Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass user guide. Perfect deal for the traveler 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

Click to view large

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.

Find your hotels in 500 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels in Kanazawa
Hotels in Toyama

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)
Adult15,000 yen15,800 yen16,000 yen
Child
(6-11 years old)
7,500 yen7,900 yen8,000 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. 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.

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

  1. Hello Rinto san

    You are amazing answering questions from strangers visiting your country. Thank you in advance.

    We are travelling from Melbourne Australia in Oct 2019. I am confused about which rail pass to buy.
    JR Pass, Sanyo Sanin Area pass, or another

    Land at Narita 21 Oct
    Tokyo 21-25 Oct with day trips like Nikko
    Miyajima 26 Oct
    Osaka 27-29 with day trip to Noashima and Nara
    Kyoto 30-31Oct
    Kanazawa 1 Nov
    travel to Narita to fly home.

  2. Dear Takeshi-San / JPRail.com,

    I am deciding between “5 Day JR Takayama-Hokuriku” Area Pass and “7 Day JR Kansai Hokuriku” pass. Here are the questions that I would like to seek your advice:

    1. Will both passes cover places like Mount Koya?

    2. I read on K’look that the “5 Day JR Takayama-Hokuriku” Area Pass does not cover Tokaido Shinkansen between Kyoto and Shin-Osaka while the “7 Day JR Kansai Hokuriku” pass does not cover Tokaido Shinkansen (Shin-Osaka to/from Tokyo). While on your website here, you mentioned that the “7 Day JR Kansai Hokuriku” pass does not cover Tokaido Shinkansen, specifically “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.” I am a little confused here so would like to seek clarification if possible.

    Here’s my brief itinerary for my 8 Days 7 nights trip in Japan:

    Tue Osaka
    Wed Osaka / Kyoto
    Thu Mount Koya
    Fri Kyoto
    Sat Nara
    Sun Kanazawa – Shirakawago
    Mon Kanazawa – Osaka
    Tue Osaka

    We will be staying in Osaka, specifically hanazonocho station for most of our trip except for a 1 night stay at Kanazawa.

    Would greatly appreciate your advice on which pass to choose between this 2 passes as I am facing an avalanche of information right now while reading about what’s included and not included in the passes.

    Thank you so much!!!

    Cheers,
    Sue

    1. Hi Sue san,

      1. Mt Koya is not covered by either passes.

      2. The Tokaido Shinkansen is not covered by either passes. I mentioned about Tokaido Shinkansen in the post. But I explained about the trip from Kyoto or Maibara to the west, such as Himeji, Okayama. The Shinkansen connects Maibara, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Himeji and Okayama directly. But this pass does not cover the Tokaido Shinkansen. That is why train change is required at Shin-Osaka even though the Shinkansen goes through. Anyway Tokaido Shinkansen is not covered at all.

      I recommend you to use Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass 5-day and Kansai Thru Pass 3-day. If you use Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Nara and Kyoto are covered. But these passes covers only JR trains. It does not cover subway, other non JR railway, and city bus. But Kansai Thru Pass does. It covers subway in Osaka too. Especially you will stay in Hanazonocho which is subway station. You can use Kansai thru pass from Hanazonocho. So you may use Kansai thru pass 3-day for Mt. Koya, Nara and one of two days in Kyoto.

      When you use Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass, you have to pay for taking subway to the nearest JR station which is JR-Namba. But you can go to Kyoto by this pass. After arriving in Kyoto, this pass does not cover anything. So you have to make sure which place you go by this pass and which place you go by Kansai thru pass.

      You will use Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass for the last 5 days. So please switch (Tue) Osaka and (Sat) Nara.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi san/ JPRail.com,

        Thanks a million!!! Really really appreciate your advice and clarifications!!! I will incorporate them. You have just saved a million of my brain cells!

        Cheers,
        Sue

  3. Dear Sir,
    I plan to travel in and out from KIX to Toyama, Alpine route, Kanazawa and Shirakawago in 5 days. 22-26May2019.

    Day 1 – KIX-Shin Osaka-Toyama
    Day 2 – Toyama-Alpine route-Nagano-Kanazawa
    Day 3 – Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Kanazawa
    Day 4 – Kanazawa- Shin Osaka
    Day 5 – Shin Osaka-KIX

    I intend to purchase the Kansai Hokuriku area pass + Tateyama kurobe option ticket.

    For Day 2, Nagano back to Kanazawa, i need to purchase a seperate ticket from Nagano to Joetsu-Myoko? in order to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Joetsu-Myoko to Kanazawa.
    What type of train and ticket and how much additional will that be?

    Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Julie

    1. Hi Julie,

      You may purchase a base fare ticket and non reserved seat fee ticket. The additional cost is around 3000 yen. You can buy this when you get Kansai Hokuriku area pass if you like. Otherwise you can purchase at Nagano station or any other major JR stations.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Dear Takeshi san,

    I’m planning to go to Japan this weekend. What I need to ask are:
    1. Is Limited Express Thunderbird/Haruka covered by Kansai Hokuriku Pass? What I’ve read is it’s covered for only non-reserved seats.

    2. For KIX-Kanazawa trip suggestions are to take Haruka from KIX to Shin Osaka, then transfer to Thunderbird in Shin Osaka to Kanazawa.

    3. Below is my itinerary for your reference:
    – 24-27 Feb: Sapporo –> I didn’t take the Sapporo Pass, after I read your advise 🙂 since I will only travel to Otaru
    – 27 Feb – 1 Mar: Kanazawa
    – 1 – 4 Mar: Kyoto
    – 4 – 6 Mar: Osaka

    Please advise.

    Thank you in advance Takeshi san.

    Regards,
    Mira

    1. Hi Mira san,

      1. It’s covered and as you know, it covers only non reserved seat. Please see the link below if you want to know more about non reserved seat:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/reserved-seat-vs-non-reserved-seat-how-to-get-a-seat-on-non-reserved-car.html

      2. That’s right. But if you go back to Osaka to take Thunderbird, you can get a seat much easier as I mentioned in the link above.

      3. Your choice is right.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Dear Takeshi san,

    Greeetings from Indonesia, I am thinking about using this pass for my trip at the end of the month

    My total trip is actually a total of 8 days (7 nights)

    Which i am planning to break it down this way:

    Day 1: arrive at kix 9 30pm then stay at a hotel nearby the airport

    Day 2: morning to rinku outlet half day until approx 2-3pm then take the train from kix to kanazawa (activate my pass) spend the night in kanazawa

    Day 3: kanazawa half day to shirakawa go and gokayama/suganuma.

    Afternoon Back to Kanazawa spend another night

    Day 4: explore kanazawa and probably toyama (is it worth to go do you think?)

    Take the afternoon train to Kyoto and spend the night

    Day 5: Explore Kyoto and spend the night

    Day 6: Kyoto to Osaka and explore Osaka spend the night in Osaka

    Day 7: Universal Studios all day spend the night in Osaka

    Day 8: take a day trip to Himeji and Okayama then back to Osaka to pick up luggages at the hotel flight leaves at 11pm.

    My questions are:

    1. Is it worth it to buy the pass according to my itinerary?

    2. Is a night stay in Kanazawa a bit too much if i wanted to do Shirakawa? Or should i add an extra night in Kyoto and in Osaka and eliminate staying in Kanazawa all together. so 3 nights Kyoto for a base for shirakawa and 3 night in Osaka.

    3. I am bit confused about buying the bus ticket from Kanazawa to Shirakawa go. Can i stop at both gokayama and shirakawa if i buy the furthest route (which i think is shirakawa) or how does it work? Do you recommend i purchase bus tickets in advance or a go show would be ok?

    Arigato Gozaimasu, looking forward for youre reply

    1. Hi Rinto san,

      1. Yes. You can get the worth of it.

      2. I recommend you to stay in Kanazawa for one night. Kanazawa is very attractive city and worth to stay overnight.
      https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2167.html

      Toyama is okay. If you have some extra time, you can go but spending time in Kanazawa and/or Kyoto is more attractive in my opinion.
      https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7500.html

      3. You may take a bus from Takaoka. Because if you take a bus from Kanazawa, you get Shirakawago directly and this bus is not covered by the pass. Please see the link below to find the pass info, timetable and fare chart of this bus.
      https://www.japan-guide.com/bus/gokayama.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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