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.

Who is eligible

Overseas tourist with short stay status and Japanese who lives abroad can purchase it. And also person with overseas tourist as guide can purchase the pass. The pass can be purchased at Kansai airport and many visitor centers in Kansai area. Please see the list of sales location at Kansai Thru Pass official website.

Next, person who lives in Japan other than Kansai area can purchase the pass actually. Why is the pass not available for person who lives in Kansai? Because this pass is not sold in seven prefectures, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama, Shiga and Mie for local tourists.

At last, if you live in Kansai area, 3 days ticket is usually sold during spring season (mid Mar to mid May), summer season (late Jul to late Aug) and autumn season (late Oct to late Dec). Please check the details at Surutto Kansai Pass official site (Japanese page).

*Kansai thru pass was discontinued for Japanese residence in fall, 2016.

Types and prices

Kansai Thru Pass has two types.

TYPESAdultChild (7-12yrs)
2 Days4,000 yen2,000 yen
3 Days5,200 yen2,600 yen

*Children under 6 years old is free.

You can use the pass on unconsecutive days on the sales period, such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The sales period is usually year by year, April to March in next year. Actually you can pick any three days (two days for two days pass) in this sales period. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night. Child (6-11 years) is half price. Under 6 years is free.

I would line to show you price comparison between pass and single fare later.

Covered area

Please refer the map in Kansai Thru Pass official site. The conditions are same for both overseas visitors and person living in Japan (includes Kansai area).

The pass cover most of Kansai area, such as Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama, Kansai airport, Osaka airport, Kobe airport, Himeji, Mt. Koya and Otsu (beside Biwako lake)

You can go almost every popular spots by this pass. As long as I know, there are a few major spots where cannot be accessed by this pass. Those are Universal Studio Japan (USJ), Houryuji temple (Nara, one of the oldest temple in Japan), and Yoshino (well known as cherry blossom and a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”). You can use the pass a part of the trip to Houryuji or Yoshino. But you need to pay extra. USJ can be accessed by JR Yumesaki line. It is not far from Umeda or Namba. The fare from JR Osaka to Universal City station is only 170 yen. It is not a big issue.

Valid trains and bus lines

Kansai Thru Pass do not include limited express surcharge. You need to pay additional for riding Nankai Airport Express Rapi:t.

The pass cover trains and bus services. But highway bus and airport limousine bus are not covered by Kansai Thru Pass. And the following Nankai and Kintetsu limited express trains have reserved seat. These seat surcharges are not covered.

  • Kintetsu limited express trains among Osaka-Nanma, Osaka-Uehonmachi, Tsuruhashi, Kyoto and Nara
    All seats are reserved seat on Kintetsu limited express trains. You have to pay 510 yen.
  • All seats of Nankai limited express “Rapi:t” between Kansai airport and Namba.
    There are two types of seat. You need to pay 100 to 510 yen to take regular seat and need to pay 720 yen to take super seat.
  • All seats of Nankai limited express “Koya” and “Rinkan” between Namba and Hashimoto/Gokurakubashi.
    You need to pay 510 yen to Hashimoto and 780 yen to Gokurakubashi.
  • Nankai limited express “Southern” between Namba and Wakayama.
    There are non reserved seat too. You can take it with no extra charge. But accommodation is completely different. Reserved seat is like Shikansen’s seat but non reserved seat is a commute trains’ interior. If you want to take reserved seat, extra charge is 510 yen

Other railway company, such as, Hankyu, Hanshin, Keihan, Sanyo, operate limited express trains. But these trains are just the fastest train. Some of trains have better interior than local trains. But you don’t need to pay any extra because all seats are non reserved.

Kaiyukan aquarium is one of the most popular venue in Osaka. It can be accessed by Osaka subway. Of course Kansai Thru Pass cover Osaka subway. ©JNTO

Compare cost between pass and single fare

I show you some trip plans and compare the cost. Actually it is not easy to spend same cost as 2 days pass 3,800 yen.

Kansai airport to Osaka (Namba and other area in downtown)

If you go to Namba area, Nankai railway is the best choice. The fare is 890 yen. But as I mentioned above, you need to pay another 500 yen at least to take Limited Express “Rapi:t”. Of course there are many express trains without any extra charge between Kansai airport and Namba. If you want to save the money, don’t take Rapi:t.

You can transfer to most of subway lines at Namba. You can access to most of places in downtown Osaka by subway. Subway fare is from 200 yen. If you go to Umeda from Namba, fare is 230 yen. But if you will stay in Shin-Osaka area, consider to take limited express Haruka. It gives you direct access there. Even if you stay in Umeda area, JR Kansai Airport Rapid takes you JR Osaka station (Umeda) directly. Please refer the post, How to access from Kansai airport to downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

If you use one of two days in Kansai Thru Pass, you need to spend another 3,000 yen on next day. Otherwise it is hard to get your money worth. I think it is not a good idea to use the pass for Kansai airport access. I recommend you to use Rapi:t Tokudane Return-trip ticket (round trip by Rapi:t between Namab/Shin-Imamiya/Tengachaya and Kansai airport) or
Kanku Chikatoku ticket (Nankai railway base fare from Kansai airport to Namba and subway one way ticket) at 980 yen.

Kansai airport to Kyoto

Actually it is not a good idea. Total fare is 1,550 yen. You can spend more than access to Osaka. But there is no direct train. The best way to Kyoto from Kansai airport is the following:

Kansai airport -> (Nankai) -> Tengachaya -> (Osaka subway Sakisuji line/Hankyu) -> Awaji -> (Hankyu) -> Kawaramachi

Subway Sakaisuji line and Hankyu go through the trains each other. But usually you need to transfer the train at Awaji. You have to transfer at least twice at Tengachaya and Awaji. And there are only commute trains between Tengachaya and Kawaramachi. And also if you stay around JR Kyoto station area, you need to transfer to Kyoto subway at Karasuma. I think it is too much right after you arrive by international flight. If you really want to take this route (Nankai-Subway-Hankyu), you can use Kyoto Access Ticket at 1,200 yen. This gives you better deal. You may be stay in Kyoto on next day for sightseeing. You can purchase Kyoto city pass (subway and city bus) at 1,200 yen for one day. Total cost will be much cheaper than Kansai Thru Pass.

But I recommend to use JR lines instead of above route, especially limited express Haruka. That train take you to Kyoto directly. It is much more comfortable and there are a few good deal, JR West Kansai area pass and ICOCA and Haruka. Please refer the post, Direct access to Shin Osaka, Kyoto from Kansai airport, Kansai Airport Limited Express “Haruka”.

Kansai airport to Kobe

There is no direct access as well. Total fare is 1,290 yen. Kobe Access Ticket at 1,100 yen is also available. If you want to save your days of Kansai Thru Pass, this ticket gives you better deal. The fastest and easiest way it the following:

Kansai airport -> (Nankai) -> Namba -> (Walk) -> Osaka-Namba -> (Hanshin) -> Sannomiya (Average travel time is 100 minutes)

If you take Rapi:t, travel time is getting 5 to 10 minutes shorter. Hanshin’s Osaka-Namba station is not far from Nankai Namba station. But you need to exit from Nankai station and walk about 5 minutes at least.

If you take JR trains, single fare is 1,660 yen. And travel time is almost same.

Kansai airport -> (limited express Haruka) -> Shin-Osaka -> (Special Rapid) -> Sannomiya (Average travel time is 90 minutes)
Kansai airport -> (Kansai Airport Rapid) -> Osaka -> (Special Rapid) -> Sannomiya (Average travel time is 105 minutes)

If you worry about transfer at Namba, I recommend you to take JR. You still need to transfer the train even if you take JR trains. But you can transfer the trains in the station. There are many more signs and it is obviously easier.

Kansai airport to Nara

There is no direct access as well. Total fare is 1,430 yen. Nara Access Ticket at 1,200 yen is available as well. If you want to save your days of Kansai Thru Pass, this ticket gives you better deal. The fastest and easiest way it the following:

Kansai airport -> (Nankai) -> Namba -> (Walk) -> Osaka-Namba -> (Kintetsu) -> Nara (Average travel time is 100 minutes)

If you take Rapi:t, travel time is getting 5 to 10 minutes shorter. Kintetsu’s Osaka-Namba station is same station as Hanshin Osaka-Namba station. These two railway companies’s trains go through each other. You need to exit from Nankai station to get Kintetsu Osaka-Namba station and walk about 5 minutes at least.

If you take JR trains, single fare is 1,660 yen. And travel time is a bit shorter than Nankai-Kintetsu combination. If you take Haruka, you can save another 10 to 15 minutes.

Kansai airport -> (limited express Haruka) -> Tennoji -> (Yamatohji Rapid) -> Nara (Average travel time is 75 minutes)
Kansai airport -> (Kansai Airport Rapid) -> Tennoji -> (Yamatoji Rapid) -> Nara (Average travel time is 90 minutes)

Transfer at Tennoji by JR trains are much easier than transfer at Namba between Nankai station and Kintetsu station.

Day trip to Kyoto from Osaka

Kiyomizudera is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©Sue Ann Simon/©JNTO

Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway take you to Kyoto from Umeda by Hankyu, from Yodoyabashi, Tenmabashi and Kyobashi by Keihan. One way fare to Kyoto is about 400 yen. Most of you take subway or city bus for sightseeing in Kyoto. If you purchase one day city pass for subway and city bus, it is 1,200 yen for one day and 2,000 yen for 2 days. But Kansai Thru Pass includes Kyoto subway and city bus.
So if you use Kansai Thru Pass for this trip, you can spend 2,000 yen worth at least. But if you have same trip in two days in row, total cost is 2,000 yen (Kyoto 2 days pass) + 1,600 yen (Keihan or Hankyu two round trips) = 3,600 yen. Actually Kansai Thru Pass 2 days is not cheaper. There are still some more cases that you can spend more.
*If you stay in Namba or other areas and need to take Osaka subway to get Hankyu or Keihan station, you will spend another 200 yen worth. At result, Kansai Thru Pass may be cheaper.
*If you go to Arashiyama and other areas (Kyomizudera temple, Kinkakuji temple, etc) in one day, you may be take Keifuku Railway, subway and bus in one day. Keifuku Railway runs among Arashiyama, Kitano-Hakubaicho (near Kintakuji) and Shijo-Omiya. Basic fare is only 200 yen. But this 200 yen makes your cost of Kansai Thru Pass cheaper than regular fare.
*If you go to Kurama by Eizan Railway, one way fare is 410 yen. If you go to Kurama, Kansai Thru Pass is the best choice.

Day trip to Kyoto from Kobe

The only difference from day trip to Kyoto from Osaka is round trip fare to Kyoto. One way is 600 yen by Hankyu. But Hankyu do not have any direct train from Sannomiya (downtown Kobe) to Kyoto. You need to transfer the train at Juso (junction of Kyoto line and Kobe line) or Umeda. One day total cost (Hankyu fare+Kyoto 1 day Pass) is 2,400 yen. It is smart way to use Kansai Thru Pass.

Day trip to Nara from Osaka or Kyoto

Actually Nara is very accessible by Kintetsu Railway from both Kyoto and Osaka. You can catch Kintetsu train at Osaka-Namba, Kintetsu-Nihonbashi, Osaka-Uehonmachi and Tsuruhashi. Osaka-Namba station is located within walking distance from Nankai Namba and Subway Namba. And also Kintetsu-Nihonbashi is same location as Subway Nihobashi, Osaka-Uehonmachi is same location as Subway Tanimachi Kyuchome and Tsuruhashi is same location as JR Osaka Kanjo line Tsuruhashi.

On way fare from Namba/Kintetsu-Nihonbashi/Osaka-Uehonmachi to Nara is 540 yen and travel time is 40 minutes. Travel time and fare from Tsuruhashi to Nara are 480 yen and 35 minutes.

If you access to Nara from Kyoto, you can use Kintetsu line too. Kintetsu Kyoto station is exactly same location as JR Kyoto station. One way fare is 610 yen and travel time is 50 minutes.

But actually most of popular spots are within walking distance from Kintetsu Nara station. Please refer the post, How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient. to get the details about Nara. If you access to the spots where is located at other than city center of Nara, like Houryuju temple, Heiankyo, you need to get some more trips. But as long as you see the spots around Nara stations, Kansai Thru Pass is not the best choice. Total fare is too low to use Kansai Thru Pass.

Day trip to Kobe from Osaka or Kyoto

You can get discount when you go in Port tower at Harborland by Kansai Thru Pass. ©JNTO

Sannomiya (downtown Kobe) can be accessed by Hankyu or Hanshin. From Umeda, both Hanshin and Hankyu have stations. Travel time and fare are completely same. Those are 310 yen and 30 minutes.

If you depart from Namba, you can catch Hanshin train at Osaka-Namba. Travel time is 40 minutes and fare is 400 yen.

If you depart from Kyoto, it is reverse way from Kobe to Kyoto. You can take Hankyu but you need to transfer at Juso or Umeda. Travel time is 70 minutes and one way fare is 600 yen.

As you see, return fare to Kobe is not so expensive. If you want to use Kansai Thru Pass for trip to Kobe, you need to take extra transportation in Kobe. There are Kobe subway and Port Liner. You can take subway to Harborland (Kobe port waterfront area) and Port Liner to Port Island. Basic fare starts at 200 yen. If you have several trip, you can make around 500 yen value.

Day trip to Himeji from Osaka, Kobe or Kyoto

Himeji Castle is most beautiful castle in Japan. It is well know as UNESCO World Heritage Site. ©JNTO

Sanyo Railway runs train service between Sannomiya (Kobe) and Sanyo-Himeji (same place as JR Himeji station). Both Sanyo and Hanshin go through the train each other. “Direct Limited Express” connects Hanshin Umeda with Sanyo-Himeji directly. Some of Sanyo trains operate to Hankyu Sannomiya station too. You can transfer from/to Sanyo and Hankyu at Sannomiya station.

If you access from Sannomiya (Kobe) or Umeda, you can take Direct Limited Service to Sanyo-Himeji. If you access from Kyoto, the easiest way is using Hankyu to Sannomiya and transfer to Sanyo trains. Travel time and one way fare are the following:

From Sannomiya to Sanyo-Himeji – 60-65 minutes / 940 yen
From Umeda to Sanyo-Himeji – 90-100 minutes / 1,450 yen
From Kawaramachi (Kyoto) to Sanyo-Himeji via Hankyu Sannomiya – 130 minutes / 1,540 yen

If you use Kansai Thru Pass for trip to Himeji, you can easily get more value than price of pass. However, if you use JR trains Special Rapid Service, it is so much faster.

Kyoto -(28 minutes)- Osaka -(22 minutes)- Sannomiya -(40 minutes)- Himeji

Special Rapid Service is operated between Himeji and Kyoto directly. It is 30 minutes shorter between Osaka and Himeji, and 40 minutes faster between Kyoto and Himeji. It is much faster and more convenient. So JR West Kansai Area Pass may be considerable. JR’s return fare between Osaka and Himeji is 2,900 yen. It is much cheaper than 1 day Kansai Area Pass at 2,000 yen.

Day or overnight trip to Mt. Koya

Nankai Railway connects Namba with Mt. Koya. This train is the easiest and the fastest to get Mt. Koya. Please refer the post, How to access World Heritage Mt. Koya. Japan Rail Pass can be used to get Mt. Koya?.

One way fare from Namba to Mt. Koya is 1,230 yen by Nankai Railway and Nankai Koyasan Cable Car. If you want to take Limited Express “Koya”, you need to pay express surcharge, 760 yen. This surcharge is not included in Kansai Thru Pass. And also Kansai Thru Pass cover most of local bus lines on Mt. Koya. So you can get maximum value to use the pass for the trip to Mt. Koya.

However if you stay in Mt. Koya, you spend 2 days. It is very hard to get same value as Kansai Thru Pass 2 days at 3,800 yen. It is very hard to get the value of 3 days either. If you have overnight trip to Mt. Koya, please think about Koyasan-World Heritage Ticket. It includes return fare, local bus and limited express surcharge too. Of course you can use this ticket for day trip too.


If you use Kansai Thru Pass for trip to Kyoto, Himeji and Mt. Koya, you must get more value than price. On the other hand, it is hard to get the value for trip to Kobe and Nara basically. And you have to compare Kansai Thru Pass and other pass/ticket, such as JR West Kansai Area Pass, Koyasan-World Heritage Ticket for trip to Mt. Koya or Himeji.

However this pass is still useful. Because you might use the pass after you finish your day trip. Especially if you stay in Osaka, you might have a lots of chance to take Osaka subway after you finish day trip for shopping or dining. Minimum fare of Osaka subway is 200 yen. For example, if you have return trip to Shinsaibashi from Namba, it costs 400 yen. You can make 1,000 yen value easily for just using Osaka subway.

And also you can get discount at more than 350 attractions by Kansai Thru Pass. This is a big benefit, like 100 yen discount at Kaiyukan aquarium, Osaka castle, and many more.
Full list of facilities where you can get benefit (PDF file)

If you stay in Kansai area for 4 or more days, think about using multiple passes, such as Kansai Thru Pass and JR West Kansai Area Pass. I hope this post will help you to find the best and most economical way.

987 thoughts on “How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be traveling through the Kansai region in March. Can you please help me with my itenriary? Which pass is best? At first, I was only considering JR pass and ICOCA. But, I have added a few more stops to my list. Your opinion is much appreciated!

    My itinerary:
    3/19 — Arrive to Osaka KIX airport –> Osaka –> Kyoto
    3/20– Stay in Kyoto Day 1 –> Visit Fushimi-Inari, Kiyomizu-dera, Shoren-in temple, Matsubara-dori Street
    3/21– Kyoto Day 2 –> Arashiyama, Nishiki Market, Pontocho
    3/22- – Kyoto to Kobe –> 1 night in Kobe

    3/23 — Kobe to Osaka –> 1 night in Osaka

    3/24- Osaka to Mount Koya –> 1 night in Koyasan (is it better to purchase koyasan world heritage ticket or Kansai Thru Region if i also plan to purchase JR pass?)

    3/25– Mount Koya to Osaka –> stay 1 night
    3/26- Osaka to Imabari –> Shimanima Kaido Cycling Island –>take Shinkansen –> start from imabari –> 1 night at one of the islands
    3/27– finish at ominichi and take shinkansen back to osaka

    3/28– Stay tour osaka for 1 day

    3/29- departure day from osaka airport KIX

    My Question is:
    1. I originally thought about purchasing JR pass (7 days) but I understand it doesn’t cover Koyasan line? So I was also thinking about getting the world heritage ticket? Is it sensible?
    2. Should I still buy JR pass?
    3. Kyoto Day pass necessary?

    Any help is greatly appreciated , thank you again! 😀

    1. Hi Julie,

      JR pass does not work because it’s too expensive and you cannot get the worth of it by your trip plan. I recommend you to use Setouchi area pass instead.

      You can use this for 26th to 29th. This pass does not cover Koyasan either. It’s valid for 5 days but you can use this for the last 4 days only.

      You can Koyasan World Heritage Ticket for trip to Koyasan.

      For the trip to Kyoto, Kobe and back to Osaka before going to Koyasan, you can use Kansai one pass + Haruka.

      You can take city bus in Kyoto by Kansai one pass. But this pass does not give you unlimited ride. You may add Kyoto city bus pass at 600 yen for one day to save your fund in Kansai one pass. You can get the worth of bus pass by only 3 bus rides.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for your help! So, if I wanted to include Nara and Himeji into my Kyoto trip. I read that JR West Kansai Pass is the quickest to Himeji? Would you still recommend the Kansai One pass + Haruka if I wanted to add Nara and Himeji to my itinerary?

        Also, Have you been to Shimanima Kaido Cycling? If so. Do you have any itinerary recommendations?

        Thank you!

        1. Hi Julie,

          If you want to visit Nara and Himeji before going to Mt. Koya, you may use Kansai area pass. However Himeji is located one way back to Osaka from Onomichi (or on the way to Imabari). If you can make 3 hours, you can drop by Himeji. In this case, Kansai area pass is not required. You may visit Nara by Kansai one pass.

          Unfortunately I have never visited Shinamami Kaido before.


          Takeshi /

      2. Hi Takeshi,

        or the kansai one pass, you don’t need to use that as consecutive days? For example, I can use it for day 1 and 2 of Kyoto and then skip a couple of days and use on my last day in Osaka? or does it have to be used consecutive days?

        Also, do I need to purchase both Kansai Area Pass and Kansai One pass if I plan to visit Himeji and nara?

        Thank you,

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    i’m having trouble in term of planning to use Kansai West JR or Kansai Thru Pass.

    Basically i’m trip contain 8 days 7 night, staying all in hotel near Tennoji Station.

    1. reached Kansai Airport around 10pm.
    2. USJ (transport via ICOCA)
    3. Osaka city tour (Osaka Amazing Pass)
    4. Osaka city tour (Osaka Amazing Pass)
    5. Kobe
    6. Kyoto
    7. Namba/Himeji
    8. Nara + Kuromon + evening return to Kansai Airport.

    i can see the area that i stay which is Tennoji contain both Subway train and most of the JR line. i’m planning to optimise my transportation fee since a way from KIX to Tennoji cost ~1000 Yen.

    previously i’m planning to use ICOCA for day 1 airport transfer to Tennoji, day 2 for USJ, day 3 and 4 using osaka amazing pass and day 5,6,7,8 using JR West Kansai however after reading your post regarding Kansai Thru Pass i’m wondering will i benefit of this instead of JR. (if i cancel Himeji trip)

    2 concern which is overall price and convenient (transport time consumption).
    i’m also confuse on which pass actually provide “included” airport transfer from KIX to Tennoji

    best regards

    1. Hi Richard,

      You can use Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA for day 1 and 2. Those are basically same but Kansai one pass offers discount at many attractions.

      Osaka amazing pass for day 3 and 4 is okay.

      I recommend you to use Kansai thru pass 3 days more than Kansai area pass because it covers city bus in Kyoto. Kansai thru pass is more convenient for sightseeing in Kyoto. And when you travel to Nara, you can take JR train to Nara directly. If you use Kansai thru pass, you have to go to Namba by subway and change to Kintetsu. JR seems to be more convenient. However Kintetsu Nara station is much better location than JR Nara station. When you go to Kobe, you have to change trains anyway by either Kansai area pass or Kansai thru pass. Please see the links below to find more info:

      So you can use Kansai thru pass 3 days for day 5,6 and 8. You can get KIX by Nankai railway from Namba.

      And also if you want to go to Himeji, you can use Kansai area pass 1 day for this trip. This combination is more useful.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi

        Thanks for the fast respond.

        for the combination isn’t it more worth it if my last 4 day took JR since the transport towards KIX cost around 1000 Yen and JR NARA would took another 1000 Yen return as for 4 day Kansai JR cost 6300 Yen

        it would only cost around 4300 for another 3 days usage and Kansai thru Pass cost 5200.

        even including 1 day Bus fare in Kyoto would only cost around 500 Yen if i recall correctly.

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be staying in Osaka for 7 nights and I am planning to use the Kansai Thru Pass for 3 days to visit Kyoto, Nara and Kurama/Kibune. I roughly added the total cost for train tickets for those 3 locations and I am about 1000yen short of 5200yen which is the price for the 3 day pass. Do you think I can make it up by using the pass to travel within Osaka and Kyoto? My itinerary for these 3 days are as below:

    Day 1:
    Osaka – Fushimi Inari Shrine – Kinkakuji – Arashiyama Bamboo Forest – Monkey Park – Osaka

    Day 2:
    Osaka – Nara – Osaka

    Day 3
    Osaka – Kurama – Kibune – Osaka

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Casey,

      Do you think you will take subway in Osaka after/before these trips. Subway fare is around 200 yen. So if you make two trips a day before/after the trips, you will get the worth of it. And also even if total fares is cheaper than the pass, you can get the flexibility. If you have some extra time in Kyoto, Nara, or Osaka, you can add some more trips.


      Takeshi /

  4. Hi Takeshi

    Thank you your time and effort in replying all the comments to help travellers!

    I have been reading up on all the Kansai passes but still have not figured out which are the best passes (if any) to get for my itinerary:

    Day 1 (Settling down)
    KIX-> Kyoto [figured we could use ICOCA & Haruka pass?]
    Staying near Nishiki Market

    Day 2 (Sightseeing in Kyoto)

    Day 3 (Sightseeing in Kyoto)
    Fushimi Inari Taisha
    Keage Incline

    Day 4 (Nara day trip)
    Kyoto -> Nara

    Day 5 (Kyoto -> Osaka)
    Staying near Dotonbori

    Further details unplanned but we will be going to the following attractions from Day 5 to Day 10 (flexible arrangement):
    Osaka castle

    Day 11
    Osaka -> KIX

    Appreciate your inputs!

    1. Hi QQ,

      Your trip plan is almost same as my sample itinerary. Please see the link below:

      In my sample, I put Nara between Kyoto and Osaka. You will have a day trip from Kyoto. But you can use Kansai one pass as well. Kansai one pass is almost same as ICOCA. You may add Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA.

      I think you can find all answers in the link above. But if you still have a question, please let me know.


      Takeshi /

  5. Hi Takeshi

    We will be travelling to Japan in a few days, what kinda pass would you recommend for us during our stay at the various cities:

    1) Haneda —> Tokyo (moving within the city) – 6 days

    2) Tokyo —> Hakone (staying at Odawara) – 3 days

    3) Odawara —> Kyoto (with day to Nara Park) – 5 days

    4) Kyoto —> Osaka (with a day to USS) – 4 days

    5) Osaka —> Kansai Airport (for home)

    As we do not intend to get a JR pass as we find that it may not worth for our trip .

    Appreciate your kind advice for the above.


    1. Hi Ashley,

      You can follow my sample itinerary in the link below.

      In my sample, I used one base fare ticket for Odawara to Kansai airport. But you will spend many more days in Kyoto and Osaka. You cannot use one base fare ticket for Odawara to Kansai. You can use a base fare ticket just for Odawara to Kyoto. And you may add Kansai thru pass for trip to Nara, Kyoto to Osaka and one of days in Kyoto.

      For other days, as I mentioned in the sample, there are many local deals in each cities. Please check those.


      Takeshi /

  6. Hello, I’ll be visiting Japan this December and was wondering if getting the Kansai Thru Pass would be worth it, and if so, whether the 2 or 3-day one, and for which of the following days below. I will have an ICOCA card as well for the other days. I have only included the parts of my itinerary that will require more travelling 🙂

    1) Kyoto: From Kyoto Station to Kinkaku-ji Temple, Tenryu-ji Temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Togetsukyo Bridge and then will make it back to Gojo Station.

    2) Travel from Kyoto to Osaka Namba area then should be staying around the Namba/Dotonbori area the whole day. Accommodation is in the Namba/Dotonbori area.

    3) Day trip from Osaka to Nara. Will be visiting Nara Deer Park, Todaiji Temple and Yoshikien Garden. Then Nara back to Osaka and to the Namba area.

    4) Osaka Bay Area. Will be going to Tempozan Harbour Village, Mount Tempozan, Tempozan Marketplace, Osaka Castle & Osaka Castle Park, Umeda/Kita area then Dotobori/Namba area.

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Gwyneth,

      Kansai thru pass is not recommended because you cannot get the worth of it. You may use ICOCA and local deal in Osaka and Kyoto. In Kyoto, you can use city bus pass at 600 yen for one day. You can ride city bus as much as you want. You can get the worth of it by only 3 rides.

      You can use ICOCA when you need to take train or subway.

      You also can add some deals in Osaka, probably subway pass. There are several choices. Please see the link below:

      For other part of trip, you can use ICOCA. You may use Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA.


      Takeshi /

  7. Hello Takeshi,

    I am travelling to Osaka in November 2018 for 10 days and will be staying in Osaka for the entire 10 days. I plan to make a day trip to Nara, Kobe, Kyoto and Wakayama during the 9 days and it might not be in a consecutive day.

    My itinerary is as follows:

    Tsuruhashi Station is the nearest subway to where I’ll be staying in Osaka.

    1. Day 1 – Kansai Airport to Tsuruhashi subway stop – Taking Haruka to Tennoji Station and then transfer to Osaka Loop line to Tsuruhashi Station. I have an ICOCA card already and I can use it to take Haruka from Kansai airport to Tennoji.

    Day 2 – Osaka city tour – plan to use ICOCA for the subway in Osaka.

    Day 3 – Osaka to Nara: Todaiji Temple, Nara Park, Kasuga Grand Shrine, Naramachi and then back to Osaka. If time permits, I can add one more stop to Kohfukuji.

    Day 4 – Osaka to Kobe: Mount Rokko, Kobe’s Harbourland, Nankinmachi – back to Osaka.

    Day 5 – Osaka to Kyoto : Higashiyama district, Kiyomizudera, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Nijo Castle, back to Osaka.

    Day 6 – Osaka to Wakayama : Wakayama Castle, The Danjo Garan Scared Temple, Kuroshio Market, back to Osaka.

    Day 7, 8 and 9 – Osaka City.

    My questions:

    1. Is it worth buying the Kansai Thru Pass – I know the 3-day is maximum maybe I can just buy a single ticket for my day trip to either Nara or Kobe as they are closer to Osaka than the other 2 cities?
    2. Any other passes that are better for my itinerary?
    3. Is it possible to do Himeji in a day from Osaka by using the Kansai Thru Pass?

    Thank you very much for your time.


    1. Hi Bill,

      Please see the link below first:

      So Kansai thru pass is your choice for outside Osaka. As you think, you may use it for Nara, Kyoto and Kobe. And you can add other deals in Osaka:

      You can go to Himeji but I recommend you to use JR Kansai area pass. You can get there by Kansai thru pass but trip time is much longer than using Kansai area pass.

      Regarding the trip to Wakayama, you mixed Wakayama city and Koyasan. Both are located in Wakayama prefecture but those are completely different location. The Danjo Garan Scared Temple is in Koyasan and other are in Wakayama city. You cannot visit both in one day. If you go to Koyasan, you will spend one full day. I spend two days to visit Koyasan and Wakayama. Please see the link below to find my trip report:

      If you go to Koyasan, you can use Koyasan World Heritage Ticket as I mentioned in my trip report. If you go to Wakayama city, you may use Kansai area pass one day:


      Takeshi /

      1. Hello Takeshi,

        Thank you very much for the advice and response.

        Is it correct that I can use the Kansai Thru Pass in Wakayama for their local buses? I am planning to take the Wakayama local bus to Marina City after finish Wakayama Castle. It seems that taking the bus is the only way to get there from Wakayama Castle, around the Wakayama City Hall.



  8. Hello, we are travelling to Japan this November. 2 adults. Entry is Osaka and Exit is Narita.

    I was hoping you could help me with my itinerary?

    Can you please recommend pass that best suit my itinerary..kansai/kanto region

    Day 0 – Arrival at KIX 8:05PM
    proceed to Smile Hotel Namba
    Day 1 – early morning to Nara (Half day tour)
    – Todaiji Temple
    – Nara Park
    – Back to osaka to visit the following:
    – Osaka castle
    – Omeda Sky Bldg
    – Dotonbori – Shinsaibashi
    – Namba
    Day 2 – USJ
    Day 3 – Kyoto Area (Fushimi Inari shrine, Kinkakuji Temple, Arayashima Bamboo Grove)
    Back to Osaka
    Night Bus to Tokyo (Sotetsu Fresa Inn – Tokyo -Kinshicho)
    Day 4 – Shibuya
    – Shinjuku
    – Tokyo Imperial Palace
    – downtown tokyo
    Day 5 – Disney Sea
    Day 6 – Departure

    Thanks in advance

      1. Hello Takeshi,

        Thanks for your response. Did you actually mean Day 1 and Day 3 (Nara, downtown Osaka, and Kyoto) for the Kansai Thru Pass?

  9. Hi Takashi-san,

    I will be going to Japan for 11 days and on my last 3 days I will be going from Kyoto –> Kobe –> Himeji –> Kobe –> Osaka. Do you think if Kansai Thru Pass will be worth it for me or should I go for another pass?


      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Here is my detailed itinerary:
        Day 1:
        depart from Kyoto Station to Kobe Motomachi Station (Previous plan: normal fare with Icoca, new plan: Kansai Thru Pass)
        depart to Arima Onsen via Mount Rokko (Previous plan: rokkosan tourist pass, new plan: Kansai Thru Pass)

        Day 2:
        Kobe–>Himeji –>Kobe–>Osaka (previous plan:1 day Kansai Area Pass. New plan:Kansai Thru Pass) .
        Note: If I take 1 day Kansai Area Pass, I need to travel back to Osaka during the night to make the pass worth it, if I use Kansai Thru Pass then I can travel at day 3 morning

        Day 3:
        Osaka Day trip (previous plan: normal Icoca usage, new plan: Kansai Thru Pass)
        Osaka –> KIX (previous plan: Chikatoku ticket, new plan: Kansai Thru Pass)

        Can you help to advise if Kansai Thru Pass is the better deal or should I remain with my original plan?


        1. Hi Kevin,

          You may use Kansai thru pass. You will get the worth. But you have to change trains more than the original plan and may take longer travel time on day 1 and 2.

          Day 1
          You have to change twice on the way to Kobe-Motomachi because you have to take subway to get Shijo from Kyoto, and then take Hankyu railway to Umeda and then take Hanshin Railway to Motomachi. If you use ICOCA, you can take JR and it’s direct.
          And Kansai thru pass does not cover transports, such as cablecar and ropeway to Mt. Rokko.

          Day 2
          You have to take Hanshi railway and Sanyo railway to get Himeji. It takes about 70 minutes.
          If you take JR, it takes around 45 minutes. JR is much faster.

          If you are okay with these, you can go for Kansai thru pass.


          Takeshi /

  10. Hi Takeshi, I will stay at Osaka for 2 days & I’m planning to use Kansai Thru Pass for 2 days, my itinerary as below and i will stay nearby the Dobutsuen-mae & Tennoji station :

    Day 1 : I will go to Kyoto (Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Nijo Castle, Kiyomizudera Temple & Higashiyama District) and then if I still have time I will go to Nara (Nara Park) then go back to my hotel at Osaka.
    Day 2 : I will go to Himeji (Himeji Castle & Kokoen Garden) and then Kobe (Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, Kobe Mosque & Kobe Habourland) and retun to Osaka to pick up my luggage & go to KIX, my flight at 10PM.

    My question is :
    1.) can Kansai Thru Pass cover all my transportation for that 2 days & it is worth ?
    2.) Can i cover all that place like in Day 1 itinerary for just 1 day only ?

    Thank you for your time Takeshi.

    1. Hi Dean,

      1. Yes.
      2. It’s not impossible but it will be tight.

      I think Kansai area pass is better for your trip.

      This pass covers limited express Haruka. It takes you from Tennoji to Kyoto directly.

      This train ride gives you some extra time. And for trip to Himeji, you cannot take any express trains but you can take Special rapid train from Osaka. It’s much faster to get Himeji than Hanshin railway and Sanyo railway which are covered by Kansai thru pass.

      And you can take Haruka again to get Kansai airport from Shin-Osaka at the end.

      The only thing that Kansai thru pass is better is covering Kyoto city bus. Kansai area pass covers only JR trains. It does not cover Kyoto city bus. You have to add the fare to get Kiyomizudera and Higashiyama. But bus fare is 200 yen for one ride. I think even if you add bus fares on top of Kansai area pass, it’s still better choice than Kansai thru pass.


      Takeshi /

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