If you visit Osaka and make some day trips to outside Osaka, such as Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Kansai Thru Pass is a good deal. But as I explained about this pass on the post, How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare, you have to make many train and/or bus trips. And I compared a regular fare and the price of pass in the link above. But it may be complicated for you. You may be overwhelmed.
I will show you some sample itineraries by using Kansai Thru Pass in this post. I hope this post let you understand this pass easier.
Ride a train/bus for 2,000 yen worth or more in one day
The price of pass is 4,000 yen for 2-day and 5,200 yen for 3-day. You have to make the worth at least 2,000 yen value per day (1,740 yen per day for 3-day pass) by making train trips, bus trips and/or getting discount at attraction. Otherwise you cannot make the worth of the pass.
All following itineraries require 1,800 yen total fare or more. You will get a discount at many attractions. If you can pick two or three itineraries to combine and you will get the worth of Kansai Thru Pass.
In all sample itineraries, departure time is around 9:00 am. Of course you can start earlier if you want. But some attractions open around 10:00 am. Please check the hours of the attractions that you want to visit when you make your trip plan.
Himeji, Kobe and Tarumi
If you go to Himeji and Kobe in one day, this pass gives you a great deal.
Visit Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe
Depart from Namaba : Namba 09:10 (Hanshin train) 09:30 Amagasaki 09:36 (Hanshin train) 10:27 Sanyo Tarumi (840 yen)
Depart from Umeda : Umeda 09:27 (Hanshin train) 10:27 Sanyo Tarumi (750 yen)
You can skip this place if you are not a shopping spree. The reason why I put it in this itinerary is that the trip is too long if we go to Himeji directly by Hanshin and Sanyo railways.
But you can see the world longest suspension bridge, Akashi Ohashi bridge here. And you can shop and eat here. I think it is nice place to take a break. It is only 9 minutes away from the station by foot. If you skip this spot, you can spend more time at Kobe or Himeji. You can stop by there on the way to Kobe from Himeji as the lunch break.
Himeji Castle and the lunch break.
Sanyo Tarumi 12:00 (Sanyo train) 12:39 Sanyo Himeji (740 yen)
You can get 20% off for Himeji Castle admission by Kansai Thru Pass. Himeji Castle is about 20 minutes away from the station. You can walk but it is too long, you can take a bus. But the bus fare is not covered by Kansai Thru Pass.
Please see the post below to find more information about Himeji.
Sanyo Himeji 15:04 (Sanyo train) 16:08 Sannomiya (Walk) Sannoiya Hanadokeimae 16:20 (Kobe subway) 16:24 (940 yen + 200 yen = 1140 yen)
You can enjoy Kobe port cruise if you want. You can get a discount for cruise and Kobe Port tower. You can have a dinner at Kobe before heading back to Osaka.
To Namba : Sannomiya 20:11 (Hanshin train) 20:34 Amagasaki 20:39 (Hanshin) 20:59 Namba (400 yen)
To Umeda : 20:11 (Hanshin train) 20:42 Umeda (310 yen)
Total fare is 3120 yen from/to Namba and 2940 yen from/to Umeda.
Kobe and Arima hot springs
Arima hot springs is one of most three famous hot springs and one of the three oldest hot springs. Actually it is most accessible hot springs from Osaka. You can stay there but I put this hot springs as day use in this trip.
Visit Arima hot springs, Kinnoyu (Gold springs), Ginnoyu (Silver springs) or Taiko no Yu.
From Umeda : Umeda 09:03 (Hanshin train) 09:36 Sannomiya 09:49 (Kobe subway and Hokushin Kyuko) 10:00 Tanigami 10:06 (Kobe railway train) 10:17 Arimaguchi 10:19 (Kobe railway train) 10:23 Arima Onsen (310 yen + 900 yen = 1210 yen)
From Namba : Namba 08:45 (Hanshin train) 09:02 Amagasaki 09:07 (Hanshin train) 09:32 Sannomiya 09:49 (Kobe subway and Hokushin Kyuko) 10:00 Tanigami 10:06 (Kobe railway train) 10:17 Arimaguchi 10:19 (Kobe railway train) 10:23 Arima Onsen (400 yen + 900 yen = 1300 yen)
You can get discount to go these hot springs. These hot springs open from 9:00 am. By the way, Taiko is a name of title of Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
If you want to have more relaxation, you can use daily plan of high end hotels. Arima Grand Hotel has daily hot springs use plan around 4,000 yen.
Arima Onsen 14:09 (Kobe railway train) 14:13 Arimaguchi 14:29 (Kobe railway train) 14:39 14:41 Tanigami (Hokushin Kyuko and Kobe subway) 14:51 Sannomiya (900 yen)
You can visit anywhere in Kobe you want, such as Kitano, Kobe port.
To Umeda : 20:11 (Hanshin train) 20:42 Umeda (310 yen)
Total fare is 2600 yen from/to Namba and 2420 yen from/to Umeda.
You can complete most of Kyoto Must-See spots in one day!
From Namba : Namba 08:59 (Osaka subway Midosuji line) 09:05 Yodoyabashi 09:10 (Keihan Ltd Exp train) 09:58 Shichijo (200 yen + 600 yen = 800 yen)
From Umeda : Umeda 9:01 (Osaka subway Midosuji line) 09:05 Yodoyabashi 09:10 (Keihan Ltd Exp train) 09:58 Shichijo (200 yen + 600 yen = 800 yen)
Shichijo, Kiyomizu-Gojo, Gion-Shijo and Sanjo are the gateway station to Higashiyama area. There are tons of spots there. It is impossible to visit most of spots in half day. If you really want to see this area, don’t try this itinerary. Actually even one full day is not enough to cover most of spot.
In this itinerary, I assume to visit Sanjusankendo (三十三間堂), Kiyomizudera temple (清水寺) and Yasaka Jinja shrine (八坂神社).
Kawaramachi 13:05 (Hankyu train) 13:06 Karasuma 13:09 (Kyoto subway Karasuma line) 13:19 Kitaoji (Kyoto bus 12-20 minutes) Kinkakujido (金閣寺道) bus stop (150 yen + 250 yen + 220 yen = 620 yen)
Actually Kyoto city bus #12 goes straight to Kinkakujido bus stop from Kawaramachi or Sanjo-Keihan. This is the easiest. But it is affected by traffic congestion. When you explore Kyoto, try to use trains as much as possible. That is a key to save your time. From Kitaoji to Kinkakujido, you can take #101, #102 or M1. Bus comes every 10 to 15 minutes. Kikakuji temple is 5 minutes walk from bus stop.
Kikakujido (Kyoto city bus 5 minutes) Kitano-Hakubaicho 15:06 (Keifuku railway a.k.a. “Randen”) 15:17 Katabiranotsuji 15:25 (Keifuku railway a.k.a. “Randen”) 15:32 Arashiyama (220 yen + 200 yen = 420 yen)
Kitano-Hakubaisho station is only 3 bus stops away from Kikakujido. You can walk if you want. It takes about 20 minutes. Keifuku railway is a small local railway. It is like a street car.
In Arashiyama, you don’t have much time to visit temples and shrines. You can walk along Katsura river. And you may be able to ride Sagano sightseeing tram night train. But Sagano sightseeing train is not covered by Kansai Thru Pass.
Arashiyama 20:03 (Hankyu train) 20:11 Katsura 20:21 (Hankyu train) 20:55 Umeda 21:00 (Osaka subway Midosuji line) 21:08 Namba (390 yen. If you go to Namba, add 230 yen for subway)
If you have just round trip to Kyoto, it is not enough to use Kansai Thru Pass. But if you visit several places, this pass gives you a great deal.
Total fare is 2230 yen from/to Umeda and 2460 yen from/to Namba.
Nara and south Kyoto one day
If you visit only Nara, it is not enough to get 1800 yen worth. So I combine south Kyoto and Nara because it is the closet place from Nara.
From Namba : Osaka-Namba 09:01 (Kintetsu railway Rapid Express) 09:39 Kintetsu-Nara (540 yen)
From Umeda : Umeda 8:45 (Osaka subway Midosuji line) 08:54 Namba (walk) Osaka-Namba 09:01 (Kintetsu railway Rapid Express) 09:39 Kintetsu-Nara (230 yen + 540 yen = 770 yen)
Subway Namba station is very close to Kintetsu Osaka-Namba station. If you miss 9:01 train, next train comes in 10 minutes.
Most of places in Nara can be accessed by walk from the station. Please see 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 more details.
Nara 13:43 (Kintetsu railway Rapid Express) 14:24 Kintetsu-Tanbabashi (walk) Tanbabashi 14:33 (Keihan railway local train) 14:40 Fushimi-Inari (540 yen + 200 yen = 740 yen)
Kintetsu-Tanbabashi station is located at same place as Keihan’s Tanbabashi station. 9 minutes is way enough to transfer. Both stations are not big terminal stations. You cannot miss it.
Fushimi Inari shrine is 10 minutes away from the station.
Fushimi-Inari 15:39 (Keihan railway local train) 15:54 Chushojima 16:04 (Keihan train Uji line local train) 16:18 Uji (300 yen)
Uji 18:02 (Keihan railway Uji line local train) 18:16 Chushojima 18:21 (Keihan railwa Limited Express) 19:04 Yodoyabashi (Osaka subway Midousuji line 10 minutes ride) Namba or Umeda (400 yen + 200 yen = 600 yen)
Total fare is 2180 yen to/from Namba and 2410 yen to/from Umeda.
If you have more, you can go to Gion in Kyoto. After you finish Uji sightseeing, you can take the train to Gion-Shijo at Chushojima.
Uji 18:02 (Keihan railway Uji line local train) 18:16 Chushojima 18:21 (Keihan railwa Limited Express) 18:33 Gion-Shijo
You can enjoy dinner and walk in Kyoto if you want. The last train departs at 23:06 from Gion-Shijo. You can transfer subway at Yodoyabashi from this last train. You still have lots of time for Gion, Kyoto.
Yoshino. Recommended for cherry blossom season
Yoshino is located at south part of Nara. It is very famous as cherry blossom viewing spots. But the pass does not cover all part of the trip to Yoshino. You have to pay some extra to get there.
From Namba : Namba 08:56 (Osaka subway Midousuji line) 09:03 Tennoji (walk) Abenobashi 09:20 (Kintetsu railway Express train) 10:53 Yoshino (230 yen + 690 yen = 920 yen)
From Umeda : Umeda 08:47 (Osaka subway Midousuji line) 09:03 Tennoji (walk) Abenobashi 09:20 (Kintetsu railway Express train) 10:53 Yoshino (270 yen + 690 yen = 960 yen)
The pass cover the trip to Tsubosakayama station. It is still 50 minutes away from Yoshino. The extra fare is 420 yen for one way.
Once you arrive in Yoshino, you can enjoy as much as you want until the last train depart at 22:12.
Total fare is 1840 yen to/from Namba and 1920 yen to/from Umeda.
*Above fare is the worth that is covered by the pass. You need to pay another 840 yen on top.
Mt. Koya one day trip
If you want to visit Mt. Koya as day trip, Kansai Thru Pass is one of the choice. But if you want to stay in Mt. Koya, Koyasan World Heritage Ticket is much better choice.
From Namba : Namba 09:01 (Osaka subway Midousuji line) 09:49 Hashimoto 09:54 (Kintetsu railway Express train) 10:31 Gokurakubashi 10:36 (Cabel car) 10:41 Koyasan (850 yen + 380 yen = 1230 yen)
From Umeda : Umeda 08:47 (Osaka subway Midousuji line) 08:56 Namba 09:01 (Osaka subway Midousuji line) 09:49 Hashimoto 09:54 (Kintetsu railway Express train) 10:31 Gokurakubashi 10:36 (Cabel car) 10:41 Koyasan (230 yen + 850 yen + 380 yen = 1460 yen)
You can get the worth easily to have just return trip to Mt. Koya. And also you can take a bus and get some discount at several temples there.
Total fare is 2460 yen to/from Namba and 2920 yen to/from Umeda.