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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.



1. Which is the best pass?

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.
  • 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 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.

2. I’m going to A, B and C. What is the best pass for me?

Ultimately, it depends on the specific attractions that you will visit. One way to figure this out is by using Hyperdia. Just enter your stops one by one and take note of the fare.

Once you have all the fares, add them all up. If the total cost is higher than the price of the pass, then the pass is probably worth it.

Be mindful of the JR and private railway distinction and tweak your search using Advanced Settings.

To know more about Hyperdia, READ: HOW TO USE HYPERDIA!

3. I’m going to multiple cities. Is the JR Pass worth it?

You can use this Japan Rail Pass Calculator here.

Just enter your stops and it will tell you if the JR Pass is worth it.

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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!


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


Hi Yoshke, can I just say that I love reading your blog because each topics are thoroughly explained and easy to understand. This is not my first time to go to Japan but it is my first time to buy a pass and Im confused. Which pass to buy if my itinerary is like this
Day 1 – Manila-Osaka-Kyoto
Day 2- Kyoto
Day 3- Kyoto-Osaka
Day 4- Hiroshima (day trip)
Day 5 to 7- Osaka
Thank you


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

Aira Nafuar

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.


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!


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! ♥


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!


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!


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!


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

kate lim

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!


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!


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 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.


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!


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!


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.



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?)


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

Tracy Kok

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.



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


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!


Thank you very much!


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.


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).



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.


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


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


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


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?



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


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.

Bea Castro

Hi Yoshke!

Thank you very much for the super helpful article! It’s a lifesaver for the overwhelmed!

Can you also suggest what’ are the best passed we should get? I’m traveling with my senior citizen mom so the less stress, the better. Hehehe Our initial itinerary is:

Day 1: Osaka (late night flight)
Day 2: Kyoto (Arashimaya, Golden Pavilion)
Day 3: Kyoto (Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizudera, Gion)
Day 4: Nara, Osaka
Day 5: Osaka

Very open to your suggestions and IT permutations too! Hope you can help!! :)


Hello, if we’re staying at Kyoto for 3 days with Nara as a daytrip, which pass is the most ideal? We’re going to Arashimaya as well. Thanks in advance!!

Day 1: Osaka-Kyoto (check in)
Day 2: Kyoto
Day 3: Nara (daytrip-back to Kyoto)
Day 4: Kyoto-KIX



Here’s our itinerary from Osaka:

Day 1: From Shinsaibashi, Osaka to Kyoto (kinkakuji, arashimaya)
Day 2: Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizu, Higashimaya, Gion
Day 3: Nara day trip
Day 4: KIX Airport

We’ll be staying few mins from Kyoto Station. Also, is it still practical to have an ICOCA card?


Nagoya (1 night) and osaka (4nights)



Thank you for your helpful article.
We are trying to plan our trip to Japan in September-October.

We are planning to be for about 12 days in the Kansai region and are trying to sort out an itinerary and the best passes to buy.
Our plan is to visit Kobe (3 days), Osaka (4 days), Kyoto (4 days) and Nara (1-day trip).

The first thing to notice is that we will be coming from Tokyo, and we will also go back to Tokyo after that.
We don’t know if it would be worth taking a 14 days JR National Pass and take a Shinkansen to/from Osaka and also use it to travel inside the Kansai region; OR take a flight to and from Osaka + a combination of the Regional passes.

We will also probably need some metro/bus passes in order to move around in the cities.

Here would be an example of an itinerary :
Day 0: Arriving from Tokyo
Day 1-3: Kobe
Day 4-7: Osaka
Day 8-11: Kyoto
Day 12: Nara
Day 13: Back to Tokyo

What do you recommend?

Thank you!!


hi. what do you think is the suitable pass on our itinerary.
day1-4 tokyo, will be using suica
day5-7am kyoto, interested on going to Arashiyama, TOIE Studio Park, Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine and maybe Gion, Higashiyama District and Nijo Castle.
day7pm-day9 osaka, Osaka Castle, Mitsui Outlet Park Osaka Tsurumi and Dotonbori area.
thinking of getting kansai thru pass for 3 days as we can use it for kyoto going to namba and namba to KIX. but i don’t know if it will be worth it or much better to use our suica card na lang?


Hi Yoshke, if I buy the JR West Kansai Pass, will I be able to ride the JR Haruka Airport express from Kyoto – Kansai Airport (KIX)?


Thanks Yoshke, you are so responsive! We can’t wait to visit Osaka on August 27! ( :

Huang Chun

Good Day Yoshke!

Firstly, thanks for the awesome tips on the different passes. However, would like to further clarify what type of pass to use before i purchase it.

Itinerary as below:-

Day 1: Arrive @ Osaka KIX & explore within city area via subway
Day 2: Explore Nara Park via Kintetsu-Nara train, & head back to city.
Day 3: Head to Kyoto via Rapid Train @ Osaka station; Umeda. Explore Gion area.
Day 4: Visit Arashiyama Bamboo forest
Day 5: Visit Fushimi Inari Taisha
Day 6: Head to Tokyo via Shinkasen Bullet Train.

Regarding Day 1 – 5, would it be advisable to get Kansai Thru Pass instead of JR West Kansai Railway Pass?

Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks (:

Michelle Mae

Hi! My husband and I will be going to Osaka this December for 4 days. And we plan on going to Kyoto as well during our trip. And i really have a lot of gray areas while planning for this trip (by the way it’s our first trip to japan ). I have generally 2 question if its ok,
1. when using the kansai through pass, can we go to fushimi inari, gion district and arashiyama bamboo forest?
2. Can the SUICA card be also used in Osaka and Kyoto? Thanks in advance for the help

Michelle Mae

Hi! Your Japan blogs were of great help! My husband and I will be going to Osaka this December for 3 days. And we plan on going to Kyoto as well during our trip. And i really have a lot of gray areas while planning for this trip (by the way it’s our first trip to japan ). I have generally 2 question if its ok,
1. when using the kansai through pass, can we go to fushimi inari, gion district and arashiyama bamboo forest?

2. Can the SUICA card be also used in Osaka and Kyoto? Thanks in advance for the help


hi Yoske, good day. This is my first time to go to Japan. very ambitious to see all of the cities out there. Im confusing to the pass what can i get.
day 1 and 2 = tokyo
night bus from tokyo to osaka
day 3 = osaka
day 4 = kyoto (arashiyama, fushimi inari, kiyomizu-dere temple)
day 5 = kyoto then back to osaka hotek
day 6 = morning back to manila

very confusing how to get the other pass


Hi Yoshke,

Need your advice on something, please.

From Tokyo, I’ll travel via night bus to Osaka–thanks for the tip!

When I arrive in Osaka, here’s the plan:
Day 1 – Osaka to Nara RT (Park and other temples)
Day 2 – Osaka to Kyoto RT (Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Gion)
Day 3 – Osaka Day Tour
Day 4 – Afternoon Stroll Osaka (flight is at night)

I’m thinking of getting Kansai Thru Pass (3 days) for Days 1, 2, and 4. I’m thinking Day 4 for Osaka to KIX.
And Amazing Osaka 1-Day Pass for Day 3.

1. Do you think this makes sense? Or are there other cheaper, better ways you recommend?

2. Also, I’ll be in Tokyo, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto, starting from Tokyo. Is there any one reloadable card that I can use for the ones not covered by the passes?

Thanks for your support and sharing your expertise!

All the best,


You’re the best! Thanks, Yosh! I’ll be sure to share how it goes. Thanks again! :)


Hi Yosh,

One last question, please. Do you recommend that I get the Tokyo Subway Ticket (24, 48, or 72 Hours) whilst in Tokyo? Will it be easy to use it along with the SUICA card for the many transfers? I’ll stay in Shibuya. :)

Here’s my Tokyo plans:
Day 1 – Arrive at night
Day 2 – Ueno and Akihabara
Day 3 – Mt. Fuji Day Trip via Klook
Day 4 – Tsukiji and Shinjuku
Day 5 – Shibuya

I’m thinking of getting the 3-day pass for Days 2-4. :)

Thanks again!

All the best,

Ching Huey

Hi Yosh,

Thank you for your detailed information on the passes. It is very useful! Would like to seek for your advice on which passes should I opt for this trip plan.

Day 1 10PM: KIX Airport-Osaka Station (will take Kansai Airport Rapid Service and overnight at Osaka 1 night)
Day 2 8AM: Osaka-Kyoto (will take Special Rapid service (JR Kyoto Line))
Day 2 AM-PM: Kyoto (Nishiki Market & Gion, Eikando Temple, Kodaji Temple)
Day 3: Nara (thinking to buy Kintetsu 1 day Pass, worth it?)
Day 4: Kyoto (Arashiyama- Jojakko-ji Temple, Bambo Groves, Arashiyama Train)
Day 5 AM: Kyoto (Kiyozumi-dera, Fushimi Inari Shrine)
Day 5 PM: Kyoto-Osaka (will take Special Rapid service (JR Kyoto Line))
Day 6-8: Osaka (thinking to buy Osaka Amazing 2 day Pass, Does it make sense?How about the remaining 1 day?)
Day 9: Osaka-KIX (will take Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t)

Thank you in advance! :)


Hi Yosh,

Thank you so much for your detailed information. I have my itirenary planned out on where to go but I’m still stuck with transportation passes and the more I read I find myself even more confused. Based on my itirenary below, would it be a great idea to start with a 4 days JR West Kansai Pass then 7 days JR Whole Japan Rail Pass and end with a 4 days JR West Kansai Pass?

Day 1 KIX Airport-Osaka Station (overnight at Osaka 1 night)
Day 2 check out to Kyoto (Gojo Station)
Day 3: 1 whole day in Nara
Day 4: 1 whole day in Arashiyama
Day 5: Bicycle rental at Kyoto Station
Day 6: Kyoto-Tokyo-Oarai (Hiraiso Station)
Day 8: Oarai – Kawaguchiko Station
Day 10: Kawaguchiko – Tokyo Disney Station
Day 12: Tokyo Disney – Kyoto (Higashino Station)
Day 13 – 15: around Kyoto using bicycle rental at Kyoto Station
Day 16: 1 whole day in Osaka – fly back

Appreciate you taking your time reading this and thanking you in advance.

Amelia Anuar

Hi Yosh, thank you for replying but I don’t understand a few words in your message. Could you rephrase? Thanks


hahaha no worries I get that very often. Thanks again :)

Michelle Valencia

Thanks for this guide, this is really helpful! I have some questions though. I’m off to explore Kansai Region Nov17-20 and I allotted a day in each destinations.
Nov 17 – Kobe including Rokkosan
Nov 18 – Kyoto and Nara
Nov 19 – USJ
Nov 20 – Osaka

I plan to purchase 1 Hanshin, 1 Hankyu, and an Osaka Amazing pass. My concern is if purchasing all 3 of them would be more practical compared to purchasing a 3-day Kansai Thru-pass? And in case I redeem the passes in KIX on our arrival, will it already start counting its validity day even if I haven’t used it yet? Thanks so much in advance for your reply!!

Michelle Valencia

Thanks, Yoshke. What do you suggest would be best for the USJ travel? My research shows it’s only accessible via JR line.. :(


Can I also use Kansai Thru pass on Hanshin and Hankyu lines? even Kintetsu?
Our arrival is on Nov 16th 8PM, if I use the Kansai Thru Pass from the airport, does it count as 1 day already? Sorry for bugging you a lo t of questions, but I really appreciate your reply. Thanks!!


This is an awesome guide! I would like to pick your brain a bit though, if you don’t mind. We will have a short trip to explore Osaka and Kyoto next week. I plan to purchase a 1-day Hanyu Pass and ICOCA card for our transpo.

Day 1 – 7PM arrival in KIX. Go to Nankai-Namba to check-in at our AirBnB. Dinner (and maybe a short stroll in Dohtonbori).
[Transportation: ICOCA Card from KIX to Nankai-Namba Station?]

Day 2 – USJ from morning to ~3-4PM. Then go to Shinsekai, Namba, Hosenji Temple. Dinner/food trip in Dotonbori-Shinsaibashi area.
[Transportation: ICOCA Card?]

Day 3 – Daytrip to Kyoto. Fushimi Inari, Tofuku-Ji, Yasaka Pagoda, Arashiyama, Nonomiya Temple, Tenryujii Temple, Togestukyo, Monkey park (Iwatayama). Go back to Osaka
[Transportation: Should we avail a 1-day Hankyu Pass?]

Day 4 – Check-out from AirBnB. Store our luggages. Daytrip in Osaka (Kuromon Market, Osaka Castle, Tenmagu Shrine, Umeda Sky bldg). Pick up luggages. Go to KIX. 8PM flight to Manila.Temple,
[Transportation: ICOCA card around Osaka and back to KIX?]

Is our itinerary okay? Or is it too cramped up?
Will it be efficient (cheaper) to avail an ICOCA card and 1-day Hankyu pass as we plan to?

Hope you can reply soon and thank you in advance! :)


Thanks Yoshke.

I hadn’t realized the Hankyu pass limitations.

I would just like to confirm that if we avail the Keihan’s Kyoto-Osaka 1-Day Pass, we wont need the Hankyu Pass right?
And in what station in Kyoto will Keihan line bring us? What attraction should we visit there when we arrive?


Got it. Your advice/responses are very much appreciated!

Keep on coming with insights and guides in your awesome blog! :)


Hello! I’d like to ask what passes to use for my Osaka-Kyoto-Nara trip. Here’s the overview of my planned itinerary:

DAY 0 – 1900h – Arrival at KIX Airport
DAY 1 – USJ Whole day and Dotonbori at Night
Day 2 – KYOTO tour day 1
Day 3 – KYOTO tour day 2
Day 4 – NARA day or half day tour
Day 5 – OSAKA Tour Day 1 (Using OA Pass)
Day 6 – OSAKA Tour Day 2 (Using OA Pass),

I’m confused which passes to use in my Kyoto and Nara days, travelling from Osaka. But as much as possible I would like to visit all key attractions in Kyoto (Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizu-dera, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kinkaku-ji etc. Can I visit all of them in 2 consecutive days? If so, which pass should I avail? I’m spending 6 nights in Osaka though. I won’t spend a night in Kyoto. I hope you can help me! thank you so much!


Lhen Luyun

Hello. we are travelling to Osaka. I purchased a Kansai Thru Pass. Is it okay to use the Kansai Thru Pass for 3 consecutive days? Thank you.

Lhen Luyun

Hi Yoshke, this is my itinerary. Is it okay if I use the Kansai Thru Pass for 3 consecutive days?



Hi Yoshke, I’m heading to Osaka for honeymoon in November (03 to 08 Nov)
Hope to get some of your thoughts on the itinerary as it’s getting a little overwhelming.

I’m basing myself in Osaka (3 nights near Higobashi, 2 nights in Namba)
I’ve already gotten ICOCA + 1-Day Osaka Pass + 1-Day Kyoto Sight-seeing Pass
// thinking of changing the Sight-Seeing Pass to the Kansai Thru Pass
// should I have gotten the Kansai One Pass instead of the ICOCA?

Day 1 – Arrival + Take Haruka Express to Tennoji then Higobashi + Explore Osaka
// Should I buy a Haruka ticket via Klook or is the ICOCA deal onsite better?
// Thinking of visiting the Onsen Niji no Yu over at Osakasayama
// Possible trips to Haruka Observatory + Osaka Aquarium

Day 2 – Activate 1-Day Osaka Amazing Pass
// A number of the free sights

Day 3 – Continue exploring Osaka

Day 4 – Move to Namba + Possible Day Trip to Kyoto
// But thinking of taking the Hello Kitty Shinkansen to surprise the wife (though they would mean going the other direction before going to Kyoto)

Day 5 – Universal Studios Japan + ICOCA
// Got my tickets from Klook but Is it worth getting the Express Pass 7? It seems like a lull-period

Day 6 – Head to Itami for flight to Tokyo and then home

Hope to have your feedback on how to better streamline/make sense


Hi, Yoshke.

Great post! Just wondering.. We already have the 5 Day JR Kansai WIDE Area Pass. We’re planning a trip to Kobe (1 – Day) from Osaka. Can the pass be used around Kobe as well (e.g. Hanshin Lines, Bus)? Or its preferred to still buy the Hanshin Tourist Pass?

Thank you in advance!


Hello, i will be staying at osaka and planning for a day trip to Nara park and Kobe in one day. Which pass is suitable for me?


Hi Yoshke,

I am planning to come down to Japan during new year’s eve in December. I will be staying at the same hotel in Osaka which means I will return to Osaka everyday from every trip.I’m not too sure if Kansai Thru Pass is relevant on day 4.Here are my itineraries:

day 1: KIX to OSAKA at shinsaibashi station (ICOCA)
day 2: NARA (KTP) nara park,todaiji temple, nigatsu-do hall, kasuga grand shrine
day 3: KYOTO (KTP) fushimi inari, arashiyama, maruyama, philosopher’s path
day 4: KYOTO (KTP) kiyomizu dera, ishibei koji lane, teramachi street
day 5: OSAKA (OAP 2 days pass)
day 6: OSAKA (OAP 2 days pass)
day 7: OSAKA from Shinsaibashi station to KIX (ICOCA)


Noted. Thanks again Yoshke.

Margaret Gomez

Hi! This blog is very very helpful. I got enlightened after reading it but I would still ask for your recommendation since the places I want to visit are just limited. Should I still get a pass or just use an Icoca or Suica card throughout my trip? Here’s my itinerary.

Day 1 – Arrive in Osaka (12PM)
– Check in at Gandouce Shin-Imamiya (Shin Imamiya Line) – walking distance from Tsutenkaku Tower
– 5PM onwards explore Dotonbori

Day 2 – USS

Day 3 – Osaka castle, Umeda Sky Building Observatory, Hep 5 Ferris Wheel and Cup Noodles museum

Day 4 – Kyoto day Tour (Bamboo Groves Arashimaya, Gion district, Kiyomizudera Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine)

Day 5 – Half day in Nara Park then Kasuga Taisha Shrine or Kofuku-ji Temple then Dotonbori or other parts of Osaka at night

Day 6 – Flight back to Clark at 12PM

Can you help me decide what pass or cards to get for the specific days? Also, can Kyoto and Nara fit in one day if we start early? Bec the places that we wanna visit is just few since we have senior citizens in the group. We might just go to top places in Kyoto like bamboo groves and inari shrine and ommit the temples then go straight to nara park. Is it possible in a day? We wanna focus on Osaka more so we wanna fit kyoto and nara in a day if possible.

Can I just get an OA pass then Icoca for these if ever?

Thank you in advance for the help.


HI Yoshke
I liked your blog. Like many people I also pretty confused with the most economical unlimited pass for Kansai region. Would you be so kind as to advise me the best mode of transportation please. My travel journey is below. Thank you very much.
Day 1 to Day 5
1) Travel from Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka Station
2) Travel from Shin-Osaka Station to Osaka Castle and other places in Osaka city
3) Travel from Shin-Osaka to Kyoto and Nara and back
4) Travel from Shin-Osaka to Koyasan and back
5) Travel from Shin-Osaka to Biwa/ Otsu/ Hikone and back

Day 6 to 10
6) Travel from Shin-Osaka to Tottori and back
7) Travel from Shin-Osaka to Amanohashidate and back
8) and 9) Travel from Shin-Osaka to Wakayama/ Shirahama
10) Travel from Wakayama to Kansai Airport

Many thanks and Best Regards


Thank you very much for your kind advice. I am glad to know there is a Yokoso Pass, thank you.
Shin-Osaka station is my pit stop, that’s why I am moving out from there most of the days. Best Regards, Doris


Sorry to bother you again, Yoshke. If I were to remove Shin-Osaka to Biwa/ Otsu/ Hikone and change it to visit Himeiji Castle, do I still need to buy the Kansai Thru Pass?
Thank you and Best Regards, Doris


Hi Yoshke!
First of THANK YOU so much for this post – and this entire blog. You’ve been extremely helpful and informative! Can I ask you to look at my tentative itinerary below? I think I have most of it covered, am just not sure about what to get for Day 4 (Nara) and Day 6-7 (Kyoto/Osaka)

Day 0 Arrival KIX-Namba – RT RapiT
Day 1 USJ – Icoca
Day 2 Osaka – OA
Day 3 Osaka – OA
Day 4 Nara Day/Half Day Trip from OSA – Icoca?/Kansai Thru?
Day 5 Kyoto Klook Group Tour – n/a
Day 6 Kyoto DIY Day Trip from OSA – Nishiki Market, Kiyomizu-dera, Kodaiji, Higashiyama, Maruyama Park, Gion – Kansai Thru? JR West?
Day 7 Minoo Park, Shinsekai, Den Den Town, Amemura – Kansai Thru? JR West? Osaka Metro Unlimited Pass?
Day 8 Departure Namba-KIX – RT RapiT

My gut says I should get a 2 or 3 day KT pass for Day 4, 6 and 7 but what do you think? On all days we’re coming from Namba area in Osaka. Appreciate your guidance. Thanks so much!


Hi Yoshke:
Hello. Happy new year.. I am just starting to draft our itinerary for our 7 days kansai region trip. Quite frankly, I am so overwhealmed with all the infos thats why its very hard for me to start..
Can i ask u a simple question first ☺️, with all the talks about the diff kind of passes for subways and trains, are the train station and subway station located in the same area/place?
If not, then i have to figure out the “how to get to” before i can decide which pass is more suitable or works for me right?
Thank you ha..


Thank you for yr reply…Will be arriving in Osaka in a few weeks. Got a Nipponbashi apartment through airbnb. Can you tell me how to get to Nipponbashi Subway station if i am taking the nankai express train.. Can i purchase Nankai train to tengachaya station (not namba station) and change to Sakaisuji subway line?


Hi Yoshke,

Happy new year!

If I’m staying in Namba and will visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Inari Shrine, then Nara Deer Park all in one day — which pass is the right one? Should I get 1-day kintetsu and 1-day hankyu? Or Should I just use ICOCA for Nara deer park and get Hankyu?

Thank you very much!


Glad to find your blog, it’s extremely helpful!! Just want to clarify some doubt that I have.

I’m planning to travel to Osaka and Kyoto this May with the following passes.

19 May: I will be arriving KIX airport at 6pm—> ICOCA
20-21 May: Kyoto (Arashiyama is a must) —> Hankyu pass for 2 days.
22-23 May: Will be in Osaka with a possibility of going to USJ as well—> Osaka Amazing pass for 2 days.
24 May: Flight will be in the morning at 10am—>ICOCA

My only question is on the 19 & 24 May—> Since I will arriving late and departing early, would ICOCA be a budget way to travel around on these 2 respective days. The main transport will be back and forth from the airport and to our hotel.


Hi Yoshke,

Happy new year and so glad read thru your blog. I am confusing the pass and not to sure whether i am choosing the correct pass.
I will travelling with kids to Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Tateyama this coming April.
Here my initerary:

Day 1: KIX – Osaka namba
Day 2 & Day 3: travel around Osaka city
Day 4: Nara then back Osaka
Day 5: Osaka to Kyoto (kyoto railway musuem, Kiyomizu-dera, Ninenzaka
Day 6: Kyoto (Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine, Arashiyama)
Day 7: Kyoto to Nagoya
Day 8 onwards be self driving.

I am thinking to get Kansai Thru Pass 3days (Day 1 KIX-Osaka Namba), Day 5, Day 6)
Osaka Amazing pass for Day 2 & day 3
Day 4 to Nara, is it need to get Kintetsu Rail pass?

Seek for your advice and really appreciate.


Hi, I will staying in Kyoto. Thanks.

Erika TM

Hi! Which pass/passees also include FREE ENTRANCE to Osaka and Kyoto Attractions? I understand the Osaka Amazing pass gives access to some osaka attractions, but I am eyeing on getting the Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass but I can’t find any info online if it includes free entrance to any attractions.

Ralph Rodney Borja

Hi Yoshke,

Your Blog is very informative! i need your suggestion because this is my first time going to Japan. I will be travelling with my wife to Kyoto and Osaka and here’s our itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival at KIX Airport at 8:30PM
Travel: Kix to Kyoto
Pass: JR Haruka Airport Express or Limousine Bus?

Problem: We are worried because of our arrival time considering the time if flight was delayed, we are not sure if we can made it on time riding Haruka Exp. 60 or a limousine bus. Last trip of Haruka Exp. is 10:16pm while Limousine Bus is 11:40pm. JR Haruka Airport Express is way cheaper than the Limousine Bus. Is it possible for us to get our baggage and passes within an hour?

Day 2: Kyoto Tour
Travel: West and North Kyoto
Pass: Kansai Thru

Day 3: Kyoto Tour
Travel: East Kyoto, Fushimi Inari, Osaka
Pass: Kansai Thru

Day 4: Osaka Tour
Travel: Universal Studios

Day 5: Osaka Tour
Travel: Osaka
Pass: Osaka Unlimited Travel Pass

Day 6: Osaka Tour
Travel: Den Den Town/Dotonbori
Pass: None / Walk

Day 7: Back To Manila Evening
Travel: OSAKA to KIX
Pass: ICOCA or JR Haruka Airport Express?

I’m looking forward for your best budgeted suggestion.



Thank you so much, this is very helpful. What’s your take on this itinerary
Feb 7- Arrive at Osaka, after a quick lunch go to the Museum of Housing and Living
Explore Dotonbori until evening
Feb 8- whole day Universal Studios
Feb 9 – Kyoto, Narra, Kobe tour( we availed the bus tour for Php 2,700 +++)
FEb 10- Umeda Sky Building
Hepf five
Osaka Castle
FEb 11-return to manila

I hope you could read this and please please give me your advise. We’re a group of 11. Thank you so much. You’re posts are really helpful.


Thank you for your teply. Dating namin is 11:55 am, what’s your take sa transpo card na dapat namin kunin? Budget concern kasi


Thank you so much Yoske


Hello Yoske!

i had been planning my first Japan trip and your blog had been a great help. I am still confused what transportation pass should i buy. Hope you can help me.

Day 1: Airport to Hotel in Universal City
Day 2: Visit USJ
Day 3: Check out Hotel in Universal City and tour Osaka stay in Tennoji area
Day 4: Travel to Nara and stay at Nara
Day 5: Travel to Mie (Nabana no Sato) and stay at Nara
Day 6: Travel to Kyoto stay at Kyoto
Day 7: Explore Arashiyama and Golden Pavilion
Day 8: Explore Fushimi Inari and Gion
Day 9: Travel to Tokyo, Explore Shibuya
Day 10: Tour Mt. Fuji
Day 11: Tour Ueno, Ginza
Day 12: Flight Home Tokyo-Manila

thanks and more power!


Hi Yosh!

Your blogs are really helpful for first time traveler like me:)

There are a lot of passes in Japan and Im looking for the cheapest way possible.
Please help me decide :

Day 1- 2 Tokyo – Planning to take 72hrs Tokyo pass

Overnight bus to Osaka

Day 3 -Kyoto Tour ( Castles, Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama bamboo grove etc.)
Day 4- Kobe or Nara
Day 5- 6- Osaka Tour

so Im thinking to have Kansai thru pass for my whole Osaka Kyoto Tour
is it wise or cheaper if I just take 2 days Osaka Kyoto amazing pass AND OR jr west pass?

Can we buy all this pass in Haneda airport when we arrive?
Thank you!


Hi Yosh,

Still ironing out our itinerary for our March trip in Osaka. We’ll be travelling as a family (2 adults, 2 kids and a baby). Please help me choose the best pass, We’ll be staying near Nippombashi Station

Day 1: Arrival at KIX 9PM (NANKAI AIRPORT EXPRESS > Nippombashi Station)
Day 2: Kobe(Hankyu or Hanshin?) planning to visit Rokko Snow Park, Oji Zoo and can you suggest more attractions for kids
Day 3: Osaka ?
Day 4: Kyoto?
Flight back to Manila at night


Thanks Yosh! :)

But to clarify: Is it best to use Hankyu Pass for Kobe or Hanshin as you stated here >


Got it. Thanks again! :) Your blogs are so helpful


Hi Yosh,

Your blog is really awesome for first time traveller !
how you doing now ? hopefully you re doing great.

i would like to ask which pass is suitable to my itenerary, im coming from Tokyo to Osaka using shinkansen and i will staying near Nippombashi Station.

Day 1 and 2 : Osaka tour
Day 3 : Kyoto
Day 4 : Nara
Day 5 : USJ
Day 6 : leaving Osaka (KIX )

Im still confuse for which pass do i need to use for roaming KANSAI area,
please advise

thank you and greatly appreciated


Hello! I’m a Japanese passport holder but I live in the Philippines. Kung pupunta po ako ng Osaka for a day, can I avail the Osaka Amazing Pass sa Klook even though I am a Japanese passport holder? Thanks!

Lanty Chua

Hi. I will be visiting Japan for 9 days. My itinerary would be:
Day1;Manila to Tokyo to Osaka
Day2: Osaka
Day 3: Osaka
Day 4: Nara
Day 5: Kyoto then travel back to tokyo
Day 6:Tokyo
Day7:Mt. Fuji
Day 8-9: Tokyo

Can you please recommend what pass should I purchase?
I’ve been thinking Osaka Amazing Pass, JR pass, Hankyu pass and kintetsu rail pass for Nara?


Hi Yoshke,
Could you provide us suggestions on whether to get JR Pass and ICOCA or just get one of it for our itinerary:
Day 1 – 3: KIX – Osaka
Day 4: Nara
Day 5: Kyoto (first 5 days we will stay in Osaka)
Day 6 – 8: Kawaguchiko area (I have read that for JR Pass holder, we can take shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Mishima St and continue with Fujikyu Bus to reach Kawaguchiko St)
Day 8 – 10: Tokyo – HND

Many thanks for your suggestions.


Thanks a lot Yoshke!:)


Hi Yoshke,

Appreciate if you can advise which pass to get based on my itinerary. We will be staying Osaka as a base and making day trips.

Day 1 – KIX to Shinsaibashi
Day 2 – Nara (Kofuki-Ji / Todaiji / Naramichi / Isuien Gdn / Kasuga Taisha / Nara Park / Mt Wakakusa / Higashimuki)
Day 3 – Kobe (Ikuta Shrine / Kitano Cho / Shin Kobe Ropeway / Kobe Port Tower / Hyotan Gyoza / Nada Gogo Sake Brewery)
Day 4 – Kyoto (Fushimi-Inari / Kiyomizudera / Eikando / Golden Pavilion / Sannenzaka)
Day 5 – Kyoto – Arashiyama / Gion / Karawamachi)
Day 6 – USJ
Day 7 – Rinku Town
Day 8 – Minoo Park / Ikeda / ShinsekaiUmeda
Day 9 – Osaka
Day 10 – Osaka

  1. What pass will you recommend?
  2. Does Kansai Thru Pass cover the Nankai Airport Rapid Express? If yes, how much do I have to top up?
  3. Can I purchase 2x Kansai Thru Pass over 6-days usage?

Hi Yoshke,

We will be staying in Osaka as the base throughout and travel out to various city daily
Here is my itinerary,

Day 1 – KIX to Hotel (Shinsaibashi) 1700hrs
Day 2 – Nara
Day 3 – Kobe / Umeda
Day 4 – Kyoto
Day 5 – Kyoto
Day 6 – USJ
Day 7 – Rinku Town
Day 8 – Ikeda / Minoo / Shinsekai
Day 9 – Osaka City
Day 10 – Osaka City
Day 11 – Osaka – KIX

What do you advise?
Can I buy multiple Kansai Thru Pass?
How much do I have to top-up if I use Kansai Thru Pass on Nankai Airport Rapit?

Thanks in advance!


Hi Yosh, can you please recommend what kansai pass I should use based on my itinerary please?
Tokyo: 5 days (1 day trip to Mt. Fuji)
Osaka: 3 days (1 day trip to Nara)
Kyoto: 4 days
then back to Tokyo Narita on the last day to flight out next morning.
I’m planning to get Tokyo subway ticket + buying Nozomi tickets as I go (since I don’t think JR pass will pay off for my trip) + Kansai pass. The thing is I’m still not sure which Kansai pass should I go for: JR West or kansai thru pass? Thanks in advance!


Hi, thank you for you this is very informative. I’d like to ask for if JR west pass or Kansai thru pass will be worth it for our itinerary. I’ll probably be getting OAP 2 days for the areas with packed Osaka itineraries and ICOCA card for the rest of the days. I was thinking of getting an airport transfer because we will be traveling with 2 kids, 1 elderly and with at least 6 luggages. I cannot pack our itinerary so that the kids don’t get overwhelmed.

10 day Osaka-Kyoto-Nara trip

Day 1 -MNL to KIX- arrival at KIX at 9am-airport transfer
(luggages, 4 year old + 8 month baby + elderly)
staying at Shinsaibashi area base hotel
Kuromon Ichiba Market
Namba Yasiri Shrine

Day 2-Arashiyama
 Iwatayama Monkey Park
Kyoto railway Museum
Poncho Alley

Day 3
Osaka Aquarium
Tempozan Ferris wheel
Used Sky building

Day 4 
Nara day trip
Fushimi inari

Day 5 
Higashiyama ward
Kodaiji temple
Maruyama Park
Yasaka shrine
Kyoto Samurai ninja museum

Day 6
Minoo park
Kids Plaza

Day 7
Expo city
National museum of Ethnology

Day 8
Nishinormari Garden
Osaka Castle
Osaka Science museum

Day 10 
Flight at 5pm airport transfer KIX-LAX

Thank you so much for your help and more traveling tips from you!


Hello everyone, Need some advice from you guys , will be visiting Kansai region for 10 days in April , will be based in Osaka but I would like to visit Kyoto , Himeji , Okayama , Nara , Kanatzawa but I would also like to go for 2 days in Tokyo what combination of passes would you recommend ? I was thinking of the 7 days nationwide JR pass and combine it to cover Osakra +surroundings and Kyoto +surroundings. Thank you much appreciated .



I am staying in Osaka Namba area during my visit, can please suggest the passes for me:

March 28, Tue (osaka)
Dotonbori glico man
Donguri Kyowakoku Ghibli shop
Kuromon market
superpotato in nipponbashi
Nintendo animate in nipponbashi
namba yasaka shrine

March 29, Wed (osaka)
Osaka castle park
Umeda sky building
Nagai park teamlab botanical garden
Ikeda Station – Nissin Museum
The tower of the sun

March 30, Thu (osaka)
Universal Studio Japan

March 31, Fri (nara)
Mount Yoshino
Nara deer park

April 1, Sat (kyoto)
Fushiminari red pillars tori
Tofukuji temple
Kamo river sakura
Ghibli shop
Kiyomizu dera temple
Gion gesha
Ninenzaka old street, tatami starbucks, eat yuba cheese
Yasaka shrine
Gion tatsumi bridge sakura
Heian jingu shrine red
Okazaki park sakura night light
Eat kumonocha cloud cake
Nishiki market
Nishiki shokudo diner
Shinpuhkan “here” cafe eat canoli
Vegan ramen uzu teamlab
Kinkaku ji gold temple
Ryoan ji temple

April 2, Sun (kyoto)
Arashiyama Park Nakanoshima Area sakura
Otagi nenbutsu ji temple
Bamboo forest
Kimono forest
Miffy cafe
Togetsu bridge
Arabica coffee
Yusaitei dye art gallery

April 3, Mon (kobe)
Shukugawa park
Ikuta jinja shrine
Motomachi old shopping street
Kobe chinatown
Meriken park
Kobe port tower
Kobe harborland
Akashi kaikyo bridge
Maiko park
Himeji castle

Thank you very much!


Hi Vins and Yosh,
Ive been watching you vids recently and you got tons of useful info there!
Got a few questions, i hope ull have time to respond.

  1. Our hotel is in Namba and we wanted to visit Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and if possible Higashiyama District. My situation falls on your two suggestions on this page, can you please help which pass is best for us with a 3-yo in tow. Also, can you suggest the best order we visit those sites?
  2. We will be arriving around 4PM KIX to NRT and our hotel is in Asakusa station, is it still worth to avail the klook skyliner airport transfer which stop is Ueno or we will just buy the ticket at the airport to Asakusa? Which is cheaper?

Thanks Yosh!

  1. we will be staying in kansai for 3 days
  2. Plat hostel keikyu asakusa karin

Hi, thanks for this detailed breakdown. I am planning to stay in the Kansai area for 4 days, with Osaka as my base (where I book my accommodations). Am thinking of spending a day in kobe, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Which pass do you recommend?


hi, want to ask for the pass for my trip.
1st day > arrive 8pm osaka > stay kyoto
2nd day > arashiyama > golden pavilion > Philosopher’s Path
3rd day > kyoto – osaka (checkout) > toei movie studio > osaka check in + hep five feris + roaming around
4th day > osaka osaka amazing pass > endo sushi > osaka aquarium + mall roaming + food trip > dotonburi food tour
5th day > osaka – kobe > kobe day tour + steakland > Hanshin Tourist Pass + Rokkosan Tourist Pass > kuromon market
6th day > osaka free > shopping and food trip > 6pm to airport osaka
that’s my plan? is it good already ? or maybe you can suggest better plan and better pass..
i still not sure using what pass for 2nd, 3rd and 5th day.

btw if you don’t mind please take a look my itinerary. i made 3 option. maybe you can choose which 1 better and give suggestion. thanks


day 0 osaka airport 8pm will straight to kyoto check in
day 1 arashiyama + golden pavilion + Philosopher’s Path
day 2 dan dan cafe wazuka, kyoto & around kyoto
day 3 around kyoto + check out > osaka check in + hep five feris + roaming around & dotonburi
day 4 kobe day tour + steakland
day 5 roam osaka + shopping gift + osaka aquarium + 6pm to airport.

hi may i know which pass you recommend for this trip ? thanks


Hi! We’re traveling to Japan this July, specifically, we’re going to be staying in Osaka. We plan to go to Osaka-Kyoto-Nara. I’m a little confused kung anong pwede kong pass na kunin. I hope you can help.