Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass user guide. Clarify valid trains, coverage area and compare single fare and pass.

Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka are covered by this deal. (C) ©Sue Ann Simon (upper left), Osaka Government Tourism Bureau (lower left), Yasufumi Nish (upper right), Kanazawa City (lower right) and JNTO (all photos)
Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka are covered by this deal. (C) ©Sue Ann Simon (upper left), Osaka Government Tourism Bureau (lower left), Yasufumi Nish (upper right), Kanazawa City (lower right) and JNTO (all photos)

This brand new pass will be released in April, 2016. This pass covers Narita airport, Tokyo, Nagano, Toyama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Kansai airport. It does not cover Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto via Nagoya direct route by Shinkansen. It is valid for consecutive 7 days. Valid period is same as Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) 7 days. Price is cheaper than JR Pass 7 days but coverage area is much smaller. Is this a good deal and worth using for Tokyo-Kanazawa-Kyoto-Osaka trip?

In this post, I would like to show you the detail of this pass. And I show you some sample rate and compare the pass value and single fares. You may find this suits your plan or not.

Prices and valid period

Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass 7 days

Purchase outside Japan or online Purchase inside Japan
Adult 24,000 yen 25,000 yen
Child
(6-11 years old)
12,000 yen 12,500 yen

*Child who is 5 years old and younger is free but you have to share the seat with child. If you want to have a seat for child too, you have to purchase child pass for even younger than 5 years old.
*This pass will be available from April 1st, 2016. But I think this pass will be available online in advance at JR East official site and JR West official site.

This pass is valid for 7 days only. There is no Green pass choice.

One day means midnight to midnight, technically 0:00 to 23:59. Even if you start using the pass at 23:00. you will spend one full day for just one hour. So try to start in the morning. It does not make sense to start to use in the evening.

Coverage area

Coverage map of Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass (Click to view large)
Coverage map of Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass (Click to view large)

This pass covers the trip between Narita airport and Kansai airport via Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hokuriku area. This pass covers the following major spots in the area.

  • Tokyo
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Kanazawa
  • Toyama
  • Nagano
  • Karuizawa
  • Nara
  • Kobe

The following places are not located in the coverage area. You CANNOT use this pass to access these following places.

It seems to cover whole part of the trip between Tokyo side and Osaka side via Kanazawa and Toyama. But there are some restrictions. Please see next chapter about valid trains.

Valid trains and lines

The press release from JR East and JR West said the following JR trains are covered by this pass.

  • Narita Exress between Narita airport and Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro
    You cannot get Yokohama because it is outside coverage area.
  • Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa
  • Limited Express Thunderbird between Wakura Onsen, Kanazawa and Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Osaka
  • Limited Express Haruka between Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Tennoji and Kansai airport
    But only non reserved seat is covered by this pass.
  • Local and Rapid train in downtown Tokyo area
  • Local, Rapid and Special Rapid train in Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara)
  • Etsumi-Hokusei line between Fukui and Kuzuryuko
  • Nanao line between Tsubata and Nanao
  • Himi line between Takaoka and Himi
  • Johana line between Takaoka and Johana
  • Takayama line between Toyama and Inotani
  • Oito line between Itoigawa and Minami-Otari

I have checked the press release several times. I could not find any other express trains in coverage trains list. But in my understanding, the following express and rapid trains are covered.

  • Rapid Airport Narita between Narita airport and Kinshicho, Tokyo, Shinagawa
  • Limited Express Shirasagi between Kanazawa and Maibara
  • Limited Express Wide View Hida between Toyama and Inotani
  • Limited Express Noto-Kagaribi between Kanazawa and Wakura-Onsen
  • Limited Express Hanayome-Noren between Kanazawa and Wakura-Onsen
  • Limited Express Dinastar between Kanazawa and Fukui

Rapid Airport Narita runs on exactly same route as Narita Express. And if you leave from Narita Express in early morning and late night, you may not be able to take Narita Express. In this case, this rapid train is your choice.

Rapid Airport Narita

The other trains are ordinary limited express trains and run in coverage area. I cannot find any reasons why those trains are not covered. In my opinion, you can take these trains by this pass. But even though Limited Express Shirasagi and Limited Express Wide View Hida are covered, you cannot get Nagoya by Shirasagi and cannot get Takayama by Wide View Hida either. These places are not in coverage area.

JR deals covers basically JR trains only. But Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku ArchPass covers some “NON JR” railway trains. The following railways are NON JR companies but those are covered by Tokyo Wide Pass.

  • Tokyo Monorail (Haneda-Airport – Hamamatsucho)
  • IR Ishikawa Railway between Kanazawa and Tsubata
  • Ainokaze-Toyama Railway between Toyama and Takaoka
  • Noto Railway between Nanao and Wakura-Onsen

If you arrive in or depart from Haneda airport, trip by Monorail is fully covered by this pass. But the JR ticket service desk is open from 7:45 to 18:30 only.
JR East Travel Service Center Haneda

You may not be able to exchange your pass at Haneda from early arrival and late departure.

You cannot make any stopover when you take IR Ishikawa Railway and Ainokaze-Toyama Railway. These coverage are connecting to Himi line, Johana line and Nanao line from Toyama and Kanazawa for your convenience.

Noto Railway is covered but it is only one station between Nanao and Wakura-Onsen. Many trains run from Kanazawa to Wakura-Onsen via IR Ishikawa Railway, JR Nanao line and Noto Railway. This is reason why this train is.

In Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, subway is not covered by this pass. You have to add single fare or city deal.

Compare many discount tickets and passes for sightseeing Tokyo. How to choose the right tickets?

Kyoto city sight seeing card (subway and bus pass), Kyoto all day bus pass

Osaka city subway deal

Compare single fare and Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass

When you think about purchasing this deal, you need to know this is paid off in your trip or not. I show you some sample.
*All rates are based on base fare and reserved seat limited express supplement in regular season.

Trip from Narita airport to Kansai airport with stopover at Tokyo, Kanazawa, Shin-Osaka

Actually if you purchase single fare ticket and limited express surcharge ticket for Narita Express (Narita airport to Tokyo), Hokuriku Shinkansen (Tokyo to Kanazawa), Limited Express Thunderbird (Kanazawa to Shin-Osaka) and Limited Express Haruka (Shin-Osaka to Kansai airport), total fare is around 23,000 yen. In this case, you have to purchase surcharge ticket for each segments. But you can use one base fare ticket and make stopovers. The ticket is valid for 6 days.

If you use the pass, you can use JR trains when you are in Tokyo and Osaka. So even though single fare and express surcharge combination is cheaper, pass will be cheaper and will be paid off. But this pass does not give you a big saving for this itinerary.

Trip between Kanazawa and Tokyo by Hokuriku Shinkansen

Total fares is 14,120 yen for one way. If you have round trip between Tokyo and Kanazawa, it is paid off.

Trip between Nagano and Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 8,200 yen for one way. You need to have some more trips if you want to use this pass.

Trip between Karuizawa and Tokyo by Shinkansen

Total fare is 5,910 yen for one way. This is not enough to use this pass by only this trip.

Trip between Kanazawa and Osaka/Shin-Osaka by Limited Express Thunderbird

Total fare is 7,650 yen for one way. If you will have round trip to Kanazawa from Osaka and do not visit Tokyo, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass is better choice.
Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal for the traveller who wants travel to Kansai, Kanazawa and Toyama.

You may think about using Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass if you intend to visit Shirakawago and Takayama too.
Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

Trip between Narita Airport and Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku or Yokohama by Narita Express

Total fares are 3,020 yen for Tokyo, and 3,190 yen for Shinagawa or Shinjuku.

Trip between Haneda Airport and Hamamatsucho by Tokyo Monorail

Single fare is 490 yen for one way.

Trip between Kyoto and Osaka/Shin-Osaka by Special Rapid, Rapid or Local

Single fare is 560 yen for one way.

Trip between Kyoto and Nara by Rapid or Local

Single fare is 710 yen for one way.

Trip between Nara and Osaka/Shin-Osaka by Rapid or Local

Single fare is 800 yen for one way.

Trip between Sannomiya (Kobe) and Osaka/Shin-Osaka by Special Rapid, Rapid or Local

Single fare is 410 yen for one way.

Trip between Kyoto and Kansai airport by Limited Express Haruka

Single fare is 2,850 yen for one way. This fare is based on non reserved seat. Because this pass covers only non reserved seat on this train.

Trip between Shin-Osaka and Kansai airport by Limited Express Haruka

Single fare is 2,330 yen for one way. This fare is based on non reserved seat. Because this pass covers only non reserved seat on this train.

Fares in downtown Osaka and Kyoto

You can take any local trains, like Osaka Kanjo line (to Tennoji, Osakajo, JR-Namba), Yumesaki line (USJ), Sagano line (to Arashiyama) by this pass. Fares to take local trains within city is very affordable, such as a few hundred yen. You do not need to think about these costs when you compare the pass and single fare.

Fares in downtown Tokyo

You can take any local trains, like Yamanote line, Chuo line by this pass. But the fares in downtown Tokyo is quite reasonable. If you take a local train from Tokyo to Shinjuku, the fare is 200 yen. When you calculate the fares and compare this pass and single fare, you can ignore the fares in downtown Tokyo. It does not help to get worth very much.

Assessment

This deal suits the following plan.

  • Narita airport (or Haneda airport) – Tokyo – Kanazawa/Toyama – Tokyo – Narita airport (or Haneda airport)
  • Round trip between Tokyo and Kanazawa
  • Narita airport (or Haneda airport) – Tokyo – Kanazawa/Toyama – Osaka/Kyoto/Nara/Kobe – Kansai airport
  • Narita airport (or Haneda airport) – Tokyo – Kanazawa/Toyama – (Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route) – Nagano – Tokyo
    *Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and bus from Shinano-Omachi to Nagano are not covered by this pass.
  • Kansai airport – Osaka/Kyoto/Nara/Kobe – Kanazawa/Toyama – Nagano – Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe/Nara – Kansai airport

Honestly I am not very impressed by this deal because this pass price is not much different from one way transfer from Narita airport to Kansai airport via Hokuriku region. JR pass 7 days is only 29,100 yen and it covers throughout Japan. This pass is 24,000 yen and covers only Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Hokuriku region. Honestly speaking, it is a bit overpriced. But this is the first pass to cover the trip to Kanazawa from Tokyo fully other than JR Pass. It is a good news for the travellers who are looking for the deal to Kanazawa from Tokyo. As you showed above, this deal can be used for visiting Kanazawa, Toyama, Alpine route and Nagano from Tokyo too.

But this pass does not cover other big names, like Fuji, Hakone, Nikko, Himeji, Takayama and Nagoya. You have to be careful when you plan your itinerary by this pass.

You might get bigger savings than that I showed above by this pass. It is cheaper than JR pass anyway. This pass may be considered for your trip.

I hope this post will help you to pick up the right deal for your trip!

227 thoughts on “Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass user guide. Clarify valid trains, coverage area and compare single fare and pass.”

  1. Dear Takeshi,
    i’ve got a plan to go to tokyo-osaka for 7 days and think that should buy Hokuriku arch pass. my plan as below :
    Day 1-2 : kaga onsen station
    Day 3 -5 : osaka station – universal
    Day 6 : Tokyo (still pending for reservation) stay for 1 night and will back in haneda airport for tomorrow.
    Pls, recommend
    Thank you

        1. Hi Pera,

          Hi Jolene,

          You may think about both Hokuriku arch pass and JR Pass 7 days.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

          Hokuriku arch pass is cheaper but it does not cover Osaka to Tokyo direct route. If you use Hokuriku arch pass, you have to take Osaka-Kanazawa-Tokyo route. You must change trains at Kanazawa and trip time is 5.5 to 6 hours. If you use JR pass, you can take Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo. It takes 3 hours and no need to change trains.

          The price difference is about 5,000 yen. You can choose whichever you like.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

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