So I was going through my blog posts earlier and I found this small, unpolished gem. I planned to post this BEFORE my trip to Japan back in November 2015 as a way to share my experience in creating an itinerary and, at the same time, to help organize my thoughts.

Obviously, I was so ‘out of it’ that I ended up not posting it all. LOL!

To try and salvage this post would be impossible by this time but I am posting it anyway, for whatever it is worth.

 

 

[START: Previously Unpublished Post]

 

Creating an itinerary should have been a breeze, considering the wealth of information available on-line. While planning our 3-Day itinerary in the Kansai leg of our trip (Osaka and Kyoto), I hit a dead end. I cannot, for the life of me, identify the  proper transportation card to use.

When I went to South Korea* back in October 2012, it was pretty easy for me to make a choice. I bought the 5-Day M-Pass, which gave me a free ride on the AREX going into the city and unlimited subways rides per day. I basically have a short list of requirements that need to be met by the transportation card so that I would deem it economical and necessary.

  1. The transportation card should provide discounts for every ride that you take as compared to buying single-journey tickets at the regular rate.
  2. If the transportation card needs to be bought as day passes (1-Day Pass, 2-Day Pass, 3-Day Pass, etc.), then I should be able to maximize the use of it given the number of days allotted and the price I paid.
  3. The transportation card should cover all modes of transportation that I would need to be able to go to the sites I have listed in the itinerary.

When I started searching for a transportation card that will help me go around Osaka and Kyoto, I found out that it wasn’t the lack of passes that’s going to be the problem; rather, it’s being able to choose the right one. I technically have only have 2 and a half days to spend in the Kansai region before I hop on a Shinkansen and head to Tokyo.

Allow me to share my temporary (as of now) Kansai itinerary so you’ll have an overview of what I’ll be doing. Since I have already decided which transportation cards to use prior to posting this entry, I will be noting them down as well. I shall explain my choice of transportation cards afterwards.

  • DAY 1 (Wednesday – November 25) – Half Day
    1. Arrival at Kansai International Airport (KIX) via Cathay Pacific Flight. Approximately 1:45PM local time. Buy ICOCA&Haruka One-Way Type Pass.
    2. Use Haruka One-Way Type Pass to ride JR Haruka from KIX to Shin-Osaka Station.
    3. Check-in at Osaka AirBnB.
    4. Use ICOCA to go to Osaka Castle. Shin-Osaka Station to Tanimachi 4-chome Station. If you will arrive before 4:30PM local time, you should be able to enter with an entrance fee of 600Yen. If you will arrive after 4:30PM local time, you will not be allowed to enter anymore.
    5. Use ICOCA to go to Shinsaibashi-suji. Tanimachi 4-chome Station OR Tanimachi 6-chome Station to Shinsaibashi Station. Explore Shinsaibashi-suji. Walk the entire length of the arcade while heading in the direction of Dotonbori.
    6. Walk to Dontonori and explore. Shop and dine.
    7. Use ICOCA to go back to AirBnB apartment. Namba Station to Shin-Osaka Station.
  • DAY 2 (Thursday – November 26) – Full Day
    1. Use ICOCA to go to Universal Studios Japan (USJ). Shin-Osaka Station to Universal City Station. This will take up much of the day.
    2. Use ICOCA to go to Umeda. Explore Umeda at night.
    3. Use ICOCA to go back to AirBnB apartment. Umeda Station to Shin-Osaka Station.
  • DAY 3 (Friday – November 27) – Full Day
    1. Use ICOCA to go to Kyoto. Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Staton. Ride the JR Special Rapid Service on the JR Kyoto Line.
    2. Use ICOCA to go to Tenryu-ji Temple and Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station via the JR Sagano Line. Pay 500Yen for Tenru-ji Temple. No Entrance fee for Bamboo Grove.
    3. Use ICOCA to go to Nijo Castle. Saga-Arashiyama Station to Nijo Station via the JR Sagano Line. Pay entrance fee of 600Yen. Explore Nijo Castle.
    4. Use ICOCA to go to Fushimi Inari Taisha. Nijojomae Station to Fushimi Inari Station via Tozai Subway Line and a transfer to the Keihan Line at Sanjo Stastion. Explore Fushimi Inari Taisha.
    5. Use ICOCA to go to Kiyomizu-dera. Fushimi Inari Station to Kiyomizu-Gojo Station via the Keihan Line. Pay 400Yen for the entrance fee of Kiyomizu-dera. Kiyomizu-dera will re-open for the evening illumination during the fall season.
    6. Use ICOCA to go back to Shin-Osaka Station. Kiyomizu-Gojo Station to Kyoto Station via the Keihan Line with a transfer to the JR Nara Line at Tofukuji Station. Take JR Special Rapid Service on the JR Kyoto Line back to Shin-Osaka Station.

Based on my research, a pass (one) that would cover all the train and subway lines I have mentioned does not exist. Either it’s a pass that will cover only the JR Lines or a pass that will only cover the subways lines/private railways. I’m not saying that none of these passes are worth it; if my trip was either much shorter (2 days) or much longer (5 to 7 days), then I’m pretty sure I’d be able to use one of those passes. Somehow, I found myself in a zone wherein it wouldn’t be sufficient.

 

[END: Previously Unpublished Post]

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