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 online Purchase inside Japan
Duration Adult Child
(6-11 years old)
Adult Child
(6-11 years old)
1 day 2,200 yen 1,100 yen 2,300 yen 1,150 yen
2 days 4,300 yen 2,150 yen 4,500 yen 2,250 yen
3 days 5,300 yen 2,650 yen 5,500 yen 2,750 yen
4 days 6,300 yen 3,150 yen 6,500 yen 3,250 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:

Stations Osaka Shin
Kyoto Kansai
Nara Himehji JR Namba
Osaka 160 540 1160
390 780 1450 190
160 540 1330
540 890 1450 210
Kyoto 540 540 1830
1050 690 2210 890
390 540 1050 1660
1210 950 690
Nara 780 890 690 1660
1210 2210 540
Himeji 1450 1450 2210 2730
950 2210 1620
JR Namba 190 210 890 1030
690 540 1620

*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.

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

  1. Dear Takeshi-San,

    I am visiting Osaka next month and I am confuse on which pass suits my itinerary better, would be very much appreciated if you are able to help me out 🙂

    I am going to stay in Osaka for 8 nights (reaching kansai airport) so mainly just travelling around within Osaka and 2 of the days will be travelling to kyoto & Nara (I supposed one day will be too packed?) for day trip. Just wondering for my case, Should I purchase the Kansai Thru pass /JR west pass or should I just use the normal Suica card (which I already have one that I used to travel in Tokyo) will do ? which one can save more ?

    Thank you very much in advance for your help!

    1. Hi Ivy san,

      You can use Kansai thru pass for outside Osaka, like Kyoto and Nara. If you have only two days for Nara and Kyoto, I suggest you to spend 1/2 day for Nara and 1.5 days for Kyoto.

      You can use Suica in Osaka, but there are lots of deals available in Osaka.

      And also the following link may help you to build your plan:


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you for your reply 🙂

        Can I conclude that its best for me to purchase kansai thru pass for travelling within Kyoto + Nara. & purchase the ICOCA card to travel within Osaka + two way train between kansai airport to hotel (as I saw online mentioned that there is cheaper price to for airport express if using ICOCA card ?)

        1. Hi Ivy,

          ICOCA is okay but it does not give you any unlimited ride. Subway pass or other deals in Osaka maybe cheaper.

          If you really want to use ICOCA, you can use Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA. It’s same type of card as ICOCA but it gives you discount at many attractions.


          Takeshi /

  2. Hi Takeshi san,

    Very informative on the passes and I have been enjoying reading your site to plan my trip later this year.

    I was thinking of the JR West Kansai area pass for one day to use it at least for a return trip from Osaka to Himeji as the one day pass works out cheaper than the return fare, correct?

    But I was wondering if perhaps it might be ideal to utilise any other pass or passes for our below day by day itinerary?

    Day 1 – KIX to Osaka. We are staying in Nishi-Ohashi and we would prefer to take the Nankai Rapi:t from KIX to Namba then subway to Nishi-Ohashi.

    Day 2 – Osaka
    Day 3 – Osaka > day trip to Himeji
    Day 4 – Osaka
    Day 5 – Osaka

    Day 6 – Osaka to Koyasan. We prefer the faster Nankai Limited Express, so we’re thinking the Koya world heritage pass as we are staying overnight in Koyasan.

    Day 7 – Koyasan to Nara. Maybe the fastest way to Nara as we are only staying in Nara for the day and catching the night bus to Tokyo.

    Day 8 – Tokyo (we are staying in Shimo-Kitazawa area)
    Day 9 – Tokyo Disneyland
    Day 10 – Tokyo > Mt Takao day trip
    Day 11 – Tokyo

    Day 12 – Shimo-Kitazawa > day trip to Yokohama and maybe Kanazawa too, but definitely Yokohama.

    Day 13 – Shimo-Kitazawa to Hakone-Yumoto, we would get the Hakone free pass as we are staying there 2 nights.

    Day 14 – Odawara to Kyoto (we are staying in Sanjo, so subway from Kyoto station to Sanjo)

    Day 15 – Kyoto (Kinkaku-ji > Arashiyama > Saga romantic sightseeing train.

    Day 16 – Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi inari)

    Day 17 – Kyoto to KiX, we’re thinking the Haruka express?

    Any ideas or suggestions on passes I would very much appreciate it.

    Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Mikayil san,

      You may use Kansai thru pass 3 days for trip to Himeji, Koyasan and Nara instead of Kansai area pass and Koyasan world heritage pass.

      Kansai area pass covers Himeji by JR train. JR is faster than other railway. If you use Kansai thru pass, it’s slower. But Kansai thru pass covers subway. You can start using it when you take subway from Nishi-Ohashi. And also you can take subway to explore Osaka after trip to Himeji. You also can drop by Kobe and take subway to explore Kobe. This is a benefit of Kanasai thru pass.

      Another reason to use this pass is Nara. It covers Nara. If you use Koyasan world heritage pass, it does not cover Nara. You can get Koyasan and take a bus in Koyasan by Kansai thru pass. You just need to add limited express fee on top of the pass.

      Please see the links below to find the deal for KIX to Osaka.

      In Tokyo, you can use subway pass to explore Tokyo, but you need to add single fare for Disney and Takao.

      On day 12, are you sure to visit Kanazawa? Did you mean Kamakura? If you go to Kanazawa, it’s far but not impossible.

      If you go to Kanazawa, you may use JR pass 7 days for the last 7 days.

      If not, you need to add local deals and single fare for Odawara to Kyoto. Hakone Free pass is a good choice. Even if you use JR pass, you need this pass from Odawara. You may find other deals in the link below:


      Takeshi /

  3. Konnichiwa Takeshi san!

    I find your post really helpful as it clearly lists down the pros and cons for different passes offered in Japan. However, i still couldn’t make up my mind whether to go for JR West Kansai Area Pass or the ICOCA/Haruka pass. If you don’t mind, can you please give me some additional advise?

    I will be travelling to Central Japan for 10 days in total. I’ll be landing on Kansai airport and going straight to Kyoto. During my stay in Kyoto(4nights near Kyoto Station/Goji subway), i will go on shrine/temple hopping(Kiyomizudera, Maruyamakoen Park,Fushimi-Inari Shrine), Gion, Arashiyama area(Tenryu-ji Temple,Bamboo Forest,Kinkakuji Temple, super sad that the Sagano Scenic Railway is close on Jan&Feb!) as well as the Northern Higashiyama area(Philosopher’s path,Lake Biwa Canal).

    Then i will spend another 5 nights near Namba(Nankai),Osaka which i will cover day trips to Nara and Kobe as well. I wish to cover places like Osaka Jo, Umeda Sky Building, Kuroman Ichiba Market, Japan Mint Museum in Osaka. In addition, I’d love to travel to the Shirahama Onsen if time permits…. Last, i will travel from Osaka to KIX for departure. Do you think my itinerary is too rush for a 10D9N stay?

    By looking at these destinations that i have on mind, which pass would you recommend? I think i will be using alot of subways with these destinations therefore i thought perhaps the ICOCA will be a better choice. But then part of my travel will be relying on JR transportation too….. Do you think i will be travelling on train/buses alot in Kyoto/Osaka or usually some places are actually walkable by foot? Nara is definitely by foot or bicycle.

    So sorry to write such a long post…. was hoping to let you know what i have on mind on my trip next month! Thank you so much for the time! *super Excited!^^

    1. Hi Cindy,

      You may use Haruka discount ticket only and add Kansai one pass. It is same type of card as ICOCA but it gives you discount at many attractions.

      But Kansai one pass is not your primary deal. You should use city deals in each cities.

      Those deals covers basically subway and city bus only. But you sometimes need to take non JR trains and JR trains. You can use Kansai one pass to take these trains. And also you can use this card when you go to Osaka from Kyoto.

      When you go to Kobe and Nara, you can use Kansai thru pass. It is better than using Kansai one pass.

      You can take Nankai railway on the way back to KIX. If you take ordinary rapid train, you can use Kansai one pass. If you want to take limited express train, you can use Kanku Tokuwari Rapi:t ticket.

      Your itinerary is feasible. Enjoy your trip.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hello takeshi san! Thanks for helping! But can you help me to break down into daily details on which ticket should i get/use during my trip?

        Day 1 – Kansai airport to Kyoto, staying at Kyomachiya Ryokan@Shimogyo-ku. Visit Fushimi Inari Taisha, Toji Temple,Shosei-en Garden and Gion-Shijo Area

        Day 2 – visit Higashiyama area/Kiyomizudera (Sannen zaka, Ninen zaka,Maruyama Park, Chion-in, Shore-in) , Nishiki Market

        Day 3 – staying near Kyoto Tower at Kyoto-shi, visit Arashiyama (bamboo forest, kinkakuji Temple, Tenryu-ji, Pontocho Alley, Hozugawa river cruise)

        Day 4 – from Kyoto to Nara (one day trip) Nara deer park, Todaiju Temple, Kasuga-taisha Shrine)

        Day 5 -visit Gion-Shijo district, Lake Biwa Canal, Philosopher Path, Umekoji Park

        Day 6 – Chion-ji Temple Handicraft market, travelling from Kyoto to Osaka, staying near Nippombashi station. Visit Dotonbori/Shinsaibashu Shopping Street, Osaka Jo.

        Day 7 – Visit Kuromon market, Tempozan Fertis wheel, Tsutenkaku , Shitenn-oji , Umeda sky building

        Day 8 – Visit Osaka central fish market, Osaka mint museum, Momofuku Instant Ramen museum, Dotonbori/Shinsaibashi shopping street.

        Day 9 – One Day trip to Kobe / Himeji, visit Kobe Harborland, ropeway ride toHerb garden, Meriken Park, Nankinmachi

        Day 10 – travelling from Osaka to Kansai Airport for departure.

        Can all the recommended passes/tickets being bought at Kansai airport? Are the places i intented to go are walkable or it’s actually far? I have friends who told me they walked alot in kyoto and didnt realy use much of the bus transportation. Thts why i am alittle confused.

        Sorry to disturb you on this again! Thank you so very much for all the information shared! Thanks alot!

        Looking forward to your reply!

        1. Hi Cindy,

          Basically you can follow my sample itinerary.

          You may purchase ICOCA and Haruka but you can add Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA card.

          You can use this card to take any trains and city buses. As you think, you may walk more than taking bus and trains. This card is perfect choice for your trip in Kyoto. This card gives you discounts at many attractions too. You may get discounts in other cities too.

          Kansai thru pass is better choice than using Kansai one pass for the trip to Nara, Kobe/Himeji and Kyoto to Osaka with sightseeing (day 6).

          In Osaka, you can use Kansai one pass but I think subway pass or other deal is better because you will take subways.


          Takeshi /

  4. Hey Takeshi,

    Thanks for the detailed info. So far I’m still a little confused on which pass might be right for me.

    I’ll be flying from Narita to KIX(Kansai Airport) and staying in Kyoto for 4 days and 3 Nights. Then going back to KIX to fly back to Narita.

    I’m a foreigner and do qualify for the JR Passes. But I can’t decide on the JR Kansai Pass, JR Thru Pass, or the ICOCA and Haruka Pass? Also not sure if I should bundle the Kyoto Bus & Subway Pass into this as well or just get that instead? I’ve seen so many passes at this point my heads going to explode.

    I don’t have a detailed itinerary yet but I’m mostly thinking of staying in the Kyoto Area. I might want to visit Osaka and Himeji Castle but not 100% sure on that yet.


    1. Hi Steven,

      You may use ICOCA and Haruka round trip to Kyoto. And you also may use Kyoto sightseeing pass for sightseeing in Kyoto. You can use ICOCA for the trip to Osaka. But if you don’t go to Osaka, you can use ICOCA for sightseeing in Kyoto.
      For the trip to Himeji, you may add Kansai area pass 1 day.


      Takeshi /

  5. Hi Takeshi san, I have bought JR west rail one day pass. I am staying near Komagawa-Nakano station. May I know how do I go to Himeji from here using this pass?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Stephanie san,

      You have to pay for taking subway from Komagawa-Nakano to Tennoji. This is not covered by JR West Pass. After arriving Tennoji, you change to JR trains and you can start using the pass. Take JR Osaka Kanjo line to Osaka from Tennoji. And then take Special rapid train from Osaka to Himeji.


      Takeshi /

  6. Hi Takeshi-San,
    Thanks for your advice my wife and I had a lovely vacation in Japan in august. Now we like to plan our next one.
    We like to visit kyushu, shikoku and okayama, matsue, tsuwano, yuda onsen etc by using the JR 21 day pass, Will it be too tigh? How efficient of the JR pass in those areas.
    Can I purchase the 21 day pass as well as the 7 day pass and use it respectively? If not, How about another regional pass?

    1. Hi Joe san,

      Probably JR pass is too much. You may thing about using several regional passes, such as Kyushu Rail Pass, Sanyo Sanin Area Pass and All Shikoku rail pass.

      But at this point, your trip plan has not been fixed yet. 21 days is enough to visit the places on your wish list. Let’s discuss about the best deal after you fix your plan.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thanks Takeshi-San,
        My 21 day pass plan is
        San-in 5n
        Tokyo -okayama (2n)side trip to kintaikyo bridge
        Okayama -matsue (1n)side trip to izumo
        Matsue -tsuwano -yamaguchi (2n)side trip to 元乃偶穗神社/Shimono seki/湯田温泉

        Kyushu 9n
        Yamaguchi -fukuoka (2n)s-t dazaifu/柳川
        Fukuoka -nagasaki (1n)
        Nagasaki-kumamoto (2n)
        Kumamoto -kagoshima (2n)
        Kagoshima -miyazaki (2n)side trip to taka chiho

        The rest 6-7 days will be in Shikoku and I have only a rough plan yet, but I ‘ll surely visit takamatsu, tokushima, kotohira for kompirasan, shodoshima, and matsuyama for dogo-onsen. The question is from kyushu to shikoku do I need to go back to Okayama or other short cut free with the pass (via oita?)

        I’ve thought about using multiple regional pass but I may have to add return fare from and back to Tokyo.

        Again thank you very much Takeshi-San and wishing you a merry Christmas and happy new year.

        1. Hi Joe san,

          I didn’t think you will arrive and depart at Tokyo. In this case, JR Pass is only choice because any other regional passes do not cover Tokyo – Osaka return. JR pass will work and cover your trip.


          Takeshi /

          1. Thanks Takeshi-San. If I land in Tokyo and going to visit kyushu, shikoku and okayama, matsue and yamaguchi with the 21 day pass, what’s the best route for the trip? It probably make sense to start at okayama , then should I go north to matsue or south to shikoku or straight to kyushu then come back to Yamaguchi and head up san -yin area via matsue and stop in okayama to head back to Tokyo?
            Sorry if I make it so confusing.

          2. Hi Joe san,

            You can start from Okayama anyway. But if you stay in Takamatsu, Shikoku, you can get there from Tokyo as the first place. It’s much closer than access to Matsue. If you want to go to Matsue first, I recommend you to stay in Okayama first.

            Trip time Okayama to Matsue 2.5 hours
            Trip time Okayama to Takamatsu 1 hour

            I also recommend you to take the ferry between Shikoku and Kyushu. You can take ferry between Yawatahama and Beppu. Yawatahama is located near Uwajima. You can save lots of trip time even though this is not covered by JR pass.

            If you go to Shikoku first, you can complete all places in Shikoku and then take ferry to Kyushu, continue the trip from Kyushu to Sanin area.


            Takeshi /

          3. Thanks Takeshi-San, so there is no direct route between matsue and yamaguchi? If I start at matsue via okayama then I have to come back to Okayama to start the next journey?

          4. Sorry Takeshi-San, Just like to make sure that I can buy a 21 day pass and a 14 day pass and use one after another in one journey? any conditions apply?
            I know that I can buy multi regional pass or package of one all pass and serval regional passes before but never though that 2 all pass (7,14,21)at once. That’s very helpful.
            Cheese again Takeshi-San.

          5. Thanks Takeshi-San,
            With the JR pass, what’s the best route to kinosa kind onsen, if I stay there for 2 days, is it possible to make a easy day trip to Amanohashidate ?
            I’ll also stay in yamaguchi, how to get to shinto shrine , (I don’t mind to ride )I heard that it’s very difficult unless taken by taxi or private car
            I also heard that the JR all pass will be on sale in Japan from March next year, any details?

          6. Hi Joe san,

            I think you meant Kinosaki Onsen (not Kinosa kind onsen). If so, please see the link below. I think I gave you this but it shows you about access to Kinosaki onsen. You can get Amanohashidate from Kinosaki easily but you need to change trains at Fukuchiyama and the segment between Fukuchiyama and Amanohashida is not covered by JR pass.

            I don’t understand what Shinto shrine means. Shinto shrine means all shrines in Japan. I have no idea which shrine you meant unfortunately. Even in only Yamaguchi, there are huge number of shrines.

            JR pass will be sold from March 8 to March 31 only. And you have to complete using the pass by Apr 6 for 7 days pass, Apr 13 for 14 days pass, Apr 20 for 21 days pass. For example, if you purchase JR pass on March 31, you MUST start using it right away. Otherwise your JR pass will be expired before valid dates.

            It will be sold on major stations only. In Tokyo, it’s sold at Narita airport, Haneda airport, Tokyo and Shinjuku only.


            Takeshi /

          7. Thank you so much again for your prompt response, Takeshi-San.
            For the shinto shrine in yamaguchi I mean 元乃隅穗成神社, is it easy to linked with shimonoseki for a day trip?
            The shrine and karato market, Yudaonsen and Tsuwano are the only reasons for us to spend 2 nights in Yamaguchi.

          8. Hi Joe san,

            I know this shrine but never been there before.
            The nearest station is Nagato-Furuichi. It takes more than 2 hours from Shimonoseki.

            And also you need to take a taxi for 20 minutes from this station to the shrine. I have no idea how much the taxi fare is. And also Nagato-Furuichi does not have any station staff. I think you have to call taxi. I don’t think you can catch a taxi at the station. Honestly it’s very very challenging trip.


            Takeshi /

          9. Hi Takeshi-San,
            After reading your Sanyo saying information, my plan of 21 day pass plus 14 day pass as follwed:

            Tokyo Haneda land – osaka

            Osaka – kinosaki/amanohashidate
            Kinosaki – matsue

            Matsue – shin-yamaguchi

            Shin-yamaguchi – kyushu ( fukuoka, Kumamoto, kagoshima, miyazaki)

            Kyushu – shikoku (takamatsu, tokushima, shodoshima, kochi, dogo-onsen, matsuyama)

            Shikoku – okayama

            Okayama – matsumoto
            Matsumoto – karuizawa
            Karuizawa – niigata
            Niigata – Tokyo

            Does it make sense? It’s only a rough plan. I would need more advice from you when I get into more details.

          10. Hi Joe san,

            You plan is feasible but I’m not sure 21 days + 14 days are the best choice for you. It may be more expensive than single fare. Please show me the detailed plan later. I will find the solution.


            Takeshi /

          11. Thanks for your advice Takeshi-San, My plan as follow :

            31 July -1st August : Tokyo – shin-osaka -kinosaki 1 night(1/2 day trip to Amanohashidate )
            1-3 /8 : kinosaki -matsue 2 nights
            3-4/8: matsue -tsuwano 1n
            4-7/8: tsuwano – shin-yamaguchi – hakata 3n
            7-11/8: hakata – Kumamoto 4n
            11-13/8: kumamoto-kagoshima 2n

            I also like to visit taka chiho , but found it very difficult to get there by public transport , any suggestions?
            Now is the difficul part as I want to arrive at takamatsu on 13/8 and stay for 4 nights for local festival and day trip to tokushima for the awa-odori (accommodation already full ). I found it’s difficult to go to takamatsu from kagoshima. Is it easier to go from Kumamoto via yufuin? I don’t mind to stay longer in kumamoto and make day trip to kagoshima and taka chiho.

            13-17/8: takamatsu 4N
            17-18/8: shodoshima 1N
            18-20/8: kochi 2n
            20-21/8: uchiko 1N . 21 day pass ends
            21-22/8: dogo-onsen 1N . 14 day pass starts
            22-23/8: okayama 1N
            The places I also want to visit are: oboe gorge, kotohira for kompirasan, yashima, shimanto-gawa. I don’t mind to make alternative itinerary

            23-24/8: matsumoto 1N
            24-26/8: karuizawa 2N
            26-28/8: niigata 2n
            28-29/8: akita 1N
            29-31/8: hirosaki 2N
            31/8-2/9: yamagata 2N
            2-6/9: Tokyo. May be doing one or two day trips.

            How’s the nuclear affect in tohoko? It’s reasonably safe to travel and dine around? I can visit the places that I missed last time in 関西 and ise, tobacco area instead and carry on central honsHu.
            So sorry for the long post Takeshi-San

          12. One more question Takeshi-San. I still a bit confused that a 21 day pass and a 14 day pass being able to used respectively(one immediately after another ) by the same person in one journey. I remember when I searched the condition of the used at the beginning of the year for our last trip, such practice was unacceptable , some people even said that once the pass is active, another identical pass can only be used 3 months after the first is ended. Has this rule being changed lately.
            The pass is quite an investment for me, Takeshi-San, I know you’re a master regarding any thing about jr, so please forgive me my ongoing concerned.
            Thanks a million Takeshi-San

          13. Hi Joe san,

            Regarding your itinerary, mostly it’s okay. But I recommend you to switch Kumamoto and Kagoshima. You should visit Kagoshima first because Kumamoto is closer to Takamatsu. About Takachiho, please see the link below:
            But bus schedule may be changed when you travel. They usually change it in spring. Keep it in your mind.

            Regarding JR pass rule, I have never heard the condition that you mention. Please see the condition of JR pass in the link below at official site. As I see, it does not say that:

            The rule says you have to turn in JR pass from exchange order within three month since you buy exchange order. And then you have to pick up any date in next one month to start your JR pass.
            e.g. If you purchase an exchange order on Dec 1, 2016, you have to exchange by Feb 28, 2017. And you can choose any date to start using the pass by March 31.

            So if you purchase two exchange orders on Jun 1, you can exchange two JR pass on Jul 31 and the first one starts right away and next one will start on 21st. In my understanding, it’s possible and no problems at all. Some readers in my website have used two JR passes in same trip. If you still worry about it, please confirm when you purchase at travel agent. Technically if you exchange two JR passes at different stations, JR cannot find that you have two JR passes.


            Takeshi / JPRail.copm

          14. Thank you so much for your help Takeshi-San, really appreciated.
            If I skip tohoko then I will have 6n7d in between okayama and matsumoto . I don’t mind to spend them all in Kyoto (love it so much from our last visit ) but I also want to stroll around nearby prefectures in a more relaxing way (after kyushu and shikoku ).
            Are biwa-ko ,hikone and nagahama a position day trip from Kyoto or should I spent a night or two there? If so where should i base at?
            My other option is wakayama, Shirakawa.
            With these options which one is more convenient from Kyoto?
            I will stay in Kyoto for first 3nights and on the 7th will continue to matsumoto.
            Thanks again Takeshi-San

          15. Thanks Takeshi-San. Does the following itinerary making more sense?

            Start : kagoshima 3N ( flight or train from Haneda, how long it takes for the latter option? )—
            kumamoto 4N (are taka chiho and udo-jingu possible for day trip on 海幸天幸train and covered by jr pass?—- fukuoka 3N—–
            tsuwano 1n—–
            Matsue 2N—-
            Shodoshima 1N—-
            Kochi 2N—-
            Matsuyama 1N—-
            Okayama 1N—-
            Kinosaki onsen 1N—-
            Kyoto 6N—
            Wakayama 1N— what’s the best route to matsumoto?
            Matsumoto 1N—-
            Karuizawa 2N—
            Niigata 2N—
            Back to Tokyo
            If I make a detour and spent one night in Miyazaki from kagoshima, then from there to kumamoto, does it make things easier for taka chiho?
            Thanks for your time again, Takeshi-San.

          16. Hi Joe san,

            This itinerary is okay. But you should take domestic flight to get Kagoshima. It takes about 8 hours to get Kagoshima from Tokyo by Shinkansen. It’s a long trip. I suggest you to learn how to use Hyperdia. You may use this before. It gives you trip time and you need this when you build your plan. Please read the link below carefully to understand using this search engine.

            If you do this itinerary, I recommend you to stay in Miyazaki. Udo jingu is not accessible as day trip from Kumamoto. Kagoshima is closer to Miyazaki than Kumamoto. But it takes more than 2 hours to get Miyazaki. And you spend another hour to get Udo-Jingu by bus. You can take Umisachi Yamasachi from Miyazaki and after this trip, you can move to Takachiho. But you need to stay in Takachiho either. Otherwise go back to Kagoshima and stay. If you add Miyazaki, your trip plan is a bit complicated. You need to move and stay in some more places. When I visited Takachiho and Udo-Jingu, I stayed in Kumamoto first, then moved to Takachiho and stay. After that I moved to Udo-Jingu and flied out from Miyazaki airport. If you travel these areas, you need to take local transportation and trip time is much longer.

            When you go to Matsumoto from Wakayama, you need to go back to Osaka anyway. You can find the route by hyperdia too.


            Takeshi /

          17. Dear Takeshi-San, happy new year.
            Am I able to do as the following?

            Day1 : kagoshima – miyazaki ( day trip visiting aoshima, udo-jingu, nichinan )-nobeoka (2 nights )

            Day2: nobeoka-taka chiho (7:30am start 1800 yen day pass)-nobeoka

            Day3: nobeoka – kumamoto

            Question : 1- am I able to visit miyazaki ‘s southern attractions in a day? What’s the best route covered by jr pass?
            2- from nobeoka to kumamoto, is there a direct route by bus or train by using discount day pass? or go back to miyazaki -kagoshima -kumamoto by jr?
            Is that what you mean a bit complicate?
            I really like to go taka chiho and the southern miyazaki.
            Thanks for your help Takeshi-San

          18. Hi Joe san,

            1. There is only one JR line that is Nichinan line. Umisachi Yamasachi and some local trains run on this line. This line runs along Nichinan coast. But local bus runs along the cost much closer than train. Aoshima station is located near Aoshima. You have to take local bus to get Udo jingu anyway.

            2. 2 nights in Nobeoka is not a good idea. You can stay in Nobeoka before going to Takachiho. But you should go to Kumamoto after Takachiho. There is an express bus between Nobeoka and Kumamoto. This bus stops at Takachiho. Even if you go back to Nobeoka after Takachiho, you will go through Takachiho and it’s just wasting time. There is no deals available to take this express bus.


            Takeshi /

          19. Thanks Takeshi-San. Questions :
            1-do you have more information about the bus depart from taka chiho and arrive at kumamoto? (ie. timetable, stop point, fare ect). are there large lockers for luggages at taka chiho bus centre?

            2- if I want to take the visit miyazaki pass (¥1800) and depart from taka chiho all the way down to udo-jingu (as what you did from nobeoka in your post ) , are there only 2 rides between taka chiho and nobeoka and the earliest being 12pm? In that cast will that be possible to visit udo-jingu only but not other spots along the nichinan?
            Thanks for your help again. My trip is planned in Aug, by using the JR Pass, how early do I need to reserve the seat of 海幸天幸train, I also heard it’s difficule to secure the seat

          20. Hi Joe san,

            1. Unfortunately there is Japanese site only. I just put the link below just for your info:
            I believe there are some lockers in Takachiho bus center. But I don’t remember how big it was.

            2. I think Visit Miyazaki Pass is sold at 1000 yen.
            Timetable is available in Japanese only unfortunately. This pass does not cover express bus but there are lots of local bus running.


            Takeshi /

          21. Thanks Takeshi-San, It helps a lot.
            So from Kumamoto, the earliest arrival at taka chiho is 12:43 and the latest depart from taka chiho is 16:51, so there are about 4 hours in between including the time get from the bus centre to the gorge and back. Is that enough time for the gorge and the shrine? Do you have timetable and the route for the bus between bus centre and the gorge?
            If I want to see the amanoiwato shrine and 天安河原, will that be a whole day affair?
            Do you have the one way fare from nobeoka to taka chiho and taka chiho to kumamoto? It seems that there are only round trip fares.
            Thanks again Takeshi-San

          22. Hi Joe san,

            Single fare
            Kumamoto – Takachiho 2370 yen
            Takachiho – Nobeoka 1790 yen

            Shuttle in Takachiho runs on weekend and peak season only. Only Japanese link is available.

            I have never taken this before. I walked to Gorge and shrine from bus center. It took about 30-40 minutes to Gorge. Shrine is located on the way.

            I think 4 hours is not enough to visit amanoiwato. You should stay in Takachiho. Or travel from Nobeoka. There are lots more bus trips. You can watch Kagura in the evening at Takachiho shrine if you stay there.


            Takeshi /

          23. Thanks Takeshi-San, you said there are a lot more bus between nobeoka and taka chiho, do you have more details including time table ? Is the ¥1000 visit miyazaki pass can be used in these trips?

          24. Hi Joe san,

            I gave you the link of timetable (in Japanese) for Nobeoka-Takachiho in the previous line already. Only local bus is covered by the pass. It’s also mentioned in Miyazaki pass link that I gave you.


            Takeshi /

          25. Hi Takeshi-San,
            As I mentioned before, I will be in Shikoku in august. My last 2 stops are kochi and matsuyama, in between I want to do couple of day trips -uwajima/shimanto-gawa and lyo-ozu /uchiko, I also heard that the yodo line is most scenic in shikoku, but i’m a bit confuse to connect them together as there are some direct and indirect link.
            Could you kindly suggest me the best route?

          26. Thank you very much for the link Takeshi-San, it’s so useful, sometimes it ‘s difficult to find for an outsider like me. Do you have similar link for kyushu and 関東? I’ll be travelling there as well as shikoku.
            I love your blog so much especially those “how to get to….”articles for places like taka chiho, udo-jingu and kinosaki etc. Where can I find more of your blog for itineraries? It’s the jr rail. com the right one?

  7. Hi Takeshi san,
    I would like to hear from you the best pass/ticket to purchase based on my itinerary as below,
    1) 2/12 – Kansai to Shirakawa and Takayama
    2) 4/12 – from Takayama to Shin Osaka station
    3) 5/12 and 6/12- Shin Osaka to Kyoto
    4) 7/12 – Shin Osaka to Nara and another half maybe Kyoto or Osaka
    5) 8/12 – Universal Studio
    6) 9/12 – spend day trip in Osaka
    7) 10/12 – Shin Osaka to Kansai

  8. Hi

    We are traveling to osaka-tokyo route. On our first day we are traveling to osaka – kyoto – kobe – osaka. We will be visiting the following places in this particular order:
    1. Arashiyama
    2. Fushimi-inari
    3. Kinakaku-ji
    After visiting Kinakaku-ji we will be heading kobe to visit harborland then back to oaska at night.
    Afterwards we will be heading to UNiversal and visit places around Osaka.
    On the 27/11 we will be heading to tokyo and visit the sites there however no itinerary yet in tokyo. Which is more preferable to purchase for our itinerary? Jr pass or jr kansai area pass or jr kansai wide area pass?

    1. Hi Franz,

      Kansai area pass one day is your choice. But you have to pay for bus to get Kinkakuji. Other places are okay but Kinkakuji is not located on JR line.

      Single ticket is required to get Tokyo and you may use single fare ticket or subway pass in Tokyo.


      Takeshi /

  9. Hi,

    I would like to ask.
    1- I will stay 1 nite in osaka
    2- 2nd day travel to himeji than same day to kyoto
    3- spend 2 full days in Kyoto ( 3rd and 4th day)
    4- 5th day travel to nara than same day back to osaka
    5- 6th day hostel – kix

    I plan to use
    Kansai thru pass for #2 and #4, The rest I ll be using ICOCOA.
    my question .
    1- i ve read that kansai thru pass not accessible to JR and some said can use kansai thru pass
    2- kansai thru pass have discounted for temples entrance fee?
    3- which is better deal kansai thru pass or wide area ? because wide area does not cover any private railway lines, subway lines and bus lines.
    4- from kix to namba i just want to use ICOCOA

  10. Dear Takeshi-San,

    I would like to seek your advice on the types of rail pass for the following itinerary for 2 adults and 2 children- 7 to 11 years old.
    May I know whether the following passes are sufficient to cover the entire trip and the fare calculation is correct?

    – Two passes for adult HARUKA and Kansai One Pass (One way from KIX to Kyoto), Yen 3,600 x 2
    – Two return HARUKA for the Osaka-> KIX for 2 adults, Yen 1,100 x 2
    – Two 2 Day Kansai Area Pass for children (KIX to Kyoto and travelling in Kyoto on Day 1, Osaka to KIX on Day 8), Yen 2,150 x 2
    – Children ICOCA cards, Yen 2,000 x 2
    – OSAKA Kaiyu Ticket – 2 Adults and 2 children, Yen 2,550 x 2 and Yen 1,300 x 2

    Total: Yen 25,400

    Day 1: (KIX To kyoto)
    i) KIX-> Kyoto Station for Luggage Delivery Service to Hotel,
    ii) Kyoto Station to Arashiyama,
    iii) Arashiyama->Gion,
    iv) Gion->Ponto-Cho,
    v) Ponto-Cho->Hotel next to Omiya station

    Day 2: (Kyoto)
    i) Omiya station-> Nishiki Food Market,
    ii) Nishiki Food Market-> Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum,
    iii) Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum->Fushimi Inari Taisha,
    iv) Fushimi Inari Taisha->Kyoto Station,
    v) Kyoto Station->Omiya station

    Day 3: (Kyoto -> Nara -> Osaka)
    i) Omiya station-> Nara Station (Deposit Luggage at Station) and proceed to Nara Park,
    ii) Nara Park->Hotel next to Nipponbashi station

    Day 4 (Osaka -> Kobe “Day Trip”)
    i) Nipponbashi station->Arima Onsen
    ii) Arima Onsen -> Nankinmachi
    iii) Nankinmachi-> Nipponbashi station

    Day 5
    Planning to stroll around shopping areas in Namba Station, Kuromon Ichiba Market, Shinsaibashi Street, and Dotonbori (Using Kansai one pass and children ICOCA)

    Day 6
    i) Nipponbashi station-> To deposit luggage at Hotel which is next to Higobashi Station
    ii) Higobashi Station-> Shinsekai
    iii) Shinsekai -> Shin Umeda City
    iv) Shin Umeda City -> Higobashi Station

    Day 7
    i) Endo Sushi -> Osaka Aquarium kaiyukan
    ii) Osaka Aquarium kaiyukan -> Shin Umeda City
    iii) Shin Umeda City -> Higobashi Station

    Day 8
    i) Higobashi Station -> KIX


    1. Hi Nat san,

      I have a few things to mention to you.

      1. Kansai One Pass
      It’s ICOCA based IC card but it’s different. You can use Kansai One Pass as same way as ICOCA but it’s sold separately from Haruka ticket. Kansai One Pass is sold at 3000 yen (2500 yen + 500 yen deposit). And Kansai One Pass gives you some discount. Please see the details at the link below:

      2. Kansai Area Pass for children
      2 days pass must be used in consecutive days. Unfortunately you cannot use it for day 1 and 8. And you cannot purchase 2 X 1 day pass. Official site says, “Caution: A Visitor may purchase Kansai Area Pass ONLY ONCE per visit.” You have to purchase a regular ticket for your children on day 8.

      3. Kansai thru pass
      You may use ICOCA or Kansai One Pass for most part of your trip but Kansai thru pass is better choice for trip to Nara and Kobe on day 3 and 4.

      At last, when you go to KIX from Higobashi, you can take subway to Namba and then take Nankai railway. It’s easier to take Haruka from Tennoji. Your children cannot use Kansai area pass and need to purchase a regular ticket for Haruka. But if you take Nankai railway, there are some deals. Child rate is also available.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,
        Need your help, should I purchase a Japan Rail Pass? JR Kansai Wide Area Pass? JR Kansai Area Pass? Kansai Thru Pass? Then use Suica card and Hakone Free Pass in Tokyo for the itinerary below:

        Nov 25- at 5.20am arrival at Kansai International Airport
        – from Kansai International Airport travel to Hotel in Shinsaibashi area
        – from Shinsaibashi travel to Kyoto ( visit Arashima, Fushimi-inari and Kinakaku-ji)
        From Kyoto travel to Kobe (harborland then back to
        Osaka at night time.

        Nov 26- Universal Studios Japan and Tempozan Ferris Wheel. Visit other places near the area.

        Nov 27- explore Namba area before taking the shinkansen to Tokyo.

        Nov 28- from Kasai station travel to Disneyland/ Disneysea Tokyo

        Nov 29- from Kasai station travel to Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Kawaguchi

        Nov 30- early morning: tsukiji market and Tokyo Skytree
        – After lunch transfer to another hotel, nearest station is Kodemmacho subway. then Explore- Ginza, Asakusa, Roponggi

        Dec 1- fly out via Narita Airport

        Hope to hear back from you soon and thanks in advance.

        1. Hi Ameron,

          Nov 25 and 26
          Kansai thru pass 2 days

          Nov 27
          Single ticket

          Nov 28
          Single ticekt. I think bus runs between Kasai and Disneyland but not sure actually.

          Nov 29- from Kasai station travel to Mt Fuji, Hakone, Lake Kawaguchi
          This is possible but it is super tight trip in one day. Please see the link below:

          You have to take subway to get Shinjuku before doing this sample.
          You can use Tokyo Subway Ticket 48 hours for this trip to Shinjku and sightseeing in next day, Nov 30.

          Dec 1
          Subway from Kodenmacho to Ueno, Keisei Railway from Ueno to Narita

          Only single ticket is available.


          Takeshi /

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