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Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

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Singapore
posts: 97
reviews: 1
Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

Hi All,

I know there have been a couple of previous posts on travelling in the Kansai area, but would still like some further advise.

I have roughly decided that I will visit:

Kyoto (spend about 4 days for most of the must-see places)

Nara

Arashimaya (spelling?)

Himeji

Osaka

Maybe Kobe too, if there's time

I have 9 days in Japan, with 7 full days for sight-seeing and will mainly be based in Kyoto.

I would like to know what is the best (and cheapest) option for me with regards to travelling in/around Kyoto and Kansai.

I know there is the JR West Pass, but that would mean I have to get a separate pass for travel in and around Kyoto right?

On the other hand, if I get the Kansai Thru pass, it won't allow me on the JR trains and I'm concerned how convenient/slow it is to move around.

Any tips/suggestion will be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,816
reviews: 1
1. Re: Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

There's another pass called Kansai Passport, but that's costly compared to Kansai Thru Pass, and doesn't cover the Kyoto-Himeji leg. In your case, you'd be better off considering either buying 1)a 2day / 3day Kansai Thru Pass, or 2)going on individual train tickets to and from Kyoto to the other cities plus the bus / subways pass running inside Kyoto.

As you may perhaps know, Himeji / Kobe / Osaka / Nara can be doable with Kansai Thru Pass. But riding non-JR trains from Kyoto will sometimes involve taking more time hitting places you have in mind than otherwise. That said, the difference in traveling time is not unbearable, I think. Depends on where you stay in Kyoto, but 20-to-40min additional time per visit should perhaps be factored into your itinerary. Is that manageable? If so, you can use Hankyu and / or Keihan Railways when going to Osaka, and Hankyu to Kobe. Nara can be made through Kintetsu. A bit challenging is the Kyoto-Himeji leg. But that can be made when you combine Hankyu and Hanshin(Sanyo), which is another non-JR railway company.

Taking non-JR trains from Kyoto is not that difficult as expected. There's a lot of locals (originally from abroad) doing that. But riding them at Umeda Osaka takes a little getting used to. Railroad stations to JR, Hankyu and Hanshin are sort of dispersed in that area. But if you follow the English sign / arrow in station corridors, underground passageways, and / or ground-level streets, you'll be on the right track.

Nashville, TN
Destination Expert
for Himeji, Kobe, Osaka
posts: 1,677
reviews: 14
2. Re: Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

You should probably look at combining various passages/trips. For example, use a 1-day JR West pass (2000 yen) to go to Himeji (costs over 2000 yen each way) and maybe Osaka (a lot depends on how much JR train travel you'll do in the ciy).

Using non-JR to Himeji is possible and, in my opinion, the train goes through a more interesting route (though it's almost identical scenery for 75% of the trip). However, it does quite a bit longer; the JR train is so much easier because it's one train from Kyoto all the way to Himeji.

You might look into stopping into Osaka on your way back from Himeji. What did you want to do in the city? A lot depends on that.

John W.

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,816
reviews: 1
3. Re: Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

It's a great idea suggested by worthj to use 1day JR West Pass for the Kyoto-Himeji leg. That'd save you the trouble of having to switch to another non-JR train in Osaka.

Singapore
posts: 97
reviews: 1
4. Re: Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

Thanks guys for the great advice! It looks like the Kansai thru pass is not as hassle-free as the JR West pass then, so I think I will go for the JR West Pass, and combine it with something else for Kyoto.

As for travelling in and around Kyoto itself, are there any good value-for-money bus passes? I will probably be spending 4 days in Kyoto, commuting to and fro all the places of interests. On other days, I will be making day trips out of Kyoto, but might still travel a bit around Kyoto in the evenings to the downtown area etc.

Btw, my accommodation is a short walk away from the JR Kyoto station. Any tips/advice is very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,816
reviews: 1
5. Re: Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

<As for travelling in and around Kyoto itself, are there any good value-for-money bus passes? I will probably be spending 4 days in Kyoto, commuting to and fro all the places of interests. On other days, I will be making day trips out of Kyoto, but might still travel a bit around Kyoto in the evenings to the downtown area etc.>

As for the bus, there's a 1day free pass for Y500. Visit the following link:

city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/access/transport.html

Scroll down until you find a green circle with names on its outer line. There's a lot more bus lines inside it and you can go anywhere within that range for a fixed rate, which is Y220. The areas reachable by bus but located outside its scope include Arashiyama(Y240) and Ohara(Y580). Both rates are based on the premise that you ride from JR Kyoto.

Well, I must admit here, folks, that I made a mistake commenting on the bus fare somewhere in my previous posts. I should have known better than to say the 1day free pass doesn't cover places inside that range. Tell you the truth, not until I saw a post by SammyFloyd recently did I realize that had been a hideous goof and I know I could kick myself for what I said. But please accept my apologies.

One thing to know about the bus ride is, it's going to be time-challenged the way you journey into various spots during the peak season. That's why some people like to hop on the subway train and get to the reachable nearest point to their destination so they can hit it cheap on a cab.

<Btw, my accommodation is a short walk away from the JR Kyoto station. Any tips/advice is very much appreciated.>

Maybe you're going to stay near the Mibu area or somewhere around Shiokoji Street, I guess. The first historic site you find first will be Higashi- Honganji Temple on Karasuma Boulevard, but it's been under renovation for quite some time now. There's Nishi-Honganji Temple located way west of it, and you may perhaps like to visit it. I may be wrong, but you'll like the idea of exploring the station complex first, I imagine. There's SKYWALK and Observatory, where, for instance, people get together to try to have a look at Daimonji Bonfire in dead summer. Go to the following link:

…adkiji.com/jr-kyotoekibill-to-kyototower_31…

Maybe you'll know there's a number of cafés inside the complex, but if you like to enjoy the view from here and buffet lunch / dinner at the same time, you may like to go to Grace Garden located on the 15th floor in Granvia Hotel, which is annexed to JR Kyoto.

Enjoy your stay.

6. Re: Travelling in around Kyoto/Kansai

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