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[START: Previously Unpublished Post]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.
- The transportation card should provide discounts for every ride that you take as compared to buying single-journey tickets at the regular rate.
- 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.
- 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
- Arrival at Kansai International Airport (KIX) via Cathay Pacific Flight. Approximately 1:45PM local time. Buy ICOCA&Haruka One-Way Type Pass.
- Use Haruka One-Way Type Pass to ride JR Haruka from KIX to Shin-Osaka Station.
- Check-in at Osaka AirBnB.
- 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.
- 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.
- Walk to Dontonori and explore. Shop and dine.
- Use ICOCA to go back to AirBnB apartment. Namba Station to Shin-Osaka Station.
- DAY 2 (Thursday – November 26) – Full Day
- Use ICOCA to go to Universal Studios Japan (USJ). Shin-Osaka Station to Universal City Station. This will take up much of the day.
- Use ICOCA to go to Umeda. Explore Umeda at night.
- Use ICOCA to go back to AirBnB apartment. Umeda Station to Shin-Osaka Station.
- DAY 3 (Friday – November 27) – Full Day
- Use ICOCA to go to Kyoto. Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Staton. Ride the JR Special Rapid Service on the JR Kyoto Line.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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]