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What Pass to Buy? (rail pass questions)

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Old Jun 6, 17, 2:34 pm
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What Pass to Buy? (rail pass questions)

Will be flying into and out of KIX next April. We will be staying at the Marriott by Tennoji station for 7 nights. We picked this hotel since we are using an 7 night MR travel certificate and they allow 3 in a room. Here's our initial itinerary:

Day 1: Arrived KIX 6 PM and limited express to hotel.

2: Tour Osaka

3: Kyoto

4: Kyoto

5: Nara

6: Mt Koya

7: Osaka

8: Fly home out of KIX

Another option we are considering:

7: Train to Hiroshima(Stay overnight)

8: Fly home out of HIJ

Based on our itinerary, here are some questions:

1. What pass or passes to purchase?
2. Local transportation options?
3. Is good website to use for a specific pass?
4. We are flying JAL home. What time to arrive at airport with checkin luggage?

Last edited by sbc94523; Jun 6, 17 at 3:51 pm
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Old Jun 6, 17, 4:36 pm
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The train to Koya is not part of Japan Rail. There is a pass being sold for that railway, but a JR pass won't get you anywhere.
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Old Jun 6, 17, 4:45 pm
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Originally Posted by WorldLux View Post
The train to Koya is not part of Japan Rail. There is a pass being sold for that railway, but a JR pass won't get you anywhere.
What I trying to get handle on is it there a type of pass(ie Kansai wide area) good for going back and forth between Osaka(Tennoji station) and Kyoto/Nara etc.. Or is it better just purchase individual tickets?
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Old Jun 6, 17, 4:48 pm
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Pass may not save you much.

Considering your first option of flying out of KIX, then there is ICOCA+Haruka discount ticket. Haruka will take you between KIX and Tennouji, which this discount ticket is 2,200 yen.

Then you will be visiting Kyoto for two days, which means two round trips Tennouji-Kyoto which is 3,680 yen.

Then round trip to Nara is 940 round trip.

For Mt. Koya you will take Nankai Line, not JR.

The minimum JR cost total will be 6,820 yen, which will be cheaper than any JR West passes available.

If you take Subway-Keihann Line combo to get to Kyoto, not JR Line, then two round trips to Kyoto will be 2,560 yen, saving of 1,120 yen.

If you decide to fly out of Hiroshima then:

1,110 yen (Haruka discount)
3,680 yen (two days to Kyoto)
940 yen (a day trip to Nara)
10,440 yen (Shinkansen to Hiroshima)

Total of 16,170 yen, where Kansai-Hiroshima Pass is 13,500 yen but valid only for 5 days. Then buying one way ICOCA+Haruka discount 1,110 yen plus Kansai-Hiroshima Pass of 13,500 yen will be 14,610 yen and using the pass will save you about only 1,560 yen. However, with Kanasai-Hiroshima Pass you can only use non-reserved seating.

It is your call, minimal difference if you use a pass or buy tickets individually as you ride.
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Old Jun 6, 17, 5:10 pm
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Originally Posted by AlwaysAisle View Post
Pass may not save you much.

Considering your first option of flying out of KIX, then there is ICOCA+Haruka discount ticket. Haruka will take you between KIX and Tennouji, which this discount ticket is 2,200 yen.

Then you will be visiting Kyoto for two days, which means two round trips Tennouji-Kyoto which is 3,680 yen.

Then round trip to Nara is 940 round trip.

For Mt. Koya you will take Nankai Line, not JR.

The minimum JR cost total will be 6,820 yen, which will be cheaper than any JR West passes available.

If you take Subway-Keihann Line combo to get to Kyoto, not JR Line, then two round trips to Kyoto will be 2,560 yen, saving of 1,120 yen.

If you decide to fly out of Hiroshima then:

1,110 yen (Haruka discount)
3,680 yen (two days to Kyoto)
940 yen (a day trip to Nara)
10,440 yen (Shinkansen to Hiroshima)

Total of 16,170 yen, where Kansai-Hiroshima Pass is 13,500 yen but valid only for 5 days. Then buying one way ICOCA+Haruka discount 1,110 yen plus Kansai-Hiroshima Pass of 13,500 yen will be 14,610 yen and using the pass will save you about only 1,560 yen. However, with Kanasai-Hiroshima Pass you can only use non-reserved seating.

It is your call, minimal difference if you use a pass or buy tickets individually as you ride.
Thanks for the clear layout of the potential costs.
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Old Jun 6, 17, 8:22 pm
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There actually IS a JR route to the beginning of the funicular at Koya-san, but it requires changing trains in out-of-the-way places a couple of times.

The private line from Nankai-Namba is an easier option.

Be sure to reserve your temple space in advance, especially if you are going in early April. When I was there, you couldn't choose your temple but the central booking office chose it for you.

Expect a vegan dinner and breakfast, accommodations like a ryokan, and getting up at the crack of dawn to attend the 6:00AM chanting of sutras.
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Old Jun 6, 17, 10:41 pm
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You could also consider a day trip to Hiroshima, it's only an hour and forty five minutes or so on the Shinkansen.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 5:33 am
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Originally Posted by sbc94523 View Post
What I trying to get handle on is it there a type of pass(ie Kansai wide area) good for going back and forth between Osaka(Tennoji station) and Kyoto/Nara etc.. Or is it better just purchase individual tickets?
https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/

Personally I'm not sure if it makes sense to get one of those passes. It would be differently if you traveled longer distances.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 11:16 am
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I would like to clarify one point about Mt. Koya.

If you're not going to stay overnight, don't bother. It's a scenic place, but the walk around the cemetery and to the grave of Kukai is interesting mostly to people who are well-versed in Japanese history and/or Shingon Buddhism.

The night in the temple is a worthwhile experience, though.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 11:54 am
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Originally Posted by ksandness View Post
I would like to clarify one point about Mt. Koya.

If you're not going to stay overnight, don't bother. It's a scenic place, but the walk around the cemetery and to the grave of Kukai is interesting mostly to people who are well-versed in Japanese history and/or Shingon Buddhism.

The night in the temple is a worthwhile experience, though.
Had not planned on staying overnight. We will have to reconsider .....
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Old Jun 7, 17, 12:22 pm
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You could also visit Himeji castle as a day trip from Osaka.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 2:21 pm
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If the cost is even close to even money, possession of a Rail Pass of some sort is definitely worth it. The convenience of not having to figure out how to buy tickets for each train, and instead just walking onto the platform and on the train is worth something.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 3:16 pm
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Originally Posted by jphripjah View Post
You could also visit Himeji castle as a day trip from Osaka.
If we did the Hiroshima trip, we would stop over at Himeji castle.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 3:20 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
If the cost is even close to even money, possession of a Rail Pass of some sort is definitely worth it. The convenience of not having to figure out how to buy tickets for each train, and instead just walking onto the platform and on the train is worth something.
Since this will be our first time in Japan, convenience is important.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by sbc94523 View Post
Since this will be our first time in Japan, convenience is important.
Buying tickets is not difficult at all and it's not like you're going of the beaten track.

If you want convenience, get yourself a data sim/hotspot.
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