Sanyo Area Pass. Good deal for the tourist who visits Kansai, Hiroshima and Hakata

sanyo-area-pass

*This deal will be sold until February 28, 2015 and can be exchanged until May 31, 2015. On March 1, 2015, this deal, Sanyo Area Pass will be replaced by Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass.

This pass covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. You can take any trains in the coverage area with a few exception. If you will be a temporary visitor, you are eligible to purchase this deal.

If you have round trip from Osaka to Hakata, this pass is much cheaper than single fares. But if you travel outside of Kansai area or just go to Hiroshima, you may consider other deals.

In this post, I tell you the details about this deal. And also I compare Sanyo Area Pass, Japan Rail Pass and Kansai WIDE Area Pass.

Area

This pass covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Kansai Airport, Himeji and Sanyo line (both Shinkansen and Conventional line) to Hakata. You can get Okayama, Hiroshima, Kurashiki, Iwakuni and all stations on the way to Hakata. If you intend to visit Hakata, Shinkansen is only way to get there. Once you are in Kyushu, only Shinkansen to Hakata is covered by this pass. You can find the detailed map at the JR West official site map (PDF).

Other part of Japan, such as Hokkaido, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kanazawa, Takayama and most part of Kyushu are not covered by JR West Sanyo Area Pass. So if you plan to travel throughout Japan or travel Tokyo, Hokkaido or Kyushu, Japan Rail Pass is suitable for you.

There are a few exception. You have to be careful when you use this pass. I tell you these things clearly.

Tokaido Shinkansen between 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 JR Central. It is same JR Group company and many trains go through both areas each other. But technically it is different company. Therefore you cannot get on it. When you depart from Kyoto and take Shinkansen, you have to take Special Rapid Service from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka and then transfer to Shinkansen train there.

Only Sanyo line

Sanyo Area Pass covers only Sanyo line and Sanyo Shinkansen. When you travel from Osaka to the west, you cannot step outside of Sanyo line except ferry to Miyajima from Miyajimaguchi. I show you some examples.

  • Between Okayama and Uno
    When you go to Naoshima, you need to access to Uno and get on ferry. But this pass covers only trip to Okayama. The segment between Okayama and Uno is extra.

Kyushu

Kyushu is not a territory of JR West but JR Kyushu. But Sanyo Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata is owned by JR West. So you can get Hakata and Kokura in Kyushu by this pass. However you can get off at Kokura and Hakata only in Kyushu. Any other train services in Kyushu are not covered.

Price, eligibility and how to purchase

You can choose 4 day at 20,570 yen (child 10,280 yen) and 8 days at 30,860 yen (child 15,430 yen). This pass is available for temporary visitor only. If you are resident, you can’t purchase it. Please check the price and conditions on the JR West Sanyo Area Pass website.

You can purchase this pass at authorized travel agents or online. But it is very hard to find the authorized agent. Even travel agent who sells Japan Rail Pass sometimes sells only Japan Rail Pass. Procedure to issue JR East Pass is more complicated than Japan Rail Pass. So online and purchasing at the stations will be the way to purchase. If you want to purchase it on the spot, you can purchase it at the major stations. You can find the the list of sales location at the official site of JR West Sanyo Area Pass.

Valid period

You can choose any 4 days or 8 days. One day means 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 travel 8 days or more, you have to find other deal. However Japan Rail Pass 7 days is sold at 28300 yen and 14 days pass is sold at 45100 yen. And also Green pass is not available for Sanyo Area Pass. If you think about 7 day or more or taking Green car, you should compare with Japan Rail Pass.

Compare to single fares

Base fare and surcharge for the major segments are the following. Please compare the price of Sanyo Area Pass and these fares. If you use Sanyo Area Pass, these following fare (base fare and surcharge) are covered.
*All surcharges in the following table are regular season rate. In peak season, another 200 yen is added on regular surcharge. In shoulder season, 200 yen is subtracted from regular surcharge. Base fare is same in all season.

Segment Base fare Surcharge
Osaka – Kyoto 540 yen
Osaka – Sannomiya (Kobe) 390 yen
Osaka – Nara 780 yen
Kyoto – Nara 690 yen
Osaka – Himeji 1450 yen 2910 yen
Osaka – Kansai Airport 1320 yen 1450 yen
Osaka – Okayama 2940 yen 2920 yen (*1)
Osaka – Hiroshima 5460 yen 4490 yen (*1)
Osaka – Miyajimaguchi 5780 yen 4490 yen (*1)
Hiroshima – Miyajimaguchi 400 yen
Osaka – Hakata 9350 yen 5240 yen (*1)

*1 This rate is applied for Hikari, Sakura and Kodama. Another 200 yen is added on this surcharge for getting on Nozomi and Mizuho.

As you see, if you have round trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima from Osaka, it is almost same value of 4 days Sanyo Area Pass.

Validity

I compare JR West Sanyo Area Pass, Kansai WIDE Area Pass and Japan Rail Pass.

Trains Sanyo Area Pass Japan Rail Pass Kansai WIDE Area Pass
Local trains / Rapid Services Y Y Y
Green class N Y (Green pass) N
Limited express Y Y Y (*2)
Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo – Kyoto/Shin-Osaka) N Y (*1) N
Sanyo Shinkansen (Shin-Osaka – Hakata) Y Y (*1) Y
Kyushu Shinkansen (Hakata – Kagoshima-Chuo) N Y (*1) N

*1 Nozomi and Mizuho are not covered.
*2 Only non reserved seat is covered. You cannot take reserved seat by Kansai WIDE Area Pass.

Japan Rail Pass gives you unlimited travel by most of trains throughout Japan. But it does not cover Nozomi and Mizuho. This disadvantage is the biggest advantage of Sanyo Area Pass actually. You can take any trains on Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Hakata.

Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
On the other hand, Kansai WIDE Area Pass may be considerable. If you have a plan to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima, Kansai WIDE Area Pass may be cheaper. Please see the following break down:

Okayama – Miyajimaguchi 6380 yen (Sakura/Hikari) 200 yen up Nozomi/Mizuho
Miyajimaguchi – Miyajima return 340 yen
Miyajimaguchi – Hiroshima 400 yen
Hiroshima – Okayama 6060 yen (Sakura/Hikari) 200 yen up Nosomi/Mizuho

Total fares are 13180 yen. Kansai WIDE Area Pass is sold at 7000 yen. So grand total is 20180 yen. And Kansai WIDE Area Pass covers Kinosaki, Shirahama, Shingu, Wakayama and Hikone where are not covered by Sanyo Area Pass.

Since reserved seat is not covered by Kansai WIDE Area Pass, I cannot recommend to use this pass in peak periods, such as New Years holidays, Golden week (late April to 1st week of May) and mid August. But Kansai WIDE Area Pass may be give you more benefit.

Conclusion

If you have very simple itinerary to visit Hakata from Kansai Airport or Osaka in 4 days at 20000 yen, this pass is the best deal. As I mentioned you above, Kansai WIDE Area Pass may be better deal to visit Hiroshima if you visit other cities around Kansai area.

However if you pay another 2000 yen, JR West also sells Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu northern version 5 days at 22000 yen. You can visit many popular spots in northern Kyushu, such as Yufuin, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Aso and Beppu.

If you pay another 6300 yen, you can purchase 7 days JR Pass at 28300 yen.

To be honest, it is very difficult to use 8 days Sanyo Area Pass. I think only case that 8 days Sanyo Area Pass is the best is Osaka-Hakata round trip in 8 days. Otherwise honestly 8 days pass does not meet your trip in most of cases.

7 thoughts on “Sanyo Area Pass. Good deal for the tourist who visits Kansai, Hiroshima and Hakata”

  1. Hi,
    Based on my itinerary what would you suggest?

    1) Fukuoka 5th to 7th Nov
    2) Fukuoka to Kyoto 7th Nov (Maybe Hiroshima en route as day trip)
    3) Staying at Kyoto from 7th to 12th Nov (Likely going to Himeji, Nara)
    4) Kyoto to Osaka 12th Nov, flying home on 15th night.

    1. Hi Patrick,

      If you are pretty sure to get Himeji, Sanyo Sanin Area Pass is recommended.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/sanyo-sanin-area-pass-it-is-much-better-deal-than-sanyo-area-pass.html

      You can take Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Himeji. So make this trip to Himeji in 7 days coverage period.

      In Kyoto and Osaka, subway pass may be added as you need.
      And there are some deal to get KIX.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Dear Takeshi

    Which is the best train pass for me considering my itinerary:

    Day 1 – arrive 8:30 pm at Kansai Airport and travel to Shin -Osaka for our hotel.

    Day 2 – Shin Osaka – Kyoto – Shin Osaka

    Day 3 – Shin Osaka – Miyajima – Hiroshima – Shin Osaka

    Day 4 – Shin Osaka – Himeji – Osaka – Shin Osaka

    Day 5 – Shin Osaka – Osaka – Shin Osaka – Kansai Airport

    Thank you,
    Tates

  3. Hi,

    I am touring Kyushu for 4 days (Hakata, Yufuin, Beppu) and travel from Hakata to Kyoto then Osaka on 5th day one way trip.
    Does Sanyo pass work for my itinerary or should I buy a Kyushu northern pass for 3Days and purchase separate shinkansen ticket for Hakata to Kyoto?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Zanzi,

      Sanyo area pass does not cover northern Kyushu other than Hakata. And also this deal will be discontinued soon.
      Anyway the best choice is northern Kyushu 3 days pass and single fare to Kyoto.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Hi

    I bought the 8days Sanyo pass for my trip in Feb last yr. It does cover the ferry to miyajima from miyajimaguchi though. The JR ferry at miyajimaguchi is run by JR west. Their website also say its covered though :).

    Marc

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