The Kansai Area Pass is an interesting pass for exploring the Kansai region. It allows unlimited travel on JR (national rail) trains, within the free area stretching from Himeji in the west to Nara in the east. This includes the use of trains to major cities such as Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.
What does it cost?
1 day: Adults 2,200 yen (about $18), Children 1,100 yen (about $9)
2 day: Adults 4,300 yen (about $34), Children 2,150 yen (about $17)
3 day: Adults 5,300 yen (about $42), Children 2,650 yen (about $21)
4 day: Adults 6,300 yen (about $50), Children 3,150 yen (about $25)
When can I use it?
Is it worth it?
A one-way ticket from Himeji to Kyoto costs 2,270 yen, so you will need to do lots of traveling to save money. If you were to travel to a new city or area each day savings could be made, but just going on slow trains does take up much time. For those that want to travel even further and faster in Kansai, check out the Kansai WIDE Area Pass. This also allows the use of the Shinkansen and limited express trains.
What are the rules?
- For use only in Kansai.
- For those on a tourist visa only.
- You cannot use on non-JR (national rail) trains,
- Can be used on the Haruka express train from Kansai airport.
- Valid on rapid and local trains, but not Shinkansen and other limited express trains.
Where can I buy it?
It’s a little cheaper to buy before you come. You can buy the passes at travel agents (Japan related ones such as JTB or HIS are the best). You can also purchase online.
Activating a JR Pass differs according to who you buy it from, so check with the company you purchased from. You are usually given a slip which you then take to a major JR train station, then exchange for a pass (you will need to show your passport). You can exchange at major stations such as Osaka or Kyoto stations, as well as major airports.
How do I use it?
This pass is used for non-reserved seats, so just show it to the station staff at the ticket gates and they will let you in. They will sometimes stamp the pass.