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

Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.
The limited express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.

JR West Kansai Area Pass is one of the choices for the traveler who stays in Osaka and make some day trips to the surrounding places, such as Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Himeji and Wakayama.

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 the pass and the regular fare. You can find that you can get the worth by your trip or not.

Coverage area

Kansai Area pass map
Only major stations are shown in the map.

Please refer the map in JR West Kansai Area Pass official site as well to get the detailed map.

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

Expansion of the coverage area in Kyoto

And also Kansai Area Pass includes the following exchange vouchers:

  • Keihan Railways Kyoto Sightseeing Pass 1-day
  • Kyoto City Subway 1-day pass

These passes expand the coverage in Kyoto so much:

Green line (subway) and red line (Keihan railway) are additional coverage. (click to view large)

Kansai Area Pass did not cover Keihan and subway in Kyoto. These lines cover eastern part of Kyoto, such as Gion, Kiyomizudera.

You may exchange the vouchers in the designated stations. Please find the detailed information in the official press release:

JR West official press release

You can use these passes separately.

e.g.
You have Kansai Area Pass 2-day
Day 1 trip to Kyoto and exchange Kyoto city subway pass only
Day 2 trio to Kyoto and exchange Keihan Railway Kyoto sightseeing pass

But in my opinion, you should use these two passes in same day. If you use only JR line and Kyoto city subway line, the coverage are limited.

The places where you cannot go by Kansai Area Pass

Major spots that are not covered by this pass is 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.

Who is eligible

Visitors who land as “Temporary Visitor” status can purchase this pass.

Types and prices

Purchasing from
the travel agent
overseas
(Before arrival)
Purchasing from
JR West online
(Before arrival)
Purchasing from
JR West station
(After arrival)
1-day2,300 yen2,350 yen2,400 yen
2-day4,600 yen4,750 yen4,800 yen
3-day5,600 yen5,750 yen5,800 yen
4-day6,600 yen6,750 yen6,800 yen

*Child rate is half of the adult prices above.
*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).

e.g.
If you start to use 3 days pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 3. The time when you start using does not matter.

If you want to purchase this at the lower price, you can purchase it at authorized travel agents. You can find the dealers list and exchange location at the link below:

JR West Rail Pass Dealer’s list

You also can purchase this pass online through JR West official site. But the price is not much cheaper than the price which is sold at the station.

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 the Tokaido Shinkansen the Sanyo Shinkansen, the limited express Thunderbird. But as long as you travel in Kansai area, Rapid Services Network is enough to cover your trip. It is actually crowded because these trains are the commuters one. But these are 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.

Find your hotels in 400 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels and Ryokans in Nara
Hotels in Himeji
Hotels in Kobe
Hotels in Himeji
Hotels in Kansai Airport

On the other hand, JR West Kansai Area Pass does not cover any private railway lines, subway lines and the bus lines. Most of major private railway companies and subway lines are shown on the following list:

  • Osaka Metro (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 to pay a single fare or purchase other pass. This is the biggest disadvantage of JR West Kansai Area Pass. You can find the coverage of this pass in these posts:

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

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

StationsOsakaShin
Osaka
KyotoKansai
airport
Sannomiya
(Kobe)
NaraHimehjiJR Namba
Osaka1605401160
1150
3907801450190
Shin
Osaka
1605401330
1150
5408901450210
Kyoto5405401830
1150
10506902210890
Kansai
airport
1160
1150
1330
1150
1830
1150
1660
1150
1660
730
2730
1150
1030
730
Sannomiya
(Kobe)
39054010501660
1150
1210950690
Nara7808906901660
730
12102210540
Himeji1450145022102730
1150
95022101620
JR Namba1902108901030
730
6905401620

*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.

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.

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

  1. Hi Takeshi /JPrail.com,

    Thanks for your reply. May I ask if the Platt Kodama ticket will run out? I am planning to purchase the ticket once i reach osaka at shin-osaka which is 4 days before i actually use it to travel to tokyo from osaka.

    Thank you,
    Michelle

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thanks for your reply. What are the chances of getting the tickets on a Tuesday for a ticket for saturday? Otherwise, what other modes of transport can i take if the ticket really runs out? Preferably cheaper as I do not intend to get the JR pass.

        Thank you.

        Regards,
        Michelle

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            Thank you for your reply. Can I ask, how do I go from kinshicho station to narita airport by train in tokyo? I did not want to take the limousine bus from my hotel in tokyo as it is expensive so I wish to opt for a cheaper transport.

            Thank you.

            Regards,
            Michelle

              1. Hi Takeshi,

                Thanks for your helpful recommendation once again. I was planning to take the limousine bus from KIX to Osaka station that costs 1600 yen. I was wondering if it would be cheaper to opt for the train instead? If so, may I know which subway lines I should take in order to reach Osaka station from KIX?

                Thank you and have a nice day!

                Regards,
                Michelle

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    Please help to advise what passes and/or tickets me and my husband should get for our trip as follows :

    Day 1 – arrival in Kansai Airport ETA 4pm, going to Hotel near Ebisucho station
    Day 2 – Visit Nara and explore Osaka
    Day 3 – Day trip to Himeji and Kobe
    Day 4 – Full in USJ
    Day 5-6 – Checkout hotel in Osaka and head to Kyoto, drop luggage in hotel near Saiin station, visit Arashiyama, Kinkakuji, Nijo Castle, Gion, Kiyomizudera, Fushimi Inari
    Day 7 – Checkout hotel and prepare for our flight at 4pm

    Originally, we were planning to buy ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Kansai Thru Pass 3 days (for day 3,5,6), or ICOCA/KOP and JR Kansai Area Pass/Kansai Wide Area Pass. Please advise us which was more suitable?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Vera,

      I recommend you to use Kansai One Pass for arrival day. You can take Nankai railway from Kansai to Tengachaya and Osaka Metro Sakaisuji line from Tengachaya to Ebisucho.
      Kansai Thru Pass 3-day is a good choice but I recommend you to use for day 2, 3 and 5. You may use Kansai one pass as well for day 6.

      For day 7, there is no deals. The best and the easiest way is taking Hankyu Railway from Saiin to Awaji, Hankyu-Osaka Metro from Awaji to Tengachaya, and Nankai railway from Tengachaya to Kansai. You can use Kansai one pass for all trains.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    According to your post, Kansai Area Pass includes the exchange vouchers for Keihan Railways Kyoto Sightseeing Pass 1-day and Kyoto City Subway 1-day pass. Do I have to pay an extra fee to exchange them? I arrive at Kansai Airport in the early morning. I am thinking to use JR Kansai Area pass to travel to Kyoto by Haruka express. After that, I can exchange JR pass to Keihan Raiway or Kyoto City subway. Can I exchange to either one, or can I exchange to BOTH Keihan and subway pass?

  4. I am arriving at KIX in the morning and planning to head to Kyoto directly. I see that the airport limousine to Kyoto costs 2,600 yen whereas if I purchase a Kansai Area 1 day pass which allows me to take the Haruka to Kyoto, it only costs 2,300 Yen and I can use this pass for traveling to some places of interest in Kyoto.

    Is my understanding correct ?

    1. Hi Eliz,

      You have understood it correctly. If you stay in Kyoto for a few days, you also may think about using Kansai One Pass + Haruka.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html

      This does not give you unlimited ride. But you can use Kansai one pass to take any trains, subways and city buses. And also you can use Kansai one pass for next 10 years and you also can use it in other cities, even in Sapporo, Tokyo.

      Kansai Area Pass is also a good choice.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi /JPrail.com,

        Could you please help with my trip passes? Please advise what passes and/or tickets I should get for my trip as follows :

        Day 1: arrival at KIX airport, travel to hotel in namba area
        Day 2: travel to kyoto (Fushimi Inari Shrine, the Gion District and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove) and then back to osaka
        Day 3-4: osaka
        Day 5: flight from osaka to tokyo
        Day 6- 8: Tokyo and fly off from NRT on last day

        I do not plan to get the general jr pass that costs 29,650 yen. I am planning to get the jr special rapid train ticket between kyoto and osaka on day 2. is that the same as getting a kansai pass? also for my transport from osaka to tokyo, i am planning to transport through a flight which would cost ¥4,661 one way.

        Your answers are appreciated.
        Thank you,
        Michelle

        1. Hi Michelle,

          I recommend you to use the following deals:

          Day 1, regular fare 930 if you take Nankai railway airport express. If you take the limited express rapi:t, please see the link below:
          https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/webtoku.html

          Day 2, Kansai area pass is recommended. It covers all places in Kyoto where you want to visit. But when you go to Kyoto, you may take other trains. Because you have to go to Osaka station (same as Umeda) to take Special rapid. The fastest way to get Umeda from Namba is subway. But subway is not covered by Kansai area pass. So you should take JR local train from JR-Namba to Tennoji. And then you can take the limited express Haruka from Tennoji to Kyoto. It is much more comfortable and this train connection is covered by Kansai area pass fully. Please see the link below to find the train network in Osaka and the limited express Haruka:
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
          https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/kansai-airport-limited-express-haruka.html

          In Osaka, you may find the deal in the link below:
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

          In Tokyo, Tokyo Subway Ticket is most recommended. Please find more info about this deal and the train network in Tokyo, please see the links below:
          https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/compare-many-discount-tickets-and-passes-for-sightseeing-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-right-tickets.html

          For the trip to Narita airport, please find the link below to get some info:
          https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi /JPrail.com,

            Thank you for your reply, but I have a few more queries.

            So to get from osaka to kyoto, the best way is to take JR local train from JR-Namba to Tennoji. And then I will take the limited express Haruka from Tennoji to Kyoto station. afterwards, i will travel within Kyoto subway to all the places i want to visit. and all the transport is covered by the kansai area pass. Is my understanding correct?

            Also, can i just check with you, when i travel from osaka to kyoto, can i substitute the kansai area pass with the hankyu tourist pass (https://www.klook.com/en-SG/activity/1540-hankyu-1-day-tourist-pass-osaka/) ?

            Your answers are appreciated.
            Thank you,
            Michelle

            1. Hi Michelle,

              You have understood the condition of Kansai area pass correctly. You also can take Keihan railway in Kyoto too. It makes your trip be easier then you get Fushimi Inari from Gion area.

              If you use Hankyu tourist pass, you have to pay the fare for subway in Osaka from Namba to Umeda (230 yen one way). And Fushimi Inari is not covered. You have to pay 210 yen for Gion-Shijo to Fushimi-Inari one way. You can get Arashiyama and Gion by Hankyu railway.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

              1. Hi Takeshi /JPrail.com,

                Thank you for reply. I have changed my hotel location to near osaka station and also have decided to take train to tokyo instead of taking a flight there. Can you advise on the modes of transport I can take by train? Is the cheapest and fastest way the regular one-way fare is 13,620 yen by non-reserved seat?

                Thank you.

                Regards,
                Michelle

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    If i am travelling from JR Namba station in Osaka to Kansai airport, which of the pass should i get — Haruka or Kansai area pass? Or should i pay single fare instead?

    Thanks,
    Jocelyn

    1. Hi Jocelyn san,

      If you have ICOCA or Kansai one pass, you may use Haruka discount ticket for Tennoji:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html

      You can take Haruka from Tennoji but you have to take a local train from JR-Namba to Tennoji. This local train ride is covered by Haruka discount ticket. There is no direct trains from JR-Namba to Kansai airport.

      If you want a direct access, you can take Airport Limousine bus. OCAT is same location as JR-Namba:
      http://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/OC

      Actually this is easier and cheaper slightly.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks Takeshi-san!
        If I take the Nankai Limited Express from Namba subway station instead (ie not JR Namba), would it be more worth it to get Haruka / Kansai area pass / single fare.

        Thanks 🙂

          1. Thanks Takeshi-san, this is really helpful.
            If we travel from Kyoto station directly to Kansai airport, is there any suitable pass to use as well.

            Thanks a lot.

  6. Hi Takeshi /JPrail.com,

    Could you please help with my trip passes? Please advise what passes and/or tickets I should get for my trip as follows :
    Day 1- arrival in Kansai Airport – going to Kyoto – Kiyomizu dera; Sannenzaka, Nishiki Market, Gion district
    Day 2: Tenryu-ji Temple, Arashiyama bamboo, Kinkaku ji
    Day 3: Kyoto to Nara – and back to Kyoto
    Day 4: Fushimi Inari Dera at Kyoto and transfer to Osaka
    Day 5: Osaka Aquarium; Dotombori Area, Hozenji Yokocho, Shinsaibashi
    Day 6: Osaka Castle, Umeda Sky Building and Isaka Hikari Renaissance
    Day 7: Kobe one day
    Day 8: Transfer to Itami airport in the morning.

    Your answers are appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Luna

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks again for your informative webpages. I read online that starting October 1, 2019, if we purchase a Kansai Area pass, we also get extra one voucher for a Kyoto Subway One Day Card which allows for one calendar day of unlimited use of the Karasuma and Tozai subway lines. Do you know anything about this?

    I am planning to purchase a Kansai Area pass before October 1, 2019, but plan to activate it in October, so I am not sure whether JR office will issue me one.

    I ask this because I am travelling from Kyoto to Wazuka for 1 day (from Nijo Station to Kamo Station). The routes available for the time I need are a combination of JR and Karasuma or Kintetsu line. I’m looking for the most cost-effective way to travel this route (if it does include the subway voucher, then I think the Kansai Area pass makes sense for roundtrip). Could you lend me your suggestion?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Karmen,

      JR West official site says,
      • Due to the consumption tax increase in Japan, all products purchased on or after Tuesday, October 1, 2019, will be subject to the revised prices and details.
      • The applicable price and details of the product being purchased will vary according to the purchase date and not the date of exchange or the date of use.

      So you can purchase it before September 30th at cheaper price.

      I have never heard that Kansai area pass includes subway pass. JR West official does not mention anything about it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi /JPrail.com
    Please advise what passes and/or tickets I should get for my trip as follows :
    Day 1- arrival in Kansai Airport ETA 9pm, going to Namba Osaka
    Day 2 & 3 Osaka Castle, Umeda sky building & Dotonbori, Kuromon market
    Day 4 – Hiroshima & Miyajima
    Day 5, 6 & 7- Kyoto Arashiyama Tenryuji, bamboo forest, Gion, Kinkakuji temple golden pavilion, Hozukyo Gorge, Fushimi Inari, & take Haruka to Kansai Airport from Kyoto on day 7 at 4pm.

    Thank you very much!
    Tina

    1. Hi Tina,

      The following deals/tickets are recommended:

      Day 1 Regular fare ticket (920 yen) to take Nankai railway airport express train. If you want to take the limited express train “Rapi:t”, the deal in the link below is recommended:
      https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/webtoku.html

      Day 2 Osaka Amazing Pass
      https://www.osp.osaka-info.jp/en/

      Day 3 to 7 Kansai Hiroshima area pass
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/kansai-hiroshima-area-pass-perfect-deal-for-the-traveller-who-wants-travel-both-kansai-and-hiroshima.html

      This pass does not cover city bus in Kyoto. You have to take the bus to get many places in Kyoto. You may add city bus pass if you take a bus more than 3 times a day:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks very much for your help & info. Really appreciate it.
        I’m planning to get ICOCA card. That can be used for buses, correct? I also want to take Haruka from Kyoto to Kansai Airport on the 7th day…

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