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

Rail pass for visitors
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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 pass covers Narita airport, Tokyo, Nagano, Toyama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Kansai airport. It suits the one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka via Hokuriku area, such as Kanazawa. This pass does not cover Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto direct route by the Shinkansen. It is valid for 7 consecutive days. The valid period is same as JR Pass 7-day. The price is cheaper than JR Pass 7 days but coverage area is much smaller.

In this post, I would like to share the information of Hokuriku Arch Pass with you. And I show you some sample rate and compare the pass value and single fares. I also compare Hokuriku Arch Pass and JR Pass. You may find this suits your plan or not.

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Prices and valid period

Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass 7-day

 Purchase outside Japan or onlinePurchase inside Japan
Adult24,400 yen25,460 yen
Child
(6-11 years old)
12,200 yen12,730 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 is valid for 7 days only. There is no Green pass choices.

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)

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 surrounding Tokyo, Osaka and Kanazawa 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 following JR trains are covered by this pass.

  • Narita Express between Narita airport and Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro
    You cannot get Yokohama because it is outside coverage area.
  • The Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa
  • The limited express Thunderbird between Wakura Onsen, Kanazawa and Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Osaka
  • The 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, and between Tokyo and Narita airport
  • Local, Rapid and Special Rapid train in Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara)
  • Etsumi-Hoku 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
  • Rapid Airport Narita between Narita airport and Kinshicho, Tokyo, Shinagawa
  • The limited express Shirasagi between Kanazawa and Maibara
  • The limited express Wide View Hida between Toyama and Inotani, and between Osaka and Maibara
  • The limited express Noto-Kagaribi between Kanazawa and Wakura-Onsen
  • The limited express Hanayome-Noren between Kanazawa and Wakura-Onsen
  • The limited express Dinastar between Kanazawa and Fukui

There are some more limited express trains running in the coverage area. As long as you travel in the coverage area, you can ride these trains as well. But even though the limited express Shirasagi and the 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 Hokuriku Arch Pass covers some “NON JR” railway trains. The following railways are NON JR companies but those are covered by this 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 JR East Travel Service Center which is the exchange place of this pass does not open in early morning and late night. Please check the operation hours before you travel.

JR East Travel Service Center Haneda

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.

In Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, subway and non JR railways are not covered by this pass. You have to add an extra fare or other city deal. Please find some more information in the following posts:

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), the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Tokyo to Kanazawa), the limited express Thunderbird (Kanazawa to Shin-Osaka) and the 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, you may expect to get the worth of this pass by this trip plan. But this pass does not give you a big saving for this itinerary.

Trip between Kanazawa and Tokyo by Hokuriku Shinkansen

Total fares is around 14,000 yen for one way. If you have a round trip between Tokyo and Kanazawa, you can get the worth.

Trip between Nagano and Tokyo by the Shinkansen

Total fare is around 8,500 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 6,000 yen for one way. This is not enough to use this pass by only this trip.

Trip between Kanazawa and Osaka/Shin-Osaka by the limited express Thunderbird

Total fare is around 8,000 yen for one way. If you have a round trip to Kanazawa from Osaka and do not visit Tokyo, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass is better choice.

You may think about using Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass if you intend to visit Shirakawago and Takayama too.

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

The fare is around 3,000 to 3,500 yen.

Trip between Haneda Airport and Hamamatsucho by Tokyo Monorail

Single fare is around 500 yen for one way.

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

Single fare is around 600 yen for one way.

Trip between Kyoto and Nara by Rapid or Local

Single fare is around 700 yen for one way.

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

Single fare is around 800 yen for one way.

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

Single fare is around 500 yen for one way.

Trip between Kyoto and Kansai airport by the limited express Haruka

Single fare is around 3,000 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 the limited express Haruka

Single fare is around 2,500 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. The fare is varied by the distance. The fare range is 200 to 300 yen. The train ride in Osaka and Kyoto does help you to get the worth of the pass much.

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 around 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.

Compare Hokuriku Arch Pass and JR Pass ordinary 7-day

If you have a round trip between Osaka and Tokyo, you may think to use Hokuriku Arch Pass. Because this pass covers both and the price is cheaper than JR Pass 7-day.

Hokuriku Arch PassJR Pass ordinary 7-day
Price24,400 yen (online)29,650 yen

Hokuriku Arch Pass is about 5,000 yen cheaper. This seems to be very attractive. But on the other hand, the trip time between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka is so different too.

Hokuriku Arch PassJR Pass ordinary 7-day
Travel time5.5 to 6 hours3 hours
TrainThe limited express Thunderbird
The Hokuriku Shinkansen (Kagayaki)
The Tokaido Shinkansen (Hikari)
TransferOnce at KanazawaDirect

If you drop by Kanazawa, Hokuriku Arch Pass is a good choice. But if you are looking for the deal of Tokyo – Osaka round trip, JR pass is better in my opinion. But the choice is yours. You can use either one.

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. You have to add Tateyama Kurobe option ticket.
  • Kansai airport – Osaka/Kyoto/Nara/Kobe – Kanazawa/Toyama – Nagano – Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe/Nara – Kansai airport

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

Comments

  1. Mani Q says:

    Dear Takeshi,

    Thank you for all the helpful posts. I’ve read everything and I’m still struggling to figure out if the Hokuriku Arch Pass would make sense for me. Would greatly appreciate your guidance. During my trip I mostly will travel on my own, but there are two days that I travel with a friend who will not buy any pass.

    This is my itinerary in February:
    Day 1: Narita airport to Shibuya
    Day 2: Shibuya to Teamlab Borderless and Tokyo exploration
    Day 3: Tokyo exploration
    Day 4: Shibuya to Fujikawaguchiko and back to Shibuya with friend who will not buy any pass
    Day 5 (a Japan holiday): Shibuya to Nagano to Yamanouchi with friend who will not buy any pass
    Day 6 (a Japan holiday): Yamanouchi to Nagano to Kanazawa
    Day 7: Kanazawa to Kyoto
    Day 8: Kyoto exploration
    Day 9: Kyoto exploration
    Day 10: Kyoto to Mt Kurama to Kyoto
    Day 11: Kyoto to Nara to Kyoto
    Day 12: BUS from Kyoto to KIX airport

    On the the two days that I travel with a friend on long train rides, will it be difficult to make reservations to sit together if only I have the Arch pass?

    Does it make sense to get the pass for any 7 continuous days in the above itinerary?
    If so, would it make sense to start the pass on arrival from Narita or on a different day?

    Also, what is the most reliable website to buy the online arch pass?

    Any other local Tokyo or Kyoto passes you recommend I purchase? Or just do it on the go? I’m not quite clear yet of what I will visit in Tokyo itself.

    Thanks much,
    Mani Q

  2. cosmicctrauma – bowling bowling bowling parking parking
    Dela says:

    Hello Takeshi – San,

    I will be visiting Japan by the next 2 month. Below is my itinerary,

    Date 9 : Narita – Tokyo – Osaka (Nishiyodogawa-ku)
    Date 10: Osaka (Universal Studio Japan)
    Date 11: Osaka (Dotonbori)
    Date 12: Osaka – Kyoto (Arashiyama Bamboo Forest) – Osaka
    Date 13: Osaka – Kyoto (Fushimi Inari, Yanaka Jinja Shrine) – Osaka
    Date 14: Osaka – Tokyo (Ueno)
    Date 15: Tokyo (Ginza, Nakamise Stree)
    Date 16: Tokyo (Shibuya, Sensoji Temple)
    Date 17: Tokyo – Narita

    I would like to seek for your kind advice whether it is okay if I buy Hokuriku Arch Pass instead of JR Pass Nationwide? Thanks in advance

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Thank you for your helpful tips and information!

    I am planning to travel to Japan on January 2020. Below is my tentative itinerary:
    Day 1: Haneda –> Tokyo
    Day 2: Tokyo
    Day 3: Asakusa
    Day 4: Tokyo –> Kyoto
    Day 5: Kyoto
    Day 6: Gion
    Day 7: Kyoto –> Osaka
    Day 8: Osaka
    Day 9: Osaka –> Tokyo
    Day 10: Tokyo
    Day 11: Tokyo –> Haneda

    Would you recommend the Hokuriku Arch Pass or JR pass? If I get the pass, I would activate it from Day 4.

    Thank you,
    Ellie

  4. Meg says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    Thank you for your helpful tips and information!

    I am planning to travel to Japan at the end of the year:
    Dec 28th – Narita Airport to Tokyo
    Dec 30th – Tokyo to Chiba
    Jan 2nd – Tokyo to Toyama
    Jan 3rd – Toyama to Osaka
    Jan 4 – Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka
    Jan 5 – Osaka to Kansai Airport

    Would you recommend the Hokuriku Arch Pass? If I get the pass, I would activate it from 30th December.

    Thank you,
    Meg

  5. Susan says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    If my trip is only Haneda – Tokyo – Kanazawa & Shirakagawo – Tokyo – Haneda, should i just buy hokuriku arch pass instead of JR Pass ?
    Most of my time will be spent inside Tokyo and Disney Land.

    Your advice is really appreciated.
    Thank You.

  6. Amul says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    I have Hokuriku Arch Pass on my trip to Japan. Is this pass covered my trip if I would like to go to Fujikyu Highland? And if there is many recommended way to get there, please let me know the best way to reach there.

    Best regards,

  7. Hi Takeshi san,
    I will be visiting Takayama from kanazawa station this coming Dec. I will be buying the 7 days Hokuriku Arch Pass travelling from Tokyo to Kanazawa.

    I understand that Hokuriku Arch Pass is only valid for travel till Inotani station. I intend to take a shinkansen train to toyama and change to Wide View Hida at toyama to reach takayama via Inotani. How do I pay for my fare for my distance between Inotani to takayama (990 yen) if I sit through the journey without stopping at Inotani.

    I will be taking an express bus back from Shirakawago to Kanazawa in the evening.

    Your advice and suggestion is appreciated.

    Best rgds,
    Mike

  8. Mina DC says:

    Hi, I would like to ask if my purchase will be worth the trip.
    I will be visiting Japan alone from 8-14 December. From Tokyo to Osaka.

    Day 1: Tokyo – Odaiba and Asakusa
    Day 2-4: Tour around Kanazawa including Shirakawa-go
    Day 4: Tour around Kyoto
    Day 5-7: Tour around Osaka

    Thank you so much if you would suggest.

    Regards,
    Mina C.

  9. Wendy Lim says:

    Hi,

    I would like to enquire regards my itinerary suitable for this Hokuriku Arch Pass.

    Day 1 – Narita Airport to Mount Fuji
    Day 2 – Mount Fuji – Tokyo
    Day 3 – Disney Sea
    Day 4 – Tokyo City
    Day 5 – From Ueno to Kanazawa
    Day 6 – Takayama to Shirakawago
    Day 7 – Kanazawa to Osaka
    Day 8 – Osaka to Kyoto one day trip at Arashiyama
    Day 9 – Osaka City
    Day 10 – Osaka to Kansai Airport

    Is it suitable to purchase this Hokuriku Arch Pass? This pass cover JR Local Line (which is osaka and kyoto and Tokyo Area), which is the best way and price for my itinerary?

    Thank You.

    Regards,
    W.L

  10. norhanis86
    Nor says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    I hope you can assist me in choosing the right pass for my itinerary in Japan.

    Day 1: Kansai Airport – Kyoto
    Day 2-4: Tour around Kyoto
    Day 5: Kyoto – Kanazawa
    Day 6-7: Tour around Kanazawa and Shirakawago
    Day 8: Kanazawa – Tokyo (Nippori Station)
    Day 9: Tour around Tokyo city
    Day 10: Nippori St. – Narita Airport

    Is it alright if I purchase Hokuriku Arch Pass with this plan?
    Thanking you in advance for your consideration and time.

    Best regards,
    Nor

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