Did you know that there is an incredible way to save money while sightseeing in Japan, with the JR West Rail Pass (Kansai Wide Area Pass) issued by JR West!
This is a special discount ticket for foreign tourists. You can get unlimited rides on select Sanyo Shinkansen and limited express trains not only in Kansai but also in other areas such as Sanyo, San’in and Hokuriku. You can do all this using the JR West Rail Pass.
What exactly is the JR West Rail Pass?
The JR West Rail Pass is an unlimited-rides pass issued by JR West for foreign visitors to Japan. In total there are nine types of JR West Rail Pass. Each covers an area such as Sanyo, San'in and Hokuriku.
One of these is the Kansai Wide Area Pass which enables you to ride as much as you want over a wide area, making it very attractive. It covers an area extending from Kansai Airport to various parts of Kansai, Okayama, and Kurashiki.
This pass may be used for unreserved seats on trains of the Sanyo Shinkansen operated by JR West (Shin-Osaka to Okayama only), unreserved seats on the limited express trains Haruka, Kuroshio, Thunderbird, and Kounotori, and high-speed JR West Local trains on conventional lines.
First, check out the highlights in the area where you can use the pass.
Now let's take a closer look at the Kansai Wide Area Pass, which is part of the JR West Rail Pass and convenient for traveling from Kansai to Okayama.
How far can you go using the JR West Rail Pass? Check out which sightseeing spots can be accessed using it!
On the Kansai Wide Area Pass you can go to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Himeji, Shiga, Okayama, Kurashiki, Wakayama / Shirahama, Kinosaki Onsen, and Takamatsu, as well as Kansai International Airport.
This pass is perfect for those who would like to visit famous places outside of the Kansai region such as the Kurashiki Bikan district in Okayama Prefecture noted for its retro-modern landscape of white-walled traditional warehouses called kurayashiki that are lined with willow trees, and the Great Seto Bridge that connects several islands between Honshu and Shikoku.
However, please note that these passes cannot be used for the Tokaido Shinkansen that runs between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto. When traveling between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto the pass can be used on the JR Kyoto Line.
You can also use the Kansai Wide Area Pass for free use of the rental bicycle called Eki Rin-kun in the area which it covers. One nice thing about this pass is that it can be used for different types of transportation to further complement your travel needs.
How much can you save by using this pass?
you can actually save by using this pass.
The normal round-trip fare on the Sanyo Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station costs 11,220 yen, while the Kansai Wide Area Pass (if purchased outside of Japan) offers unlimited rides for five days for 9,200 yen. So even if you make only one round trip it is definitely cheaper to use the pass. When you consider that you can use the pass for unlimited rides over a 5-day period and over a wide area the savings are quite significant.
How and where to purchase the JR West Rail Pass
Only those in possession of a passport issued by a foreign country containing a visa valid for a “short-term stay” in Japan are eligible to buy the JR West Rail Pass.
There are three ways to purchase the pass: through a travel agency, on the Internet, and directly from a JR station that offers them for sale. Note, though, that how the pass is sold and its price may differ depending on whether the purchase is made overseas or in Japan. Please refer to the following to assist in making the purchase in a manner most suited to your needs.
A. Purchase outside Japan (overseas travel agency)
12 years of age and older 9,200 yen, for children between 6 and 11 years of age 4,600 yen
1. Purchase an Exchange Order (MCO: Miscellaneous Charges Order or E-TICKET) at a sales location in each country.
2. When you arrive in Japan, exchange your pass at the MCO or E-TICKET exchange location.
3. Follow these steps to receive an E-TICKET.
* MCOs or E-TICKETs that could not be exchanged can be refunded at the overseas travel agency where the pass was originally purchased (additional handling charge will be incurred).
B. Purchase inside and outside of Japan (JR West Japan online reservation)
12 years of age and older 10,000 yen, for children between 6 and 11 years of age 5,000 yen.
1. Make a reservation through JR West Online Reservation.
2. After arriving in Japan, pick up your pass at a ticket vending machine or at the ticket counter of the station. Be sure to prepare the following two items in advance as they are required for receiving the pass.
(1) Reservation information
To receive the pass from a ticket vending machine, a passport with an IC chip is required. Travelers with passports not having an IC chip will need to get their passes from the ticket counter.
* Check here to see at which stations the pass can be picked up
3. When receiving the pass at a station, payment can be made by cash or credit card.
C. Purchase in Japan (JR West Station: Ticket counter)
12 years of age and older 10,200 yen, for children between 6 and 11 years of age 5,100 yen.
1. After entering Japan, fill in the required details on the application form.
2. Present your application and passport at the ticket counter.
3. Payment can be made by cash or credit card.
* Purchases at major JR West stations and online reservations will be limited to one pass per person per stay.
Using the affordable and convenient JR West Rail Pass will quickly enable you to expand your travel plans. Of course, there are plenty of attractive sightseeing spots in the Kansai area alone, but with this convenient pass you will be able to make your trip to Japan even more memorable. The JR West Rail Pass can be used in a wide area that includes Okayama and Hiroshima, so please check out the JR West official website for more details.
Text by: West Plan
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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