How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.

Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara
Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.
Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.

Kansai Thru Pass is one of the best pass if you travel in Kansai area. This pass offers the unlimited travel of most non JR trains, the subway lines and most local bus services. It covers most part of this region, such as Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, Nara, Wakayama, Koyasan and Himeji.

In this post, I would like to explain this pass and you will find how to use this pass.

Who is eligible

The overseas tourist with short stay status and Japanese who lives abroad as a permanent resident can purchase it. And also a person with overseas tourist as a guide can purchase this pass.

Types and prices

2-day pass and 3-day pass are available. If you purchase it online, the price is slightly cheaper.

Purchasing online

TYPESAdultChild (6-12yrs)
2-Day4,300 yen2,150 yen
3-Day5,300 yen2,650 yen

Purchasing in Japan

TYPESAdultChild (6-12yrs)
2-Day4,400 yen2,200 yen
3-Day5,500 yen2,750 yen

You can use this pass on unconsecutive days on the sales period.

e.g.
Day 1 – Day trip to Kyoto from Osaka (Kansai Thru Pass the first day of 3-day)
Day 2 – Visit USJ (not use Kansai Thru Pass)
Day 3 – Day trip to Koyasan from Osaka (Kansai Thru Pass the second day of 3-day)
Day 4 – Stay in Osaka (not use Kansai Thru Pass)
Day 5 – Day trip to Kobe and Himeji (Kansai Thru Pass the third day of 3-day)

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.

Under 6 years is free of charge. You are not required to buy the pass for the child who is 0 to 5 years old.

How to purchase

If you want to buy it in advance online, you can refer the official site of Kansai Thru Pass:

Kansai Thru Pass official site – Internet Purchase

You also can purchase it at Klook. Klook is one of the biggest ticket seller. You can buy it at your country’s currency. The price may be cheaper than Kansai Thru Pass official site:

Kansai Thru Pass online purchasing by Klook

You also can purchase this pass at Kansai Airport Tourist Information Center and other many visitor centers in Kansai area. Please see the list of sales location in the Kansai Thru Pass official site:

Kansai Thru Pass official site – Where to buy in Japan

I would like to show you price comparison between pass and single fare later in this post.

Coverage area

Please refer the map in Kansai Thru Pass official site.

The pass covers 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 without any extra fares. As long as I know, there are a few major spots where cannot be accessed by this pass.

USJ (Universal Studio Japan)

You have to take JR Yumesaki line to get Universal City station. This pass does not cover JR train. The nearest station where you can get by Kansai Thru Pass is Nishikujo. Please find the information about the train network in the link below:

Yoshino

Yoshino is popular to see the cherry blossom in the spring season. Kintetsu Railway connects Osaka-Abenobashi (same location as Tennoji) and Yoshino. Kansai Thru Pass covers Kintetsu Railway but it does not cover whole lines of Kintetsu Railway. Yoshino is outside the coverage area of this pass. You have to add the fare for Tsubosakayama to Yoshino which is the segment outside the coverage area.

The extra fare is 430 yen for one way. You can pay this extra fare when you exit Yoshino station. You can show your Kansai Thru Pass at the gate with the station staff. The staff collects the fare. You can buy the ticket to Tsubosakayama when you leave Yoshino. You can show both the ticket and Kansai Thru Pass when you arrive in Osaka-Abenobashi or other stations where you want to get off.

Nagoya

Nagoya is not in Kansai region and it is completely outside the coverage area as you probably understand. But Kansai Thru Pass covers Kintetsu Railway and Kintetsu Railway runs between Osaka-Namba and Nagoya. Sometimes it makes you get confusing. Kintetsu Railway is the biggest private railway companies in Japan. Kansai Thru Pass does not cover whole part of Kintetsu Railway network. Kansai Thru Pass covers Kintetsu Railway in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara only.

Valid trains and bus lines

Kansai Thru Pass does not include the limited express surcharge. You have to pay additional to take Nankai Airport Express Rapi:t (in the photo above), Kintetsu railway limited express trains.

The pass covers most of non JR railway lines, all subway lines in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, and most local/city bus services. You can find the full list of the coverage transportation in the official site. I show you the major services here.

  • Nankai railway (Osaka, Koyasan, Kansai airport and Wakayama)
  • Hankyu railway (Osaka, Mino, Kobe, Kyoto and Takarazuka)
  • Hanshin railway (Osaka, Kobe)
  • Keihan railway (Osaka, Kyoto, Otsu, Uji)
  • Kintetsu railway (Osaka, Nara, Kyoto)
  • Sanyo railway (Kobe, Himeji)
  • Kobe railway (Kobe, Arima onsen, Sanda)
  • Keifuku railway, a.k.a. Randen (Arashiyama)
  • Eizan railway (Kifune, Hieizan)
  • Osaka Metro subway and city bus
  • Kyoto city subway and city bus
  • Kobe city subway and city bus
  • Osaka Monorail (Itami airport)
  • Kobe Portliner (Kobe airport)

Any JR lines are not covered by Kansai Thru Pass. Please see the link below to find the information of the train network in Kansai area:

Highway bus and Airport limousine bus are not covered by Kansai Thru Pass. And the limited express seat fee requires on top of Kansai Thru Pass to take the following trains:

  • Kintetsu Railway limited express trains among Osaka-Namba, Osaka-Uehonmachi, Tsuruhashi, Kyoto and Nara
  • Nankai Railway limited express “Rapi:t” between Kansai airport, Tengachaya, Shin-Imamiya and Namba
  • Nankai Railway limited express “Koya” and “Rinkan” between Namba and Hashimoto/Gokurakubashi
  • Nankai Railway sightseeing train “Tenku” between Hashimoto and Gokurakubashi
  • Nankai Railway limited express “Southern” between Namba and Wakayama
    This train has non reserved seat too. If you ride on non reserved seat car, no extra charge is required. But accommodation is completely different. Reserved seat is an express train seat but non reserved seat is a commute trains’ interior. You may have to stand up.
  • Keihan Railway limited express Premium car
    This train has non reserved seat too. Non reserved seat is not bad but reserved seat is much bigger.

Other railway company, such as, Hankyu, Hanshin, Sanyo, operate the limited express trains. But these trains are just the fastest train. Some of trains have better interior than a local train. But any extra charge is not required.

Compare cost between pass and single fare

Kaiyukan aquarium is one of the most popular venues in Osaka. You can access there by Osaka Metro Chuo line. Kansai Thru Pass covers all lines of Osaka Metro. ©JNTO

I show you some trip plans and compare the cost. Actually it is not easy to spend same cost as 2-day pass at 4,300 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 920 yen. But as I mentioned above, you have to pay another 520 yen at least to take the 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)
or
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)
or
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.

Assesment

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.

Comments

  1. k2 says:

    Hi Takeshi-san, thank you for your information on this website, this is very helpful.

    Me and my wife will travel to Osaka soon, we will stay in Osaka for 4 nights. We have planned day trip from Osaka (Namba) to Kobe, Kyoto and Nara.

    We will reach Kansai Airport early morning on 11th Jan, we would like to use below tickets/pass for our trip in Osaka. Not sure if this is good :-

    11th Jan – Osaka Business Ticket (We will chck in hotel in Namba and spend the day in Osaka)

    12th – 14th Jan – Kansai Thru 3 day Pass (We will make day trip to Kobe, Kyoto and Nara)

    15th Jan – Normal ticket (Nankai Rapi:t) to Kansai Airport

    Is there any round trip ticket from Airport to Namba and back to airport that i can use? From your information on this website, the Nankai Rapi:t round trip no longer available ?

    Thanks.

  2. Leng says:

    Hi, your site is so wonderful ! Thanks for all the information and tips !

    I am planning to go Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe in January 2013, I think I do not need to buy JR pass. At first I thought I will buy Kansai thru pass and various day passes. But as I work out the costs, I wonder is it still cheaper and easier to buy Kansai thru pass or are there other options ?

    Also, there are discounts coupons to various attractions in the passes, do they duplicate ? Ie : Kansai thru pass and Osaka one day pass ?

    Here is my itinerary :

    Day 1 : Arrive at Kansai Airport (6am) -> Osaka/Umeda Station (Granvia Hotel) -> Kyoto/Gion (hostel) -> Arashiyama -> Kyoto(Gion)
    Day 2 : Kyoto/Gion -> Higashiyama area -> Kinkakuji -> Kyoto/Gion
    Day 3 : Kyoto/Gion -> Kurama Onsen
    Day 4 : Kurama Onsen -> Osaka/Umeda Station -> Nara -> Osaka/Umeda
    Day 5 : Osaka/.Umeda -> Osaka Castle etc -> Bay Area (Aquarium) -> Osaka/Umeda
    Day 6 : Osaka/Umeda -> Ikeda Station (Momofuku Ando) -> Kobe -> Osaka/Umeda Station
    Day 7 : Osaka/Umeda -> Rinku Town Station (JR Hanwa Line) -> Osaka/Umeda
    Day 8 : Osaka/Umeda -> Kansai Airport

    I seem to travel the most in Day1, Day4, and Day6. But I wonder should I buy Kansai thru pass 3-day ? Are there are other better options ?

    Could you advise please ? Thank you very much for your time !

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Leng,

      Thank you for your comment about my site, JP Rail.com.
      The answers for your questions are the following.

      Regarding Day 1, why do you stop by Umeda? If you use limited express Haruka, you can go straight to Kyoto station. And also you can use ICOCA and Haruka.
      http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/travel-information/pass/icoca-haruka/
      It includes ICOCA e-money. you can use this for your trip in Kyoto, Nara or Osaka.

      I have same question about Day 4. You can go to Nara from Kyoto directly. If you go to Umeda, you will waste at least 40 minutes.
      If you think about your baggage, you can divide into 2 baggage. You can pack it in small baggage for the first 4 days. You can send another baggage to your hotel in Umeda from Kansai.
      http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/service/baggage/index.html
      I don’t know exact cost. But I think it will cost less than 2000 yen.

      At last, Kansai Thru Pass is not suitable for your trip for even Day 1, 4 and 6. As I mentioned, ICOCA and Haruka is the best choice for day 1. You can go to Nara from Kyoto on Day 4. Day 6 is not still enough to purchase Kansai Thru Pass.

      So I recommend you to purchase Kyoto city pass for day 2. You may purchase Osaka pass for day 5. You will stay in Umeda. But you can purchase ICOCA and Haruka round trip ticket. It is only 1000 yen difference.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Emeline says:

    Hi Mr Takeshi

    Your kind advice is appreciated on my travel plans.

    I will be arriving at Narita Airport n staying around Namba station, with my family of 4, (one kid below 12, n one above). I will stay in Osaka for 2 days, then travel to Kyoto for 2 nights, my hotel is near Goto station in Kyoto. I will then travel back to Osaka n stay at Namba area for another 3 days before departing via Narita Airport. My itinerary in both Osaka n Kyoto includes the usual sightseeing venues. Which passes should I consider buying during my stay n would it be worth it to do so? Thank you for your kind advice.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Emeline,

      I don’t think you should purchase the pass. Because it is very hard to get the worth the pass prices. Single ticket is fine for transfer between Kyoto and Osaka. When you go to Namba, are you arriving at Kansai Airport? Because Narita is in Tokyo. I think you will transit at Narita and go to Kansai or Itami. If you will arrive at Kansai, Rapi:t Tokudane Return-trip ticket (round trip by Rapi:t between Namab/Shin-Imamiya/Tengachaya and Kansai airport) or
      Kanku Chikatoku ticket will be the best choice.
      And when you stay in Kyoto, you may purchase Kyoto city pass. But you need to take subway or city bus at least 5 times a day Otherwise single ticket may be cheaper.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for creating this wonderful website. May I ask your opinion about Kansai Thru Pass?

    We are family of four and will be travelling to Osaka in December. We intend to take Rapit train from KIX to Namba. We would to tour Kobe, Nara and Kyoto. In kobe, we will visit the tourist attractions like Kobe Harbour, Mosaic, etc. Next day, from namba we will go to Nara. From Nara we will go to Fushimi Inari and return to Namba. On the 3rd day, we will visit Kyoto. We are not visiting any temples but will be in the city and then go to Kyoto Aquarium then return to Namba.

    I am wondering if i purchase the Kansai Thru Pass is worth it compare to single pass?

    Appreciate your comments

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Rachel,

      I think it will not be enough. Roughly all of your total train fare will be around 3500 yen. You may make some more trips in downtown Osaka. But it won’t be equal value to 3 days pass at 5,000 yen.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. JJ says:

    Sorry, last question hehe. Does the Pass cover Kansai Airport Rapid Service? I am not sure but I read somewhere that Rapid Service is not included. If it is really not included, then I think the Pass is not worth it. What can you suggest then?

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi JJ,

      I answer all your questions here.
      Regarding Kansai Thru Pass validity, you are right. Visitors can use the pass on unconsecutive days. Thank you for letting me know. I corrected it in my post.

      Kansai Thru Pass cannot be used for JR lines. You mix up JR lines with private lines. Kansai Airport Rapid Service is not private lines but JR lines. So you cannot use this train by Kansai Thru Pass.

      When you go to Universal Studio Japan, JR lines Yumesaki line is the best route. So you cannot use Kansai Thru Pass for this trip either.

      So Kansai Thru Pass is not the best choice for you. I recommend you to use ICOCA and Haruka.
      http://www.jr-odekake.net/en/icoca-haruka/
      Round trip ticket 4000 yen is cheaper than total basic fare for KIX-Fukushima, Fukushima-Kyoto and Kyoto-KIX. Even if you don’t use Haruka, this discount ticket is still cheaper. Of course you can take Haruka both way. When you go to Fukushima, Kansai Airport Rapid is better and faster. But you can take Haruka from Kyoto to KIX. It is faster and direct transfer from Kyoto to KIX. And also this ticket includes 1500 yen e-money. You can use this e-money for JR lines, Osaka subway and even Kyoto subway. This is the best deal and most convenient for your trip.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. JJ says:

    Also, I have read here: (http://www.surutto.com/tickets/kansai_thru_english.html) that “The Pass can be used on unconsecutive days during its period of validity. (example: Mon, Wed and Fri in the case of a 3-day ticket).”

    If this is correct, then maybe we can maximize the 3-day Pass by using it during the following:

    1. Thursday 9pm (Kansai Airport Rapid Service) – KIX to JR Fukushima Station
    2. Friday – getting around Osaka (the places I mentioned in my previous comments)
    3. Saturday – None (since we will go to Universal Studios)
    4. Sunday – Train from Osaka to Kyoto + bus in Kyoto + Train from Kyoto to Osaka + Kansai Airport Rapid Service

    Do you think 5,000 Yen is worth it?

  7. JJ says:

    Hi,

    I am having a difficulty in choosing the right Pass for me and my friends. We will stay near JR Fukushima Station (3-min walk only).

    On our first day, we plan to go to Osaka Castle, Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, Shinsaibashi, etc.

    On our second day, we plan to go to Universal Studios and maybe Umeda on our 2nd day. But I’ve read above that Kansai Thru Pass is not valid for Universal City Station?

    On our third day, we will go to Kyoto then back to our hotel in Osaka then we’ll go to Kansai Airport via Kansai Airport Rapid Service.

    Will Kansai Thru Pass include all that I mentioned (getting around Osaka during our first day + train from Osaka to Kyoto + buses in Kyoto + Kansai Airport Rapid Service)? Is paying 5,000 Yen for the 3-day pass worth it, given that we cannot maximize the Pass on our second day?

    Thank you.

  8. Remon says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,

    This website is very useful for tourists travelling to Japan. I can only only wonder the amount of effort and time you have put in in creating this informative train guide. I would appreciate it if you could guide me out a bit.

    I will be arriving at Tokyo Narita Airport and will be staying for 5 days in Tokyo before going off to Kyoto. I wish to take the shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto. Which pass should I take for my route:
    1. Tokyo Narita Airport to Tokyo City Centre?
    2. 5 days around Tokyo? – Tokyo Metro Pass or JR Pass or anything else?
    3. Shinkansen trip from Tokyo to Kyoto?

    After arriving in Kyoto, I will be staying at a hotel in Central Kyoto for 7 days and wish to tour around Osaka. Will then depart from Osaka International Airport to my home country ath the end of my journey.
    4. For my trip around Kyoto and Osaka, should I use the Kansai Thru Pass?
    5. Finally, does Kansai Thru Pass or your recommended pass for query no. 4 covers my trip from Kyoto to Osaka International Airport?

    I sincerely hope you may be able to give some advice for my queries above.

    Thank you in anticipation
    Remon

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Remon,

      Thank you for your comment about my website.
      My answers for your questions are the following:

      1. I think Suica and N’ex is the best choice. You can use Suica e-money for your excursion in Tokyo.
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/index.html

      2. As I mentioned above, you can use your Suica. You may need to purchase Metro pass as you need. But if you think about going Nikko, Mt. Fuji or Hakone, you have several more choices. See the following link:
      http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/index.html

      3. As long as you have one way trip to Kyoto from Tokyo, Japan Rail Pass is too much. Your choice is only single ticket.

      4. You can use Kansai Thru Pass. But if you use the pass for round trip to Osaka or staying in Kyoto, Kansai Thru Pass is too much. Kyoto city pass is the best choice for your sightseeing in Kyoto. You can use ICOCA e-money to go to Osaka by JR lines. About ICOCA, see the below:

      5. ICOCA and Haruka is the best choice.
      http://www.jr-odekake.net/en/icoca-haruka/
      It is same type pass as Suica and N’ex. It includes e-money too. You can use it for JR line or even Osaka subway and Kyoto subway.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  9. Adelene says:

    Thanks so much Takeshi for your advice.
    It is indeed useful.

    Due to the busy schedule of my daily work and at the same time, I have been spending too much time in going thru’ the various type of passes (from Kansai thru pass to JR West pass, Day passes, etc), I have yet to look into my itinerary at Osaka. Hope you would not mind if I come back to you again after I have firm up the schedule during my stay in Osaka.

    Thanks once again and hope you have a great weekend ahead.

    cheers,
    adelene

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Adelene,

      No problem. If you need an assistance, don’t hesitate to come back.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Adelene says:

        Hi Takeshi,

        Need your advice again.

        1) I have a Suica card, may I know can I use this card when I am at Kyoto & Osaka (for JR, subway, private railway, buses, shopping, etc)?

        2) For two of my friends, they would be getting Surutto Kansai Miyako Card when we arrived @ Kyoto from Tokyo and stay in Kyoto for 3-days (after firming up our itinerary, we realized that Kyoto City Bus One-day Pass is NOT suitable for us). May I know can they continue to use this Surutto Kansai Miyako card in Osaka during our next 5-days stay?

        3) As per your suggestion, we would be taking Hanyu train from Kyoto to Osaka, may I know can I use Suica card for this journey?

        4) Would you think ICOCA card is a better choice than Surutto Kansai Miyako Card, if both cards can also be used in Kyoto & Osaka?

        5) Lastly, I know I should not be asking this question but whether would you be able to know the rough taxi fare from subway Suminoe Koen (Hotel Best Western Joytel Osaka) to Namba Bus stop, since we would be boarding the airport limousine from there (by the last day of our trip, our luggages would be too heavy and since there are 3 of us, so we thought it may be practical to take a taxi straight from hotel to Namba).

        Thanks in advance.

        Regards
        adelene

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
          JPRail says:

          Hi Adelen,

          1 and 3. You can use Suica. It is same condition as ICOCA. But you cannot recharge Suica in Kansai area.
          http://www.jr-odekake.net/en/icoca-haruka/pdf/ICOCA_en.pdf

          2. I am not 100% sure. But in my understanding, the condition is same as Surutto Kansai Pass. So you may be able to use it in Osaka too.

          4. It depends on your itinerary. If you use JR lines, ICOCA is beetter. Because Surutto Kansai cannot be used for JR lines.

          5. May be more than 5000yen. But I am not sure. I think your hotel can answer your question.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

  10. Adelene says:

    Hi,

    While making my plan for a Nov trip to Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka (together with my friends) and I have google search about the various passes and got myself even more confused. I happened to come across few of your posts. After reading thru’ it, I am still having problem in making the right decision on the type of passes to buy. Hope you can assist and guide me. Appreciate it and thanks.

    Here’s my confirmed itinerary:
    1) 18th – 20th Nov: Narita airport to Tokyo (this part no problem for me as I am quite familiar with Tokyo)

    2) 20th – 23rd Nov: Tokyo to Kyoto (I am planning to get the Hikari Shinkansen tickets for the service @ 1103am. I believe that I should be about to get the train tickets from Narita Airport when I arrive on 18th Nov, am I right?)

    3) In Kyoto (4-days): We would be staying at Citadines Karasuma Gojo (in front of Gojo station). During our stay, we would be visiting few shrines around Kyoto and visiting main attraction places.

    4) 23rd – 27th Nov: Kyoto to Osaka
    – We would be staying at Best Western Joytel Osaka (near Suminoe Koen – JR line)
    – As my friend would be there for the Osaka marathon, thus we would be going to Osaka castle for the event to support her.
    – We would also be visiting main attractions places.
    – We may also consider going to Nara (if time permit)

    5) 27th Nov @ 2.45pm: Osaka to Itami airport

    I wander can you guide me during our stays in Kyoto & Osaka. At the same time, can you advice me which is the more economical direction for us to transfer from Kyoto to Osaka

    Thanks in advance.

    cheer,
    adelene

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Adelene,

      2) You can purchase a ticket at Narita. But you can purchase it at the nearest station when you stay in Tokyo. You don’t have to do it at Narita.

      3) I think Kyoto city pass is the best choice when you stay in Kyoto.
      http://www.city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/access/transport.html

      4) Suminoe Koen station is not on JR line. It is the last station of Osaka subway Yotsubashi line. So your route from Kyoto to Osaka is the following:
      Transfer to Hankyu Karasuma station. You can take Kyoto subway from Gojo to Shijo (same place as Karasuma). But you can walk if you want. It is only one station away. It is less than 1km.
      Take Hankyu train to Umeda and transfer to subway Yotsubashi line at Nishi Umeda. It is 15 minutes away from Hankyu Umeda. And take subway to Sumieno koen. You can find some info around Osaka station at the following link:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/osaka-station-guide-how-to-change-jr-trains-subway-trains-and-other-private-railways.html
      You can take JR line from Kyoto to Osaka. But Hankyu is a bit cheaper. You can find the exact fare at Hyperdia.
      http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

      When you stay in Osaka, you may use Osaka subway pass or other discount ticket. But your schedule is not fixed yet. So single fare is fine so far. You can get it on the spot anyway if you need.

      Cheers

      Takeshi / JP Rail

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