Traveling in a group during autumn peak season = Limited hotel options + Massive crowds at attractions
So we decided to set up our base in Osaka. From there, we will travel to Kyoto, Himeji and Kobe. 4 cities in 7 days. This calls for (a) extensive research, (b) tough prioritisation and (c) careful planning to get maximum results.
Isn’t the above map mind-boggling? It’s an integration of subway, JR (Japan Railway) and private railway lines. There are so many ways to get from point A to B, so many different passes that offer good value and discounts. It took me a month to work out my transport plan. I have to consider factors like: cost, travel time, proximity of station to attraction, best days to travel, etc.
What I came out with is to use:
- Hankyu 2-Day Tourist Pass for visiting (a) Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum and Minoo Park [Hankyu Umeda – Ikeda, Ikeda – Minoo, Minoo – Hankyu Umeda], (b) Arashiyama and Nishiki Market [Hankyu Umeda – Arashiyama Hankyu, Arashiyama Hankyu – Karasuma, Kawaramachi – Hankyu Umeda]. Total savings of 550 yen per adult.
- Kansai Area 1-Day Pass for visiting Himeji and Kobe [Osaka – Himeji, Himeji – Sannomiya, Kobe – Osaka]. Total savings of 670 yen per adult.
- Hanshin 1-Day Tourist Pass for another visit to Kobe [Osaka Namba – Kobe Sannomiya Hanshin, Kobe Sannomiya Hanshin – Hanshin Umeda]. Total savings of 240 yen per adult.
- Suica or ICOCA for all other train travels. These are pre-paid cards so there are no savings from using them. It’s just more convenient than buying individual tickets.
Now all I need is to get the passes and cards, and depend on HyperDia to get me to places on time.