A Complete Guide to Kansai Transportation: 9 One-Day Passes of Great Value

When planning a trip to Japan, the complicated transport routes and numerous tickets often give people a headache. A single ticket allowing tourists to travel freely around Japan with unlimited train rides would definitely be convenient. This article introduces 9 bargain one-day passes for the Kansai area. Hopefully one of them is the perfect match for your trip!

Kansai

Travel Tips

Osaka

Osaka Amazing Pass

For tourists determined to get the most out of their trip, the Osaka Amazing Pass, which combines tickets for transit and various attractions, is the perfect choice. Not only can you take unlimited rides on Osaka Metro, the city bus, and privately-operated railways within Osaka (including Hankyu, Hanshin, Keihan, Nankai, and Kintetsu, but not JR), discount coupons are also included in the guidebook, giving you free access to 49 tourist attractions! These include the famous Osaka Castle (where you can take the Osaka Castle Pleasure Boat around the inner moat), Tsutenkaku Tower, Osaka Tennoji Zoo, HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel, the Umeda Sky Building's Floating Garden Observatory, and hot springs. You can also enjoy special offers at dozens of additional sightseeing spots and shops. If you plan to spend two days in Osaka, you might consider buying the 2-day pass.

*A list of facilities the ticket holder can enter/use for free: please click here
*A list of shops offering special deals: please click here

Hankyu Tourist Pass

If your Kansai trip spans Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, and you are only planning on taking the train rather than the bus, you may want to get a Hankyu Tourist Pass designed for foreign travelers. With that, you can enjoy unlimited rides on all Hankyu Railway lines (but not the connecting Kobe Rapid Transit Railway or Osaka Metro Sakaisuji Line) and easily get information on routes, recommended itineraries, local specialties, Kansai cuisine, and other related travel information.

Current prices are 700 yen for the 1-Day Pass and 1,200 yen for the 2-Day Pass. With ample planning, you can make good use of the ticket and save a lot on transportation.

If you're planning a trip to the Osaka area, we've also prepared an all-in-one guide to the city, including its sights, restaurants, hotels, special events, transport, and more!

Kyoto

Kyoto Sightseeing 1-Day Pass

Launched by the Keihan Electric Railway, the Kyoto Sightseeing 1-Day Pass is particularly suitable for tourists staying within Kyoto and visiting Uji. Besides being able to reach Uji on the Uji Line, you can freely get on and off between Yawata-shi and Demachiyanagi, passing by popular tourist sites like Sanjo, Gion Shijo, Tofuku-ji Temple, and the Fushimi Inari shrine. If you are traveling out of Osaka, you might consider purchasing the Kyoto Osaka Sightseeing Pass or the 2-Day Pass, in which the included train routes are extended to Nakanoshima Station and Yodoyabashi Station in Osaka.

Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus & Randen 1-Day Pass

When traveling around Kyoto, the extensive bus network is definitely the most convenient mode of public transport. If you are going to Kyoto for the first time and planning to visit several well-known temples, a 1-day bus pass will be enough for you to get around. However, if you have already been to Kyoto before and want to go to Arashiyama or explore the sights along the Randen line, then this combined "Bus and Randen 1-Day Pass" will come in handy. 

For example, you can visit the Kitano Tenmangu shrine near Kitano-Hakubaicho Station, where the deity of learning Sugawara no Michizane is enshrined; the Ryoan-ji and Ninna-ji temples, both UN World Heritage Sites, and the nearby Hojo-Teien garden; and Kamishichiken, the oldest geisha district in Kyoto. Taking both the bus and train, you can efficiently visit the tourist attractions located west of the city of Kyoto.

For anyone passing through Kyoto, we recommend you check out our Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, featuring everything from climate, transport, sights, tastes, and events!

If your will be spending considerable time here, then our article on transit passes specific to Kyoto would be good for you as well.

And finally, if you're in Kyoto and want to make sure you're getting the most out of its bus system, we've prepared a beginner's guide with the help of local students.

Bus & Eiden: Kurama-Kibune Same-day Round-trip Ticket

Co-launched by four transportation companies, the "Bus & Eiden: Kurama-Kibune Same-Day Round-Trip Ticket" allows travelers to take unlimited rides on the Kyoto City Bus, Kyoto Bus, Keihan Railway, and Eizan Railway for one day. Besides using it to visit Kurama and Kibune, you can also take the Kyoto Bus and City Bus freely to travel to different sightseeing spots in the city on the same day. However, ticket holders can only depart from Kyoto City, so if you are staying in Osaka or your hotel is situated along the Keihan Railway, it is recommended to get the Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass from Keihan Railway instead, which is limited to Keihan Railway and Eizan Railway only.

Nara

Nara Park & Nishinokyo World Heritage 1-Day Pass

Known as the “Capital of Temples”, Nara showcases Japanese ancient civilization with countless historical shrines and temples. One could spend a whole day just visiting all of them. Those with the “Nara Park & Nishinokyo World Heritage 1-Day Pass” can freely take the Nara Kotsu Bus within the valid zones for a day. For rides beyond the valid zones, an extra fare will be incurred. With the ticket, not only can you conveniently visit World Cultural Heritage Sites and popular sightseeing spots such as Nara Park, Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha, Kofuku-ji Temple, and Nara-machi, you can also enjoy discounts for partner restaurants and shops.

*A list of facilities and shops offering special deals: please click here 

So now you know how to get around, but this still leaves the question or where exactly to go. We have answers there too! Here are 50 things to do in Nara, going beyond the World Heritage temples and into food and events as well.

Shiga

Keihan Electric Railway's Biwako 1-Day Sightseeing Ticket

Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, not only offers beautiful scenery, but it is also located in Otsu-shi, home to the World Heritage Site Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji temple. Here you can also taste Omi beef, the most historic of the three major brands of wagyu beef. If you are staying in Kyoto and plan on spending a whole day at Lake Biwa, it would be perfect to get the Keihan Railway's Biwako 1-Day Sightseeing Ticket. For just 700 yen, you can ride on the entire Otsu Line of the Keihan Electric Railway, meaning you can get on and off freely between Misasagi and Biwako-Hamaotsu Stations as well as between Ishiyamadera and Sakamoto-Hieizanguchi Stations. Come and enjoy the thrill of riding the street railway while admiring the view of Lake Biwa.

However, the ticket does not include access to the Kyoto City Subway linking Kyoto City to Misasagi, so you will need to pay an extra fare for this part of the trip.

Hyogo

Kobe Machi-Meguri 1-Day Coupon

As an international port city, Kobe has been greatly affected by Western culture for centuries, so it is well-known for its buildings and streets full of exotic features, not to mention its Japanese-Western fusion desserts and breads. If you want to visit the downtown and suburban attractions in Kobe, you should probably get a “Kobe Machi-meguri 1-Day Coupon”!

With the coupon, not only can you enjoy unlimited rides on the Kobe Municipal Subway (between Shin-Kobe and Shin-Nagata on the Seishin-Yamate Line, and the entire Kaigan Line), the entire Kobe Kosoku line, and the Port Liner (Port Island Line) for one day, you can also get discount coupons worth 700 yen in total for the nearby amenities. There is a Hankyu version as well, which includes all the lines mentioned above and all Hankyu lines.

[ON HIATUS] Arima & Rokko 1-Day Excursion Pass

When visiting Kobe, besides wandering streets full of chic, exotic vibes and eating delicious desserts, Arima Onsen and Mount Rokko are two popular tourist attractions not to be missed! Get the “Arima & Rokko 1-Day Excursion Pass” if you are going there. Not only can you take the train, bus, cable car, and ropeway in the valid zones, you can also enjoy either a kinsen (golden hot spring) or ginsen (silver hot spring) bath and get discounts in nearby amenities.

One thing to note here – the Rokko Cable Car and Rokko-Arima Ropeway may be out of service due to strong winds, snow, and other weather conditions. In those cases, no exchange/refund or compensation for transportation expenses will be provided. Be sure to check the operating status on the official website before departure.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, this pass is presently not being sold; those who no longer need their pass (due to the coronavirus) can get theirs refunded free of charge. 

*Rokko Cable Car Official Website: please click here
*Rokko Arima Ropeway Official Website: please click here

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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