ICOCA, JR WEST PASS, OSAKA AMAZING PASS, and KANSAI THRU PASS? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Which is the best for you? In this post, we break down all these options to help you figure out which is the one that you need for your travel!

If I tally all the inquiries we get about traveling around Japan’s Kansai Region, I’m positive that one question will be getting the highest score: What should I get: Kansai Thru Pass, JR Pass, Osaka Amazing Pass, or ICOCA card?

I hate answering questions with “It depends,” but in this case, the answer really is, well, it depends. Seriously, it depends on your itinerary.

The great thing about taking the public transportation in Japan is that you have A LOT of options to make your journey comfortable. The bad thing about it: there are A LOT of options that it’s easy to get lost and confused. Ever heard of choice overload? Well, let us break it down for you so you’ll be confused no more.

Again, it depends on your itinerary. The key is to understand where you can use these options, and what each can do and cannot do for you. But before that, let’s define some terms so we know we’re on the same page.

  • Osaka. This may refer to Osaka City or Osaka Prefecture. A prefecture is an administrative division. Think of it as a “province.”
  • Kansai. The name of the region. A region is a cluster of prefectures. Kansai Region is composed of seven prefectures: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama, Mie, Shiga, and Hyogo (where Kobe is located).
  • JR West. JR stands for Japan Railways, which is composed of seven companies that operate many train systems all around Japan. One of them is JR West, which controls the JR lines in Kansai region and Chugoku region (Hiroshima and friends).
  • Non-JR Trains. Not all train lines in Kansai are operated by the JR Group. Some are operated by Hankyu Railway/Hanshin Railway, Keihan Railway, Kintetsu, and Nankai Railway.
  • Metro. Osaka’s subways are not JR-operated either. They are connected to the JR lines as part of a greater railway system, but they’re owned and managed by a separate company.
  • Pass. For the purpose of this article, let’s define “pass” as a ticket that would give you unlimited use of certain transportation lines within a specific period of time and specific area. The keyword there is UNLIMITED. Some passes can also be used to score discounts for some attractions.
  • IC Card. These are stored-value, rechargeable cards that you can use to conveniently pass through the gates. ICOCA, PASMO and SUICA are all IC cards. They’re NOT unlimited. You’re still charged every time you use it, but you just bypass falling in line or purchasing tickets each time. It’s similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus card, Singapore’s EZ Card, and to some extent Manila’s Beep card. Some IC cards are also accepted at convenience stores and designated establishments.

I’ll provide a detailed description of each option, but before that, here’s a brief summary so you easily see the difference:

You can use a combination of these cards and passes. For example, you can use Osaka Amazing Pass + JR West Kansai Rail Pass. You can also use JR West Kansai Rail Pass (for JR lines) + ICOCA (for non-JR lines).


Best for: Traveling around Osaka City

I strongly recommend this!

The ultimate all-inclusive Osaka sightseeing pass, available in 1-day and 2-day versions! The 2-day variant must be used consecutively. It gives the holder unlimited use of the subway, tramway, and bus systems in Osaka. It also gives FREE access to certain attractions including the following:

  • Osaka Castle Main Tower
  • Umeda Building’s Floating Garden Observatory
  • HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel
  • Natural Hot Spring Naniwa no Yu
  • Tombori River Cruise
  • Dotombori Tour

You can reserve one via Klook. However, know that there are two types on Klook, depending on where you wish to pick it up. Make sure you book the one that is more convenient for you.

If you want to pick up the pass at Kansai Airport, RESERVE HERE.

If you want to pick it up at Kuromon Market in Namba, RESERVE HERE.


Best for you if: You will be visiting multiple destinations in Kansai Region on consecutive days.

This pass offers unlimited rail and bus rides to and in many cities in Kansai Region including Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara. You can also use this to travel from Kansai Airport to Osaka or Kyoto and back. Available in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-day validity variants.

Note that this pass is only accepted on JR Trains. This won’t work on Nankai lines or subway lines.

Do you need this pass?

  • If you plan on staying within Osaka and not visiting other cities, this is not for you. Get the Amazing Osaka Pass instead.
  • If you plan to visit Kyoto, Nara, Kobe or other cities in Kansai, this could be great for you.

The JR West Kansai Rail Pass can be used for the following:

  • Non-reserved seats on Kansai Airport Express HARUKA
  • Local trains, rapid service trains, and special rapid service trains on JR-WEST regular lines

This CANNOT be used for the following:

  • Reserved seats on Kansai Airport Express HARUKA
  • Reserved and Non-reserved seats on EXPRESS Trains excluding Kansai-airport Express HARUKA
  • Shinkansen (Bullet Trains)

IMPORTANT! Best to purchase this pass ONLINE. This pass is meant for foreign nationals traveling as a temporary visitor (tourist) in Japan. Thankfully, there’s Klook. You can book below:





How does it work? How do you use it? Oh, easy, easy.

  1. Book a ticket with Klook.
  2. When the transaction is complete, you will be emailed a mobile voucher. You can print it out or save it on your phone.
  3. On the day of your trip, upon arrival at Kansai Airport, find the HIS Counter at the Arrival Hall. There is usually a small KLOOK logo displayed in front of the counter. Show your mobile voucher to the staff. You will be given a physical voucher.
  4. You don’t have to use it immediately. The count will begin on the day you first use it. For example, if you purchase a 2-day pass and you claim it on Monday, it doesn’t mean that you have to use it on Monday and Tuesday. You may choose to use it any day before expiration. If you use it for the first time on Thursday, you can use it on that day and Friday.
  5. When you use it for the first time, approach the staff at the counter at any of the station and he will stamp the final date you may use the pass.
  6. For succeeding uses, simply show the stamp on the pass at the staff at every JR station.

You can use it together with Osaka Amazing Pass too! On my last trip, I used an Osaka Amazing Pass when roaming within the city and then used my JR Kansai Pass on days when I traveled to Kyoto and Kobe.


Best for you if: You will be exploring multiple destinations in Kansai Region but your inter-city travels are scheduled on non-consecutive days.

Offers unlimited rail and bus rides in many cities in Kansai Region including Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara. You can also use this to travel from Kansai Airport to Osaka or Kyoto. JR Lines are not covered, though.

Available in 2- and 3-day validity variants. Unlike the JR West Kansai Pass, the Kansai Thru Pass doesn’t require consecutive days, making it much more flexible.

So which is better: Kansai Thru Pass or JR West Kansai Pass? Only you can answer that because it depends on your itinerary. If most of your stops are along JR lines, then the latter makes more sense. But if your destinations are far apart and closer to non-JR lines, then get the Kansai Thru Pass. Also consider your schedule. Kansai Thru Pass’s “non-consecutive” feature will allow you to maximize it better.



Best for you if: You’re exploring Kobe.

The Hanshin Tourist Pass will give you unlimited access to the Hanshin Main Line, which connects Osaka and Kobe, and all other Hanshin and Kobe Kosoku lines. The card is valid for one day. It is operated by Hanshin Electric Railway Co., Ltd., commonly referred to as simply Hanshin.

The pass normally costs ¥700. But is an ongoing promo and you can avail of it for only ¥500. Imagine: unlimited access for only ¥500!

You can also book in advance online via Klook!



Best for you if: Your hotel is in Osaka and you want to explore Kyoto (including Arashiyama) and Kobe.

This pass will allow you to freely board trains on any Hankyu Railway line, which connects Osaka to Kyoto and Kobe among others. This does not apply to Kobe Kosoku Line.

Part of the Hankyu network is Kyoto, which means you can easily travel to and around Kyoto using this pass. What sets this apart from other private railway passes is that it can take you to Arashiyama because Hankyu has a station there. It can also take you to Gion District and, if you don’t mind walking, Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

If you’re planning on doing a day tour of Kyoto from Osaka and Arashiyama is part of your itinerary, we recommend this pass.

The pass comes in two variants: 1-Day, which normally costs ¥800, and 2-Day, which costs ¥1400. But currently, there is a promo that cuts the price of the 1-Day or 2-Day Pass for only ¥700 and ¥1200 respectively.

That’s a big deal! Typically, a roundtrip ticket to Kyoto alone costs ¥800. The Hankyu Tourist Pass covers that already, which means the cost of all the other rides you make become part of your savings!

But you can also purchase online via Klook!



Best for you if: Your hotel is in Osaka and you want to explore Kyoto including Fushimi Inari Shrine but not Arashiyama.

This pass is offered by Keihan Railways, which links Osaka to Kyoto. This will enable you unlimited use of the Keihan Line (which also connects Osaka and Kyoto and other tourist sites within the city) and Otokyoyama Cable Line.

Like the Hankyu Line, it can also take you to Gion District and Kiyomizu-dera. But what makes it different from Hankyu Tourist Pass? Well, it can’t take you to Arashiyama because Keihan doesn’t have presence there. But it can take you to Fushimi-Inari Shrine and other Kyoto attractions.

There are also special discounts at some attractions.

Here are the costs: 1-day, ¥800; 2-day, ¥1200.



Best for you if: You want to visit Osaka, Kyoto and Nara (1-Day/2-Day Pass) or you want to also visit Mie Prefecture or Nagoya (5-Day Pass).

The Kintetsu Rail Pass is a ticket that will give you unlimited access to the Kintetsu railway network, which spans much of the Kansai Region and reaches even as far as Nagoya. There are four types:

  • KINTETSU RAIL PASS (regular), which is valid for 5 days for Kintetsu train lines. Cost: ¥3600.
  • KINTETSU RAIL PASS plus (emphasis on the plus), which is valid for 5 days for Kintetsu trains as well as buses in Nara and Mie areas. Cost: ¥4800.
  • KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1-Day, valid for Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto only. Cost: ¥1500.
  • KINTETSU RAIL PASS 2-Day, valid for Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto only. Cost: ¥2500.

The KINTETSU RAIL PASS also gives you special deals and discounts at various attractions and stores in Kansai and Nagoya including BIC Camera stores and Nabana no Sato. For the complete list of participating establishments, visit this page.

As you might have noticed, you can only use the 1-Day and 2-Day passes when traveling in Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. Hence, since we’re going to Mie, we’re using the KINTETSU RAIL PASS plus so Kintetsu train lines and some bus routes are covered.

Because the KINTETSU RAIL PASS is valid for five days, the itinerary below is best added to your Nagoya or Nara itinerary. This way, you can really maximize the pass.

Note that while the Kintetsu Rail Pass is accepted at Limited Express trains, it only covers the basic fare. An additional fee for the Limited Express ticket (which guarantees a reserved seat) is required.



The ICOCA Card isn’t a pass. It’s a prepaid IC card. It’s sort of Kansai’s version of Tokyo’s SUICA or PASMO Card.

When you use an ICOCA card, you still pay for every trip. (Again, it’s NOT a pass.) You can also use it to snag some discounts, but the real convenience is that you don’t need to get a ticket each time you’re using the train. You just need to quickly hover the card over the reader and you’re through. It functions like an MRT stored-value ticket (because that’s exactly what it is, a stored-value ticket).

You can also use it not just on trains but also on buses, lockers, vending machines, and even convenience stores. Yep, lockers. The ICOCA card works on lockers at train stations!

Although ICOCA is a product of JR West and is the primary IC card for Kansai and Chugoku region, you can use it in other places in Japan that has an IC card reader: in Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, or even as far as Sapporo. However, you can’t use it to travel between regions. The entry station and exit station both have to be within the same region. Yes, you can use it WITHIN Osaka. Yes, you can use it to travel from Osaka to Kyoto or Nara. BUT you CAN’T use it to travel from Osaka to Tokyo or Osaka to Nagoya, because Osaka, Tokyo, and Nagoya are not in the same region.

To get one, you just need to approach one of the ICOCA machines at the station. There’s no use for me to enumerate the steps here because it’s so easy. Just choose ENGLISH on the welcome screen and follow the instructions.

But if you want a discount, you can get an ICOCA card from Klook, which is already preloaded with ¥1500 + the deposit of ¥500. You can get the deposit when you return the card.



Best for you if: You will be visiting multiple destinations in Japan including cities outside Kansai Region (example: Fukuoka > Osaka > Tokyo).

If you’re visiting Osaka, Nara and Kyoto ONLY, you don’t need a JR Pass. It’s only for those who will make multiple long-distance journeys. If you’re staying within the Kansai Region, get a JR KANSAI RAIL PASS INSTEAD.

When is it wise to purchase a JR Pass? If you’re visiting multiple cities in Japan and you’re staying for at least 7 days. If your itinerary is more like that, purchase a pass before your trip. Klook offers the cheapest JR Passes available. If you live in the Philippines, the pass will be delivered to you in 7 days.



In summary, supposing you’ll be taking lots of train rides, here’s what you should consider.

  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for a day or 2, get the OSAKA AMAZING PASS.
  • If you’re staying in Osaka or Kyoto and visiting other Kansai cities over NON-CONSECUTIVE days, get a KANSAI THRU PASS.
  • If you’re staying in Osaka or Kyoto and visiting other Kansai cities over CONSECUTIVE days, get a JR WEST KANSAI RAIL PASS.
  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for 1 or 2 days and you’re also visiting Kobe, get an OSAKA AMAZING PASS + HANSHIN TOURIST PASS.
  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for 1 or 2 days and you’re also visiting Kobe and Kyoto, get an OSAKA AMAZING PASS + 2-DAY HANKYU TOURIST PASS.
  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for 1 or 2 days and you’re also visiting Kyoto attractions including Arashiyama, get an OSAKA AMAZING PASS + HANKYU TOURIST PASS.
  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for 1 or 2 days and you’re also visiting Kyoto attractions including Fushimi-inari Shrine, get an OSAKA AMAZING PASS + KYOTO-OSAKA SIGHTSEEING PASS. Another option is OSAKA AMAZING PASS + 1-DAY KINTETSU RAIL PASS.
  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for 1 or 2 days and you’re also visiting Kyoto
    and Nara
    , get an OSAKA AMAZING PASS + 2-DAY KINTETSU RAIL PASS if Fushimi Inari is part of your itinerary. If Arashiyama is non-negotiable for you, get OSAKA AMAZING PASS + 1-DAY KINTETSU RAIL PASS (Nara) + 1-DAY HANKYU TOURIST PASS (Kyoto)
  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for 1 or 2 days and you’re also visiting Kyoto, Nara, and Mie or Nagoya, get an OSAKA AMAZING PASS + 5-DAY KINTETSU RAIL PASS.
  • If you’re sightseeing in Osaka for 1 or 2 days and you’re also visiting multiple other Kansai cities on other days, get an OSAKA AMAZING PASS + either KANSAI THRU PASS or JR WEST KANSAI RAIL PASS.
  • If you’re visiting Kansai as part of a bigger Japan trip with stops outside Kansai Region, get a JR NATIONWIDE PASS.
  • If none of the above apply to you, just get an ICOCA Card or none at all.

Note that the ICOCA Card is flexible and can complement the other passes, so I always have it even if I have Osaka Amazing Pass or another pass.

If you don’t have an itinerary yet, check out our sample itineraries! We also indicate the passes that you should get per itinerary.

Sample Osaka-Kyoto Itineraries for 1-6 Days

Sample Osaka-Kyoto Itineraries with Nara or Kobe Day Tours for 4-6 Days

That’s it! Hope this helps.

Watch our Latest Video!

Important Reminders

Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
Yoshke Dimen


  1. Feyo says:

    Hi, this is really informative but I still can’t figure out which one is more budget efficient, would appreciate if you can give your opinion, I will travel to osaka-kyoto-hakodateyama ski resort in february from KIX airport for total of 6days5nights. 3days in Kyoto and 3 days in osaka+ nara. Which one benefits me well in terms of cost effective.Thanks in advance!

  2. Dianne says:

    If i get OA pass for osaka, then kansai thru for kyoto, what do pass you suggest i get for tokyo? I’m staying 11 days in japan. Osaka-kyoto-tokyo.

    Thank you

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Dianne, you don’t need Kansai Thru if it’s just Kyoto. You may consider other passes like Hankyu Rail Pass.

      For Tokyo, it depends on your itinerary. Subway Ticket or Toei Pass can do if you have lots of places to visit in a day.

      • Dianne says:

        For kyoto, we’re going to stay in gion area higashiyama district. The owner said JR pass or icoca card is not used there. My friend said we will use a lot of bus. Do u recommend getting a pass or just pay as we ride? We will also go to nara.

        For tokyo, our side trip will be mt. Fuji + shinazakura. The rest is just in tokyo.

        Thank you

  3. Aira Nafuar says:

    Hi po, if I’m visiting Kyoto-Nara-Kobe in consecutive days, okay lang ba na kumuha ako ng Kansai thru Pass instead of JR West Pass for the reason that mas prefer ko ung design ng Kansai Thru Pass? Hehehe. Thank you po.

  4. Jing says:

    Great post!! I’ve been mulling over this for days, thank goodness I found this article. Thank you for the very clear explanation!

    BTW, what do you suggest we get if we’re staying in Kobe? Planning to explore Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Himeji as well for around 8 days. Thanks in advance!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Ok. Will you touring every single day of those nine days?

      I’m not sure if this is the best way to go since I have never tried exploring Kansai from Kobe as base and I don’t know your exact itinerary, but I think you should just take it one day at a time.

      For example, when exploring Osaka from Kobe, you can use a combination of Hanshin Tourist Pass and Osaka Amazing Pass.

      For Kyoto, try Hankyu Tourist Pass.

      For Nara, combination of Hanshin Tourist Pass and Kintetsu 1 Day Pass. Or if Nara Park lang ang pupuntahan mo sa Nara, just use Hanshin Tourist Pass to get to Osaka (and back) and then regular tickets na lang.

      For Himeji, Himeji Tourist Pass.

      • Jing says:

        Thank you for your input! It’s my first time to visit Japan so I’m kinda overwhelmed with all the information , your blog is really a lot of help.

        I’ll try to finalize first our itinerary then, so I can decide which passes to purchase. Thank you again! ♥

  5. Chris says:

    Hi there! This is really helpful, the options do make it complicated though as spoiled for choices!

    We’re travelling from Tokyo to Osaka, and plan to make it as our base for 6 days. Day trips to Himeji, Nara, Koyasan and Kyoto. Which pass do you think would be better? After Kansai we’ll return to Tokyo after doing a tour around Fujisan most likely, but nowhere else.

    Thanks in advance for your comment!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      If mag-train ka sa Tokyo-Osaka-Tokyo, kuha ka na ng JR Pass na nationwide. Masusulit mo na un.

  6. Mav says:

    Hello :)

    Love the article has so much great information there.

    I am travelling for the first time to Tokyo and wanted to know what the best JR pass would be for my wife and I. We have decided to base ourselves in Kyoto for 6 nights and want to see Himeji, Kobe, Nara, Osaka, and Hiroshima on day trips.

    What JR pass would you recommend? I know the JR 7 day pass wouldn’t be helpful as it restricts some use of Shinkansen?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  7. Darlene says:

    I love the table comparison!!! So useful! I am traveling to Kyoto-Osaka for 6 days and will be staying for 2 nights at Kyoto, 3 nights at Osaka. Which pass would you prefer for us to use? Your help is very much appreciated. Thanks!

  8. Kristine says:

    Hi. I really need your advise about the train passes we should use in Kyoto. We will be staying in Kyoto for 3days and planning to go to fushimi inari, arashiyama bamboo grove, toei studio park, other tourist spots in kyoto and lastly narra deer park only. On the 3rd day, we will have a day trip to nagoya, particularly legoland and then from there we’re going to tokyo for 4 days. stay. Is it better to get the 5 days Kintetsu pass since we’re going to Nagoya and use Icoca for touring around Kyoto?

    I would highly appreciate you advise.

    Many thanks

  9. kate lim says:

    Hello Yoshke!

    You mentioned above in your posts about the UNLIMITED PASS. Then there is the OAP. Both these passes have huge price difference when booking via KLOOK, but I noticed that they are both passes within Osaka Metro. Would you know the difference between the Unlimited Pass and the OAP? Thank you so much! Appreciate your input!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Kate, are you referring to the OSAKA METRO Unlimited Pass (1-Day/2-Day)?

      If so, both can give you unlimited access to the Osaka Metro subway and bus. But the key difference is, OSAKA METRO Pass gives only small discounts on the participating attractions. The Osaka Amazing Pass offers FREE ENTRANCE to some of them. For example, at Osaka Castle Museum, the OSAKA METRO Pass gives you like 10% or 20% discount yata but with OAP, completely FREE sya. Same with Hep FIVE, Umeda Castle Observatory, etc. :)

  10. Anna says:

    Hello Yoshke!

    You mentioned that the Kansai Thru Pass is suitable for inter-city travel within the Kansai area on non consecutive days. And I also read online that Kansai Thru Pass gives unlimited travel on buses and trains within the cities — so does the days of usage of the pass only count when I do inter-city travels? Not sure if I’m clear enough, but hope you can help me with this! Appreciate your input, thank you!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Anna, if you use the Kansai Thru Pass even to travel within a single city, that will count as day of usage, so it’s better to only use it for inter-city journeys to maximize it.

  11. Shane says:

    Hello Yoshke!

    Thanks for your input it’s really helpful but I am still confuse and undecided on whether to purchase a 3 day kansai thru pass or 3 day JR west kansai rail pass. Our accomodation is near tsuruhashi station and we will be staying there for 8nights..my plan itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1 arrival at night in KIX
    Day 2 Osaka using 2 day OAP
    Day 3 Osaka using 2 day OAP
    Day 4 kyoto for arashiyama (3 day KTP or JR kansai?)
    Day 5 kyoto for fushiri inari (same as above)
    Day 6 nara park (same as above)
    Day 7 USJ
    Day 8 departure
    What’s your thought on this? Could you please enlighten or give me some advice to have a better option? Budget friendly wise and traveling with kids too. Thanks! Will really appreciate it.

      • Adam says:

        Hi there, my itinerary is almost identical to the one above, except I plan to do Kyoto-Nara-USJ on days 3-6 and spend 7-8 in osaka. How come you don’t recommend 5-day Kintetsu rail pass? Since the price works out still cheaper than the 3-day KTP? Kintetsu will also cover Osaka-Kyoto-Nara right? Thanks!

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Hi Adam, not sure what you’re looking at but we do recommend Kintetsu Rail Pass too. It has its own section above and we mentioned it in the Which is the Best section too.

          • Adam says:

            Sorry, I was referring to Shane’s itinerary above. Basically I’m just confused what is the best option if I plan to spend 2 days in Kyoto (1 for Arashiyama and 1 for Fushiri Inari) and 1 day in Nara, like Shane’s plan. Should I go for 1-DAY KINTETSU RAIL PASS (Nara) + 2-DAY HANKYU TOURIST PASS (Kyoto) instead of KTP? Does KTP stop me close to both Arashiyama and Fushiri shrine, compared to Hankyu? Thanks for your advice!

  12. Aki says:

    Hi Sir. I’m travelling to Japan and I will be staying for 8-9 days. My entry and exit points will be in Nagoya. I will stay in Osaka but my itinerary is as follows:

    Day 0 – Nagoya
    Day 1 – Osaka USJ
    Day 2 – Osaka (1-day OA Pass)
    Day 3 – Kobe
    Day 4 – Kyoto
    Day 5 – Nara
    Day 6 – Kyoto
    Day 7-9 – Nagoya.

    I am confused if I will buy a JR Kansai 4-day Pass for my Days 3-6 and then just buy tickets to and from Nagoya or buy JR 7-day Nationwide Pass.

    Your help will be greatly appreciated.


    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Aki, you can compute the total fare yourself using Hyperdia. Go to Hyperdia.com then add the fares, then compare it to the prices of the Kansai pass and JR nationwide pass.

  13. Ann says:

    Hello Yoshke!

    Thanks for the informative writeup! I am still unsure on whether to purchase kansai thru pass or JR west kansai rail pass.

    We are staying at namba station..

    my plan itinerary:

    Day 1 Osaka using 1 day OAP
    Day 2 USJ
    Day 3 kyoto (KTP or JR kansai?)
    Day 4 nara (KTP or JR kansai?)
    Day 5 kobe (KTP or JR kansai?)
    Day 6 Himeji (KTP or JR kansai?)

    What’s your thought on this? (KTP or JR kansai?)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Your arrival is on Day 1 and departure on Day 6? Or di mo pa sinama yung arrival/departure days?

      Generally, mas nagli-lean ako sa KTP because of flexibility (non-consecutive days). Pero depende pa rin kasi talaga sa specific stops mo.

  14. alicia says:

    hi may i seek your opinion.

    i’m arriving at KIX airport and going to spend 2 nights in osaka. and following 2 nights in kyoto and leave for KIX on the 5th day direct from kyoto.

    which passes do you recommend? or should i just buy single way tickets? TIA

  15. Tracy Kok says:

    Hi! Just want to inquire as well. I’m really confused what pass to get because I want my trip to be cheap but convenient and efficient since we have limited time. Help me choose which pass to get for the other cities/provinces. I’m already buying the OA Pass as per your recommendation (thank you so much).

    Here is my possible itinerary:
    Day 1 Arrival at Osaka
    Day 2 USJ
    Day 3 Nara (Todai-ji Temple, Nara Park, Yoshiki-en Garden, Kofuku-ji Temple, Nara Tourist Center) & Kobe (Kiku-Masamuna Sake Museum, Mt. Rokko Garden Terrace, Steak Land, Meriken Park/Harborland)
    Day 4 Kyoto (Fushimi-Inari, Arashiyama, Golden Temple, Gion Shirakawa, Shinkyogoku Shopping District)
    Day 5 Osaka
    Day 6 Osaka

    Thank you so much! Your blogs really help us travellers.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Use Kansai Thru Pass on Days 3, 4, and either 1 or 6.

      Use OA Pass on Day 5.

      Will you be exploring on Day 6 too? Or you’ll just go to the airport?

  16. Carol says:


    Thank you so much for the info. I am still a little confused and would like to seek clarification. My itinerary is as below. I am thinking of just getting a 1-Day Osaka Amazing Pass for Day 3 and an ICOCA card. Do I still need a Kansai Thru Pass or any other pass? Sorry, still a little blur from information overload. Many thanks!

    Day 1 Day 1 – Osaka (from Kansai Airport, Momofuku Instant Noodles, Asahi Breweries)
    Day 2 Day 2 – Osaka (Universal Studio)
    Day 3 Day 3 – Osaka (Osaka Castle, Dotombori)
    Day 4 Day 4 – Nara (Day trip from Osaka)
    Day 5 Day 5 – Kyoto (Gion, Nishiki Market)
    Day 6 Day 6 – Kyoto (Arashimaya and Fushimi Inari Taisha)
    Day 7 Day 7 – Kansai Airport

      • Carol says:

        Hi Yoshke,

        Also, on Day 7, I am travelling from Karasuma-Oike Stn to Kyoto Stn to take the Haruka Limited Express to Kansai Airport Stn. Should I get the ICOCA – HARUKA card for this?

        Many thanks.

      • Carol says:

        Hi Yoshke,

        I arrive at Osaka at 6am in the morning (Day 1) hence have the whole day ahead. On Day 7, I am relocating to a hotel at the airport in the evening. I have the whole morning and afternoon free in Kyoto.

        My flight is the following day at 10 am (Day 8).

        Many thanks!

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          If I were in your shoes, I’d get a 2-Day Kansai Thru Pass, Osaka Amazing Pass, Hankyu Pass, and the ICOCA-Haruka promo.

          Day 1 – Osaka (from Kansai Airport, Momofuku Instant Noodles, Asahi Breweries)
          Use KANSAI THRU PASS

          Day 2 – Osaka (Universal Studio)
          Use ICOCA

          Day 3 – Osaka (Osaka Castle, Dotombori)

          Day 4 – Nara (Day trip from Osaka)}
          Use KANSAI THRU PASS

          Day 5 – Kyoto (Gion, Nishiki Market)
          Use HANKYU PASS

          Day 6 – Kyoto (Arashimaya and Fushimi Inari Taisha)
          – I don’t know where you are staying in Kyoto. If near a Hankyu Station, HANKYU PASS may be useful. If not, just use ICOCA.

          Day 7 – Kansai Airport
          – Use ICOCA-HARUKA

  17. Carol says:

    Hi Yoshke,

    I arrive at Osaka at 6am in the morning (Day 1) hence have the whole day ahead. On Day 7, I am relocating to a hotel at the airport in the evening. My flight is the following day at 10 am (Day 8).


  18. Sc says:

    Hi Yoshke,
    Thank you for your very informative website.

    My family and I will arriving in Nagoya on the 24th of Dec.
    The following is our itinerary:

    Day 1 Dec 24 Nagoya
    Day 2 Dec 25 Takayama, staying a night at Okuhida onsen
    Day 3 Dec 26 Shrikawago, Kanazawa
    Day 4 Dec 27 Kanazawa, Toyama back to Kanazawa
    Day 5 Dec 28 Kyoto (hopefully stay near Kyoto station)
    Day 6 Dec 29 Kyoto
    Day 7 Dec 30 Nara, Osaka
    Day 8 Dec 31 Osaka
    Day 9 Jan 01 Nagoya
    Day 10 Jan 02 Megome
    Day 11 Jan 03 Depart

    1. What passes do you recommend for all our travels?
    2. Also for day 9 when we need to go back to Nagoya from Osaka
    3. Will traveling be difficult/busy on Dec 28, Dec 30 and Jan 1?
    Thank you for helping.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      In which stops will u be spending your nights? Are you booking a hotel in each city, backpacking style? Or do you have base stops?

      • Sc says:

        Hi Yoshke
        Basically we are moving from city to city staying in hotels etc. We are not backpacking.
        Day 2 we stay in Nagoya
        Day 2 we stay in the okuhida area
        Day 3 and 4 we stay in Kanazawa
        Day 5 and 6 stay in Kyoto and we plan to visit the usual tourist places
        Day 7 and 8 we leave Kyoto and visit Nara on our way to Osaka
        and hope to cover the usual tourist attractions in Osaka
        Day 9 and 10 we leave Osaka for Nagoya
        Day 11 departure

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Wow, it’s almost like you’re backpacking since you keep on moving hotels after a night or two.

          It still depends on your specific stops, but looking at your top-level itinerary now, I feel like the most beneficial are:
          – SHORYUDO BUS PASS (5 Day Pass: Wide Course) for your Days 1-5
          – KINTETSU RAIL PASS (5-Day) for the rest

          But you will have to tweak your itinerary a little bit to maximize the passes (e.g. keeping the Nagoya-Kansai leg to only 5 days, same length of the validity of the pass).

          I haven’t been to Megome (Magome?) though so I have no idea about that.

  19. Rems says:

    Hi! Can you help me which pass to buy? Im quiet confused what to buy. Btw here’s my itinerary.
    Day 1: Osaka tour
    Day 2: universal studio
    Day 3: kyoto
    Thanks in advance

    • Rems says:

      On day 1: i will arrive in Kansai airport at 12:30pm. That will be my osaka tour

      • Rems says:

        Day 3: kyoto arashimaya and fushimi inari shrine. Is it okay to use the hankyu pass when going to fushimi inari shrine? If yes, what is the nearest hankyu station to get there?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Rem, ung pabalik mo, sa Kansai Airport din? Sa Day 3 din ung flight mo? (Or may iba ka pang destinations outside Kansai?)

  20. FIQA says:


    I’ll be going to Osaka this September. My plan is for the first day , I’ll take Yokoso Osaka ticket. On day 2, 3 and 4, is it worth to take Kansai Thru pass? I need your advice on this matter. Really appreciate. Thanks.

    Day 1 : arrive at KIX airport and go to Osaka
    Day 2 : travel to Kyoto for one day only.
    Day 3 : USJ
    Day 4 : sightseeing in Osaka & back to KIX airport

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Fiqa,

      Kansai Thru Pass does not cover the train line leading to USJ because it’s operated by JR, so you can’t use KTP on Day 3.

      But you can get a 2-day KTP and use it on Day 2 and 4. Whether or not it’s cost efficient depends on your stops and how packed your days will be. But normally, KTP is great when there is a day tour outside Osaka and journey to the airport on the same day.

  21. Yvette says:

    Hi. I will be travelling this week to Osaka. Can you help me out on what Pass to buy please? Here is my itinerary:

    July 18 – Arrival at nagoya
    July 19 – nagoya city tour
    July 19 – nagoya to osaka
    July 20 – Nara and Kyoto (day Tour)
    July 21 – osaka to Tagamatsu to visit my sister
    July 22 – Universal
    July 23 – Osaka day tour then departure from KIX Airport

    Apprwciate your feedback and recommnedation.

Leave a Reply