Travelling by shinkansen and even regular express trains can be costly when you’re exploring Japan. Thankfully, there are a number of discount rail passes to help you make the most of your money. These passes are usually reserved for overseas tourists entering Japan on a short-term tourist visa, but with no inbound tourism during the pandemic, the passes have been made available to foreign residents living in Japan, too.
If you’ve already looked into the JR East rail passes (for Nagano and Niigata, and Tohoku) and the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, here’s deal another d to add to your list. The JR West Kansai Wide Area Excursion Pass, servicing one of Japan's most popular regions, is finally available to foreign residents in Japan. It offers three days of unlimited rides including shinkansen and limited express trains in the Kansai region for just ¥10,000 (¥5,000 for children).
Kansai is the region of western Japan that’s home to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo, Wakayama, Kobe and more. The pass is valid for as many trips as you want on the shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Okayama, plus the JR West lines across Kansai as well as the Chizu Express. It can also be used on local JR West buses and the cute Hello Kitty shinkansen that runs on the Kodama line from Shin-Osaka. With the pass, you can also book reserved seats up to six times in ordinary cars for your journey.
The promotion is currently running until March 31 2023. However, you have to purchase your pass from selected travel sites including WAmazing, Klook, KKday, Trip.com, Rakuten Travel Experiences and Tiquets. You cannot buy the pass from JR West ticket offices and you must have a foreign passport (regardless of visa status) to be eligible for the pass. Once you’ve made the purchase online, you’ll have to bring your eticket to one of the designated exchange centres in Kansai listed here, along with your passport, to redeem the pass.
For more information on the JR West Kansai Wide Area Excursion Pass, visit the website.
This article was originally published on November 17 2021 and updated on April 19 2022.
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