What is IC card, Suica, ICOCA, Pasmo? How to use these cards?

Suica is one of major IC cards in Japan. (C) suica card
by bitmask

IC card is a rechargeable smart card which is issued by railway companies. It is getting very common ways to travel in these days. Once you have this card, ticket purchasing is not required. It gives you convenience. But there are many types of card available. And it is so hard to find which train and bus are covered by these cards.

In this post, I will show you the list of major IC cards, the difference of these cards, and coverage area. Continue reading What is IC card, Suica, ICOCA, Pasmo? How to use these cards?

Peach / Vanilla Kita Hokkaido Free Pass

Cape Soya is northernmost point in Japan. (C) By Rsa [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

I introduced Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass in the previous post. That covers eastern Hokkaido and available for anybody who arrive in New Chitose airport or Kushiro airport by Peach Air or Vanilla Air. In this post, I will show you very similar deal which is Peach / Vanilla Kita Hokkaido Free Pass. This is designed for the trip to northern part of Hokkaido. If you are under 25 years old, you can get this pass at U25 discount rate.

I would like to show you how you use this pass. Continue reading Peach / Vanilla Kita Hokkaido Free Pass

Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass

Farm near Furano, typical scenery in Hokkaido (C) Furano / JNTO

I explain many deals in this site but these are mostly available for overseas tourist only. In this post, I would like to show you the deal for both resident and overseas tourist in this post. This deal, Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass is designed for the trip to eastern part of Hokkaido. If you are under 25 years old, you can get this pass at U25 discount rate.

I would like to show you how you use this pass. Continue reading Peach / Vanilla Higashi Hokkaido Free Pass

Furano Biei Rail Ticket is the perfect choice for the trip to Furano, Biei and Asahikawa.

Patchwork Hill is one of popular spots in Biei. (C) JTA/ JNTO

If you think about making a day trip or a few days trip to Furano and Biei from Sapporo, this deals, “Furano Biei Rail Ticket” is the best deal. This ticket includes unlijmited ride in these areas and round trip from Sapporo.

In this post, I will tell you the detailed information about this deal. I also show you the comparison between this ticket and Hokkaido Rail Pass. Continue reading Furano Biei Rail Ticket is the perfect choice for the trip to Furano, Biei and Asahikawa.

Greater Tokyo Pass offers unlimited ride of Tokyo Subway and major Non JR lines in Tokyo and surrounding area.

Downtown Tokyo (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTO

In March, 2018, new rail pass, “Greater Tokyo Pass” was launched in overseas tourist market. This new deal covers all subway lines in Tokyo and major non JR railway services in Tokyo and surrounding area. Both Haneda and Narita airports are covered by this pass. You can start using this pass right after you arrive in Japan.

In this post, I would like to share the information about Greater Tokyo Pass. You will find how you use this pass and what type of travel you can get the worth by. Continue reading Greater Tokyo Pass offers unlimited ride of Tokyo Subway and major Non JR lines in Tokyo and surrounding area.

Seishun 18 kippu, Unlimilited ride deal of local and rapid trains on all JR lines

Seishun 18 Kippu. The price is shown at 11,500 yen on this ticket. But now it is sold at 11,850 yen.

I have been asked about Seishun 18 Kippu by readers many times. This ticket gives you unlimited ride for 5 days at only 11,850 yen. It seems to be very very attractive. But it covers local train and rapid train only. It is very affordable. However it has many restrictions too.

In this post, I explain how to use Seishun 18 Kippu. Continue reading Seishun 18 kippu, Unlimilited ride deal of local and rapid trains on all JR lines

All Shikoku Rail Pass. The best deal to visit Shikoku and covers all train services in Shikoku.

At Matsuyama castle. Plum trees were blooming.

All Shikoku Rail Pass is only deals that is provided by JR Shikoku. It covers all railway services in Shikoku. If you plan to visit Shikoku but JR pass is too much, this deals may be your perfect choice.

In this post, I would like to share the information about All Shikoku Rail Pass. Continue reading All Shikoku Rail Pass. The best deal to visit Shikoku and covers all train services in Shikoku.

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO
Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO

There are several deals for sightseeing in Kyoto. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Kyoto and want to visit the places there. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Kyoto from other cities, such as day trip to Kyoto from Osaka, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information about the deal that covers Kyoto and other cities in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area Continue reading How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Kyoto

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO
Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO

There are many deals for sightseeing in Osaka. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Osaka and want to visit the places in Osaka. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Osaka from other cities, such as day trip to Osaka from Kyoto, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass is most recommended. Because Kansai Thru Pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area Continue reading How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Platt Kodama, one way deal among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka by Shinkansen

Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. Kodama is the slowest train on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line.
Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. Kodama is the slowest train on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line.

When you move among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka, you may think to take Shinkansen (a.k.a. bullet train). If you have round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto/Shin-Osaka, JR pass is the best choice. But even 7 days JR pass price is almost equal to round trip fare and seat fee of Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka. JR pass is not the best choice for one way movement.

Platt Kodama is a sort of Shinkansen one way trip discount ticket among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka. I would like to show you this ticket in this post. Continue reading Platt Kodama, one way deal among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka by Shinkansen

JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.

Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO
Cherry blossom in Kakunodate Samurai Residence district. It is one of the highlights in Tohoku region. (C) Akita Prefecture / JNTO

JR East has decided to divide JR East into two regional passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano, and JR East Pass Tohoku. Current JR East pass will be discontinued in the end of March and these two JR East passes will be on sale. In this post, I would like to explain one of these passes, JR East Pass Tohoku in this post. Continue reading JR East Pass Tohoku. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Tokyo, surrounding area of Tokyo and Tohoku region.

JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Kanto region, Nagano and Niigata.

Zenko-ji temple in Nagano (left) and Yuzawa Onsen in Niigata (right)  (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO
Zenko-ji temple in Nagano (left) and Yuzawa Onsen in Niigata (right) (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO

JR East has decided to divide JR East into two regional passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano, and JR East Pass Tohoku. Current JR East pass will be discontinued in the end of March and these two JR East passes will be on sale. In this post, I would like to explain one of these passes, JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano in this post. Continue reading JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano. Flex 5 days pass in 14 days period to cover Kanto region, Nagano and Niigata.

JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass user guide. Perfect deal for the travelers who visit Tokyo and Sapporo by train.

Night view form Mt.Hakodate ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO
Night view form Mt.Hakodate. Hakodate is one of the popular places in Hokkaido. ©Hokkaido Tourism Organization/© JNTO

This brand new pass will be released in April, 2016. This pass covers Narita airport, Greater Tokyo, Gala Yuzawa, Nikko, whole part of Tohoku region, Hakodate, Otaru, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya and Sapporo. You also may use this pass to get Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone even though this pass covers these trips partially. You cannot use this pass to get central, northern and eastern Hokkaido, such as Furano, Asahikawa, Shiretoko, Kushiro. Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) is better choice if you intend to visit these places.

In this post, I would like to show you the detail of this pass. And I show you some sample rate and compare the pass value and single fares. You may find this suits your plan or not. Continue reading JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass user guide. Perfect deal for the travelers who visit Tokyo and Sapporo by train.

Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass user guide. Clarify valid trains, coverage area and compare single fare and pass.

Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka are covered by this deal. (C) ©Sue Ann Simon (upper left), Osaka Government Tourism Bureau (lower left), Yasufumi Nish (upper right), Kanazawa City (lower right) and JNTO (all photos)
Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka are covered by this deal. (C) ©Sue Ann Simon (upper left), Osaka Government Tourism Bureau (lower left), Yasufumi Nish (upper right), Kanazawa City (lower right) and JNTO (all photos)

This brand new pass will be released in April, 2016. This pass covers Narita airport, Tokyo, Nagano, Toyama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Kansai airport. It does not cover Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto via Nagoya direct route by Shinkansen. It is valid for consecutive 7 days. Valid period is same as Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) 7 days. Price is cheaper than JR Pass 7 days but coverage area is much smaller. Is this a good deal and worth using for Tokyo-Kanazawa-Kyoto-Osaka trip?

In this post, I would like to show you the detail of this pass. And I show you some sample rate and compare the pass value and single fares. You may find this suits your plan or not. Continue reading Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass user guide. Clarify valid trains, coverage area and compare single fare and pass.

Tokyo Wide Pass is newer version of Kanto Area Pass. Nikko, Fuji, Gala Yuzawa and Odaiba are covered by this pass.

The view of Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba (C) Mike Luk / JNTO
The view of Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba (C) Mike Luk / JNTO

Tokyo Wide Pass is currently sold as Kanto Area Pass. This pass will be remodeled and will be sold as Tokyo Wide Pass on December 1, 2015. It covers Tokyo and surrounding area, such as Mt. Fuji, Izu peninsula, or Nikko. Echigo-Yuzawa will be covered by Tokyo Wide Pass but it is not by Kanto Area Pass.

Tokyo Wide Pass will be sold at the higher price on December 1st, 2015 but the coverage ares will be bigger. I would like to show you about this pass and also I talk about the difference between Tokyo Wide Pass and Kanto Area Pass. Continue reading Tokyo Wide Pass is newer version of Kanto Area Pass. Nikko, Fuji, Gala Yuzawa and Odaiba are covered by this pass.

Trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium by Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.
Whale shark tank is the biggest reason to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

The last time I went to Osaka Kaiyukan is 20 years ago. At that time, Kaiyuka had just opened and very busy. In my memory, there was only huge tank and I did not have a good memory. In this past March, I visited there and the first time in last 20 years. My daughter wanted to go and my family members wanted to go there with us too. I recognized Kaiyukan Aquarium was not bad at this time.

Anyway I used Osaka Kaiyu Ticket at this time and I would like to share my experience in Kaniyukan Aquarium with you. Continue reading Trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium by Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

Tanabata festival decoration in Takayama ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO
Tanabata festival decoration in Takayama ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO

Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass was released in 2014 and it has been one of the most popular deals so far. But it is supposed to be discontinued at the end of June 2015 because this deal is Shinkansen 50th years anniversary product. I have received many comments that said this deal would be continued to sell or not after July 1, 2015.

Now JR Central and JR West have made a decision to continue this product. I think they noticed this is very popular and lots of demand. The price is higher but coverage is bigger. In my opinion, it is good change even though price is higher.

In this post, I would like to share the information about this deal, Takayama – Hokuriku Area Pass with you. I will tell you the difference from Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass (available until end of June) and compare the price of pass and single fare too. Continue reading Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel to Kansai, Kanazawa and Toyama.

Dotonbori (Osaka/left) and Higashi Chaya district (Kanazawa/right)   	©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO  (Osaka/left) / © Kanazawa City/© JNTO (Kanazawa/right)
Dotonbori (Osaka/left) and Higashi Chaya district (Kanazawa/right) ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO (Osaka/left) / © Kanazawa City/© JNTO (Kanazawa/right)

Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass will be released after three JR West’s new passes, Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass. It will be on sale on 14th March, 2015. This is the first ever deal that covers Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe) and Hokuriku area (Kanazawa, Toyama). JR West has been selling Kansai Wide Area Pass and Hokuriku Area Pass. This pass is the deal that these passes are combined. It is much more convenient than combination of two passes and much easier to purchase.

I believe this pass will be very useful for travellers who stay in Kansai and travel to Hokuriku area and other area of outside Kansai. I am very happy to share the information of this pass with you in this post. Continue reading Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel to Kansai, Kanazawa and Toyama.

Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel both Kansai and Hiroshima.

The landmarks . Tsutenkaku tower (Osaka/left) and Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima/right)  ©JNTO (Osaka/left) / ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Hiroshima/right)
The landmarks . Tsutenkaku tower (Osaka/left) and Atomic Bomb Dome (Hiroshima/right) ©JNTO (Osaka/left) / ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Hiroshima/right)

Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass is one of JR West’s new products that was introduced in March, 2015. This is the first ever deal that covers Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe) and Hiroshima area. At this point, we have to choose the deal from very limited selections, Kansai Wide Area Pass or Sanyo Area Pass. We have to pay extra if we use Kansai Wide Area Pass. Sanyo Area Pass is too much and it does not include outside Kansai area, like Kii peninsula and Kinosaki Onsen. This pass will be the One for the traveller who travel both Kansai and Hiroshima. It is cheaper than Sanyo Area Pass. And it is wider coverage area than Kansai Wide Area Pass.

I believe this pass will be very popular. I am very excited to show you this pass in this post. Continue reading Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel both Kansai and Hiroshima.

Sanyo Sanin Area Pass. It is much better deal than Sanyo Area Pass.

Tsuwano (left), Atomic Bomb Dome (upper right) and Miyajima (lower right) are popular place to visit in the coverage area. ©Shimane Prefectural Goverment/©JNTO (Tsuwano/left) /   	©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Atomic bomb towere/upper right) / ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO (Miyajima/lower right)
Tsuwano (left), Atomic Bomb Dome (upper right) and Miyajima (lower right) are popular place to visit in the coverage area. ©Shimane Prefectural Goverment/©JNTO (Tsuwano/left) / ©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau (Atomic bomb towere/upper right) / ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO (Miyajima/lower right)

This will be on sale in March, 2015 and will replace currently selling Sanyo Area Pass. This pass includes all Sanyo Area Pass coverage area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. This pass also includes Sanin area (Matsue, Izumo, Tsuwano), Hikone, Maibara, Tsuruga, Wakayama and even part of Shikoku. It is wider coverage area, cheaper price and longer duration.

In this post, I tell you the details about this deal. Continue reading Sanyo Sanin Area Pass. It is much better deal than Sanyo Area Pass.

Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass. Designed for the tourists who travel to Hiroshima from Hakata.

Tsuwano (left) and Miyajima are popular place to visit in the coverage area. ©Shimane Prefectural Goverment/©JNTO (Tsuwano/left) / ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO (Miyajima/right)
Tsuwano (left) and Miyajima are popular place to visit in the coverage area. ©Shimane Prefectural Goverment/©JNTO (Tsuwano/left) / ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO (Miyajima/right)

JR West will release new three deals in March, 2015. Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass is one of these three deals. This is the first pass that cover only Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, and Shinkansen to Hakata. If you arrive in Fukuoka airport and only stay in Kyushu but want to travel to Hiroshima, this pass helps you. It is the perfect option for the trip to Hiroshima from Hakata, Kyushu.

I would like to show you this pass in this post. Continue reading Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass. Designed for the tourists who travel to Hiroshima from Hakata.

Kintetsu Rail Pass, Most affordable deal for Osaka/Kyoto-Nagoya and access to Ise.

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 will change the condition of Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide in October 2016. These deals will not include limited express voucher any more. Please be careful when you purchase and use these deals.

I have received many inquiries about Nagoya-Osaka or Kyoto trip. There are lots of travellers who arrive in Chubu (Nagoya) airport and depart from Kansai (Osaka) airport or reverse or arrive in/depart from Chubu. Even if you have round trip between Nagoya and Osaka, JR Pass is too expensive choice. And there is no options to cover both Nagoya and Osaka/Kyoto by JR. One way ticket from Nagoya to Osaka or Kyoto by Shinkansen is very common choice. However JR is not only railway that connect Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto. Kintetsu Railway that is the biggest private railway company operates many trains among these three cities, Nara, Ise and Yoshino. Kintetsu Railway has very useful deal for the travellers who want to travel in this area.

In this post, I would like to show you Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide. Continue reading Kintetsu Rail Pass, Most affordable deal for Osaka/Kyoto-Nagoya and access to Ise.

Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

Takayama has lovely preserved street. It is one of most popular destinations in Japan. ©Akimasa Yuasa/©JNTO
Takayama has lovely preserved street. It is one of most popular destinations in Japan. ©Akimasa Yuasa/©JNTO

I have received many inquiries about trip to Takayama and Shirakawago from both Nagoya and Osaka. We have never had a deal for Takayama from Kansai area, such as Osaka and Kyoto. Now JR Central and JR West have released Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. This pass includes not only train trip to Takayama and Kanazawa but also bus trip to World Heritage Shirakawago from both Kanazawa and Takayama.

In this post, I would like to share the information about this useful deal, Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass with you. And I will compare the price of pass and single fare too. Continue reading Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

The list of deals for Tokyo to/from Narita airport

Narita Airport departure floor © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
Narita Airport departure floor © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

It you use JR Pass, JR East Pass or Kanto Area Pass right after you arrive in Narita, you don’t need to purchase any more deals or passes. But some of you stay in Tokyo for the first several days and activate JR Pass or other deals. In this case, you might think about additional deal for the transfer to Tokyo from Narita.

In this post, I will show you the discount fare, budget type bus services and deals. Continue reading The list of deals for Tokyo to/from Narita airport

Mt. Fuji Round Trip Ticket is back in 2015. Perfect choice for just trip to Fuji san!

Mt. Fuji from Lake Motosu  	©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Mt. Fuji from Lake Motosu ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

This deal, Mt. Fuji Round Trip Ticket was on sale in 2013 and 2014 during summer season only. Now this deal has just been back in 2015 season. If you have a plan to Mt. Fuji and other place, like Nikko or Kusatsu, Kanto Area Pass is better choice. But if you need a deal for trip to Mt. Fuji only, this pass is most suitable.

I show you the the detail about this pass and compare with other deals. Continue reading Mt. Fuji Round Trip Ticket is back in 2015. Perfect choice for just trip to Fuji san!