The cheapest option, though by just a small margin, is to buy the Kansai Wide Area Pass (7,200 Yen once the consumption tax increases on 4/1). You can ride Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Okayama. From Okayama to Hiroshima, buy individual tickets (about 12,000 Yen roundtrip).
The difference is only a thousand Yen or so vs the Sanyo Area Pass. Therefore, if you can take advantage of what the Kansai Wide Area Pass has to offer (coverage to Shirahama, Kinosaki, etc), then Sanyo Area Pass would be more convenient overall since you won't have to have the added headache of buying those single tickets.
In either case, you should plan to include some sort of airport ride and/or you Kyoto roundtrip to get some additional savings.
A nationwide JR Pass does not pay off.
Sanyo Area Pass:
Thanks for your advice. Its very helpful and i m think Sanyo Area Pass will be better for me. Since i can use it back to Kansai Airport
Actually, you can also use Kansai Wide Area Pass back to KIX airport. There is no difference between the two passes in that regard.
It might be interesting to "reverse engineer" various rail passes, to see what/where each one could get you.
1. The Kansai WIDE Area Pass would not get you to Hiroshima, and would only be good for 4 consecutive days. You could take a bus (cheaper) or train (faster) beyond Okayama to Hiroshima. But the 4 consecutive day limit may be a problem. Supplementing a part of the trip with ICOCA, or ICOCA plus Haruka could help (but read terms and conditions of those options).
2. Sanyo Area Pass gets you to Hiroshima, but is valid on only a few lines. If one is travelling only on those few lines, it can be a good deal - but I repeat that those lines are really quite few in number.
3. the JR Pass costs only a bit more than the Sanyo Area Pass, but can get you all the way between southern Kyushu and northern Hokkaido, over a week (or more if you get a longer-duration pass). So the options for side trips, or extensions of your route, are huge (within the day limit of the pass you buy).
To me, the Kansai WIDE Area Pass is a great deal for time-focused moderately extended travel (daytrips and overnights) from Osaka. The JR Pass is great for extensive travel around Japan. The other passes tend to be relatively poor value compared with those two, but for certain highly constrained itineraries. Individual rail tickets, or highway bus (including Willer and the Japan Bus Pass) can enrich those options.
It might be worth noting that Willer runs between Osaka and Hiroshima for JPY3000 o/w. For example, Umeda 0730 to Hiroshima 1255. That option might be a bit time-consuming for a day trip, but might be fine for an overnight. Willer also runs overnight between Osaka and Hiroshima, if you wanted to do that as part of a quick trip (not for me these days, but I might have done such bus overnights in years past..). Willer also has a 1-way Osaka-Hiroshima ticket linked to a loop bus pass in Hiroshima for JPY3380 and up - which looks potentially attractive.
Hi, a group of us are planning to travel from Shirayama -- Osaka/Nara -- Kyodo -- Osaka -- Kaisai airport for a 4 day trip. We are not sure what is the difference between Kansai Wide Area Pass and Kansai Area Pass. Can any one help ? Thanks.
Sorry I mean "Shirahama" :-)Edited: 28 October 2014, 05:00
The Kansai Area Pass does not cover Shirahama. You have to use the Wide version. It's a good investment though.
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