How to use the Kansai Thru Pass: prices, itineraries and validity
The company JR West currently offers the Kansai Thru Pass, which gives unlimited access to JR trains in the Kansai region for 1, 2, 3, 4 consecutive days. With it, you will be able to get in Japan iconic cities such as Kyoto, the ancient capital, Kobe, the port city, Osaka, Nara and Himeji.
The pass also gives you access to the Kansai International Airport. The Pass is free for children under 6 years and half price for children 6 to 11 years.
Travel according to your wishes and model your route by choosing from the multitude of cultural heritage Kansai: visit temples, Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki restaurants, walk through the streets of Kyoto or Osaka to go shopping, all in rhythm Kansai dialect, the dialect of the region. Kansai is also known for the warmth of its people and its theme park: Universal Studios Japan.
Who is eligible to get the Kansai Thru Pass?
Japanese residents are not allowed to use the Kansai Thru Pass, as it was launched as a special ticket available only for tourists visiting Japan for the purpose of sightseeing. To purchase a ticket, you will need to meet one of the following requirements:
- A foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad on a short stay entry status.
- A Japanese national living abroad.
- A guide person accompanying those who meet the requirements 1 and 2
2 day Pass: Adults 4,000yen, Children 2,000yen
3 day Pass: Adults 5,200yen, Children 2,600yen
Note: Children under 6 years old travel free.
Is it worth it?
We recommend getting the Kansai Thru Pass to explore Kansai. You can get the pass at the Kyoto Station Bus Information Center, which is located next to the bus stands outside of the Kyoto station building, (North of Kyoto station).
For example, if you purchase the 3-day pass (which can be used on non-consecutive days), you can use it to get to Himeji castle from Kyoto and back, then to Osaka then to Koyasan, Hieizan or Nara and back to Kyoto.
You can use the train or bus without having to check complicated rate tables before buying the tickets, and you will not need any other ticket to make connections.
And finally, you can benefit from complimentary discounts and promotions at more than 300 tourist facilities along the railway lines.
Kansai Thru Pass VS Japan Rail Pass
Recent travellers to Japan assure that if you use Kansai Thru Pass to visit Kyoto, Himeji and Mount Koya, you must get more value than price. On the other hand, it is a little complicated to calculate to the value for trip to Nara and Kobe.
You may be better off purchasing a 7 days Japan Rail Pass, so you’ll be also hable to visit other locations outside of Kansai, such as Hiroshima/Miyajima, Okayama, Takayama, Kanazawa, or Nikko and Kamakura which are closer to Tokyo.
Map of Kansai Area
The pass covers most of Kansai area, including Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Wakayama, Kansai airport, Osaka airport, Kobe airport, Himeji, Mount. Koya and Otsu (beside Biwako lake).
Please refer to the full rail lines map at: http://www.surutto.com/images/ticket/kansai_thru_pass/english/en_map.pdf
You can also use Hyperdia, widely regarded as the best Japan route finder website and app available both for travelers and nationals. With Hyperdia, you can get a guide for the optimal routes and fares from your trips, from starting point to end.