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

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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.

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Coverage Area

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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.

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Hotels in Kanazawa
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Price, eligibility and how to purchase

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-day

 Purchasing from the travel agent overseas
(Before arrival)
Purchasing from JR West online
(Before arrival)
Purchasing from JR West station
(After arrival)
Adult15,270 yen16,090 yen16,290 yen
Child
(6-11 years old)
7,630 yen8,040 yen8,140 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. 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 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.

SegmentBase fareSurcharge
Osaka – Kyoto560 yen
Osaka – Sannomiya (Kobe)410 yen
Osaka – Nara800 yen
Kyoto – Nara710 yen
Osaka – Himeji1490 yen1730 yen
Osaka – Kansai Airport1190 yen970 yen
Osaka – Okayama3020 yen2480 yen
Osaka – Kinosaki Onsen3350 yen1730 yen
Osaka – Kanazawa4750 yen2380 yen
Kyoto – Kanazawa4000 yen2380 yen
Osaka – Toyama5620 yen4220 yen
Kyoto – Toyama5080 yen4220 yen
Kanazwa – Toyama970 yen1840 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.

Assessment

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.

Comments

  1. Yen says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,

    I am planning a trip to Kansai and Ishikawa area, can you advise if the Kansai-Hokuriku Area pass is the best for my itinerary, or should I combine Kansai Wide Pass with Hokuriku Area pass? I will be reserving seats on most journeys. Here’s my itinerary:

    Day 1 – Kansai Airport to Wakayama (by Bus)
    Day 2 – Wakayama City
    Day 3 – Wakayama City to Kii-Katsuura (visit Kumano Nachi Falls)
    Day 4 – Kii-Katsuura to Wakayama City
    Day 5 – Wakayama to Kyoto Station
    Day 6 – Kyoto
    Day 7 – Kyoto to Awara Onsen or Kaga Onsen
    Day 8 – Awara Onsen to Kaga Onsen
    Day 9 – Kaga Onsen to Osaka Namba (hotel in Namba)
    Day 10 – Osaka
    Day 11 – Osaka
    Day 12 – Namba to Kansai Airport (Nankai Airport line)

    Thank you in advance

  2. Soh PN says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Planning for a trip to Chubu in mid December. We arrive/depart Kansai airport. Area wish to cover are Nagoya, Takayama, Gifu, Shirakawago, Toyama, and Kanazawa. Below is the itinerary. A bit confused with the Takayama-Hokuriku Pass and Kansai Hokuriku Pass, which one to use for below itinerary.

    Day 1 KIX to Kanazawa
    Day 2 Kanazawa city tour
    Day 3 Kanazawa to Shirakawago
    Day 4 Shirakawago to Nagoya
    Day 5 Nagoya
    Day 6 Nagoya-Gifu to Takayama
    Day 7 Takayama to Toyama
    Day 8 Toyama to KIX

    Thank you.
    regards,
    Soh

    • Hi Soh,

      Actually you need two Takayama Hokuriku area pass because it’s valid for only 5 days.

      By the way, your trip route is not efficient. You will go through Takayama when you move from Shirakawago to Nagoya. Toyama is only two stations away from Kanazawa by Hokuriku Shinkansen. If you change the following route, you don’t need to go back and forward.

      Day 1 KIX to Kanazawa
      Day 2 Kanazawa city tour
      Day 3 Kanazawa to Toyama
      Day 4 Toyama to Takayama
      Day 5 Takayama to Shirakawago to Takayama
      Day 6 Takayama to Gifu to Nagoya
      Day 7 Nagoya
      Day 8 Nagoya to KIX

      In this case, you will use Takayama Hokuriku area pass for the first 5 days. And use a regular fare ticket for the rest of days. If you want to save your cost, you can go to Nagoya in the evening on day 5 and make a day trip to Gifu from Nagoya on day 6. You still need to pay a regular fare for day 6 to 8 but the cost is smaller because Takayama Hokuriku area pass covers your trip until you get Nagoya.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. wendy says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Sorry I have updated my itineraries. I will spend a total of 10 nights in Japan, from 27 August to 6 September.

    27/8: reach Kansai airport around 930pm and stay overnight at the airport.

    28/8: travel from Kansai airport to Kanazawa and stay 1 night in Kanazawa.

    29/8: travel from Kanazawa to Shirakawago and stay 1 night in Shirakawago.

    *will stay 4 days 3 nights from 30/8-2/9 in Kyoto , where nearest station is Kawaramachi station

    30/8: travel from Shirakawago to Kyoto.

    31/8: sightseeing in Kyoto

    1/9: travel from Kyoto to Amanohashidate for 1 day trip and back to Kyoto.

    *will stay 5 days 4 nights in Osaka , where nearest station is Hanazonocho station.

    2/9: travel from Kyoto to Osaka

    3/9: spend the whole day at Universal Studio Japan

    4/9: sightseeing in Osaka

    5/9: travel from Osaka to Nara for 1 day trip and back to Osaka.

    6/9: Osaka to Kansai airport

    I’m thinking to get the 7 Days JR Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass ( will activate the pass on 28/8) and maybe a 3 Days Kansai Wide Area Pass /Osaka Amazing Pass/ Kansai Thru Pass/ ICOCA.

    Not sure which pass should I get to travel around Osaka and Nara for the last 3 days. And if I’m using the Kansai Hokuriku Pass, can I reserve the bus seats online from Kanazawa to Shirakawago? Hope to get your advice on this. Thank you in advance.

    Best regards,
    Wendy

  4. Amanda Wong says:

    Hi,

    We would like to know whether we should purchase this Kansai-Hokuriku area pass or not?

    2/Mar – Nagoya
    3/Mar – Takayama
    4/Mar – Shirakawago/Gokayama
    5/Mar – Kanazawa/Toyama
    6/Mar – Osaka
    7/Mar – Kyoto (Fushimi Inari / Arashiyama Bamboo Forest)

  5. evelyn says:

    Hi, i would like to ask for some advice regarding Kansai, Nagoya, Kobe rail pass

    1/13: Arrive in Kansai
    1/13:To nagoya
    1/17: To Kobe
    1/19: To Osaka
    1/20: Osaka to Kansai Airport

  6. Ho Lee Wen says:

    Hi, i would like to ask for some advice regarding this Kansai-Hokuriku pass, if it is suitable and cost-effective for my trip as follows:

    30/01 : Takayama to Kanazawa to Yamanaka Onsen
    01/02 : Yamanaka Onsen to Kaga Onsen to Osaka
    02/02 : Half day trip to Osaka – Minoo Park
    03/02 : Day Trip to Osaka to Himeji
    04/02 : Osaka to Kansai Airport

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Ho Lee Wen,

      You can use this pass. You can get the worth but you cannot get a big saving. Total fares are almost equal to this pass price.
      If you use this pass, you have to make sure the following things:

      1. Takayama is not in the coverage area. You have to pay extra fare for Takayama to Inotani. Inotani is located on the way from Takayama to Toyama. If you take express train, extra fare is around 2500 yen. You can take a local train if you want. It costs around 1000 yen extra.

      2. Minoo is not covered by this pass. Because you need to take Hankyu railway from Umeda and Hankyu is not JR.

      3. This pass is not sold in Takayama. Even if you purchase it online, you still need to exchange it. You cannot exchange it in Takayama either. If you will be somewhere in Kansai region before you go to Takayama, you can purchase/exchange in advance. If not, you need to pay full fare to get Toyama and purchase it there. Full fare to Toyama is around 1500 yen by local train and around 3500 yen for express train.
      You may take a bus from Takayama to Kanazawa.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      But if you take a bus to Kanazawa, you may not be able to get the worth of the pass. Because you don’t need to take Shinkansen from Toyama to Kanazawa.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. MAE says:

    Regarding the JR Kansai-Hokuriku Area Pass 7 days,

    1. Does it cover Shin-Osaka to Kanazawa route by Limited Express Thunderbird train (Non reserve seats)?

    2. If I wish to go to Nagano Station from Kanazawa, how can I harness the JR Kansai-Hokuriku Area Pass?

    • Hi Mae,

      1. Yes.

      2. You need to pay extra fare to take Hokuriku Shinkansen between Joetsu-Myoko and Nagano. It costs around 3000 yen for non reserved seat fee and base fare. You can purchase this ticket when you leave from Kanazawa.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. alvin says:

    hello,

    I would like some advice,
    I’m planning for a trip to japan, with my destination around osaka kobe kyoto nara and kanazawa.

    I want to ask, about the trip from osaka to kanazawa, is there a shinkansen track for that direct trip? or do I need to do a few train changes?

  9. Juri says:

    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?

    Cheers,
    Juri

    • 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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. Kiki says:

    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.

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