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JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

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JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

We will be traveling to the above cities from 15 to 21 Dec covering the following interesting places :

Kyoto : - Nishiki Market , Kiyomizu-dera ,Fushimi Inari Taisha , Kinkakuji

Nara - Nara Park

Kobe - still planning

Himeji - still planning

Osaka - Dotonbori, Universal Studio Japan, Osaka-jo , Kuromon Ichiba

We are planning to purchase JR Rail Pass for the above visits including to/fro Kansai airport in Osaka, kindly advise suitable rail pass or alternative budget transport.

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

You don't need any rail pass if you want to save money. Consider JR Haruka and ICOCA package for Kyoto.

Depending on where you stay and intend to go, you may consider Keihan Ltd Exp (Osaka Yodoyabashi-Kyoto Gion Shijo), Hankyu Ltd Exp (Osaka Umeda-Kyoto Karasuma and Kawaramachi), Hanshin Rapid (Osaka Namba-Hanshin Sannomiya), Kintetsu Rapid (Osaka Namba-Kintetsu Nara), Kintetsu Exp (Kyoto-Kintetsu Nara). Private railways might be a bit cheaper than JR.

Himeji Castle tower is under scaffolds as you might already know.

Nara has Horyuji, another UNESCO World Heritage site, other than Todaiji and Nara Park

You might enjoy a visit to Arima Onsen town at the backside of the mountain of Kobe and Osaka.

Kyoto deserves at least 2-3 days.

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2. Re: JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji



We are staying in hotel near Kyoto Station for 6 nites.

I'm allowed to cancel my accomodation if it's not convenient.

I'm very confused by the train system, need your further advice.

a) which is the recommended rail to bring me from Airport to Kyoto,

what will be the fare & time to reach destination ?

b) As we are based in Kyoto hotel, what is the recommended transport to Nara, and Osaka if we do not use JR ?

c) we will be visiting universal studio, will you recommend that we stay in Osaka for 2 nites instead of staying 6 nites in Kyoto ?

many thanks.


chew ck

Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

Haruka is a direct Airport Express between KIX and Kyoto station.

ICOCA is Easy Link card in Kansai.


Singapore, Singapore
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4. Re: JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

Dear All Experts

Is it advisable for us to reserve the ICOCA card and from airport upon arrival??

Many thanks

Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

ICOCA can be purchased at Kansai Airport Station.

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6. Re: JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

Upon arrival at KIX, find the Japan Rail office. There are always uniformed employees in the terminal as you exit the final customs clearance area. They will direct you to the JR office where you can buy the Haruka Express ticket, and decide if the package Haruka ticket/ICOCA card will be useful for your plans.

The ICOCA card is not a discount means of travel. It is for the convenience of "pre loading" with money so you don't have to stop and purchase individual tickets, you just slide it over the reader at the turn stiles as you enter the train platforms. Here is a little info about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICOCA

If you mention your Kyoto hotel, we can tell you which side of the train station to exit for finding the hotel.

In Kyoto, the best way for getting around the city is to take the subway to the station closest to your destination, then either walk or grab a cab to the site. There are very few subways in Kyoto, so figuring them out is quite easy. You can use the ICOCA card on the Kyoto subway. There are also buses in Kyoto, but I feel they always take so long to get anywhere and I'd rather spend a bit more to ride the subway and get there faster, but it's a personal preference.

Kyoto station is very convenient for traveling to every other place on your list, so you are staying in a great location for the places you want to visit. You can visit the JR Office or the Tourist Information Center in Kyoto station and get specific information about trains and tracks for each of the trips you will be doing. They are very helpful.

7. Re: JR Rail in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji

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