How to use JR West Kansai Area Pass. Compare pass and single fare.

Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.
Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.

The post, How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area is one of most popular one in this site. Since I published this post, I have received many comments and questions. I have written about Kansai Thru Pass in the previous post. This pass covers most of private railway companies, subway trains and some bus services. It may give you the great value if you use it. But JR West Kansai Area Pass is more suitable for some travellers. Especially if you go to Kyoto or Shin-Osaka from Kansai Airport, this pass gives you very good deal.

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 pass and single fare.

Coverage area

Please refer the map in JR West Kansai Area Pass official site.

The pass cover most of points of interest, such as Osaka (Umeda), Namba, Universal Studio Japan, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Kansai airport, Himeji

Major spots that are not covered by this pass are Wakayama and Mt. Koya. But if you want to go to Mt. Koya, Nankai Railway is the best way. Nankai Railway is not covered by JR West Kansai Area Pass anyway. Nankai Railway’s Koyasan World Heritage Ticket or Kansai Thru Pass is a right choice for trip to Mt. Koya.

Nankai Railway Koyasan World Heritage Ticket
How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.

In March, 2015, the coverage area was bigger but price is higher. The coverage are map is below:
Kansai Area pass map

Wakayama, Iga, Tsuruga, Hikone, Ako and some more places were added in the coverage area after March 1, 2015.

Who is eligible

Visitors who land as “Temporary Visitor” status can purchase this pass. If you live in Japan, you cannot purchase it. Kansai Thru Pass may be your choice.

Types and prices

Purchase outside Japan or onlinePurchase inside Japan
(6-11 years old)
(6-11 years old)
1 day2,200 yen1,100 yen2,300 yen1,150 yen
2 days4,300 yen2,150 yen4,500 yen2,250 yen
3 days5,300 yen2,650 yen5,500 yen2,750 yen
4 days6,300 yen3,150 yen6,500 yen3,250 yen

*5 year old or younger child is free. Maximum 2 children per one adult.

The pass must be used in consecutive days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night (midnight to midnight).

ex) If you start to use 3 days pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 3.

Valid trains and bus lines

This pass covers all JR local trains and non reserved seat of Limited Express Haruka. You CANNOT ride any other express trains, such as Tokaido Shinkansen, Limited Express Thunderbird. But as long as you travel in Kansai area, you don’t need to ride Limited Express trains. Rapid Services Network is very convenient. It is fast and frequent. The following list shows you trains that you can ride by JR West Kansai Area Pass.

Of course, you can ride any local trains that are not shown on above list.

On the other hand, which trains you cannot ride by this pass? JR West Kansai Area Pass does not cover any private railway lines, subway lines and bus lines. Most of major private railway companies and subway lines are shown on the following list:

Kiyomizudera is one of most popular temple in Kyoto Higashiyama area. But you cannot get there by JR trains only. ©Sue Ann Simon/©JNTO
  • Osaka Municipal Transportation (Subway)
  • Kyoto Municipal Transportation (Subway and city bus)
  • Nankai Railway (Namba-Kansai airport, Namba-Mt.Koya)
  • Kintetsu Railway (Namba-Nara, Kyoto-Nara)
  • Hankyu Railway (Sannomiya-Umeda-Kawaramachi)
  • Keihan Railway (Yodoyabashi-Kyobashi-Shijo-Sanjo)
  • Hanshin Railway (Namba-Sannomiya, Umeda-Sannomiya-Himeji)
  • Sanyo Railway (Umeda-Sannomiya-Akashi-Himeji)

These above railways and bus lines are NOT covered. When you are in Osaka or Kyoto, subway trains and city bus services are very convenient. So you may have pay a single fare or purchase day pass. I think this is the biggest disadvantage of JR West Kansai Area Pass. I wrote about JR trains and Kyoto subways/buses in Kyoto at this post, Japan Rail Pass is the best way to explore Kyoto? How to use Japan Rail Pass in Kyoto. The rules of JR West Kansai Area Pass is almost same as Japan Rail Pass. Kansai Area Pass covers JR Bus in Kyoto too. You can get Takao area by bus which is covered by this pass.

Compare cost between pass and single fare. Best way to use.

First of all, please see the fare table for major sections below:

NaraHimehjiJR Namba
JR Namba1902108901030

*If there are two fares, basic fare is shown at the top and limited express surcharge at the bottom. For example, if you travel from Kansai airport to Shin-Osaka, basic fare is 1330 yen and surcharge is 1150 yen.

Special Rapid Service operated by JR West 223 series.
Special Rapid Service dominates Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe-Himeji transfer.

As you saw the fare table above, most of trips from Kansai airport is very efficient because of limited express Haruka. If you travel to Osaka, Kansai airport rapid may be better than Haruka because Haruka do not stop at Osaka. But if you think about getting on Haruka, Kansai Area Pass is considerable. Even one day pass is cheaper than basic fare + surcharge. If you go to Namba, you can access there by JR trains. But Nankai Railway gives you much better access to Namba. Especially if you think about transfer to subway at Namba, Nankai Railway Namba station is much easier to transfer to most of subway lines. Please see the details at the post, How to access from Kansai airport to downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

Next, I recommend you to use this pass for the trip to Himeji. Special Rapid Service connects Osaka with Himeji in 62 minutes. This train is the fastest and most frequent service. If you think about Kansai Thru Pass, this pass do not cover JR trains. If you go to Himeji by Kansai Thru Pass, the pass cover all part of your trip to Himeji. But you will spend more than 90 minutes. Kansai Thru Pass is very efficient for the trip to Kyoto or Mt. Koya. But if you go to Himeji, I recommend you to use JR West Kansai Area Pass.

If you go to Kyoto, Nara or Kobe from Osaka, it may not be very efficient. The fare range is between 500 and 1,000 yen. The difference between 1 day pass and 2 days pass is 2,000 yen. If you will purchase 3 days or 4 days, the price difference is 1,000 yen. If you have two trips, from Kansai airport by Haruka and trip to Himeji, you will already make more than 4,000 yen worth. You can use the pass to Kyoto, Kobe or Nara. But if you use 2 days pass for trip from Kansai airport and trip to Kyoto, Nara or Kobe, you may not be able to make more than 4,000 yen worth.

JR West also sell ICOCA and Haruka. This discount ticket include trip from Kansai airport by Haruka and 1,500 yen value e-money in ICOCA prepaid card. If JR West Kansai Area Pass is too expensive for your trip, ICOCA and Haruka may be suitable for your trip. ICOCA can be used for not only JR trains but also Kyoto subway, Osaka subway and other major private railway companies. ICOCA is more flexible than JR West Kansai Area Pass. Please see the details about ICOCA at the post, ICOCA and Haruka ticket. Very flexible and good deal for tourist who stay in Kansai..

At last, if you want to explore some more places, I strongly recommend you JR West Kansai WIDE Area Pass. This pass is available in 4 days pass only. But the area where is covered is much bigger. And limited express train and Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Okayama are covered by this pass. And the price is only 1,000 yen higher than Kansai Area Pass 4 days. I am very happy if you are interested in other places outside of Kansai area.

641 thoughts on “How to use JR West Kansai Area Pass. Compare pass and single fare.”

  1. Hello Takeshi-San,

    My trip to Kansai area will be on April 5-13, with the following itinerary in mind. I will be staying with my cousin who is currently based in Kobe, Hyogo.
    I have not finalized it yet because I am hesitant with the sequence, because if I use a JR West Pass, then I have to use it on consecutive days.

    5-Apr Arrival at KIX
    6-Apr USJ
    7-Apr Kobe and Himeji
    8-Apr Osaka Bay and Kita District
    9-Apr Osaka – Minami District and Tennoji
    10-Apr Kyoto-Inari
    11-Apr Kyoto-Arashiyama
    12-Apr Nara
    13-Apr Return to Manila

    What do you suggest is the most convenient and cost efficient pass with this itinerary? I have purchased a 2-day Osaka Amazing Pass for the days that we will be roaming Osaka.
    Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Hi Jing san,

      I recommend you to use Kansai area pass for just Kobe and Himeji. You may use Kansai thru pass for Kyoto and Nara:

      You can find the deal for KIX-Osaka in the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Hello Takeshi san,

        Thank you very much for your prompt response!

        On our entire trip, we will be staying/based at Kobe. Will the Kansai thru pass be more efficient than JR West Pass?

        Thanks again! Your articles are really really helpful!

        1. Hi Jing san,

          Can you switch the order of your sightseeing. Because Kansai area pass is recommended for Himeji and Kyoto. But you have to use this pass consecutively. So please gather Himeji and Kyoto in three consecutive days. On the other hand, you can use Kansai thru pass for Nara and Osaka except trip to USJ. You can do it on any 3 days.

          Limousine bus is most convenient to get Kobe.


          Takeshi /

  2. Hi, Takeshi-san.

    I am glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I have had a hard time trying to figure out which type of rail pass to get for our trip. I was hoping you could help me figure out whether we should get a rail pass, and if so, which one. We are staying near Tsuruhashi station. Here is a summary of our itinerary:

    Day 1 – KIX > Tennoji > Tsuruhashi station (Is ICOCA+Haruka a good deal for this?)
    Day 2 – Osaka sightseeing (day 1)
    Day 3 – Osaka sightseeing (day 2)
    Day 4 – Osaka > Himeji > Kobe > Osaka (Is this too ambitious? Should I spend one day in each city?)
    Day 5 – Osaka > Kyoto > Osaka (Is one day enough to see all the sites?)
    Day 6 – Osaka > Nara > Osaka (Is one day enough to see all the sites?)
    Day 7 – Osaka > Hikone > Osaka
    Day 8 – Osaka > Kinosaki Onsen > Osaka (I’ve been told this is a good place to go. Is this worth the trip?)
    Day 9 – Tsuruhashi station > Tennoji > KIX (Haruka roundtrip?)

    The sequence of places is still flexible since we are staying in Osaka throughout the trip. Should we get the JR West Kansai Area Pass for days 4 to 7?

    1. Hi JJ san,

      You should use Kansai Wide Area Pass for day 4 to 8 because this is most affordable deal to cover Kinosaki onsen. I love Kinosaki and recommended.

      For day 2 and 3, you may find the deal in the link below:

      It’s hard to say that one day is enough to see Kyoto. In my opinion, one day is okay for Nara because most of places are in the walking distance from Nara station. But Kyoto is much bigger than Nara. I think you probably see 4 to 5 places maximum in one day. It depends on where you want to go.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you for your suggestions, Takeshi san!

        I have a few quick follow-up questions.
        1. Is ICOCA plus Haruka roundtrip ticket a good deal? What are the alternatives?
        2. If we don’t go to Kinosaki, would the Kansai Wide Area Pass still be a good choice?
        3. Which of the Osaka City passes would you recommend if we will be traveling around Osaka for from Day 1 (halfday) to Day 3?

          1. Thank you, Takeshi san!

            I have one more inquiry: I am considering a trip to Okayama. Is it worth the trip?

            Also, I am planning to do it on the same day as Himeji and Kobe. So, it will be Osaka > Okayama > Himeji > Kobe > Osaka. Is it possible or is it too ambitious?


  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    With my wife have doubts whether to buy the Kansai Thru Pass or the JR West Kansai Area Pass

    We will be staying in Kyoto for 5 days, near Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station, and we plan daily trips from there. (not necessarily in this order)

    day1. Himeji with a stop at Osaka before returning to Kyoto
    day 2. Nara and Fushimi Inari
    day 3. Kyoto city
    day 4. Arashiyama
    day 5. We leave for Tanabe.

    Can you give us any advice about which pass to buy?
    It is possible to use one of these passes to travel part of the trip from
    kyoto to Tanabe?

    Thank you!
    Best Regards,

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I’m planning to take kansai area pass 1day for my trip from shin imamiya station to minami kusatsu station, i tried looking at Hyperdia this trip will cost me 1320yen. On the same day i plan to visit few places such as sagano romantic train, and arashiyama forest using JR line. By the end of the day i’ll go back to minami kusatsu station and back to shin imamiya station. do u think it’s worth it to take the pass?

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,
    Can you help to recommend on which pass (train or bus) should i buy for my itinerary below:
    Day 1: arrive KIX then sightseeing around (osaka castle, temposan,umeda,dotomburi,etc) staying in Enisia Namba.
    Day 2: USJ
    Day 3: Osaka to Nara (sightseeing nara park,kofukuji,todaiji,kasuga taisha) staying in Nara guesthouse kamunabi
    Day 4: Nara to Kyoton (Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama,kinkakuji,kiyomizudera, etc) staying in Kyoto Hana hostel
    Day 5: Kyoto to Tokyo (better sightseeing in tokyo or Disney?) staying in Imano Tokyo-shinjuku area)
    Day 6 : Mt. Fuji tour
    Day 7: last day (Disney or sightseeing Tsukiji,ginza,imperial palace,shibuya,harajuku etc)

    i already bought ICOCA card, considering buying JR West kansai pass and Kyoto all day bus pass. Also any suggestion on the trip from Kyoto to Tokyo ? I am weighing to take a shinkansen but not sure whether it will economical.

    Thank you for your input.

    1. Hi H Catrina san,

      For day 1, Yokoso Osaka Ticket is recommended:

      For day 2 to 4, you may use ICOCA. I think you intend to use Kansai area pass for these days, but it’s not a good idea. You cannot get the worth of it.

      If you save your cost, you may think about using Platt Kodama for the Shinkansen trip from Kyoto to Tokyo.

      I think you should visit Disneyland on day 7. It’s always crowded. You should be there at the time of the gate open.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,
        Thank you for your fast reply, the thing is my friend already bought her JR West kansai pass and she asked me to buy 1 for myself, which is why i am considering the pass. Say if i buy the JR west pass instead of Yokoso Osaka ticket, can i use the pass for the tour around Osaka on Day 1?
        can the pass also be use for train from namba to USJ ? can it also be use to go to Nara and Kyoto considering my friend already have hers?
        What is better to take for my full day in Kyoto, bus or train ? should i take a 1 day bus pass because i read that Kyoto is a bus city more than train? my itinerary will have me arrive in Kyoto on April 13, saturday.
        thank you for your input.

        1. Hi H Catrina san,

          If you have to use Kansai area pass one day, you should use it for day 1. This is only day that you can get the worth of it. But JR-Namba station is a bit away from the center of Namba. Tenpozan is not in the coverage area. Please see the links below to find more info:


          Takeshi /

          1. Hi Takeshi san,
            So i will not get any worth for the pass if i use it on train from Namba to Nara or from Nara to Kyoto ? or even tour in Kyoto ?

            if I use Yokoso pass for day 1 and then the JR west kansai pass for day 3 or day 4 and then continue with the tour in that city, will it be worth it ?


            1. Hi H Catrina san,

              No, you can’t. One way fare from JR-Namba to Nara is 560 yen. The fare from Nara to Kyoto is 710 yen. The pass does not cover any bus, subway and non JR trains. You cannot get the worth of it. Regular fare ticket is way cheaper actually.

              If you use it on day 1, you can take express train Haruka from Kansai airport to Tennoji. It costs more than 2,000 yen and this is reason why you can get the worth of it. But you have to change trains at Tennoji and get a local train to JR-Namba. JR-Namba is not located in the center of Namba as I mentioned in the previous reply.

              But if you use Yokoso Osaka ticket, you can take Nankai railway express train “Rapi:t” to get Namba directly. And Nankai railway Namba station is the center of Namba. Yokoso Osaka ticket includes subway unlimited ride and it covers all places where you will visit.

              That is reason why I don’t recommend you to use this pass.

              Even if you are okay that the pass is more expensive than a regular fare ticket, and you have to use the pass on day 3 or 4, you should use it on day 4 from Nara to Kyoto. You can use the pass in Kyoto to get Arashiyama.

              However even if use the pass to get Arashiyama, you cannot get the worth of it. Total cost will be around 1,000 yen.

              I forgot to tell you about the deal in Kyoot in the last reply. Kyoto city bus pass is the best deal:


              Takeshi /

              1. Hi Takeshi san,
                on your previous explanation, you said :
                “If you use it on day 1, you can take express train Haruka from Kansai airport to Tennoji. It costs more than 2,000 yen and this is reason why you can get the worth of it. But you have to change trains at Tennoji and get a local train to JR-Namba.”
                Does this transfer to local train from Tennoji to JR-Namba, we can use the pass too? since it’s a JR Line right ?

                Another scenario, if i use the pass on Day 4 from Nara to Kyoto, can i use the pass all the way on JR line from Nara to Inari, Inari to Kyoto, Kyoto to Arashiyama, Arashiyama to Emmachi and etc, on that day as long as it’s on JR train?

                thank you.

  6. Hello Takeshi,

    My itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1: Arrive in KIX, Osaka
    Day 2: Osaka
    Day 3: Osaka, visit ITM to pick up my friend
    Day 4: Osaka
    Day 5: Osaka to Hyogo (Mount Himeji) to Kyoto
    Day 6: Kyoto (roundtrip to Mount Hiei)
    Day 7: Kyoto to Osaka (roundtrip to Nara)
    Day 8: Tokyo
    Day 9: Tokyo

    JR Pass seems to be the easiest way to go… but I am considering a 3-day Thru Pass (Day 5-7) and then pay separate fare for all other trips. What do you think?

    Thank you so much

    1. Hi Aria,

      Kansai Thru Pass is better deal for day 5 to 7 because JR Kansai area pass is better for day 5 but it does not cover Mount Hiei.

      In Osaka, you can find the deal in the link below:

      For the trip to Itami, Osaka to Tokyo, there is no deals available. But if you intend to take the Shinkansen for Osaka to Tokyo, Platt Kodama may be considerable:


      Takeshi /

  7. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I am torn between the 4 day JR West Kansai Area Pass or the Kansai Thru Pass.

    Day 1 – Kansai Airport to Osaka
    Day 2 – Osaka
    Day 3 – Osaka to Nara to Kyoto
    Day 4 – Kyoto

    Which one would you recommend us getting or should we just get a prepaid card?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    1. Hi Sandy san,

      I don’t recommend you to use either passes.

      For day 1, please see the link below:

      For day 2, please see the link below:

      For day 3, please use Kansai one pass instead of using a regular fare ticket:

      For day 4, use Kansai one pass when you take train or subway. If you take a bus more than 3 times a day, you may use city bus pass at 600 yen for one day. You can get the worth of it by more than 3 rides of the pass. Otherwise use Kansai one pass to take city bus as well:


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you Takeshi!

        Would you suggest us getting the JR Rail Pass for 7 days instead?

        This is my full itinerary:
        Day 1 – Kansas airport to Osaka
        Day 2 – Osaka
        Day 3 – Osaka to Nara to Kyoto
        Day 4 – Kyoto
        Day 5 – Kyoto to Tokyo
        Day 6-8 – Tokyo
        Day 9 – Day trip to Hakone
        Day 10 – Tokyo to Narita Airport

        There are so many options to choose from and it gets so overwhelming! Thank you for your help!

  8. Hi Takeshi-san,

    There’s a change in the plan and so we had to rethink about which passes bring good value to us. Pls advise which passes good for this route:

    Day 1: Osaka
    Day 2-3: Kyoto, Kobe, Nara
    Day 4: kanazawa (daytrip to shirakawago)
    Day 5: kanazawa -Izu (kawazu)
    Day 6: Tokyo Shinjuku
    Day 7: Nikko
    Day 8: Yokohama
    Day 9: Shinjuku-Haneda

    Thank you very much in advance for the assistance!

    Warm regrds,

    1. Hi Corry san,

      You may use JR pass for day 1 to 7. I recommend you to switch day 6 (Tokyo) and day 8 (Yokohama), and you can use JR pass for the trip to Yokohama.
      Regular ticket is okay for Tokyo and Haneda.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately we already made a hotel booking in shinjuku starting day 6 to day 9. So we will do day trips to Nikko and Yokohama.

        What if we activate the JR Pass on day 2? Is the trip from Kix to Osaka City okay with regular ticket?

        Also, with Nikko, should we purchase Nikko pass or JR Pass will be okay? Same thing about Kyoto, should we consider Kyoto All day Pass as well?

        Thank you again!

  9. Hi,Takeshi
    Does this pass valid on base fare of limited express(Kuroshio) I’m going from Tennoji to Wakayama?
    (If above is yes)May I ask that
    Does it apply to Reserved/Green seat too?
    Thank you very much in advance for your assistance.

    1. Hi Wang,

      This pass does not cover Kuroshio. It covers only Haruka.
      This pass does not cover both reserved seat and Green seat. You have to get on non reserved seat. If you want reserved seat, you have to purchase a regular ticket.


      Takeshi /

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