GUIDE Kansai Discount Train Passes by JNTO Travel on 27 August 2018

Major cities in Kansai – like Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara – are close to each other, making it easy to get around sightseeing spots. However, there are about half a dozen of private railway companies that operate throughout the region, each extensively serving areas within the cities. Also, there are special passes available only to non-Japanese passport holders, which not only make it convenient to travel around but also give you savings on fares and entry fees to attractions.

 

Each pass is specific by its range of use and coverage, so the type of passes to get depends on the cities and sightseeing spots you plan on visiting. Most of these passes can be reserved in Singapore in advance from various travel agencies and collected upon arrival in Japan.

 

Here is a basic rundown of private railway companies serving Kansai:

Railway: Kintetsu Nankai Hankyu Keihan Hanshin
Osaka
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Kintetsu Rail Pass, Hankyu Tourist Pass, Kyoto and Osaka Sightseeing Pass, Hanshin Tourist Pass, Yokoso! Osaka Ticket, Osaka Amazing Pass
Y Y Y Y Y
Kyoto
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Kintetsu Rail Pass, Hankyu Tourist Pass, Kyoto and Osaka Sightseeing Pass
Y   Y Y  
Nara
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Kintetsu Tourist Pass, Hanshin Tourist Pass
Y        
Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture)
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Hankyu Tourist Pass, Hanshin Tourist Pass
    Y   Y
Wakayama
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass
  Y      
Ise (Mie Prefecture)
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Kintetsu Rail Pass
Y        
Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture)
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Kintetsu Rail Pass
Y        
Kansai International Airport (KIX)
Valid passes: Kansai One Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Yokoso! Osaka Ticket
  Y      

Please check the map for railway lines that are accessible with the Kansai Thru Pass

 

For use across Kansai region

 

The Kansai One Pass (3,000 yen including 500 yen deposit) is a prepaid card much like our EZ Link Card – simply tap in and out of stations, and top up when it’s low on value. It can be used on virtually all trains, subways, and buses in the Kansai region (as well as in other cities throughout Japan). Plus it gives users discounts at various attractions. Although the fares are not discounted, the pass is convenient to use since it’s valid on all railway companies, and ideal for travel within cities where fares are cheap. In addition, it can also be used for shopping (vending machines, convenience stores, etc) and it has no expiry date.

 

The Kansai One Pass  gives you unlimited travel on non-JR trains, buses, and subways in the Kansai area, plus discounts at hundreds of attractions. It’s great value for those visiting Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto and onwards to Nara, Wakayama, Himeji, (Hyogo Prefecture), and Koyasan, (Wakayama Prefecture) especially since it can be used on non-consecutive days. The passes are based on calendar days, not 24 hour periods.
2 day: 4,000 yen/adult; 2,000 yen/child
3 days: 5,200 yen/adult; 2,600 yen/child

 

The Kintetsu Rail Pass offers unlimited rides on all lines and buses of Kintetsu Railways, Japan's largest non-JR railway network, as a one-, two- or five-day pass. The shorter passes are good value for day-trips to Kyoto or Nara from Osaka, while the 5-day pass pays off for long-distance travel between Osaka or Kyoto and the Shima Peninsula (Mie Prefecture) or Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture).
The passes are based on calendar days, not 24-hour periods.
1 day: 1,500 yen; 2 days: 2,500 yen (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara)
5 days: 3,600 yen (Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Iseshima, Mie Prefecture, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture)

 


There are numerous passes valid for cities within Kansai, including the Hankyu Tourist Pass (Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto) which is valid along all Hankyu lines at 800 yen (1-day) and 1,400 yen (2 non-consecutive days) and the Keihan Railway Kyoto and Osaka Sightseeing Pass which is available as one day (800 yen/adult; 400 yen/child) or two non-consecutive days (1,200 yen/adult, 600 yen/child). Meanwhile, the 1-day Hanshin Tourist Pass (700 yen) is valid for unlimited travel between Osaka and Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture).

 

For use within cities

If you’re only traveling within Osaka, consider either options.

 

The Yokoso! Osaka Ticket (1,500 yen) includes a 1-way rapid express train ticket from Kansai International Airport (KIX) to Namba Station, and a one-day pass for use on all Osaka subways, trams, and city buses. It also gets you discounts at various attractions.

 

The Osaka Amazing Pass provides unlimited use of subways and city buses within Osaka City plus free admission to many of Osaka's popular tourist attractions, such as Osaka Castle, several museums, and river cruises. It comes in one (2,500 yen) or two (3,300 yen) consecutive day passes.

 


Sample itinerary 1 day Course

Course 1.

 

Osaka Castle(Kyobashi)

Renowned for its rich history of 450 years, Osaka Castle was built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi – Japan’s second “great unifier.” The best time to visit is in spring as it is Osaka’s most famous hanami (flower viewing)spot.

400 yen

 

Gion-Shijo, Kyoto

Pontocho, Kyoto – A famous narrow alley in Kyoto that features a wide range of dining options overlooking the Kamogawa river. It has a vintage atmosphere and a perfect place to enjoy Kyoto’s cuisine.

Otokoyama, Kyoto is a mountain famous for Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, one of the four shrines one of Japan’s three great Hachiman shrine, built in the Hachiman-zukuri architecture which features twin gabled roofs. Visitors can also ride a cable car that overlooks a picturesque mountain landscape.

310 yen

 

Uji, Kyoto

Uji, Kyoto is a city renowned for its green tea which you can try at Taiho-an Teahouse Uji is also Byodoin Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage and Japan’s oldest shrine – Ujigami Shrine. The best time to visit for an ideal weather is from April 16th to June 17th.

310 yen

 

Yawatashi, Kyoto

200 yen cable car

 

Otokoyama, Kyoto

200 yen cable car

 

Yawatashi, Kyoto

370 yen

 

Yodobashi station, Osaka

= 1,790 yen
(regular fare)

 

Keihan Railway Kyoto and Osaka Sightseeing Pass:
1 day = 800 yen

save: 990 yen

 

Course 2.

Namba, Osaka

330 yen

 

Amagasaki (Teramachi), Hyogo

When Amagasaki Castle was constructed in the Edo Period, temples throughout Teramachi city were gathered in this district. Currently the district has 11 temples, leaving the vestiges of the former castle town.

270 yen

 

Ishiyagawa (Nadagogo), Hyogo

Nadagogo, one of Japan’s best brewery areas, is located along the coastline, dotted with historical sake warehouses and breweries. Kobe Shushinkan has breweries and a Japanese-style restaurant that serves sake and seasonal food, and offers sake brewing tours in winter.

 

Kobe Sannomiya, Hyogo

Kobe-Sannomiya –is a major shopping venue in the centre of Kobe and a great place to try the local specialty, bokkake yakisoba; prepared in front of you, it combines yakisoba (the popular stir-fried noodle dish) with bokkake (oxtail and konnyaku jelly stew).

410 yen

 

Namba, Osaka

= 1,010 yen
(regular fare)

 

Hanshin Tourist Pass:
1 day = 700 yen

save: 310 yen

 


Sample itinerary 3 days course

Course 1.

Kansai Internationa Airport(KIX)

1,430 yen

 

Namba, Osaka

Namba, Osaka (Hozenji Yokocho) – A perfect place to experience Osaka during the olden days. A street next to Dotonbori filled with restaurants and cafes. Its stone-paved pathway complements the cozy and vintage ambiance.

1,650 yen + 390 yen(cable car)

290 yen(bus)

 

Koyasan, Wakayama

Koyasan (Wakayama Prefecture) is a mountain home to Shingon Buddhism. It has a temple town where you can sample a monk’s lifestyle by staying at a shukubo (temple lodging), where you can savour shojin ryori (monk’s cuisine).

6,560 yen

 

Himeji Castle, Hyogo

Himeji Castle, a World Heritage site and National Treasure, is known for its elegant, ivory coating that makes it stand out. The best time to visit is in spring when cherry blossoms make it a more spectacular landscape.

= 10,320 yen
(regular fare)

 

Kansai Thru Pass:
3 days = 5,200 yen

save: 5,120 yen

 

Course 2.

Osaka (Yodoyabashi)

470 yen

 

Demachi-Yanagi, Kyoto

From this station you can easily access the two UNESCO sites of Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, the oldest and important in Kyoto. The two hold one of Kyoto’s most important festivals – Aoi Matsuri – involving a large procession dressed in the style of the Heian court.

buses to shrines: 690 yen

460 yen

 

Shugakuin (Imperial Villa), Kyoto

The 17th century Shugakuin Imperial Villa belongs to the royal family, consisting of the Upper, Middle and Lower Villa areas, each featuring gardens and buildings of the traditional imperial style. Entry and guided tour are free, but bookings have to be made in advance.

830 yen

 

Biwako Hama-Otsu, Shiga

240 yen

 

Sakamoto-Hieizanguchi, Shiga

Sakamoto is a residential area for monks from approximately 50 different temples, and the townscape retains the elegance of that history even today. These residences have incredible gardens incorporating seasonal foliage and mosses.

860 yen

 

Enryakuji Station (Hieizan Sakamoto), Shiga

Hieizan Sakamoto Cable – The longest tram route in Japan (2km), opened in 1927, connects the bottom of the mountain with Enryakuji Station in 11 minutes. The retro Western-style stations and carriages take you back in time; spectacular views aside, the mountain is home to the legendary ‘marathon monks’ and many important temples, including the UNESCO-listed Enryakuji Shrine.

1,310 yen

 

Miidera, Shiga

Miidera Temple - Known for its beautiful timbre, the evening bell at Mii-dera Temple is considered one of the three great temple bells of Japan. One of Japan’s four largest temples, its elevation provides an excellent view of the Otsu cityscape and Lake Biwa.

430 yen

 

Sanjo, Shiga

1,690 yen

 

Ikomasanjo Station (cablecar), Nara

This mountainous area has plenty for families: from Ikoma Sanjo Amusement Park to mountaintop temple Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji, fruit picking and amazing views. The area is the centre of tea whisk making, and you can explore the bamboo forests dotted with tea gardens and craft workshops.

690 yen

 

Namba, Osaka

= 10,320 yen
(regular fare)

 

Kansai Thru Pass:
3 days = 5,200 yen

save: 5,120 yen