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How to Visit the Main Attractions in Kyoto in Three Days with Kansai Area Pass

Text / Luo Yi

When planning a trip to Japan, the task can be quite daunting and overwhelming. The first issue most people would face is not about the language but the traffic –- Should I buy a JR Pass? Can I take the subway with the JR Pass? Oh and there are so many one day passes of bus and subway, should I buy a day pass or a rechargeable transport card? Too complicated!

Ok, I decide to visit Kyoto. Here comes the second issue about itinerary: My time is limited, so how should I plan my itinerary wisely? How to avoid the crowds at those popular attractions?

Now, the newly released Kansai Area Pass can solve both of your issues with one stone. With this pass and the recommended itinerary, you can visit the main attractions in Kyoto in just three days.

1. Introduction to Kansai Area Pass

Released date: 1st October, 2019

Validity Period: 1-4 days

Valid Trains:

• Non-reserved seats on Kansai Airport Express HARUKA

• Special Rapid Services, Rapid Services, and local trains on JR-WEST regular lines

• Kyoto City Subway “One-Day Pass”

• Keihan Railway “Kyoto Sightseeing Pass”

* Separate Express Tickets are required for

• Reserved seats on Kansai Airport Express HARUKA

• Both reserved and non-reserved seats on Express Trains excluding Kansai Airport Express HARUKA

*Cannot be used for “shinkansen” bullet trains

Prices:

*Adult: 12 or over 12 years old when an exchange order is issued or a rail pass is purchased

*Child: 6-11 years old when an exchange order is issued or a rail pass is purchased

Eligibility

  • A rail pass user must be holding a passport issued by a foreign government.
  • A rail pass user must be entering Japan as a “Temporary Visitor.”

* “Temporary Visitor” is a status of residence defined under Japanese immigration law.

Purchasing and exchanging a rail pass

Step 1

Purchasing an exchange order (MCO: Miscellaneous Charges Order or E-TICKET) through a Travel Agency outside Japan

Step 2

After entering Japan, present the MCO with a passport at exchange locations, fill out an application with necessary details, and exchange for Kansai Area Pass. Exchange locations:

• JR Kyoto Station, Shin-Osaka Station, Osaka Station, Nara Station, Kansai Airport Station, Wakayama Station, and Sannomiya Station

• TiS Kyoto, TiS Osaka, TiS Sannomiya

• Travel Service Center OSAKA, Travel Service Center SHIN-OSAKA

Step 3

Exchange for Kyoto City Subway “One-Day Pass” at the following locations:

• City bus and subway information center, Kyoto KOKO Welcome Center, all stations of Kyoto City Subway

Step 4

Exchange for Keihan Railway “Kyoto Sightseeing Pass” at the following locations:

• Sanjo Station, Tofukuji Station, Fushimi Inari Station, Uji Station

*There are both Keihan Railway and JR stations at Tofukuji and Uji. You can only exchange at Keihan Railway Tofukuji Station and Uji Station, not JR stations.


2. 3 Days in Kyoto Itinerary

Day 1

Kansai Airport → Arrive in Kyoto by Haruka (1 hour and 15 minutes) → Use the luggage delivery service at Kyoto Station to send your luggage to your hotel

→Take the subway (7 minutes, get off at Marutamachi Station) and visit Kyoto Gyoen

→Take the subway (6 minutes, get off at Nijojo-mae Station) and visit Nijo-jo Castle

Day2

Depart from your hotel (around 7:00) → Take Keihan Railway (get off at Kiyomizu Gojo Station) and visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple

→Have breakfast

→Take Keihan Railway (30 minutes, get off at Uji Station) and visit the Phoenix Hall at Byodo-in Temple

→Take Keihan Railway (25 minutes, get off at Fushimi Inari Station) to visit Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

→Take Keihan Railway (8 minutes, get off Gion Shijo Station), enjoy Gion at night

Day3

Departure from your hotel (in the morning) → Go to Kyoto Station and deliver your luggage to Kansai Airport. →Take JR (17 minutes, get off at Saga Arashiyama Station) , visit Arashiyama

→Take JR (17 minutes, get off at Kyoto Station)

→ Arrive at Kansai Airport by Haruka (1 hour and 15 minutes)