer from JR Osaka Kanjo line at Kyobashi. At Kyoto, Gion-Shijo, Sanjo and Demachiyanagi are the terminal stations. It takes you many places in Higashiyama area directly.

Keihan Railway also runs to Uji. You can transfer the trains at Chushojima.

The map shows only Keihan Railway. Click to enlarge.
The map shows only Keihan Railway. Click to enlarge.
Keihan 8000 series have nice accommodation too. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Keihan 8000 series for limited express train has very nice interior. It is a good deal to take this train without any surcharge. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Keihan Railway operates many category of trains, such as limited express, express, semi-express, local. Most of limited express train has double decker passenger’s car in the train set. You can take this express train and any other trains without any surcharge. This limited express train is same tyep fo service as JR’s Special Rapid Service as well.

The trip time on major sections are the following:

  • Yodoyabashi / Gion-Shijo or Sanjo — 50 minutes
  • Kyobashi / Gion-Shijo or Sanjo — 45 minutes

Hanshin Railway

Hanshin Railway connect Osaka and Kobe. Hanshin has two terminals at two biggest downtown core in Osaka, Umeda and Namba. At Kobe side, Sannomiya and Motomachi are the major stations.

Hanshin Railway and Sanyo Railway are shown in the map. Click to enlarge.
Hanshin Railway and Sanyo Railway are shown in the map. Click to enlarge.
This 9000 series and most of Hanshin Railway's train equip a bench seat only.
This 9000 series and most of Hanshin Railway's train equip a bench seat only.

Hanshin Railway lines are very short but this railway connects with other railways at both end. In Kobe, Hanshin is connected with Sanyo Railway. Some of express trains go through Himeji via Sanyo Railway. At the other side, Hanshin is connected with Kintetsu Railway at Osaka-Namba station. Many of trains go through Nara from Kyoto via Kintetsu Railway. This is only way to get Nara from Kobe directly

Hanshin Railway lines are very short but this railway connects with other railways at both end. In Kobe, Hanshin is connected with Sanyo Railway. Some of express trains go through Himeji via Sanyo Railway. At the other side, Hanshin is connected with Kintetsu Railway at Osaka-Namba station. Many of trains go through Nara from Kyoto via Kintetsu Railway. This is only way to get Nara from Kobe directly. Major direct train services and trip time are the following:

Hanshin Railway operates several kinds of trains, like limited express, express, local. But you don’t need to pay any surcharge to take any trains. In Kansai area, JR and many private railways compete each other. Most of trains can be taken without surcharge.

  • Umeda / Sannomiya — 30 minutes
  • Osaka-Namba / Sannomiya — 45-50 minutes
  • Umeda – (Hanshin) – Motomachi – (Sanyo) – Himeji — 95 to 100 minutes
  • Nara – (Kintetsu) – Osaka-Namba – (Hanshin) – Motomachi — 80 minutes

Nankai Railway

Nankai Railway Limited Express Koya (Namba - Gokurakubashi).
Nankai Railway Limited Express Koya (Namba – Gokurakubashi).

Nankai Railway is one of major ways to get Osaka from Kansai airport. It also takes you to Wakayama and Gokurakubashi that is the gateway to Koyasan (Mt. Koya). Nankai Railway has a huge terminal station in Namba, Osaka. Most of trains depart and arrive at this station.

How to access to Mt. Koya

Only Nankai Railway is shown in this map. Click to enlarge.
Only Nankai Railway is shown in this map. Click to enlarge.

Nankai Railway operates several kinds of trains, like limited express, express, local. Express train surcharge is required to take limited express trains. Nankai Railway’s Limited Express trains have train’s name. The names and the trip time for major segments are the.following:

  • Limited Express “Southern” (Osaka-Namba / Wakayamashi) — 1 hour
  • Limited Express “Rapi:t” (Osaka-Namba / Kansai Airport) — 45 to 55 minutes
  • Limited Express “Koya” (Osaka-Namba / Gokurakubashi) — 80 minutes
  • Limited Express “Rinkan” (Osaka-Namba / Hashimoto) — 45 minutes

There are express trains and local trains if you want to avoid paying extra. Actually trip time is not so much different. It depends on the distance. In most of cases, you will spend 10 to 15 minutes extra. But interior is very different. Your seat is reserved if you take limited express and very comfortable. If you take express without surcharge, it is a commute train. You may not be able to get a seat.

*Only limited express “Southern” has two types of seats, limited express seat and commuter car seat. Commute car seat is same as other commute train. This is non reserved seat and express surcharge is not required to take this category.

Kintetsu Railway

Kintetsu Railway has the biggest limited express train network in all private railway companies.
Kintetsu Railway has the biggest limited express train network in all private railway companies.

Kintetsu Railway is the biggest private railway company in Japan. It connects not only Osaka, Nara, Yoshino and Kyoto but also Nagoya and Ise-Shima. But I would like to tell you about network in Kansai area only in this post.

Kintetsu Railway only is shown in the map above. Click to enlarge.
Kintetsu Railway only is shown in the map above. Click to enlarge.

In Osaka, Kintetsu Railway has two terminal stations, such as Osaka-Namba and Osaka-Abenobashi. As I mentioned at the chapter of Hanshin Railway, Kintetsu Railway is connected with Hanshin Railway at Osaka-Namba. You can take direct train service between Kobe and Nara by Hanshin and Kintetsu. You may take Kintetesu Railway train at Tsuruhashi. It connects to JR Osaka Kanjo line at this station.

Kintetsu is also major way to get Nara from Kyoto. Kintetsu Kyoto station is same location as JR Kyoto station. You can transfer from JR and Kyoto subway at Kyoto station very easily. But Kintetsu Railway is connected with Kyoto subway at Takeda station. Some of trains go through Kyoto subway Karasuma line.

Technically you can use Kintetsu Railway for Osaka-Kyoto transfer. But it is a big detour and there is no direct train service provided between Osaka and Kyoto by Kintetsu Railway. You have to change the trains at Yamato-Saidaiji. If you really need to use Kintetsu Railway, you can take this route. Otherwise it is wasing time and money.

Kintetsu Railway is only way to get Yoshino that is very popular to see cherry blossom. There is a direct train service from Osaka-Abenobashi. If you access to Yoshino from Kyoto, Nara or Osaka-Namba, you have to transfer the trains at least once at Kashihara-Jingumae station.

Kintetsu Railway operates several kinds of trains, like limited express, rapid express, express, local. Express train surcharge is required to take limited express trains. Kintetsu Railway has a big limited express train network. But if you take Kintetsu Railway to get Nara from Osaka or Kyoto, you may not use limited express train because it is short transfer. If you visit Yoshino, limited express may be your choice. The trip time for major segments are the.following:

  • Osaka-Namba / Kintetsu Nara — 40 minutes
  • Kyoto / Kintetsu Nara — 45 minutes
  • Osaka-Abenobashi / Yoshino — 85 minutes (75 minutes by limited express)

If you intend to take limited express lots or make trips to Ise-Shima or Nagoya, Kintetsu Rail Pass is recommended.
Kintetsu Rail Pass, Most affordable deals for Osaka, Kyoto and access to Ise-Shima.

How to choose the lines and trains to Kyoto from Osaka

Departure station in Osaka

Where are you going to stay in Osaka? If you will stay in Umeda area, Hankyu and Japan Railway may be your choice. If you stay near Yodoyabashi, Tenmabashi or Kyobashi, Keihan is more accessible. If you stay in Namba or other location in Osaka, you need to take subway line or JR Osaka loop line anyway. Think about arrival station in Kyoto.


View Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe in a larger map

Arrival station in Kyoto

Which part of Kyoto do you want to go? Japan Railway is the fastest way to get Kyoto.

Japan Railway Osaka – Kyoto 28 minutes
Hankyu Umeda – Kawaramachi 43 minutes
Keihan Yodoyamabashi – Gion-Shijo 50 minutes

But Kyoto station is not tourist friendly location. You need to take a bus or subway to get most of popular spots, like Kinkakuji temple, Kiyomizudera temple, Yasaka Jinja shrine. Only Arashiyama and Nijo castle is accessible by Japan Railway. Please read the post, How to use Japan Rail Pass in Kyoto. If you are not Japan Rail Pass user, do not take Japan Railway.
If you want to go to Higashiyama or Gion, such as Kiyomizudera temple, Yasaka Jinja shrine, Philosopher’s Walk, Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway are more convenient than Japan Railway. If you want to go to Arashiayama, you can use Japan Railway. But Hankyu Railway is faster and cheaper.

If you are looking for information about all trains in Kyoto, please refer the post, Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?.

How to choose the lines and trains to Kobe from Osaka

Departure station in Osaka

You have two options, Umeda/JR Osaka or Namba. If you stay around Umeda area, you can choose from Japan Railway, Hankyu or Hanshin. Hankyu and Hanshin are cheaper than Japan Railway. But Japan Railway is the fastest.
If you will stay in Namba area, Hanshin is only and the best choice

Arrival station in Kobe

Which part of Kobe do you want to go? You can go anywhere in Kobe by Japan Railway and Hanshin Electric Railway. Most of trains of Hankyu Railway go to Sannomiya only. If you are looking for the transfer to other area in Kobe, think about JR or Hanshin.
But Kobe is smaller than Kyoto. So it is not much different among JR, Hanshin and Hankyu.

How to choose the lines and trains between Kobe and Kyoto

Only Japan Railway’s Special Rapid Service give you direct transfer. It is the fastest and maybe faster than even Shinkansen. But as I mentioned to you above, JR Kyoto station is not good location for the tourists. On the other hand, Hankyu Railway can take you to Kyoto from Kobe. They don’t have any scheduled train on this section. But Kawaramachi station is located near Gion and Higashiyama. Let’s compare JR and Hankyu.

Sannomiya / JR Kyoto — 50 minutes / 1050 yen
Sannomiya / Hankyu Kawaramachi — 65 minutes (change the trains at Juso) / 600 yen

Hankyu is slower, but cheaper. And also we need to think about the location in Kyoto. If you take JR, you need to take a bus or subway to get Gion. You may spend another 15-20 minutes get there from JR Kyoto station. So if you want to go to Gion Higashiyama area, Hankyu is better choice. If you go to Arashiyama in Kyoto, it is same story. Hankyu is better as well.

I show you how to choose discount ticket and pass in this post. If you need more info, please refer that.

306 thoughts on “How to transfer among Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama. Compare Japan Railway and private railways.”

  1. Hello Takeshi san,

    I’m not sure if I best post my query here; hope you may assist to advise.

    I would be visit Japan this coming autumn, and bit lost as how to best plan the travelling around. It’s a 12 days trip, with
    – the first and last day only for flight and arriving at/ departing from Osaka
    – plan to spend about 5 days in Kyoto
    – a 1-day day trip to Nara
    – a 1-day day trip to Hijemi and Kobe
    – remaining days in Osaka

    Would like to consult which of the following is more feasible:

    Option 1:
    – transfer right away to Kyoto upon arriving at Osaka on morning Day 2
    – stay at Kyoto for 5 nights, and have day trip to Nara from Kyoto
    – transfer to Osaka thereafter
    – visit Hijemi and Kobe from Osaka
    – depart from Osaka on morning of my last day there

    Option 2:
    – visit Hijemi and Kobe right away after arriving at Osaka, target to reach Kyoto for night accommodation on the very same day
    – stay the next 4 nights at Kyoto, with one of the days having a day trip to Nara
    – transfer to Osaka for the last few days
    – depart from Osaka on morning of my last day there

    Hope you may kindly advice. Also, also would like to ask additional queries as below:
    * Based on my high-level planning, is it a good to purchase Kansai Thru Pass 3-Day for the travelling between the cities? Understand that the pass can be used for 3 non-consecutive days. Is it a good choice to use the tickets on my trips to Hijemi and Kobe (1 day), to Nara (1 day) and 1 more perhaps for transfer from Kyoto back to Osaka?

    * For the travelling inside cities (like visiting in Kyoto, and Osaka), may I just make use of ICOCA?

    Really look forward to your kind reply and help, and thank you so much in advance!!!

    1. Hi Tay,

      I prefer to choose option 1 because Himeji and Kobe are more accessible to/from Osaka. And you can leave your luggage at hotel and makes trip be easier.

      In my opinion, Kansai thru pass is not a right choice.
      1. Trip to Nara from Kyoto
      If you make a day trip to Nara from Kyoto, single fare may be cheaper. Especially if you stay near Kyoto station, you can take Kintetsu railway train. Single fare for one way is only 620 yen. Many of spots in Nara can be walked from Nara station. But if you intend to visit the places other than downtown Nara, Kansai thru pass may be considered.

      2. Trip to Himeji
      JR train is much faster to get there. If you use Kansai thru pass, you will waster many hours.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/how-to-access-to-himeji-and-kobe-from-osaka.html
      JR Kansai Rail Pass is better choice to get Himeji and Kobe.
      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

      3. Trip to/from Kyoto and Osaka
      Simply purchase single ticket and add subway/bus deal in Osaka and Kyoto. That is cheaper.
      http://www.insidekyoto.com/special-kyoto-bus-train-subway-passes
      http://www.kotsu.city.osaka.lg.jp/foreign/english/Card.html
      http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/index.html

      If you stay near KIX on arrival day and trip to Kyoto on day 2, ICOCA and Haruka is the best choice. I also show you many deals from/to KIX at the link below:
      http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/index.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi San,
    We will arrive KIX am. will start exploring Osaka Umeda Sky,Osaka Castle, Tenjinbashi suji whole day stay in Fukishima Ward for a night ,explore Kobe following day then head to Kyoto will stay 2 days in Kyoto for sightseeing . Can you please advise which pass to buy? Thank you.

  3. Hello Takeshi,,
    My friend and I will visit Osaka in early November.
    We will stay in Osaka (It’s near Tennoji). We plan to visit Osaka, Nara, Kobe, Kyoto, Tottori and Wakayama in 12 days.
    This is some of our itinerary:
    – we will go to Conan Town in Tottori
    – exploring Osaka (we will spend 2 days to explore USJ)
    – exploring Kobe
    – exploring Kyoto
    – Exploring Nara
    – Adventure World in Shirahama
    So Can I know Which pass did you recommended to us ?
    Actually I have a plan to buy Kansai Wide Area Pass (5 days), Kansai Area Pass (4 Days) and will buy single fare ticket or ICOCA for the rest day. But after I read some of your post, I think I become confused again.

    I really hope that you will give us some advice.
    Thank you so much.

    Best regards,
    Nur chalimah

  4. Hi Takeshi San,
    I am going to stay in an apartment near Gojo Station in Central Kyoto for 14 days, below is my itinerary :-
    Day 1 – KIX to Kyoto (ICOCA and Haruka return ticket)
    Day 2 – Kyoto –city sightseeing (City sightseeing card 2 day pass)
    Day 3 – Kyoto –city sightseeing (City sightseeing card 2 day pass)
    Day 4 – Kyoto – mainly Arashiyama region (one day sightseeing pass or single tickets??)
    Day 5 – Kyoto to Osaka (2 Day Amazing Pass)
    Day 6 – Kyoto to Osaka (2 Day Amazing Pass)
    Day 7 – Kyoto to UJI and Nara
    Day 8 – Kyoto to Himej and Kobe (Kansai Area 1 day pass)
    Day 9 – Kyoto to Mt. Koyasan
    Day10 – Kyoto to Kurama and Kibune
    Day 11 – Kyoto to Ohara
    Day 12 – Kyoto to Takao
    Day 13 – Kyoto or Osaka
    Day 14 – Kyoto to KIX to Rinku Town Station (Rinku Premium Outlets) (ICOCA and Haruka return ticket)
    Day 15 KIX – Flying out (free hotel shuttle bus to KIX)
    Is my itinerary looking ok?
    As I am staying near Gojo Station, should I take subway to JR Kyoto station and then JR train to Osaka? Are there any non-JR train that I can take for my days trips Day 7 –Day 12)?
    Your feedback will be highly appreciated.
    Thank you.
    Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa,

      You can use Kansai thru pass for day 7, 9 and 13.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      You can take subway and Kintetsu to get Nara. Uji can be accessed by Keihan via Kintetsu and subway.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      You can transfer to Keihan railway at Tanbabashi.

      When you go to Koyasan, you can take Keihan railway to get Yodoyabashi, and take subway to get Namba. And then you can take Nankai railway to get Mt. Koya. All trains are covered by Kansai thru pass. But it’s a long way to get there. It takes about 2.5 hours one way at least.

      For day 5 and 6, Kansai thru pass may be better than amazing pass. Because amazing pass does not include transfer to Osaka. If you use Kansai thru pass, you can take Kyoto subway/bus, Hankyu (to get Umeda), Keihan (to get Yodoyabashi) and Osaka subway. It includes the transportation that you need. But it does not include admission. It depends on which attraction you want to enter. Roughly saying, if you want to enter more than four attractions a day, amazing pass is cheaper. That’s why I recommend you to use this pass for day 13 to Osaka.

      For day 11 and 12, there is no deal as far as I know. Kansai thru pass can be used for this trip. But single fare is cheaper than pass. Because you just need return transfer by bus.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi san,

        Thank you very much for your prompt feedback., they are very helpful.

        I would like to take up your suggestion to use Kansai Thur pass on 6 days . Am I allow to buy two 3-Day pass on the same day? If I bought them on 17/10 from KIX, could I use them on any six days before 31/10? Are JR buses (from Kyoto Station) covered by this pass?

        On Day 4, should I take bus or subway to Arashiyama region from Gojo Station?

        On Day 14, I plan to use my ICOCA and Haruka return ticket to go to KIX and then bus (200 yen) to Rinku Town Station to catch free hotel shuttle bus. Is there any direct train option?

        Thank you.

        1. Hi Lisa,

          You can have two passes and you don’t need to use in consecutive days. You can pick any days until you leave.
          In Kyoto, traffic is very busy especially in weekend and busy period. I recommend you to take subway as many as you can. It’s much faster.

          for the trip to Rinku town, I recommend you to take Haruka to KIX. Haruka is only train to KIX from Kyoto directly. Even though you have to go back to Rinku town by bus, it’s most convenient and fastest way.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hello Takeshi San,
    I find your blog very informative.
    I would like to seek help from you about my IT..I will be arriving in Osaka on Oct 9 @ 8pm and will be leaving Tokyo Oct15 @ 3pm I wish stay at the airport and start my journey in the morning ..maybe a day in osaka 2 days in kyoto and day in kobe then 2 days tokyo where I depart. I like to know what ticket to buy or what railway to choose. Thank you.

    1. Hi Cezar san,

      First of all, your choice will be local deals and single fare between Osaka and Tokyo. JR pass is only pass to cover both Osaka and Tokyo. But even 7 days pass is too expensive for your trip. I have sample itinerary and that includes Hakone. But you may find some idea from this itinerary.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/sample-itinerary-of-osaka-kyoto-hakone-fuji-and-tokyo-classic-route.html

      Before choosing the deal for Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, you have to make the detailed plan. Especially the place to stay is a key. We cannot choose the deal without the location to stay. If you intend to visit Kyoto and Kobe as day trip from Osaka, the following link may help you.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/how-to-build-the-itinerary-and-choose-the-deals-for-osaka-stay-5-to-7-days.html

      Another sample itinerary that includes staying in Osaka and Kyoto. This may help you to make a plan.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/visit-kyoto-osaka-nara-and-kobe-for-5-to-7-days-sample-itinerary.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks Takeshi San, I will be staying at Fukushima in Osaka and a hostel near Kyoto station.Is it a good idea to use 2 day Hankyu tourist pass how about Osaka Amazing Pass?Is it true that they offer FREE entrances for Osaka Castle and Umeda Sky.Thank you in advance.

        1. Hi Cezar san,

          Hankyu tourist pass is not a good idea. If you have day trip to Kyoto from Osaka, it’s considerable. But you will stay in Kyoto. I think single ticket to Kyoto and subway/bus deal in Kyoto are better way.

          If you need to deal for Kobe, Hanshin tourist pass is better idea.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/osaka-kyoto-kobe-and-nara/guide-to-take-trains-in-kobe-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

          You can find the detailed info about Osaka Amazing Pass at the link below. It’s a good deal to explore in Osaka if you visit a few attractions a day:
          http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/facility/free.php

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi San
            I would like to spend a day in each places namely Osaka,Kyoto ,Kobe can you please recommend how I can manage my transportaion the cheapest way not necessarily fast ..what railway or should I buy unlimited bus pass then ..on my last day I will depart from Tokyo
            I appreciate your time answering all my queries.

          2. Hi Takeshi San,
            Thanks again for your response..If I purchased Kansai Thru Pass 2day would that include or allow us to exit from Kansai Airport free? my accomodtion will be in J.Hoppers Osaka if yes, may I ask what is the possible station I drop..I plan to just check in ,leave our luggages then start Osaka journey visit temples then go visit Umeda Sky ,go back to Hostel..the following day I wonder if I should stay one more day in Osaka and wander around.poceed to Kyoto- Kobe- Kyoto where I plan to stay in J.hppoers Kyoto near Kyoto station..You mentioned I should buy 1 day Kyoto sightseeing right? then travel Tokyo.. for Disney Sea what Is the cheapest way to reach Tokyo ?Thanks again ..

          3. Hi Cezar san,

            Kansai thru pass gives you unlimited ride in coverage area. Kansai airport station is in coverage area so you can enter or exit at Kansai airport station as many as you want. You can find the coverage map at the link below:
            http://www.surutto.com/images/ticket/kansai_thru_pass/english/en_map.pdf

            For the trip to Tokyo, bus is cheaper than train.
            https://willerexpress.com/en/

            But please don’t ask me about this bus service because I have never taken before.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hello Takeshi san!!!!!

    I truly loved your detailed explanation of JR train and private train in its price and accessibility fr/to the cities. I am traveling to Japan in September. Will travel fr Tokyo to Kyoto then Osaka. I will not travel back to Tokyo as I will leave fr Kansai international airport. I tend to avoid round trip to the same city as to save time. Now my question is, is it worth for me to purchase JR pass as my travel itinerary is the following:

    9/26 arrive in Tokyo Narita Int’l airport
    9/27-10/1 in Tokyo
    10/2-10/5 in Kyoto
    10/6-10/7 in Osaka
    10/8 departure fr Kansai Int”l airport

    I plan to buy 7 days JR pass by taking Hikari to Kyoto and use the pass to travel famous sighseeings in Kyoto also fr Osaka to aur port. But after reading your post, it seems like JR pass isn’t really worth it, right? Please tell me what to do! Thanks so much!! :*)

    1. Hi Jeannettr san,

      As you think, JR pass is not a right choice for your trip. The following link shows you one of my sample itineraries. It’s different from your plan, but you may find some idea how to manage single fares and local deals.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/sample-itinerary-of-tokyo-hakone-kyoto-and-osaka-classic-route-in-7-days.html

      At this point, JR pass is not a right choice, but if you add one more long trip, JR Pass will work. For example, Hiroshima can be done as day trip from Kyoto or Osaka.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/sample-itinerary-tokyo-to-osaka-in-just-7-days-by-japan-rail-pass-7-days.html
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1-day/day-trip-to-hiroshima-and-miyajima-from-osakakyoto.html

      If you visit Hiroshima or other place, like Kanazawa, JR pass is considerable. But you have to give up one of these days in Osaka or Kyoto.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Takeshi San

    Noted on your comment, since there’s nothing much to see in Nagoya, shall I make a trip to Nara? What about Osaka? Shall I stay there or Kyoto? In Kyoto shall I stay near to the Kyoto station? In Ueno station Tokyo also have the Shinkansen to Kyoto? Because I intent to stay there when I arrive.

    Cheers
    Alex

    1. Hi Alex san,

      In my opinion, Osaka or Kyoto is better than Nagoya. Nara is okay but similar to Kyoto.
      Kyoto station is very convenient to stay. Ueno is convenient too but you cannot catch Shinkansen to Kyoto at Ueno. You have to take local train to get Tokyo.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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