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

Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.
The limited express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.

JR West Kansai Area Pass is one of the choices for the traveler who stays in Osaka and make some day trips to the surrounding places, such as Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and Wakayama.

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 the pass and the regular fare. You can find that you can get the worth by your trip or not.

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

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

Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.
Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.

Kansai Thru Pass is one of the best pass if you travel in Kansai area. This pass offers the unlimited travel of most non JR trains, the subway lines and most local bus services. It covers most part of this region, such as Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, Nara, Wakayama, Koyasan and Himeji.

In this post, I would like to explain this pass and you will find how to use this pass.

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

Nara access guide from Osaka, Kyoto, Kansai airport and Kobe by JR, Kintetsu Railway and Airport bus

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

Nara is the former capital city in Japan and it is older than Kyoto. Many shrines, temples and districts are listed on UNESCO World Heritage, National Heritage and/or National Treasure. When you travel in Kansai region, you may think about visiting or staying in Nara. If you go to Osaka or Kyoto from other cities, such as Tokyo, you can get there by Shinkansen. But when you go to Nara, there are several routes and options. The trip route to Nara is varied by your trip plan and/or the deal which you intend to use.

In this post, I would like to share the information about access to Nara by train and bus.

Continue reading Nara access guide from Osaka, Kyoto, Kansai airport and Kobe by JR, Kintetsu Railway and Airport bus

Shin Osaka station guide. How to change Shinkansen, Haruka, Thunderbird and local train access to Osaka, Umeda and Namba

Conventional lines platform (front), Shinkansen terminal (back) (C) Outside view of the Shin Osaka station/Ariake

Shin-Osaka station is the place where you change to/from Shinkansen. If you travel in Osaka, you may use this station at least once. All Shikansen trains stop at this station and many limited express trains on conventional lines stop or depart from this station, Shin-Osaka.

In this post, I would like to show you some images and explain about this station. You will get the information about transfer among trains.

Continue reading Shin Osaka station guide. How to change Shinkansen, Haruka, Thunderbird and local train access to Osaka, Umeda and Namba

Osaka and Umeda stations guide. How to change JR trains, subway trains and other private railways

Osaka station platforms (C) Asacyan

Osaka station is the biggest station in west part of Japan. Osaka station is located at one of two biggest downtown cores, Umeda. This may make you be confused. JR Osaka station is completely same as Umeda station. You can transfer JR trains and other trains at Osaka and Umeda stations.

Even though Shinkansen does not stop at JR Osaka station, many limited express trains depart and arrive at this station. And three subway lines (Midousuji line, Tanimachi line and Yotsubashi line) and two private railways (Hankyu and Hanshin) have stations as “Umeda” station.

In this post, I would like to explain about JR Osaka station and other Umeda stations. You will find the information about Osaka and Umeda station. And also you will find some idea about transferring among JR trains, subway lines, Hankyu and Hanshin lines at Osaka station.

Continue reading Osaka and Umeda stations guide. How to change JR trains, subway trains and other private railways

Kansai WIDE Area Pass user guide. The best deal for the traveler who want to travel Kansai and surrounding areas, such as Okayama, Kurashiki, Kinosaki and Kumano.

Kinosaki Onsen is one of most popular hot springs in Japan. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO
Kinosaki Onsen is one of most popular hot springs in Japan. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO

Since Kansai WIDE Area Pass was released in April, 2012, this deal has been very popular for the tourist who wants to travel outside Kansai, like Kinosaki Onsen, Kii peninsula and Okayama/Kurashiki. This pass covers much bigger area than other Kansai area passes, like JR West Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Thru Pass. I am very happy that tourist tries to visit not only Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe but also outside Kansai.

In this post, I would like to show you the details of this pass and make sure the difference from other passes.

Continue reading Kansai WIDE Area Pass user guide. The best deal for the traveler who want to travel Kansai and surrounding areas, such as Okayama, Kurashiki, Kinosaki and Kumano.

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass for the trip in Kansai area

Dotonbori (道頓堀) is one of the popular spot around Osaka Namba area. ©JNTO
Dotonbori (道頓堀) is one of the popular spot around Osaka Namba area. ©JNTO

There are JR lines and lots of private railway lines, such as Hankyu, Hanshin, Kintetsu and Keihan in Kansai area. There are so many kinds of ticket or passes as well. It makes you confused to choose it.

In this post, I would like to share the information about the discount tickets and passes that cover Kansai area.

Continue reading How to choose discount railway ticket and pass for the trip in Kansai area

Kansai train networks guide. How to move between Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama. Make sure JR lines and non JR lines

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

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

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. This is a key to make a trip much more smoothly and save your trip time.

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

Continue reading Kansai train networks guide. How to move between Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama. Make sure JR lines and non JR lines

How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?

Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO
Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO

I supposed to write about the transfer among Kobe (神戸), Osaka (大阪) and Kyoto (京都). But I should explain about JR (Japan Railway) lines in downtown Osaka. I believe the information about the location of JR stations and rail system let you understand the rail system outside of Osaka easily.

And this post may help the tourists who will start the trip from Osaka. Some of you are not sure to buy 7 days pass or 14 days pass for your trip. You may learn how much you can use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. For example, if you travel in Japan for 10 days and stay in Osaka for the first 3 days, you may not use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. As a result, you can buy 7 days pass.

Anyway I show you JR line in downtown Osaka and I compare JR lines and Osaka subway lines. Continue reading How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?

Kansai airport terminal, station, train pass and access guide

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

Kansai airport is the international airport in Osaka. It is the gateway to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Wakayama too. There are many ways to get downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. In this post, I will explain about the terminal of Kansai airport, the access route to major places in Kansai region, and how to choose the deal which suits your trip plan.

Continue reading Kansai airport terminal, station, train pass and access guide

West Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kyushu) 7 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

This itinerary includes Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima and North part of Kyushu (Hakata, Nagasaki, Aso and Beppu). This starts from Tokyo and your Japan Rail pass will be started to use from Tokyo station. You may start this itinerary from Shinagawa station, if you arrive at Haneda airport early morning. And of course, you can start this itinerary from Osaka or Kansai airport too. Osaka and Kansai airport are much closer to Kyoto than Tokyo. If you start this itinerary from Osaka, the itinerary is more smooth and easier. Continue reading West Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kyushu) 7 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

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

Special rapid trains route map (Click to enlarge)
Special rapid trains route map (Click to enlarge)

JR West operates many commute trains, rapid and local between 5:30 am and midnight. But when you travel in Kansai area by JR trains, special rapid service trains are the best way to travel among cities, like Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Wakayama and Kansai airport. These “Special” rapid service skips many stations and much faster than rapid and local trains. If you use JR pass, you may take limited express trains. But these rapid service trains are sometimes faster than express trains and run much more frequently. That means you do not check the timetable. These are commute trains and mostly very busy in even daytime and late night, but it is convenient. It is a key to understand this rapid train system to travel among cities in Kansai area.

In this post, I would like to show you the route of Rapid service trains network and how to use these trains. Continue reading Most economical transfer, No express surcharge! Rapid Service Network in Kansai area

Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka route and timetable. Direct access to Shin Osaka, Tennoji and Kyoto from Kansai airport

Limited Express Haruka connects Kansai airport and Kyoto via Tennoji and Shin-Osaka.
Limited Express Haruka connects Kansai airport and Kyoto via Tennoji and Shin-Osaka.

Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka may be your first train if you arrive in Kansai airport. It is operated between Kansai (Osaka) airport, Tennoji, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Kusatsu and Maibara. But please be careful that Haruka does not stop at Osaka station. It stop at Tennoji and Shin-Osaka. If you want to go to Osaka station, you have to transfer to the local train at Shin-Osaka. This express train has 30 round trips a day and are operated mostly every 30 minutes.

Continue reading Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka route and timetable. Direct access to Shin Osaka, Tennoji and Kyoto from Kansai airport

How to explore Kyoto by JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass, and other JR West Rail Passes

Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kyoto Imperial Palace ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

Kyoto (京都) is most popular destination in Japan. You may visit Kyoto by Japan Rail Pass, Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Wide Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and other JR West Rail Passes. You may be wondering how much you can use your pass to explore Kyoto?

In this post, I tell you the coverage of JR Pass and other rail passes in Kyoto. Continue reading How to explore Kyoto by JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass, and other JR West Rail Passes

How to access to Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

Koyasan (Mt. Koya) (C) JNTO
World Heritage site Koyasan (Mt. Koya) too. (C) JNTO

Mt. Koya (Koyasan) is one of very popular destinations in Kansai area. Most common way to Mt. Koya is Nankai Railway line. It takes you to Gokurakubashi station where is located at the base of Mt. Koya. You may transfer to the funicular to Mt. Koya.

If you use JR deals, such as JR Pass (nationwide pass), Kansai area pass, Kansai Hiroshima area pass and other JR West passes, you cannot use the pass because Nankai Railway is not JR. If you do not use these JR deals, you may use other deals, such as Kansai Thru Pass, Koyasan World Heritage Pass.

You may use these JR deals partially to get Mt. Koya if you want.

In this post, I would like to show you the way to get Mt. Koya and also tell you how you use the deal.

Continue reading How to access to Mt. Koya (Koyasan)

Two most popular spots in 7 days! Sample itinerary Kyoto and Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days pass

Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto ©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

I have received some inquiries about trip to Kyoto and Hokkaido in only 7 days. It is packed but it is not impossible. I would like to share the sample itinerary which covers Kyoto and Hokkaido. Continue reading Two most popular spots in 7 days! Sample itinerary Kyoto and Hokkaido 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days pass

Sample itinerary Four world heritage sites (Shirakawago, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima), Kanazawa and Kyoto 7 days by Japan Rail Pass

Light-up at Kiyomizu-dera temple
Light-up at Kiyomizu-dera temple

This itinerary includes four world heritage sites, Shirakawa-go, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima. This also includes two popular sites, Takayama and Kanazawa.

Do not use Japan Rail Pass for the transfer to downtown Tokyo from Narita airport because most of tourists stay in Tokyo for the first several days. You will start to use your pass when you leave from Tokyo. There are lots of deals available for Narita to Tokyo. Continue reading Sample itinerary Four world heritage sites (Shirakawago, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Miyajima), Kanazawa and Kyoto 7 days by Japan Rail Pass