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?
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.
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.
I have received inquiries about the trip to Kansai area many times. So I make a basic itinerary that includes Kansai area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara only. This is 7 days itinerary. But you can shorten or extend as you can.
Kyoto is the biggest name in Japan. Most of you will visit Kyoto. JR Kyoto station is probably the first step to Kyoto for you. There are so many trains, such as Shinkansen, Limited Express Haruka from Kansai airport, Limited Express Thuderbird to Kanazawa, commute trains to Osaka, Kobe and Nara, Kintetsu train, Kyoto city subway and many many more to depart and arrive in this station.
*This deal will be sold until February 28, 2015 and can be exchanged until May 31, 2015. On March 1, 2015, this deal, Sanyo Area Pass will be replaced by Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass.
This pass covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. You can take any trains in the coverage area with a few exception. If you will be a temporary visitor, you are eligible to purchase this deal.
If you have round trip from Osaka to Hakata, this pass is much cheaper than single fares. But if you travel outside of Kansai area or just go to Hiroshima, you may consider other deals.
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.
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.
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.
Yamatoji Rapid Service is the fastest local train that is operated between Osaka (=大阪) and Nara (=奈良). Most of local tourists take Kintetsu line (近鉄) 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 by Japan Rail Pass. This line used to be very local and inconvenient. But JR West upgrade the trains and operate many Rapid trains. It is very convenient and frequent departure these days.
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.
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.
Mt. Koya (Koyasan) has been getting popular destination in these days. 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.