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.

More Tips on YouTube ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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

    • Karen says:

      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

  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.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Waaah I was able to check comments just now. Too late na.

      This is what I would have answered:

      July 19 – Get the Meguru Loop Bus Pass to tour the city.

      July 19-23 – 5-Day JR Kansai Wide Pass. It covers all the places you’re gonna visit within these 5 days.

      I-publish ko na rin in case other readers are in the same situation.

  22. Bea Castro says:

    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!! :)

  23. Ben says:


    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!!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      No, the 14-day nationwide JR Pass won’t be worth it for you since you’re spending most of your time in one region only. You can fly or take the bus to Osaka instead and then just use regional/city passes.

  24. teasebrat says:

    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?

  25. Donna says:

    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)?

  26. Huang Chun says:

    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 (:

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi! I’m assuming you’re staying in Osaka in Nights 1-2 and Kyoto in Nights 3-5.

      If so, since your itinerary isn’t packed, I wouldn’t recommend any big regional pass. Maybe the following:

      Day 1: Yokoso! Osaka Ticket

      Day 3: Hankyu Pass. But not sure if Hankyu has rapid trains on this line. But Hankyu connects Umeda and Gion area.

      The rest (except Day 6), I’ll probably just use ICOCA or single tickets.

  27. Michelle Mae says:

    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

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Michelle,

      1. YES, because there are non-JR train stations near those sites that are covered by Kansai Thru Pass.

      2. YES, you can use SUICA in Osaka and Kyoto.

  28. Michelle Mae says:

    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

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      1. Yep! Just find the nearest non-JR station. For example, for Arashiyama, use Arashiyama Station, not Saga-Arashiyama. For Fushimi Inari, although the closest station is Inari Station (which is JR), there is also a non-JR Station nearby.

      2. Yes, you can use SUICA in Osaka and Kyoto. Done it many times. :)

  29. Marky says:

    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

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Marky,

      If I were in your shoes,

      Day 1-2: NO PASS (unless you’ll be visiting A LOT in 2 days, in which case get a subway pass)
      Day 3: Osaka Amazing Pass
      Day 4: 1-Day Kansai Thru Pass, but move Fushimi Inari to the next day
      Day 5: 1-Day Osaka-Kyoto Keihan Sightseeing Pass


  30. Rina says:

    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,

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Rina,

      The Kansai Thru Pass is best utilized when there are 2 inter-city trips in a day. In your case, since your return flight is at night, I recommend moving the Nara day tour to Day 4 (Having Nara and airport journeys in 1 day makes it more sulit. Just start your day early), then move Kyoto to Day 3. So it looks like this:

      Day 1-2: Osaka Tour — Use 2-day Osaka Amazing Pass
      Day 3: Kyoto — Use 2-day Kansai Thru Pass
      Day 4: Nara + Airport — Use 2-day Kansai Thru Pass

      For the ones not covered by these passes, you can use ICOCA or SUICA or PASMO. They all work in Tokyo and Kansai areas, no problem. :)

      • Rina says:

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

          • Rina says:

            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,

          • Yoshke Dimen says:

            Hi Rina, based sa itinerary mo, no need for Tokyo Subway Ticket. It’s only advisable if you’re going to make a lot of subway trips. In your case wala naman masyado.

            Day 2 – Magkatabi lang sya. Pwede mo nga sya lakarin if you have the energy.
            Day 3 – No need for for a pass.
            Day 4 – You’ll make 3 subway rides here, but if you compute, the total is still lower than the price of the pass.
            Day 5 – Magkakatabi lang din ang Shibuya attractions. And the best train line for this is JR, so no need for a pass.

  31. Ching Huey says:

    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! :)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Ching,

      Your itinerary isn’t that packed so I wouldn’t worry too much about the passes. If I were in your shoes, I’d just get an Osaka Amazing Pass for my stay in Osaka (use the 2-day pass then either get another 1-day pass or use ICOCA for the 3rd day, depending on itinerary), then I’d just use ICOCA for the rest of the trip.

      You might also want to switch Eikando Temple and Kiyomizu-dera because the latter is very close to Kodaji and Gion.

  32. Amelia says:

    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.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Amelia, I’m not familiar with Oarai, so not sure if may implications. But sulit yung JR Whole Japan Rail Pass for Days 6-12 mo.

      For the rest, you have a very relaxed itinerary. I don’t think need mo pa ng pass for those other days. Just use ICOCA.

      • Amelia Anuar says:

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

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Oops, sorry! Thought you’re Filipino.

          Anyway, basically, here’s what I wrote:

          I’m not familiar with Oarai, so I’m not sure if there are implications. But the JR Whole Japan Rail Pass is worth it for your Days 6-12.

          For the rest, you have a very relaxed itinerary. I don’t think you need a pass for those other days. Just use ICOCA.

          • Amelia says:

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

  33. Michelle Valencia says:

    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!!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Michelle,

      I don’t think Hankyu covers Nara. So maybe Kansai Thru Pass is better.

      • Michelle Valencia says:

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

        • Michelle says:

          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!!

          • Yoshke Dimen says:

            Kansai Thru Pass covers Hanshin to Kobe, Hankyu to Kyoto and Kintetsu line to Nara. You can check the official website. They have a map there and a list of lines covered. Thanks!

  34. Roronoa says:

    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! :)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Roronoa,

      Your itinerary looks fine.

      Regarding the Kyoto leg, Hankyu can take you to Arashiyama but will not take you to Fushimi Inari or Tofukuji.

      Try looking at Keihan’s Kyoto-Osaka 1-Day Pass too. Keihan has stations close to Fushimi Inari and Tofukuji Temple. But you’ll have to use ICOCA to get to Arashiyama.

      • Roronoa says:

        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?

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          Hi Roronoa,

          If you avail of Keihan’s pass, no need for Hankyu. But you will need to buy separate tickets or use ICOCA to reach Arashiyama.

          For your other questions, please check na lang po Keihan’s website for those details.

          • Roronoa says:

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

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

  35. Vernice says:

    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!


  36. Lhen Luyun says:

    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.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Yes, Kansai Thru Pass can be used for 3 consecutive days.

      Whether or not it’s worth it will depend on your specific itinerary.

  37. Lhen Luyun says:

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

    DAY2: OSAKA SIGHTSEEING (OAP 2 days pass)
    DAY3: OSAKA SIGHTSEEING (OAP 2 days pass)
    DAY4: USJ
    DAY7: KOBE (KTP)
    DAY8: NARA (KTP)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Lhen,

      Depends on what you will visit in those cities exactly.

      But I would probably just use separate passes: Hanshin for Kobe, Hankyu/Keihan for Kyoto, and just use ICOCA for Nara.

  38. W says:

    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

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi W,

      1. I don’t think you need a Kansai thru pass for this itinerary.

      2. If you plan to avail of the ICOCA+Haruka discount, better to just get it on site.

      3. The Hello Kitty Shinkansen leaves Shin-Osaka at 11:20-ish, and like you said, it is bound for Hakata (with stops along the way), in the opposite direction. If you decide to ride this train, at what station do you plan to alight? I don’t think you’d have time to explore Kyoto if you take this train. Maybe consider exploring Himeji or Kobe instead of Kyoto? Since the Hello kitty train will actually stop in these cities?

      4. I dunno how crowded USJ will be on this day. :S

  39. Bea says:

    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!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Bea, the JR Kansai WIDE Area Pass can only be used on JR lines. Hanshin Line is not JR. But JR has its own Kobe Line.

  40. Amirul says:

    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?

  41. Miu says:

    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)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Move Fushimi Inari to Day 4 and use Keihan Osaka-Kyoto Sightseeing Pass on that day.

      On Day 3, use Hankyu for Arashiyama and Maruyama. Not sure about Philosopher’s Path though as I haven’t been there.

  42. Margaret Gomez says:

    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.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Margaret,

      I would recommend spending a full day in Kyoto. The attractions in Kyoto are huge. Arashiyama has lots of scenic spots. Fushimi Inari is also a big comples. Same with Gion and Kiyomizudera (Higashiyama).

      I think your current itinerary is great already.

      What I would do is switch Day 4 and 5 so both Osaka days are consecutive. Then for those 2 Osaka days, get a 2-day Osaka Amazing Pass. Use your ICOCA for the Nara part.

      For Kyoto Day, get a Keihan Osaka-Kyoto Sightseeing Pass. But use ICOCA for the Arashiyama part.

  43. Doris says:

    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

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      That’s a lot of going back and forth. Have you considered having 2 or 3 jump off points instead of just one? I feel like you’ll spend a lot of time on the train.

      Anyway, if you’ve already booked your hotel, consider the following:

      Days 1-2: Yokoso Pass
      Days 3, 4, 10: Kansai Thru Pass (3 days)
      Days 5-9: JR Kansai WIDE Pass (5 days)

      • Doris says:

        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

  44. Doris says:

    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

  45. Chenyl says:

    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!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Chenyl,

      KYOTO DAY: All your stops are within the same area. The best way to get around is by walking. It’ll be tiring but just pace yourself since you have the entire day. For this, I think the most cost-efficient option is a 1-day Hankyu Pass, which costs only 700yen. You will need to use your ICOCA to get from Namba to Umeda Station. But the pass can cover Umeda to Kawaramachi Station, which is in Gion and near Nishiki Market. If you don’t want to bother with a pass, that’s fine too. Round trip from Umeda is only 800yen, and that’s a direct trip.

      NARA DAY: If you’re staying in Namba, there is a direct line from Namba to Nara (Kintetsu). It only costs 570yen per way. I suggest you just use your ICOCA for this.

      DAY 7: Other than Minoo Park, all the others are close to Namba. If you build your itinerary well and you enjoy walking, you might not even need to take the train. So for me, just use ICOCA to get to Minoo Park.

      I did the computation for these 3 days (because I have spare time right now, haha), and KTP is not gonna pay off. Better to use Hankyu Pass + ICOCA for these days.

  46. Teresa says:

    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..

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Teresa,

      I’m not sure if I understood your question correctly.

      Some stations serve subway lines only, some areas have multiple subway lines (like Namba, Osaka Station area, etc). So yes, how you get to the station covered by the pass matters too. This is why we often recommend staying within Namba or Osaka Station areas.

      • Theresa says:

        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?

  47. Tin says:

    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!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Get a 1-Day JR Kansai Area Pass (aka JR West Kansai Pass). You will need to shell out extra (use ICOCA) to get to a JR Station from Namba, but JR is the most convenient in your case. It covers all your stops and has the least transfers.

      Another option is 1-Day Kintetsu Pass. But you will need to shell out a total of 630 yen to get to SagaArashiyama and Inari from Kyoto Station.

  48. Tyson says:

    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.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Tyson,

      If you’re willing to adjust your itinerary a bit, you can benefit from Yokoso Pass (which is not in this post yet). It covers the train from KIX to Osaka and unlimited Osaka subway the next day. But that means you’re gonna have to explore Osaka on Day 2 and move Kyoto.

      For the return trip, yes, ICOCA is fine.

      For Kyoto, consider 1 day Hankyu and then Osaka-Kyoto Sightseeing Pass (Keihan) on another day to explore other parts of the city not reached by Hankyu. I’m assuming you’ll be coming from Osaka both times.

  49. Elaine says:

    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.

        • Yoshke Dimen says:

          In that case, no need for Kansai Thru Pass. What I suggest is move Arashiyama to Day 5 and the Railway Museum to Day 6. Then on Day 5, use 1-Day Hankyu Pass, which covers your journey from Osaka to Arashiyama, Kiyomizudera and Higashiyama/Ninenzaka area.

          Then on Day 6, just use ICOCA.

          For Nara, if Nara Park lang and nearby temples, no need for Kintetsu Pass either. Just use ICOCA.

  50. Erika TM says:

    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.

  51. Ralph Rodney Borja says:

    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
    Pass: ICOCA

    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.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Ralph, where will you be staying?

      Kyoto from Nights 1-3 and Osaka from Nights 4-6?

      If you’re staying in Kyoto on Nights 1-3, Kansai Thru will not pay off on Days 2-3.

      If you’re staying in Osaka on Nights 4-6, where in Osaka will you be staying? If you’re staying in Namba, you can take NANKAI AIRPORT EXPRESS instead.

      Regarding arrival, it’s hard to say whether or not you can clear immigration and pick up baggage within an hour because it highly depends on the number of passengers at the time. It’s possible, but it’s just hard to predict.

  52. Len says:


    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.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      For me lang, masyadong siksik yung Kyoto/Narra/Kobe in one day. Pero since bus tour naman, baka ok naman. Di ko pa lang natry though.

      What time ang dating nyo sa Osaka ng Feb 7?

      • Len says:

        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

  53. tina says:

    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!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Tina,

      On Day 9, do you plan on taking the bus or the train to Tokyo?

      If you’re taking the train to Tokyo, the JR Pass will pay off and use it for Days 4-10.

      If you’re taking the bus to Tokyo, get a Kintetsu Rail Pass for Days 4-6. It’s actually a 5 day pass so you can still use it on the next 2 days if you’re using Kintetsu lines.

  54. Darryl says:

    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!

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