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

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

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 day2,200 yen2,250 yen2,300 yen
2 days4,300 yen4,450 yen4,500 yen
3 days5,300 yen5,450 yen5,500 yen
4 days6,300 yen6,450 yen6,500 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.

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

  1. Dear Takeshisan,

    I will be bringing my parents to Japan for 6 days in March 2020.
    Our itinerary is landing and leaving in Osaka Kansai International airport, plan to visit Kyoto/Osaka/Fushimi Inari Shrine/Arashimaya/Nara park/Himeji Castle/Kobe/Dotonbori.
    Should we buy 7 day JR pass?
    Thank you for your kind attention.

  2. Hi Takeshi/JPRail.com

    here my rough iternary.

    Day 1 Explore Kyoto-Gion-arashiyama-Sagano romantic train
    Day 2 Shiga- metasequioa namiki- & all around biwako lake
    Day 3 Nara n Osaka All in
    Day 4 Wakayama n KIX @night fly. So actually i oredy bought Kansai area pass 4day. izit cover for all above, n if not: can i cancel for JR pass n take Kansai thru pass?

    Any suggestion to modify my iternary? thanks=)

    1. Hi Kaora,

      Actually 3-day Kansai area pass for day 2 to 4 is okay. On day 1, you may not have many chances to take JR trains. Sagano train is not covered. So you will use only once to take the train from Arashiyama. But you have already purchased the pass. 4 day pass is okay. You can get the worth of it by your trip plan.

      Kansai thru pass does not work because it does not cover around Lake Biwa so much. Kansai area pass is better choice.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Day 1 – Kansai Airport to Minamimorimachi (Arrival at 6 am) & visit Osaka Aquarium
    Day 2 – Osaka to Kyoto & Arashiyama (back to Osaka)
    Day 3 – Osaka to Nara (back to Osaka)
    Day 4 – Osaka to Tokyo

    I was initially looking at buying the JR Pass to due to Osaka to Tokyo Shin-kasen but its not worth the price as i can likely get a kodamo train to Tokyo for 10,000 Yen. What passes do u suggest for the above itinerary.

    Thank you for the reply.

    1. Hi Vajid,

      You may use Osaka Kaiyu Ticket Nankai railway version at 3,100 yen for day 1.
      https://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/basicinformation.pdf

      For day 2 and 3, you may use Kansai thru pass 2-day:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      For the Shinkansen ride from Osaka to Tokyo, Platt Kodama is most affordable deal:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      JR pass does not work for your trip.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi,

    I brought the Kansai Wide Area Pass.
    Can I check if I am able to use the pass to take the Nankai airport express from Namba Station to Kansai Airport?

    1. Hi Sara,

      This pass does not cover Nankai railway because this pass covers only JR trains.
      If you want to use this pass to get Kansai airport from Namba, you have to take a local train from JR-Namba to Tennoji. And then take the limited express Haruka or Kansai Airport rapid train from Tennoji to Kansai airport.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to check which pass is suitable for my trip. This is my first time visiting Osaka, I will be bringing both my parents and my Son. Hope to get some advice from you. 🙂

    1st Day: Arrived at Kansai Airport > Going to Kyoto
    2nd Day: Exploring Kyoto Area (Arashiyama, Yasaka Pagoda, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple)
    3rd Day: Nara Area > Osaka City
    4th-7th Day: Osaka City

    Appreciate & Thank you so much!

  6. Hello,
    What pass/ ticket would you reccomend for me?
    Day 1 arrive 8pm kansai and want to go straight to Kyoto
    Day 2 &3 sightseeing in Kyoto
    Day 4 Himeji morning/ Kobe afternoon to take a cruise
    7 day cruise
    Day1 Kobe-Osaka-Kansai
    Many Thanks for any recommendations
    Andrea

  7. Hi Takeshi / JPRail.com,
    Please kindly advise what kind of rail pass(es) should I be getting for my literary below:
    Day 1: KIX to Osaka (hotel is near to both Nipponbashi and Tanimachikyuchome stations).
    Day 1: In the afternoon to visit Cup noodle museum and Umeda Sky Park.

    Day 2: Tour around Osaka – to visit Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka Museum of History, Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, Osaka Castle, Hep 5, take Cruises

    Day 3: Universal Studio Japan

    Day 4: Day trip from Osaka to Nara (and back to Osaka)

    Day 5: Day trip from Osaka to Himejii & Kobe (and back to Osaka)

    Day 6: Osaka to Kyoto (hotel is near to Kyoto station) for the next 3days
    Day 6: After check in to visit Tenryu-ji Temple & Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Okochi Sanso Villa

    Day 7: Visit Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion & Fushimi Inari Shrine & Gion

    Day 8: Day trip from Kyoto to Uji

    Day 9: Kyoto to KIX

    Thank you in advance!
    -Ping

    1. Hi Ping,

      You may use the following passes and tickets:

      Day 1 Yokoso Osaka Ticket
      https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/yokoso.html
      But noodle museum is outside coverage area. You have to add the fare to take Hankyu railway from Umeda to Ikeda.

      Day 2 Osaka amazing pass
      https://www.osp.osaka-info.jp/en/

      Day 3 using Kansai one pass instead of purchasing regular fare ticket
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      Day 4, 5 and 6 Kansai thru pass 3-day
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      Day 7, 8 using Kansai one pass to take train, subway and city bus

      Day 9 Haruka discount ticket to take Haruka from Kyoto to KIX
      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

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,
        Thank you so much for your recommendations.
        On second thought, would you recommend that I stay in Osaka throughout, making Day 6, 7 and 8 as day trips from Osaka to Kyoto, Osaka to Uji (instead of staying in Kyoto). And then leave from Osaka to KIX on Day 9. Will that have any cost saving on traveling?

        By the way i also happened to read about Nankai Line Airport Express – Kansai Airport to Namba Station (KIX/Namba Pick Up). Is this a recommended ticket/pass to purchase for my Day 9 Osaka to KIX?

        Once again, thank you in advance for helping out.

        Thanks.
        -Ping

        1. Hi Ping,

          If you do so, you can use Kansai thru pass 3-day for day 6,7 and 8.

          For day 9, if you stay in Namba and take Nankai railway airport express, regular fare is 920 yen. This is most affordable way. If you stay in Osaka other than Namba, you may use subway and Nankai railway deal. Please see the link below:
          https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi!
            Appreciate all your excellent tips and recommendations!
            If i will to travel to KIX from Kyoto to catch my flight home on 25Dec, would you recommend that i do my seat reservation and booking in advance (for the Haruka limited express train)? How can i go about doing so?
            Thanks!
            -Ping

            1. Hi Ping,

              Actually December 25th is not a busy day in Japan. You may use Kansai area pass to take a non reserved seat on Haruka. If you really really want to be sure to secure your seat, you can do it in advance at Kyoto station. In this case, you have to buy a regular fare ticket. And you may take the airport limousine bus too. You can get a seat on the bus because the standing passenger is not allowed:
              http://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/KY

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

              1. Hi Takeshi / JPRail.com,
                What would you to advise for the following (I have included a trip to Hiroshima from Osaka), please see below:

                Itinerary
                Day 1
                KIX to Osaka KIX to Osaka (hotel is near to both Nipponbashi and Tanimachikyuchome stations)
                Day 1: In the afternoon to visit Cup noodle museum and Umeda Sky Park.
                Day 2: Tour around Osaka – to visit Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka Museum of History, Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, Osaka Castle, Hep 5, take Cruises
                Day 3: USJ in Osaka
                Day 4: Osaka to Hiroshima & Miyajima then back to Osaka
                Day 5: Osaka to Himeji & Kobe to Osaka
                Day 6: Osaka – Kyoto
                Day 7: Kyoto to Golden Pavilion & Fushimi Inari Shrine to Uji to Kyoto
                Day 8: Kyoto – Nara to Kyoto
                Day 9: Kyoto to KIX

                Thanks!
                Ping

                1. Hi Ping,

                  You may use the following deals:

                  Regular fare for airport to Nippombashi by Nankai railway and subway. You may change trains at Tengachaya.

                  After arriving in Osaka, you can use Osaka amazing pass but noodle museum is outside the coverage area:
                  https://www.osp.osaka-info.jp/en/

                  Regular fare to USJ

                  Kansai Hiroshima area pass for day 4 to 8
                  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

                  Limousine bus from Kyoto to KIX
                  http://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/KY

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hello !

    I am going to Kyoto for a few days and even if your article is very helpful, I am still a bit lost with all theses cards and passes and fares …

    Could you please advise me on which pass I should get ? Or can you tell me if I even need a pass ?

    Basically, here is my trip :
    Day 1 : Kansai Airport –> Kyoto
    Day 2 : Kyoto (need to use the JR line twice this day)
    Day 3 : Kyoto (I can use the Kyoto subway but it is not compulsory)
    Day 4 : Kyoto –> Kansai Airport

    Thank you very much !
    Have a good week !

    Regards,

    Noémie

          1. Hi Taksehi/JPrail.com

            I would like to go from

            Day 1 – Kansai Airport to Shinsabashi Station (Reached Osaka 6pm)
            Day 2 – Exploring Osaka City – (The train within Osaka is not covered under JR pass?)
            Day 3 – Exploring Osaka City – (The train within Osaka is not covered under JR pass?)
            Day 4 – Shinsaibashi Station to Kyoto ( Hotel Wing International Kyoto-Shijo Karasuma)
            Day 5 – Kyoto to Nara , & Nara Back to Kyoto
            Day 6 – Exploring Kyoto
            Day 7 – Kyoto to Kansai International airport

            Could you please advise on the most efficient pass that I should use? Thanks!!

                1. Hi W,

                  If you don’t intend to visit many attractions in Osaka, you may use ICOCA. And also some of the bus to KIX from Kyoto accept ICOCA. But there are three bus operators run the limousine bus. One of three companies which is Keihan Bus does not accept it. I cannot say which one is operated by Keihan Bus.

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

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