Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel to Kansai, Kanazawa and Toyama.

Dotonbori (Osaka/left) and Higashi Chaya district (Kanazawa/right)   	©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO  (Osaka/left) / © Kanazawa City/© JNTO (Kanazawa/right)
Dotonbori (Osaka/left) and Higashi Chaya district (Kanazawa/right) ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO (Osaka/left) / © Kanazawa City/© JNTO (Kanazawa/right)

Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass will be released after three JR West’s new passes, Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass. It will be on sale on 14th March, 2015. This is the first ever deal that covers Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe) and Hokuriku area (Kanazawa, Toyama). JR West has been selling Kansai Wide Area Pass and Hokuriku Area Pass. This pass is the deal that these passes are combined. It is much more convenient than combination of two passes and much easier to purchase.

I believe this pass will be very useful for travellers who stay in Kansai and travel to Hokuriku area and other area of outside Kansai. I am very happy to share the information of this pass with you in this post.

Coverage Area

Coverage area of Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass (Click to enlarge)
Coverage area of Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass (Click to enlarge)

This pass covers whole part of Kansai area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Kansai Airport, Himeji and Wakayama. It also includes Sanyo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Okayama, and Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Joetsu-Myoko. This pass includes many more conventional lines as well, such as line to Takamatsu in Shikoku, Kinosaki Onsen, Shirahama and Shingu in Kii peninsula, Fukui, Kanazwa and Wakura-Onsen too. You may access to Toyama, Itoigawa by Hokuriku Shinkansen.

We have never had the pass that covers both Kansai and Hokuriku. Many visitors wanted to have a deal to Kanazawa from Osaka or Kyoto. Finally we will have that we want!

As you see, this pass does not cover most part of Japan, such as Hokkaido, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Takayama, most part of Shikoku and Kyush. So if you intend to travel throughout Japan or travel to Tokyo, Hokkaido or Kyushu, Japan Rail Pass is maybe more suitable for you.

*Osaka – Tokyo one way trip is not enough to use JR Pass. Please see the the post, Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum.

Valid trains, bus services, routes and class

Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Joetsu-Myoko is covered by this deal.
Hokuriku Shinkansen between Kanazawa and Joetsu-Myoko is covered by this deal.

All daytime trains in coverage area are covered. But reserved seat fee is NOT included. You have to take non reserved ordinary seat. Most of limited express and Shinkansen trains have non reserved seat. And Green seat is not covered fully either. If you want to take Green seat, this pass covers base fare only. You have to pay full of express supplement and Green seat fare.

As of mid April 2017, this pass started to cover JR bus in Kyoto, Fukui and Kanazawa. In Kanazawa, you can take JR bus to get Kanazawa castle, Kenrokuen garden, Korinbo and Omicho market. In Kyoto, you can get Ryoan-ji temple, Kitano-Tenmangu shrine, Takao area via Nijo. This pass also covers Obamba to/from Omi-Imazu bus service and Sonobe to/from Fukuchiyama bus service.

This pass also started to cover Kyoto Tango railway as of mid April, 2017. You can get Amanohashidate, Miyazu without any extra charge.

When you use this deal, there are a few exceptions. You have to know that before you choose this deal. Please see the below to learn.

Tokaido Shinkansen among Maibara, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka

Even though it is in the coverage area, you cannot take Shinkansen train in this segment. Because Tokaido Shinkansen belongs to other JR company, JR Central. It is same JR Group company and many trains go through both areas each other. But technically it is different company. Therefore this deal cannot include this Shinkansen segment. When you depart from Kyoto or Maibara and take Shinkansen, you have to take Special Rapid Service to Shin-Osaka and then transfer to Shinkansen train there.

NON JR lines, IR Ishikawa Railway and Ainokaze Toyama Railway

This pass does not cover any NON JR lines. But it covers IR Ishikawa Railway between Kanazawa and Tsubata, and Ainokaze Toyama railway between Toyama and Takaoka. Because JR West own Tsubata to Wakura-Onsen, Takaoka to Himi and Takaoka to Johana. Especially you can never get Tsubata to Wakura-Onsen without NON JR trains. That is why these segments are allowed to take by this pass. On these NON JR segments, you cannot make any stopover. You can exit the station at departure and arrival points, Toyama, Takaoka, Tsubata and Kanazawa only.

Kagawaki on Hokuriku Shinkansen

Kagayaki that is the fastest train on Hokuriku Shinkansen does not have any non reserved seats. This pass does not cover any reserved seats. You cannot take this train. You can get other Hokuriku Shinkansen trains, Hakutaka and Tsurugi.

Price, eligibility and how to purchase

Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass will be available on March 14, 2015.

This pass is available for temporary visitor only. If you are resident, you can’t purchase it.

JR West is the first company that has different price tag for same product. Please see the below:

Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass 7 days

Purchase outside Japan or online Purchase inside Japan
Adult 15,000 yen 16,000 yen
(6-11 years old)
7,500 yen 8,000 yen

As you have seen, you can purchase this pass after you arrive in Japan. But you have to pay 1000 yen more.

If you want to purchase this at 15,000 yen, you can purchase it at authorized travel agents or online. 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 at this point, this pass has not been sold yet. You cannot find any links to purchase this pass on JR West website. It will be on sale on 28 days prior to activation day. I believe it will be available sometimes in March.

You can purchase it on the spot if you are okay with spending extra 1,000 yen. Sales location has not been announced yet. It says it will be sold at major stations. But I believe it will be sold at same locations as Kansai Wide Area Pass sales points or some more locations.

Kansai Wide Area Pass sales locations (stations) : Kyoto, Ibaraki, Shin-Osaka, Osaka, Kobe, Shin-Kobe, Sannomiya, Nishi-Akashi, Himeji, Nijo, Uji, Saga-Arashiyama, Kitashinchi, Kyobashi, Tsuruhashi, Tennoji, Shin-Imamiya, Bentencho, Nishikujo, Kansai-airport, Nara, JR-Namba, Okayama, Wakayama, Toyooka, Kinosaki-Onsen

Valid period

It is valid for 7 days. One day means midnight to midnight, technically 0:00 to 23:59. So try to start in the morning. It does not make sense to start to use in the evening.

You can purchase this pass only once per visit if you purchase online or inside Japan. If you purchase it at authorized agents outside Japan, you can purchase as many as you want. If you need more coverage, please think about combining with other deals in Kansai area, like Kansai Thru Pass or Kansai Area Pass or pick up other deals, like Japan Rail Pass.

Compare to single fares

Base fare and surcharge for the major segments are the following. Please compare the price of Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass and these fares. If you use Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, these following fare, both base fare and surcharge, are covered.

*All surcharges in the following table are non reserved seat rate.

Segment Base fare Surcharge
Osaka – Kyoto 560 yen
Osaka – Sannomiya (Kobe) 410 yen
Osaka – Nara 800 yen
Kyoto – Nara 710 yen
Osaka – Himeji 1490 yen 1730 yen
Osaka – Kansai Airport 1190 yen 970 yen
Osaka – Okayama 3020 yen 2480 yen
Osaka – Kinosaki Onsen 3350 yen 1730 yen
Osaka – Kanazawa 4750 yen 2380 yen
Kyoto – Kanazawa 4000 yen 2380 yen
Osaka – Toyama 5620 yen 4220 yen
Kyoto – Toyama 5080 yen 4220 yen
Kanazwa – Toyama 970 yen 1840 yen

As you see, Osaka-Kanazawa one way fare and surcharge total amount is 7,130 yen. Round trip to Kanazawa from Osaka is slightly smaller than online purchase price, 15,000 yen. But you will use this pass in Kansai area, like Osaka-Kyoto, Kyoto-Nara. It is not difficult to pay off.


I believe this deal will be fit to many travellers who want to go to Kanazawa and Toyama. At this point, Takayama Hokuriku Tourist Pass is available but this pass will be on sale until June.

Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

After that, this pass may be substitute choice for the tranvellers who want to go to Shirakawago via Kanazawa. If you have a plan to go to Hokuriku area when you stay in Kansai area, this pass is the best choice. Kanazzwa can be visited as day trip from Osaka or Kyoto.

How to access to Kanazawa and Toyama from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Niigata.

You can visit other side of Kansai area, like Kinosaki Onsen and Shirahama by this pass.

This pass gives you many way to enjoy Kansai and outside Kansai area.

74 thoughts on “Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel to Kansai, Kanazawa and Toyama.”

  1. Hi Takeshi,
    thanks for your great site!
    Do you think it’s possible to use a Kansai Area Pass with a Hokuriku Area Pass for a day trip from Kyoto to Kanazawa?
    It seems the cheapest option (2200+5000 yen) if you don’t have a JR Pass.
    Do I need to stop in Tsuruga to change the voucher for the Hokuriku Area Pass?


    1. Hi Juri,

      It is the cheapest option. You don’t need to exit Tsuruga station because you can exchange the pass in advance. But you must change the trains at Tsuruga. Because limited express Thunderbird runs from Kyoto to Kanazawa directly. But Kansai area pass does not cover this train and Hokuriku area pass does. If you want to take Thunderbird, you need to pay for non reserved seat fee which is around 1200 yen one way. Otherwise take Special rapid or local train to get Tsuruga and then take Thunderbird. You may need to change trains before reaching Tsuruga because there is not many trains to go directly Tsuruga other than Thunderbird.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you very much Takeshi!
        I’ll check with Hyperdia to see if there’s a local train or maybe I’ll set for a JR pass.

  2. Hello

    I would like to ask for some advice regarding this Kansai-Hokuriku pass, is it suitable and worth (cost-effective) for my trip as follows.

    28/12 : KIX, stopover at Rinku, then proceed to Kyoto
    30/12 : From Kyoto to Kanazawa
    31/12 : Day trip to Shirakawa-go
    1/1 : Kanazawa to Osaka
    3/1 : Day trip from Osaka to Nara
    5/1 : Return to KIX

    Do I have to add some extra money after I paid the 15 000 ¥ (eg. for Seat reservations, bus route). And can I still use the pass for transportation in Osaka city.

    1. Hi Kiki,

      I recommend you to use Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. This is cheaper and better coverage for your trip:

      Reserved seat fee (Kyoto to Kanazawa, Kanazawa to Osaka) and bus fare are included. However December 30 will be the busiest day in the year.

      It may be hard to book a seat. You cannot book a seat until you get Japan after exchange the pass. So just try to book a seat when you exchange the pass at Kansai airport station. You can book a seat for both Kyoto to Kanazawa and Kanazawa to Osaka at same time. You have to make a call to book a seat for the bus to Shirakawago.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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