Shin-Kobe station guide. How to change the Shinkansen and Kobe city subway.

Shin-Kobe is the Sanyo Shinkansen station in Kobe. It is a step away from downtown Kobe. There is subway station in Shin-Kobe too. This subway line connects Shin-Kobe and Sannomiya which is the downtown core of Kobe.

In this post, I would like to show you the structure of Shin-Kobe station. I also explain how to change the Shinkansen and Kobe city subway too.

Continue reading Shin-Kobe station guide. How to change the Shinkansen and Kobe city subway.

Kobe Sannomiya stations guide. Check the location and connections between many Sannomiya stations.

JR Sannomiya station north side
JR Sannomiya station north side

If you make a trip to Kobe, you may disembark a train at Sannomiya station. Sannomiya is downtown core of Kobe and you may access to many places from this station. There are three major railway’s stations, JR, Hankyu Railway and Hanshin Railway. And there are three more stations, two of Kobe subway and one of Port Liner. Each station is not a big station and structure is quite simple. But there are many stations and it may be complicated for you. And you may be overwhelmed.

In this post, I would like to share the information about all stations in Sannomiya. I would like to show you how to move among these stations. And also Sannomiya is the gateway to other areas. I would like to show you some information about bus stops around Sannomiya station.

Continue reading Kobe Sannomiya stations guide. Check the location and connections between many Sannomiya stations.

Guide to take trains in Kobe. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Night view of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park
Night view of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park

You may be overwhelmed by train services in Kobe. Actually it is much easier to handle than Osaka and Kyoto. Most of places to see are located in downtown Kobe. Many of them can be accessed on foot from major stations directly. However understanding train system is a key to save your time. Kobe can be combined with Himeji easily. You may spend half day in Kobe and enjoy in Osaka rest of the day.

For travelling in Kansai area, there are many types of deals, such as ICOCA, Kansai Thru Pass, JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass and many more. Each pass has different conditions. You have to understand which train system is covered by your pass. And also Kobe is very closed to Osaka. You may not have many chances to take a train and that means single fare may be the best option for you.

In this post, I will show you the route map and explain all train systems in Kobe.

Continue reading Guide to take trains in Kobe. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

How to choose the deals for access to/from Kansai Airport

Kansai Airport arrival  level at ground floor
Kansai Airport arrival level at ground floor

If you arrive in Kansai airport, most of you go to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe or maybe Nara, Wakayama. There are many deals that you can choose. You maybe confused and overwhelmed to pick up. In this post, I would like to show you all available deals and help you to find the best deal for you.

If you have plan to stay in Osaka for entire stay and make day trips to other places from Osaka, the following post may help you to build your itinerary.

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.
Continue reading How to choose the deals for access to/from Kansai Airport

Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO
Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO

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.

Now I would like to tell you the best route and most economical deals about this trip.

Continue reading Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

How to access to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe from late arrival flight at Kansai Airport-KIX

Kansai airport is a manmade island.  Ltd/©JNTO
Kansai airport is a manmade island. Ltd/©JNTO

I have received many inquiries about access to Osaka from the flight that arrive after 21:00 at Kansai airport (KIX). Some of you cannot have any idea how long you will spend after arrival to get the station. And you may not know what time the last train departs from Kansai airport.

You must know these information before you touch down at Kansai airport. In this post, I will tell you about it. Continue reading How to access to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe from late arrival flight at Kansai Airport-KIX

ICOCA and Haruka, Kansai One Pass and Haruka, and Haruka discount ticket. Very flexible and good deal for tourist who stay in Kansai.

Limited Express Haruka at Kansai Airport station
The 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, Kansai One Pass/ICOCA and Haruka gives you a good deal for the transfer from Kansai airport to Osaka or Kyoto, and the local sightseeing in Kansai region.

This deal gives you access to Osaka or Kyoto by the limited express Haruka and some preloaded e-money in ICOCA or Kansai One Pass.

I will tell you what this deal is and how to use it in this post.

Continue reading ICOCA and Haruka, Kansai One Pass and Haruka, and Haruka discount ticket. Very flexible and good deal for tourist who stay in Kansai.

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

The limited express Super Hakuto train guide. The fastest train access to Tottori from Osaka and Kyoto

 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.

Route, schedule and travel time

Outdoor hot springs alongside the river at Misasa Onsen ©Tottori Prefecture/©JNTO

There are seven round trips. Some of these seven round trips go to Tottori only, not Kurayoshi.
Kyoto/Osaka – Tottori : 5 trips
Kyoto/Osaka – Tottori/Kurayoshi : 2 trips
Tottori – Osaka/Kyoto : 6 trips
Kurayoshi/Tottori – Osaka/Kyoto : 1 trip

Trains are operated every 2 hours. Travel time is 2 hours 30 minutes from Osaka to Tottori and 3 hours from Kyoto to Tottori. You can take Limited Express Hamakaze without any extra charge on top of Japan Rail Pass. But it takes more than 4 hours to get Tottori from Osaka. I think it is worth getting on this train with extra charge. I will tell you about extra charge later.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels and Ryokans in Tottori
Hotels and Ryokans in Kurayoshi

If you see the map below, you might think this train’s route seems to be a big detour. However this is the fastest route because Chizu Kyuko line is a high standard track for high speed train operation. And if you travel from Nagoya or Tokyo, you can transfer at Himeji.

Limited Express Super Hakuto makes a stop at these stations:
Kyoto (京都) – Shin-Osaka (新大阪) – Osaka (大阪) – Sannomiya (三ノ宮) – Akashi (明石) – Himeji (姫路) – Kamigori (上郡) – Sayo (佐用) – Ohara (大原) – Chizu (智頭) – Koge (郡家) – Tottori (鳥取) – Kurayoshi (倉吉)


View Limited Express Super Hakuto in a larger map

Extra charge on Japan Rail Pass

As I mentioned, you have to pay extra if you use this train by JR Pass. You have to pay 1,320 yen for the base fare. And also you have to pay one of these following fares:

Non Reserved Oridnary seat430 yen
Reserved Oridnary seat530 yen
Green seat1,060 yen

You can try to get on limited express Hamakaze without any extra charge. Please see the details at the post below:

Accommodation and train formations

 If you get the first row seat, you may get panoramic view. (C) Bakkai – Chizu Express Koiyamagata Station platform

Super Hakuto is operated by the Chizu Kyuko Railway’s HOT 7000 series. In ordinary class, the seat configuration is 2+2 and the leg space is 970 mm. Green class seat is one of the best seat in Kansai area. The seat configuration is 2+1 and the leg space is 1,160 mm. There are only 18 seats available on one train set. It is very popular and sold out very often.

Train formation

12345
NRNRRR/GR

*G=Green seat R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non reserved ordinary seat
Smoking is not allowed on this train.

Green class seat (C) W0746203-1
Green class seat (C) 663highland
Ordinary seat (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Ordinary seat (C) Sonic Rail Garden

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.

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

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

JR Special Rapid Service, most useful train among Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Himeji.

Many passengers are waiting for Special Rapid Service in Osaka station. Special Rapid is very popular for both commuters and the travelers.

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 JR Special Rapid Service, most useful train among Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Himeji.