Kansai WIDE Area Pass user guide. The best deal for the traveler who want to travel Kansai and surrounding areas, such as Okayama, Kurashiki, Kinosaki and Kumano.

Kinosaki Onsen is one of most popular hot springs in Japan. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO
Kinosaki Onsen is one of most popular hot springs in Japan. ©Toyooka City/©JNTO

Since Kansai WIDE Area Pass was released in April, 2012, this deal has been very popular for the tourist who wants to travel outside Kansai, like Kinosaki Onsen, Kii peninsula and Okayama/Kurashiki. This pass covers much bigger area than other Kansai area passes, like JR West Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Thru Pass. I am very happy that tourist tries to visit not only Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe but also outside Kansai.

In this post, I would like to show you the details of this pass and make sure the difference from other passes.

Coverage area

Kansai WIDE Area Pass covers not only Kansai area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Kansai airport, Nara and Himeji but also many places outside Kansai area. I would like to introduce some popular spots. Please see the map below:

Click to view large
This 287 series is newer fleet for Limited Express Kounotori. (C) Jonathan Ayre
Limited Express Kounotori and Kinosaki are operated by the newest 287 seires. (C) Jonathan Ayre
  • Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉) – One of popular hot springs resort in northern Hyogo prefecture. It can be accessed by limited express Kounotori from Osaka and limited express Kinosaki from Kyoto.
  • Amanohashidate (天橋立) – It is connected directly with Kyoto by limited express Hashidate. You need to pay some extra because this train goes through Non JR line. But even Japan Rail Pass do not cover it either. Please see the details about extra at limited express Hashidate.
  • Shirahama (白浜) – This popular hot springs area is located in Kii peninsula. It can be accessed by limited express Kuroshio from Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and Tennoji.
  • Shingu (新宮) – This town is located at the south end of Kii peninsula. It is the gate town of UNESCO World Hertage Site, “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”. This can be accessed by limited express Kuroshio from Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and Tennoji too.
  • Okayama (岡山) – This city is located in Chugoku region and have one of three best landscape garden, Kourakuen Garden. It can be accessed by Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka in one hour.
  • Kurashiki (倉敷) – It is 15 minutes away from Okayama by local train. The preserved “Canal Area” is quite popular. There is Shin-Kurashiki station on Sanyo Shinkanse. But this station is not located in Kurashiki area. And Sanyo Shinkansenn between Okayama and Shin-Kurashiki is not covered by Kansai WIDE Area Pass either. Get on local train from Okayama when you get there.
  • Takamatsu (高松) – It is a gate city in Shikoku. It has Takamatsu castle and very popular Udon noodle.

I recommend you to stay in these places. But you can visit all above spots as day trip. If you are looking for something different in your trip other than Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, Nara and Himeji, this pass gives you access and a huge saving.

Find your hotels in 500 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels in Kurashiki
Hotels in Okayama
Hotels in Shirahama

Valid period

You can purchase and use this pass in all year round.

Valid trains and bus routes

Please take a look at the map at Kansai WIDE Area Pass official page one more time. You can take all local, rapid trains and Non Reserved seat on the following express trains.

  • Sanyo Shinkansen (Shin Osaka-Okayama only)
  • Limited Express Haruka (Kansai airport-Shin Osaka/Kyoto)
  • Limited Express Kuroshio (Kyoto/Shin Osaka-Shirahama/Shingu)
  • Limited Express Kounotori (Shin Osaka/Osaka-Kinosaki Onsen)
  • Limited Express Kinosaki (Kyoto-Kinosaki Onsen)
  • Limited Express Hamakaze (Osaka-Tottori)
    This express trains goes to Tottori. And this is only train to get Tottori from Osaka directly. Tottori was not in coverage area but it was included as of mid April, 2017.
  • Limited Express Thunderbird (Osaka-Tsuruga)
    This express trains goes to Kanazawa and Toyama. But these areas are outside of the area where is covered.
  • Limited Express Hashidate (Kyoto-Fukuchiyama)
    This express trains goes to Amanohashidate. You can get Amanohashidate directly from Kyoto by this train. Amanohashidate is located on Kyoto Tango Railway which was not covered by this pass. But as of mid April, 2017,
    the coverage area was expanded. Kyoto Tango Railway is not covered by this pass fully.
  • Limited Express Super Hakuto (Kyoto-Kamigori)
    This express trains goes to Kurayoshi. But these areas are outside of the area where is covered. And this train is not mentioned on the official page. But technically you can take this train between Kyoto and Kamigori with no charge. However you can take Sanyo Shinkansen by this pass. Aioi staiton on Sanyo Shinkansen is two stations away from Kamigori. Shinkansen is much faster than this train, Super Hakuto.
  • Limited Express Wide View Hida (Osaka-Maibara)
    This express trains goes to Takayama. But this is obviously outside of the area where is covered. And this train is not mentioned on the official page. But technically you can take this train between Osaka and Maibara with no charge. However there is only one round trip a day. It is not much useful.

As of mid April 2017, this pass started to cover JR bus in Kyoto and Fukui. 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.

As I mentioned above, Kyoto Tango Railway is now covered. You also can take Wakayama Dentetsu Railway between Wakayama and Kishi by this pass.

Price

There will be two different prices, purchase outside Japan and inside Japan. If you purchase it outside Japan, price is slightly cheaper. Please see the details at the below:

 Purchasing from the travel agent overseas
(Before arrival)
Purchasing from JR West online
(Before arrival)
Purchasing from JR West station
(After arrival)
Adult9,200 yen10,000 yen10,200 yen
Child
6-11 years
4,600 yen5,000 yen5,100 yen

The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night, midnight to midnight.

Compare with regular fare

This is very attractive price. It is very easy to pay off. The following sample fares includes base fare and non reserved seat limited express surcharge:

  • One way trip from Kansai Airport to Shin Osaka by Limited Express Haruka — 2,330 yen
  • One way trip from Kansai Airport to Kyoto by Limited Express Haruka — 2,850 yen
  • Round trip between Shin Osaka and Himeji by Shinkansen — 6,440 yen
  • Round trip between Shin Osaka and Okayama by Shinkansen — 11,000 yen
  • Round trip between Osaka and Kinosaki Onsen by Limited Express Kounotori — 10,160 yen
  • Round trip between Kyoto and Kinosaki Onsen by Limited Express Kinosaki — 8,640 yen
  • Round trip between Shin Osaka and Shirahama by Limited Express Kuroshio — 10,160 yen
  • Round trip between Shin Osaka and Shingu by Limited Express Kuroshio — 13,380 yen

As you see above, if you take Haruka from Kansai airport to Shin-Osaka and have round trip by Shinkansen to Himeji from Shin-Osaka, it is pay off. It is very very attractive price.

Compare Kansai WIDE Area Pass and other passes

I have already written about JR West Rail Pass – Kansai Area Pass and Kansai Thru Pass (Surutto Kansai Pass). Please refer my post, How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area.

Compare Kansai WIDE Area Pass and Kansai Area Pass

You can choose 1 to 4 days from Kansai Area Pass. Please refer the post, How to use JR West Kansai Area Pass. Compare pass and single fare. The prices are 2,060 yen, 4,110 yen, 5,140 yen and 6,170 yen. Kansai Area Pass covers only Kansai area and does not allow you to take any express trains other than Airport Express Train Haruka. I recommend you to use 1 days pass for transfer from Kansai airport to Shin-Osaka/Kyoto. As you saw the regular fare above, 1 day pass rate 2,330 yen is cheaper than one way trip to Shin-Osaka from Kansai airport. But there is ICOCA and Haruka that includes Haruka one way ticket and 1500 yen ICOCA e-money. This is better deal than Kansai Area Pass one day.

If you compare both passes, the price is less than 2,000 yen difference. Kansai WIDE Area Pass covers many more places and more trains. In my opinion, Kansai Wide Area Pass has much greater value than Kansai Area Pass.

Even if you stay and travel in Kansai area only, Kansai Thru Pass may be better choice because it covers subway and bus services in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

Compare Kansai WIDE Area Pass and Kansai Thru Pass

As I mentioned on my post, How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area, Kansai Thru Pass is the best rail pass for sightseeing in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. This deal includes Kyoto municipal transportation (subway and bus) and Osaka municipal transportation (subway and bus). This is a huge asset to explore in Kyoto and Osaka. Especially you cannot go to any popular spots without subway and bus services in Kyoto. All JR rail passes, Kansai WIDE Area Pass, Kansai Area Pass, even Japan Rail Pass, do not cover any subway and city bus services. Kansai Thru Pass covers all major private rail lines too. In Kansai area, there are many private rail lines. When you go to Kyoto and Nara from Osaka, private lines, Hankyu (Umeda-Kawaramachi), Keihan (Yodoyabashi/Kyobashi-Shijo/Sanjo), Kintetsu (Namba/Tsuruhashi-Nara, Kyoto-Nara) are more convenient.

Conclusion

So if you are sure that you stay and travel in Kansai area only, I don’t recommend you to use Kansai WIDE Area Pass. But if you are interested in the area other than Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, Nara and Himeji to visit, this pass may be suitable for you. Kansai Thru Pass is a good rail pass. But this pass does not cover the area other than Kansai area, such as Kinosaki, Okayama and Shirahama.

If you stay in Kansai area for 3 days or less, you do not have enough time to explore outside Kansai. You should stay and enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara. But if you stay for 4 days or more, you may have an extra time to enjoy both Kansai are and outside of Kansai.

e.g.
If you stay in Osaka for 5 nights,
Day 1 Kansai airport – Shin Osaka (Kansai WIDE Area Pass)
Day 2 Day trip to Shirahama (Kansai WIDE Area Pass)
Day 3 Day trip to Kurashiki (Kansai WIDE Area Pass)
Day 4 Day trip to Kyoto (Kansai Thru Pass)
Day 5 Day trip to Nara (Kansai Thru Pass)
Day 6 Osaka – Kansai airport (Kansai Thru Pass)

In above sample plan, I use Kansai WIDE Area Pass for 3 days only. Of course you can use this pass for day 1 to 5 and add the regular fare or other deal to get Kansai airport. But even though you use Kansai WIDE Area Pass for 3 days, you get your money worth.

I hope this pass encourages you to explore outside Kansai area. I love Kinosaki and Kurashiki. If you have an extra time, I strongly recommend you to visit these places.

424 thoughts on “Kansai WIDE Area Pass user guide. The best deal for the traveler who want to travel Kansai and surrounding areas, such as Okayama, Kurashiki, Kinosaki and Kumano.”

  1. Hello Takeshi,
    Thanks for an amazing site 🙂

    A question we could not get a clear answer yet.
    We plan to use our Kansai WIDE pass from Tsuruga station. Can we buy the pass directly there? Or: should we order it online, and then collect it in Tsuruga station? Other overseas vendors do not mention Tsuruga as a collection point for this pass, so we’re a bit confused… Sohld we order it online with JR West, instead?

    Thank you,
    Yehuda

  2. Thank you for this wonderful web site. It is clear and very informative.

    I have a practical question about the Kansai Wide Area pass. I understand that it is for unreserved seats only.

    Practically how do I:
    1) validate the pass at Shin-Osaka, and
    2) Use it. Do I just show it to the guard and pass around the gates like with a JR Pass?

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Hope you are doing well!

    Thank you so much for the detailed blog above. But I have some confusion which I want to check. I am travelling to Osaka for 6 days and I want to cover Kobe, Arima onsen, osaka, kyoto and kinosaki onsen. Can you please tell me the best pass for my trip which covers my trip from the Kansai airport to osaka namba as well?

    And if I buy Kansai Thru pass will it cover my journey from airport to namba? non- reserved seat will also do.

    Thank you so much in advance.

    1. Hi Akansha san,

      Kansai Wide Area Pass is required. Because this pass is most affordable pass which covers Kinosaki Onsen. Kinosaki Onsen is the farthest place in your trip. This pass covers only JR train but basically it covers all cities in Kansai area other than Arima onsen. And KIX to Namba direct route is Nankai Railway. It is not covered by this pass but you can get JR-Namba before Tennoji by JR trains. Please see the link below and find the route of JR trains in Kansai area. It shows how much you can use the pass in Kansai area. Kinosaki onsen is not shown in this page but it’s covered.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for reverting. Do you think if I exclude kinosaki onsen from my trip then Kinsoka thru pass will cover Osaka-kobe-kyoto-arima onsen? (train, subway and buses).

        Also I could not find any link on the above message. Can you please send it one more time 🙂

        Thank you

  4. Dear Takeshi-San,

    My husband and son will be staying in Osaka (Swisshotel Nan Kai namba- above the Nama station) in November and doing the 5 day Kumano Kodo hike. He will be taking the Kuroshio 3 to Kii Tanabe and taking the Kuroshio 20 from Kii Katsura.
    Will the Kansai Wide Pass be able to cover the trip for these five days?
    How is the best way to travel from Namba station where the hotel is to Shin -Osaka station to take the train to Kii Peninsula? Midosuji line railway? Can the Kansai Wide Pass be used for this?
    What other train pass should they have for one day to travel in Osaka ( they will go to Expo city and Osaka Castle)
    From Kansai airport, best to take the Airport express Nan Kai railway to the hotel?

    Thank you so much!

    ?

    1. Hi Patricia san,

      Kansai Wide Area Pass covers both trips.

      Subway Midosuji line is the easiest way to get Shin-Osaka. But subway is not covered by this pass.

      Nankai railway airport express is most affordable way to get Namba. If they want to take more comfortable train, buy the deal in the link below to take the limited express Rapi:t.
      https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/webtoku.html
      https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/rapit/aboutrapit/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi San,

        Thank you for replying. The Kansai Wide Area pass is only for 5 days and will be used during their 5 days Kumano Kodo hike 18-22/11

        They will arrive on 17/11 morning. They have not planned their itinerary yet but may visit the Osaka castle or Umeda Sky Building

        They will visit Expocity and Umeda Sky Building or Osaka Castle on 23/11.
        They will depart from the airport on 24/11 evening. They will visit more places on 24/11 morning.
        What is the best rail pass for them to travel around Osaka City and to include the travel to and from Kansai airport to the Swisshotel Nankai which is above Namba Nankai station on 17/11 and 23/11 and 24/11?

          1. The Kanku Webtoku tickets are on sale until 30th Sept but my husband and son will be in Osaka in Nov. Can they buy the tickets online but exchange it only in Nov? Will the tickets be valid?

            1. Hi Patricia,

              I believe the selling period will be extended. But you don’t need to buy it now. It won’t be sold out.
              Please wait that this will be extended. You can buy it in October or even november just before you go to Japan.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Greetings from Malaysia. We have decided to travel to Kyoto, Shirahama & Osaka from 13 Oct until 21 Oct 2019. We have drafted itinerary as below and planned to purchase Kansai Wide Area Pass Pass (9000 yen, 5 day pass), Osaka Amazing Pass (2 days), Kyoto bus day pass & ICOCA (top up). Appreciate you could assist to review and advise if the passes are the appropriate one for the below routes and feel free to comment & add in any places.

    Day 1 – From Kuala Lumpur to Kansai Airport – Arrival time 2140 (Hotel stay: Greenwood hostel via Nankai Line from airport – purchase regular fare using ICOCA as not covered under Kansai Wide Area pass.

    Day 2 – Greenwood Hostel > Kansai Airport > to Kyoto Station via Haruka (Kansai Wide Area Pass) (Hotel stay: Parkside Umekoji Kyoto)

    Places to visit – Nishiki market, Gion, Kamogawa River (Kyoto bus day pass)

    Day 3 – Places to visit – Arashiyama Area & Fushimi Inari Shrine (JR Sagano and JR Nara Lines ) (Kansai Wide Area Pass). Purchase regular fare using ICOCA to travel from hotel to/from Kyoto station.

    Day 4 – Places to visit – Jishu Jinja, Kiyomizudera Temple, Ninenzaka & Sannezaka (Kyoto bus day pass)

    Check out Parkside Umekoji Kyoto > Kyoto Station > Check in Osaka Airbnb – travel via Haruka & stop at Tennoji station (Kansai Wide Area Pass) and take Tanimachi Line from Tennoji Station to Shiten-Nojimaeyuhigaoka Station (purchase regular fare using ICOCA)
    (Airbnb stay in Osaka: 1-chome-2 Shimodera, Naniwa-ku, Osaka,556-0001)

    Day 5 – Visit Shirahama via JR Kuroshio at JR Tennoji Station (Kansai Wide Area Pass). Purchase regular fare using ICOCA from Shiten-Nojimaeyuhigaoka Station to Tennoji Station via Tanimachi Line)

    Places to visit – Shirahama beach, Sandanbeki, Senjojiki, Engetsu Island, Mifune Ashi-yu & Shirahama Ginza Ashi-yu Yokochou (what pass need to purchase to visit to these places?)

    Day 6 – Visit Universal Studio (can use Kansai Wide Area Pass?)

    Day 7 & Day 8 – Visit Osaka (Osaka Amazing Pass-2 days)
    Is our Airbnb stay to the free attractions can be reached via subway or bus as we hope to cover the transportation cost via Osaka Amazing Pass?

    Day 9 – Check out Airbnb > Rinku Premium outlet > Kansai Airport via Nankai line (we will purchase regular fare using ICOCA)

    Additional question is the Kansai Wide Area Pass cover the Hankyu, Keihan, Kintetsu & Hanshin lines?

    I apologise for the lengthy email and your kind assistance is highly appreciated. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Sandra san,

      Overall your trip plan looks good. I have a few things to tell you.

      1. Kansai one pass
      You may use Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA. Both ICOCA and Kansai one pass are basically same but Kansai one pass offers discount at many attractions. It is better than ICOCA for you:
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      2. Meiko bus one day pass
      You may use this pass at Shirahama:
      http://meikobus.jp/2018_3_17_shirahama_rosen.html#free

      As you think, you may use Kansai wide area pass for day 2 to 6. This pass covers only JR. It does not cover Hankyu, Keihan, Hanshina, Kintetsu, Nankai, subway and any other non JR trains.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. If I have 5 nights in Osaka and 5 nights in Kyoto, is it too many nights? I plan to make day trips out of both Osaka and Kyoto. What pass should I buy?

    1. Hi June,

      It’s hard to say. It depends on how you spend your time and which places in Kyoto and Osaka you go. And there are lots of day trips plan from Osaka and Kyoto. You can go to Kobe, Himeji, Wakayama, Nara and Koyasan. You can go to even Hiroshima/Miyajima or Kanazawa/Shirakawago as day trip:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/day-trip-to-hiroshima-and-miyajima-from-osakakyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/sample-itinerary-of-day-trip-to-kanazawa-and-shirakawago-from-osaka-or-kyoto.html

      At this point, I cannot say which pass is most recommended. You have to decide where you go by day trip before you choose the deal.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Dear Takeshi,
    I have a few questions regards to the kansai wide area pass.
    My itinerary will be shown as below:
    1st day- Kansai aiport to osaka
    2nd day-Osaka
    3rd day-Osaka
    4th day-Kyoto(1 night stay)
    5th day-Miyama (1 night stay)
    6th day- Miyama to Amanohashidate(day)- stay at Kinosaki Onsen
    7th day-kyoto
    8th day-kyoto
    9th day-osaka-Kansai airport
    Can you please assist me on which pass or train card to get for these 9 days?
    Thank you so much!!

      1. Hi Takeshi San,
        Can you give me more details on the pass?For eg from kyoto to Miyama, Miyama to amanohashidate to kinosaki onsen. Which pass should I use?
        2)What transport should I take from Kyoto to miyama,miyama to amanohashidate and from amanohashidate to kinosaki onsen?
        Thank you so much

  8. Hi Takeshi,

    If I just intend to go to Naoshima and Wakayama on two separate day trips from Osaka, is it worth it for me to get the Kansai Wide Area Pass?

  9. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Thanks for your reply and advises, much appreciated.
    We have decided to spend a night at Kinosakionsen after Kyoto. Therefore will need to activate the JR Kansai Wide Area Pass on D4 – D8 and had to switch itineraries around days to maximise the JR Kansai Widea Area Pass and KTP. All good, really looking forward to our trip again.

    Cheers, lina

Before you leave your comment, please see the conditions below.
  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve. When you submit your comment, the page will be reloaded but nothing happens. Your comment will be shown when I approve. Please click submit only once and wait for my approval.
  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • I cannot recommend any hotels other than which I have stayed. Basically I cannot talk about hotels in this site. The number of hotels are too many to talk about by my experience.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals.
  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*