[Kansai Area] Visit West Japan by Using JR-WEST RAIL PASS to Enjoy Fine Scenery and Experiences! Latest edition for 2023-2024

The West Japan region is known to have many unique and attractive spots everywhere. It is an additional appeal to visitors that they can access various places within the area by rail and/or ferry. Here are recommended spots as well as activities in West Japan, which can be accessed more conveniently and cheaply with a JR-WEST RAIL PASS!

For details about ticket deals and passes, access: https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/


◆Kansai Area

Kansai is a central area of West Japan, where you can enjoy history and traditional culture along with cutting-edge fashion and entertainment.


Kyoto Railway Museum

As one of the biggest railway museums in Japan, this museum has collection of 54 precious train cars that led the modernization of Japan, from real steam locomotives to shinkansen trains. It offers a place where you can enjoy learning about the world of railways under the theme of “discover, touch and experience,” with various experiences such as riding on the SL steam train and operating the train driving simulator (tickets for experience should be purchased in advance).

Adult 1,500 yen

Access 2-min walk from Umekoji-Kyotonishi Sta. (JR)
Business hours 10:00-17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Regular holiday Wednesdays(open on holiday Wednesdays), Dec.30-Jan.1, other temporary closing
URL https://www.kyotorailwaymuseum.jp/en/

Kyoto Aquarium

Kyoto Aquarium is a large-scale inland aquarium using only artificial seawater. People of all generations from adults to children can enjoy learning about undersea life, including rare creatures, such as Japanese giant salamanders, a special national treasure, that live in the rivers in Kyoto. The new Kurage Wonder area which contains approximately 5,000 jellyfish from more than 30 species is also very popular. As it is located next to Kyoto Railway Museum, visiting both together is recommended.

Adult  2,400 yen

Access 7-min walk from Umekoji-Kyotonishi Sta. (JR)
Business hours Varies according to the day
Regular holiday Open 365 days
URL https://www.kyoto-aquarium.com/en/index.html

Enjoy the Tastes of Osaka

Osaka has a “large helping” of distinctive dishes, including takoyaki and okonomiyaki. Dining destinations directly connected to Osaka Station make it easy to sample specialties of the region on your journey. For example, the shopper’s paradise LUCUA osaka on the north side of JR Osaka Station has two restaurant floors. On the south side of JR Osaka Station, above the Daimaru Umeda store, “Ichiroku Gourmet” has a variety of restaurants with the theme of a small feast. Also, the Eki Marche right next to the Sakurabashi Exit of JR Osaka Station, is a slew of popular eateries. With shops open from early morning to late at night, hungry travelers are welcome anytime.

・Have Fun In Kansai Pass

Choose either three or six popular sightseeing facilities and activities in Kansai with this discount pass and get coupons for shops as well. Participating facilities offering discount coupons include LUCUAosaka, Ichiroku Gourmet and Eki Marche.

Access Directly connected to Osaka Sta. (JR)
URL https://www.tripellet.com/hfkansai/en

Savor the sushi of Akashi

Every year, roughly 100 kinds of fish are caught in the waters surrounding Akashi City facing the Seto Inland Sea and Akashi Strait. This precious bounty supplies a host of top-quality sushi restaurants. If you’re searching for the real taste of Japan, venture a little beyond Kyoto or Osaka to Akashi, the home of sushi!

・Akashi’s Sushi Coupon “Waza no Ippin”

This coupon book allows you to choose your favorite restaurant and dishes among ten places around Akashi Station. Enjoy the skill and taste of top-class restaurants with ease.

Sales price: Three types of 2,000 yen / 3,000 yen / 5,000 yen
Where to buy:  Akashi Information Center (Piole Akashi West Wing) / Akashi Tourism Association Office (Aspia Akashi North Wing 7F)

URL https://www.yokoso-akashi.jp/coupon.html

Michigan Cruise in Lake Biwa

The Michigan is a cruise boat that starts from Otsu Port and travels in the southern part of Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan. The Skydeck of the boat offers a panoramic view, allowing you to fully enjoy the great view of nature. As crew members also entertain passengers with sightseeing guidance and live music, boosting the mood for the cruise, it is recommended for your first tour of Lake Biwa. Night tours are available for a limited period of time. It is a gorgeous experience to see a night view of lakeside towns from the quiet lake. 60-min course: Adult 2,400 yen, 90-min course: Adult 3,000 yen, 90-min night course: Adult 3,200 yen

Access Access to Otsu Port: 5 min by bus from Otsu Sta. (JR)
URL https://www.biwakokisen.co.jp/cruise/michigan/

Lunch buffet at “Lake View Dining Biona” in Lake Biwa Otsu Prince Hotel

Located on the 37th floor of the 38-story hotel by Lake Biwa, this buffet dining restaurant offers a fine panoramic view. It serves various types of dishes, including Japanese, Western and Chinese, made with local ingredients, in a buffet style. When you eat while enjoying the view of Lake Biwa, everything should be tastier!

4,500 yen and up for lunch

Access 10 min. by car from Otsu Sta. (JR) (courtesy shuttle bus service is available)
Business hours Lunch time Part 1: 11:30–13:00, Part 2: 13:30–15:00
Regular holiday Open 365 days
URL https://www.princehotels.com/otsu/restaurants/lake-view-dining-biona/

Kaiyodo Figure Museum Kurokabe

Nagahama has long been an important hub of lake traffic and also is located along the Hokkoku Kaido Road. For a sense of that time, visit Kurokabe Square, a popular place where the townscape brings history to life with shops showcasing glassware and restaurants serving local cuisine lining the streets in a nostalgic yet modern townscape. The Kaiyodo Figure Museum Kurokabe displays many elaborate three-dimensional figurines, miniatures, and more, offering unique hands-on experiences such as painting figurines and creating dioramas.

・Nagahama Odekake Passport

This passport allows you to enter 13 major tourist facilities in Nagahama City for two days. It also offers various benefits, including discounts on admission and free gifts, at more than 40 shops and facilities in the city. Price: 1,500 yen (Only one-time entrance is allowed per facility)


>>>For more information;



Access Nagahama Sta. (JR)
URL http://www.ryuyukan.net/


In the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture, Amanohashidate is a unique place featuring the dense growth of around 6,700 pine trees on a roughly 3.6 km long sand bar. This scenic spot has been famous since ancient times, and is one of the “Three Great Views of Japan.” Gaze upon the magnificent vision from the observatory!

・Tango Amanohashidate Ine Free boarding ticket

This pass allows unlimited rides on various vehicles, including fixed route buses (with an exception of some routes), Amanohashidate sightseeing boat, Amanohashidate cable car and lift, and Ine Bay tour boat. Get this pass and enjoy a tour of Kyoto by the Sea!

Fee: Adult 2,600 yen (valid for 2 days)

For More information:




Access Amanohashidate Sta. (Kyoto Tango Railway) → 5 min walk
URL https://www.tankai.jp/en/

Kinosaki Onsen

With a history of 1,300 years, this onsen town has long attracted many literary figures. Kinosaki Onsen has a unique concept that the whole town serves as one accommodation; therefore, bathrooms in hotels are called uchi-yu (inside bath) and public bathhouses in the town are called soto-yu (outside bath). Within walking distance of about 20 minutes, there are seven soto-yu bathhouses with unique features.

・Experience traditional crafts at Kinosaki Onsen: KINOSAKI MUST-VISIT PASS

This pass grants access to Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway, Onsenji Temple, and museums. You can also enjoy a roughly 30-minute workshop making original items with straw crafts at Kamiya Folk Crafts Store. For a perfect trip in Kinosaki Onsen! Fee: 2,800 yen (Valid for 3 days)

>>For more information, access:https://visitkinosaki.com/tour-packages/kinosaki-must-visits-pass-2/

URL https://visitkinosaki.com/tour-packages/kinosaki-must-visits-pass/

Yumura Onsen

In the mountains of Hyogo, this hot spring resort features the hottest spring source in Japan, at 98 degrees Celsius. People around here have a deep-rooted custom of both drinking and boiling food in the hot waters. Visitors also experience and enjoy the onsen culture by getting goods from a shop near the foot bath to brew coffee in the hot spring, or heating condensed milk in the steaming waters to make fresh caramel.

Access JR Hamasaka Sta. → 25 min by bus
URL http://global.yumura.gr.jp/

Kasugataisha Shrine

This ancient shrine is said to have been built over 1,300 years ago. Feel the mysterious serenity of this magnificent shrine deep in the forest. In Nara Park right next door, deer are cherished as messengers of the gods.

・Visit the temples of Nara with “Four-Temple Tour Ticket”


Nara Prefecture is home to historic temples. If you are planning a tour to visit temples around Horyuji Temple, you should get a Four-Temple Tour Ticket. This ticket is valid for admissions at Horyuji Temple, Chuguji Temple, Horinji Temple, and Hokkiji Temple, which are all related to Shotoku Taishi (Prince Shotoku, an eminent figure in Japan from the late 6th century to the early 7th century). Furthermore, you can get some discounts for renting a bicycle as well as at restaurants and shops with this ticket!

Ticket 2,400 yen

>>For more information, access:https://horyuji-ikaruga-nara.or.jp/pdf/2127_1682905890_23.pdf

Access JR Nara Sta. → 15 min by bus
Business hours 6:30-17:30 (Mar.-Oct.), 7:00-17:00 (Nov.-Feb.)
Regular holiday Open 365 days
URL https://www.kasugataisha.or.jp/en/about_en/


A complex facility with a hotel, seafood restaurant, cafe, and a 30-meter long footbath on the terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Kick back in the footbath with a magnificent view of sea and sky. The Shirahama Midsea Observatory (Coral Princess), is also an amazing place to see some adorable fish swimming around the floor of the Pacific Ocean 8 m deep.

Adult 800 yen (500 yen when visibility is poor) for Shirahama Midsea Observation Tower

Access JR Shirahama Sta. → 20 min by bus → Shin Yuzaki stop → short walk
Business hours Infinity footbath 7:00-23:00 (Free) Shirahama Midsea Observatory 9:00-16:30 (Admission until 16:00)
Regular holiday Open 365 days (Varies by store)
URL https://www.keyterrace.co.jp/facility/#observatory


Kimiidera, built in 770, is a famous cherry blossom spot, and from the top, you can see the beautiful scenery overlooking Wakaura Bay in each season. In the precincts, you can see the historical buildings designated as important cultural properties, and in the main hall, you can see the important cultural property Buddha statue.

Fee: Cable car: UP 600 yen, DOWN 200 yen  *Visitors on foot : free admission

Access JR Kimiidera Sta → 10 min walk
Business hours 8:00-17:00 (8:30-16:30 cable car)
Regular holiday Open 365 days
URL https://www.kimiidera.com/

Lively Katsuura Fishing Port Market

This market sells seafood and local souvenirs at the Katsuura Fishing Port, which boasts the largest catch of raw tuna in Japan. Be sure to taste the fresh seafood caught fresh from the fishing port at the cafeteria. The tuna carving show is also a popular spectacle not to be missed.

Access JR Kiikatsuura Sta. → 4 min walk
Business hours 8:00-16:00 (Last order 15:30)
Regular holiday Tuesdays
URL https://nigiwaiichiba.com/

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The information herein is as of October 2023

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