Tag Archives: Kyoto

For non JR pass travellers. Guide to use JR single ticket, basic rules, validity and stopover

Typical JR ticket is like this.
Typical JR ticket is like this.

I have received many inquiries about Tokyo-Osaka one way trip. I always recommend to use single ticket for long distance transfer. like from Tokyo to Kyoto, Tokyo to Osaka or Osaka to Nagoya. Because it is cheaper than Japan Rail Pass 7 days pass. I wrote about fare calculation before. But I think it is not enough. I need to explain much more about JR single ticket rule. It is very complicated for the tourists from oversea. But you don’t need to understand everything. If you understand some basic rules, single ticket is more useful and it may save your cost.

In this post, I show you some basic rules of single ticket for long distance transfer and how to use and purchase it. Continue reading

Sample itinerary Tokyo to Osaka in just 7 days by Japan Rail Pass 7 days

Mt Fuji from Lake Shoji  	©Akira Okada/©JNTO
Mt Fuji from Lake Shoji ©Akira Okada/©JNTO

I have received many inquiries about Tokyo – Osaka one way trip from many readers. But Japan Rail Pass 7 days is too much for Tokyo (even Narita) to Osaka (even Kansai) one way trip. Single fare is much cheaper than 7 days pass price. So in this itinerary, I include Mt. Fuji, Hiroshima and Miyajima and still include Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. This itinerary can be done in just 7 days from airport to airport. But if you want to travel a little more slowly and stay longer, you can add some local deals beside 7 days pass. I tell you at the end of this post about add on plan. Of course you can do this itinerary from Osaka to Tokyo. Continue reading

Ise access guide. Kintetsu is the best way but we can use JR Pass too.

This building is Naiku Kaguraden. It is one of the buildings in one of two shrines, Naiku and Gaiku.
This building is Naiku Kaguraden. It is one of the buildings in one of two shrines, Naiku and Gaiku.

Ise is well known as home of Ise Grand Shrine (Ise Jingu). This is one of the most sacred and most famous Shinto shrine throughout Japan. And most part of Ise area is located in Ise-Shima National Park. There are lots of beautiful scenery and you can enjoy many kinds of fresh seafood. If you are family traveller, there are aquarium in Toba area and Shima Spanish village theme park in Shima area. There are many kinds of attraction for all types of travellers.

Ise, Toba and Shima areas are very accessible by Kintetsu Railway’s train. Most of domestic travellers use this train. But if you are Japan Rail Pass user, you can use the pass with small restriction. I tell you about access to this area by both Kintetsu trains and JR trains. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Kansai Thru Pass sample itineraries

There are lots of NON JR trains in Kansai. Most of them can be taken by Kansai Thru Pass.
There are lots of NON JR trains in Kansai. Most of them can be taken by Kansai Thru Pass.

If you go to Osaka, Kansai Thru Pass may be your choice. But as I explained about this pass on the post, How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare, we need to take a train many many times. And I compared single fare and the price of pass. But it may be complicated for some readers. Some of you may be overwhelmed. So I show you more detailed itineraries in this post. I hope you can understand this pass much easier. Continue reading

Sanin area train access guide. How to access to Kinosaki, Izumo, Matsue, Tottori and other major cities in Sanin area.

Limited Express Hamakaze crossing one of famous bridge, Amarube Bridge. (C) RSA - JR West KiHa 189 series DMU on a Hamakaze limited express service crossing the Amarube Viaduct on the Sanin Main Line
Limited Express Hamakaze crossing one of famous bridge, Amarube Bridge. (C) RSA – JR West KiHa 189 series DMU on a Hamakaze limited express service crossing the Amarube Viaduct on the Sanin Main Line

I published several post about the limited express trains to Sanin area, such as Super Oki, Super Matsukaze, Super Inaba, Super Hakuto and Hamakaze. But there are some more trains from Osaka and Kyoto to Kinosaki-Onsen area. And there are several gateway stations. You might be confused.

This post shows you all trains to Sanin area, such as northern part to Hyogo and Kyoto, Tottori, Shimane and northern part to Yamaguchi. I hope you will find the right way to the place where you want to go. Continue reading

The fastest train access to Tottori from Osaka and Kyoto. Limited Express Super Hakuto

Limited Express Super Hakuto is operated by high speed diesel fleet HOT 7000 series. (C) Mitsuki-2368 – Chizu Express Company HOT7000 Super hakuto

Limited Express Super Hakuto (スーパーはくと) connects Kyoto (京都), Shin-Osaka (新大阪), Osaka (大阪), Sannomiya (三ノ宮) and Himeji (姫路) with Tottori (鳥取) and Kurayoshi (倉吉). This it the fastest and most frequent direct train service to Tottori from Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. But this train goes through non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. That means you need to pay extra if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t want to pay extra, Limited Express Hamakaze is available between Osaka and Tottori. However there is only one round trip and travel time is 1.5 hours longer than Super Hakuto.

I think Super Hakuto may be your choice even if you have to pay extra on top of Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations. Continue reading

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

Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.
Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.

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. Continue reading

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.

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. So I would like to explain about Kansai Thru Pass more. And I show you sample itineraries and total cost. I hope it will help you to compare this deal and single fare. Continue reading

How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient.

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

Nara is former capital city in Japan and it is older than Kyoto. Some of shrines, temples and districts are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you travel in Kansai area, you may think about trip to Nara or stay in Nara. If you go to Osaka or Kyoto from other cities, such as Tokyo, you can get on Shikansen. It is easy and very accessible. How about Nara? It is not very accessible as much as Kyoto or Osaka. But it is easy. Especially if you use Japan Rail Pass, JR West Kansai Area Pass and Kansai WIDE Area Pass, you can access to Nara by JR lines without any extra charge. And Kintesu Railway (private railway company) connects Osaka/Kyoto with Nara too.

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

Kansai WIDE Area Pass, the best deal for Kansai and Okayama, Kurashiki, Kinosakai and Shingu area

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
Kansai Airport Express Haruka
Of course, Kansai Airport Express Haruka is covered by this rail pass

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

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. Continue reading

How to access to Kanazawa and Toyama from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Niigata.

Kenrokuen is one of the biggest names in Kanazawa and also one of three  top gardens in Japan.  ©Ishikawa Prefecture Tourist Association and Kanazawa Convention Bureau/© JNTO
Kenrokuen is one of the biggest names in Kanazawa and also one of three top gardens in Japan. ©Ishikawa Prefecture Tourist Association and Kanazawa Convention Bureau/© JNTO

Kanazawa is one of the big names in Japan. It has lovely preserved town and Kenrokuen garden that is one of three well known gardens with Kairakuen (Mito) and Korakuen (Okayama). Kanazawa is located in Hokuriku region. In this region, Toyama is well known as the gateway to Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route.

In mid March, 2015, Hokuriku Shinkansen open and both Kanazawa and Toyama are very accessible from Tokyo. In this post, I would like to show you about access from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Niigata. Continue reading

Direct transfer to Kinosaki and Maizuru from Kyoto, Limited Express Kinosaki / Maizuru

Most of Kinosaki and all Maizuru are operated by the newest fleet of JR West. (C) Jonathan Ayre
Most of Kinosaki and all Maizuru are operated by the newest fleet of JR West. (C) Jonathan Ayre

Kinosaki (きのさき) connects Kyoto (京都) with Kinosaki-Onsen (城崎温泉), Toyooka (豊岡) and Fukuchiyama (福知山). When you go to the popular hot springs town, Kinosaki or one of “Three Views of Japan”, Amanohashidate (天橋立) from Kyoto you may take this train.

Maizuru (まいづる) connects Kyoto with Maizuru (舞鶴). This limited express train is always combined operation with Kinosaki between Kyoto and Ayabe (綾部).

Of course, these trains, Kinosaki and Maizuru can be used by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations of these trains. Continue reading

Throughout Japan 14 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 14 days pass

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

This itinerary includes many popular spots throughout Japan in 14 days. This itinerary starts from Tokyo. But if you want to start from Osaka, you can start from Day 11 to Day 14, and then start from Day 1 to Day10. Actually 14 days in not enough to see all popular spots in Japan. I include Hokkaido in this itinerary. But it does not include Shiretoko because of not enough time. I could not include south part of Kyushu, Hakone and Mt. Fuji either. If you can give up Tohoku part, you can get more time in Hokkaido. Of course you can go to Shiretoko.

Anyway this is a sample. I hope this sample itinerary help you When you make your own plan. Continue reading

Overnight limited express train Nihonkai

Overnight train Nihonkai is the best way to save the time from Osaka to Aomori (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight train Nihonkai is the best way to save the time from Osaka to Aomori (C) Sonic Rail Garden
***This train scheduled service was discontinued on March, 2012 due to small demand. It is operated as a seasonal operation train. Please refer the most updated operation date at Seasonal Trains Schedule.***

Nihonkai (日本海) is one of JR Overnight Express trains. It connects Osaka (大阪) with Akita (秋田) and Aomori (青森). This train has only the berth. So if you will use Japan Rail Pass, Japan Rail Pass does not cover an accommodation charge and also limited express surcharge. Even though Japan Rail Pass cover a basic fare, Nihonkai is still considerable way to get Aomori from Osaka. Let’s see the types of accommodation and extra charge. Continue reading

How to access from Kansai airport to downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe

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

Kansai airport is the international airport in Osaka. It is the closest international airport to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe too. There are many ways to get downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. In this post, I give you basic information about the route to major spots in Osaka. I also have another links below to tell you about Kansai airport. Continue reading

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

Access to Nara from Kyoto by Japan Railways, Miyakoji Rapid Service

Miyakoji Rapid Service is operated by JR West 221 series.
Miyakoji Rapid Service is operated by JR West 221 series.

Miyakoji Rapid Service is the fastest local train that is operated between Kyoto (=京都) and Nara (=奈良). Most of local tourists take Kintetsu (近鉄) line to Nara. Because they have many more trains and very frequent. If you travel in Japan without Japan Rail Pass, you may use Kintetsu line. But most of travellers from foreign countries use Japan Rail Pass. So this Rapid Service is your best choice, because you don’t need to pay any extra. This line used to be very local and inconvenient. But JR West upgrade the trains and timetable. Now JR West operate many Rapid trains. It is very convenient and frequent departure these days.

And there is no limited express train to Nara. So this Miyakoji Rapid Service is the fastest and best choice for accessing from Kyoto. Continue reading

Most convenient and the fastest train among Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Special Rapid Service

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

Special Rapid Service is the fastest local train that is operated between Tsuruga (=敦賀) and Kamigori (=上郡) via Kyoto (=京都), Shin-Osaka (=新大阪), Osaka (=大阪), Sannomiya (=三ノ宮), Kobe (=神戸) and Himeji (=姫路). Especially JR West compete with Hankyu (=阪急) and Keihan (=京阪) between Kyoto and Osaka, with Hankyu and Hanshin (=阪神) between Osaka and Kobe. So JR West have to offer fast and good quality of services. As a result, the time required by this train is faster than Shinkansen between Osaka and Kyoto. Since Shinkansen do not have a station in downtown Kobe, this trains is faster than Shinkansen between Osaka and Kobe too. Of course this train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details. Continue reading

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

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

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 in Japan. It is operated between Kansai (Osaka) airport and Greater Osaka area, 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

Overnight transfer Niigata – Kyoto and Osaka, Overnight Express Train Kitaguni

Overnight express train Kitaguni (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight express train Kitaguni (C) Sonic Rail Garden

***According to media release on Jan 31, 2013 from JR West, this train scheduled service was officially discontinued. This train will never run again.***

***According to media release on Nov 18 from JR West, this train scheduled service will be discontinued on March, 2012 due to small demand. It will be operated as a seasonal operation train. Please refer the most updated operation date at Seasonal Trains Schedule.***

Kitaguni(きたぐに) is one of very few express trains in Japan Railway Group. This train is the overnight train that connects Osaka/Kyoto area with Niigata area. If you want to save the time and save your budget for the hotels in Osaka, Kyoto or Niigata, this train is perfect choice. This train has non reserved ordinary seat. So you can take this train without any extra charge by Japan Rail Pass. Kitaguni has some sleeper cars and Green class too. If you have Japan Rail Pass Green pass, you can take Green car with no extra cost. But you need to pay extra to use sleeper class by using any Japan Rail Pass. I will tell you the extra charge and show you some images. Continue reading

Save time and money! Overnight transfer between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka

Overnight bus service "Dream"
Overnight bus service Dream

Additional info on March 3, 2013.
Japan Rail Pass official site announced express bus service will be no longer available for Japan Rail Pass that will be exchanged after April 1, 2013. Please be careful that Overnight highway bus “Dream” will not be covered by Japan Rail Pass.

If you want to save the time and save your money to stay hotel, overnight transfer is the perfect solution. Especially most of travellers transfer among three major cities, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. We have several ways to take overnight transfer among these cities by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see how we can transfer.

Continue reading

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 received some questions about possibility visiting Kyoto and Hokkaido in only 7 days. So I show you itinerary about Kyoto and Hokkaido.
We don’t 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 from Tokyo station.

Day 1
06:23am Depart from Tokyo station by Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari 501.
09:15am Arrive at Kyoto station. After arrival, enjoy exploring in Kyoto.
*Hikari departs at Tokyo station every 30 minutes. If you want to depart a bit later, you can take later Hikari. If you arrive at Narita or Haneda early morning, you can transfer to Kyoto on the arrival day.
*You can start this itinerary from Osaka / Kansai airport

Day 2
Full day free in Kyoto

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

Day 3
Transfer to Osaka station. You can take a local train to Osaka. Shin-Kaisoku (新快速=Rapid urban service) will take you to Osaka from Kyoto in 30 minutes. Shin-Kaisoku departs at Kyoto every 15 minutes. After arrival, exploring in downtown Osaka.
24:34(00:34 in Day 4) Take Sunrise Seto/Izumo at Osaka station. Overnight in the train.

Day 4
07:08am Arrive at Tokyo station
07:32am Depart from Tokyo station for Shin-Aomori by Tohoku Shinkansen Hayate 15.
11:09am Arrive at Shin-Aomori station.
11:35am Depart from Shin-Aomori station for Hakodate by Limited Express Super Hakucho 15.
13:44pm Arrive at Hakodate station.
14:00pm Depart from Hakodate station by Limited Express Hokuto 11.
15:55pm Arrive at Date-Monbetsu. Catch a local bus to Toyako Onsen (洞爺湖温泉=Lake Toya Hot Springs Resort). Additional fare is 580 yen for one way.
Enjoy Japanese Onsen!

Day 5
Take a local bus to Date-Monbetsu station.
10:15am Depart from Date-Monbetsu station for Sapporo by Limited Express Super Hokuto 3.
11:47am Arrive at Sapporo. After arrival, enjoy sightseeing Sapporo or short trip to Otaru.

Downtown Sapporo  © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
Downtown Sapporo © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

Day 6
10:37am Depart from Sapporo station for Hakodate by Limited Express Super Hokuto 10.
13:52pm Arrive at Hakodate station. After arrival, enjoy exploring in Hakodate.

Day 7
11:19am Depart from Hakodate for Shin-Aomori by Limited Express Hakucho 29.
13:28pm Arrive at Shin-Aomori station
13:42pm Depart from Shin-Aomori by a href=”https://jprail.com/trains/tohoku-shinkansen.html”>Tohoku Shinkansen Hayate 28.
17:08pm Arrive at Tokyo.
*If you start this itinerary, take Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka. We still have lots of Hikari bound for Shin-Osaka.