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Welcome to my blog!

If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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Discovering #TrueKansai | Types of Rail Passes for Kansai

Hello lovelies! I'm back with another travel tips post that may help you plan your upcoming trips to
Japan, seriously it's super useful so do bookmark this page!

One thing we all know that Japan have alot of cost saving transportation passes for tourists, which is
good because after staying here as a local for more than 7 months I can confidently say that I miss
the tourist privileges lol. These passes not only allow you to save costs, it gives you more reason to
discover other parts of Japan that you never thought of visiting because it might come across as too far". Really, there is no denying that Japan's transportation system is one of the best in the world, it's so punctual that one can plan their itinerary down to the exact time of departure and arrival (no joke).

Many usually ask me what pass should try get when coming to Japan, to be honest I can't exactly recommend one as I do not know your itinerary or place of interests lol, I can only share my personal experience from this trip so it's up to you to decide whether the passes I've used is suitable for your plans or not :)

Okay to make things really simplified and clear, these daily passes highlighted in this post are not
your ICOCA/PASMO card (these are prepaid cards are like our Malaysian Touch n Go).
The daily passes only allows you to ride on certain lines and limited amount of days once activated
which are stated on the back of the card. So don't get these passes and prepaid cards mixed up ya!

Kansai is a big region on its own and it houses 7 prefectures which I'm proud to say that I've finally visited all 7 this year alone :D
It took me awhile to cover them, and glad that I can tick them off my #47prefecturemission .
One can easily visit 5 out of 7 of these prefectures within 5 days for only 3,600yen using the Kintestu
Rail Pass alone!!
That's less than RM200 for transportation, even I pay almost the same amount for toll and petrol just driving back & forth from KL to Melaka.
A real bargain deal I tell you, so if you are in for a daily adventure instead of just staying put in one
city then do read on as I share what passes I used for my recent 7 days 6 nights trip! This whole trip
was an experiment to test out different daily passes in a week to give a rough idea on which to select
out of so many, especially if you are confused and in the midst of planning your Japan trips  hope it

Day 1: Nara
Pass used: Kintetsu rail pass activated

The Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t.

Rapi:t Airport Express Super seats

From Kansai airport we took the Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t. to Namba station, it's the fastest way to get into the city (only 34mins) and from there we activated our Kintetsu rail pass to go Nara (using the Kintetsu Nara Line). 
he land of deers, visitors can take pictures, feed them and aside from that visit Todaiji, the Great Eastern temple.

This temple houses of the largest bronze Buddha statues in Japan and inside the temple there is a pillar you can attempt to crawl through. This particular pillar's hole is said to be the size of the
Buddha's nostrils, and if you managed to successfully crawl through it, you will receive enlightenment in the next life lol. Unfortunately, normal sized adults like us would probably get
stuck so don't force it unless you are a petite sized person like a middle school kid.

This hole, you can see people lining up to go through it

Beautiful sight of Nara deer park during Autumn

You can even dress in a kimono and take pictures with the deers like this pretty lady here!
Her fair skin against the bright red kimono definitely made heads turn especially when the deer decided to stop infront of her like it was asking to be photographed as well lol.

I've blogged about Nara before so you guys can check out some tips when it comes to their deer. Click HERE to read!

From Edogawa restaurant

When in Nara try their Unagi donburi dishes, it's apparently quite famous there and this shop is even listed on TripAdvisor with a good rating. But to be Kyoto's unagi is still probably one of the best I've every eaten (bias here haha).

We stayed nearby Nara station for 1 night as it's convenient to head off early to Hyogo prefecture the next day. We got our luggage delivered to our hotel room in Osaka so that it's easier to Kobe around without the weight. That's one of the things I love about Japan is that you can deliver your large luggages to whichever destination you are heading to and by the time you arrive your luggage would be waiting for you in your room. It also isn't expensive to send it, I remember using this service the first time to deliver my 28" luggage from Toyama to Tokyo for about RM100, super cheap!

Day 2: Hyogo

Pass used: Hanshin tourist pass & Himeji tourist 1 day pass

Himeji Tourist Pass

From Nara we headed back to Namba and exchanged to Hanshin line and stopped at Kobe Sannomiya station, this is when we activated our Hanshin tour pass which covers the main attractions of Hyogo prefecture!

For those of you who don't know Kobe & Himeji are cities in Hyogo, most people often mistaken these 2 cities as perfecture on its own lol.

We planned in a way to explore and stay in Hyogo 2 days 1 night that's why we didn't want to drag out large luggage along.

Though I've been to Kobe before twice (last year & this year January), there are still some things I've yet to see like the great Akashi Kaikyo Bridge!! Seriously must visit this majestic bridge, it makes you as a human wonder how did we ever managed to build something this sturdy and huge that lasted well over the decades!

You can go up to the Maiko Marine Promenade, up there is an observatory deck offering a view of the bridge's interior. There's also a cafe and souvenir shop here, that's where we had lunch with view overlooking the bay below.

You can even order the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge lunch lol

A corner dedicated for local souvenirs (made in Awajishima) 

 Not bad the meal came exactly as the photo lol

 Kobe style Tamago takoyaki in soup

 Octopus curry rice

How afraid of heights are you? Definitely not my cup of tea lol.

 View from Maiko Marine Promenade

You can explore around Maiko Marine Promenade and even have lunch there before heading to Himeji castle.

Did you know that out of the many castles in Japan, only Himeji is given the UNESCO world heritage title? It's also nicknamed the White Egret as the fully white castle over the horizon resembles a white egret in the sky. Really beautiful regardless of any season and during night time the castle is lighted up, you can get a nice shot from Himeji station viewing deck!

Spot the heart shape rock! 

Himeji tourist 1 day pass allows unlimited rides throughout the day between Namba, Kobe & Himeji via Hanshin & Sanyo Electric Railway.

Day 3: Hyogo

Pass Used: Rokkosan Tourist Pass

I really wonder why didn't I know of this Rokkosan Tourist Pass earlier, it's so convenient that the entire trip I didn't have to fish out money to pay for any of my transportation fares at all. This pass is seriously underrated, and I would highly recommend to get it if you are planning to spend one whole day at Rokkosan (Mount Rokko), Kobe. It costs only 1000¥ and it covers your entire trip both ways up and down (for bus) and cable car rides.

If you are not sure what to do in Rokkosan you can check out my previous post HERE

This time I managed to try out beginner level skiing, seriously tiring but super fun especially when you have a good instructor to guide you. Despite it not snowing yet (I went late autumn and a few days too early before the first snow fall lol), there was a man-made ice slope! Here at Rokkosan snow park, it's open all year round but snow related activities are only available from mid November to end of March. You can rent clothing and full equipment from the park itself so you don't have to bring anything! More details can be found on their official website.

Wind so strong until no eye see

Pose like pro but in reality don’t know how to ski lol

My choice of clothing stylo or not lol

You can enjoy a delicious meal with a beautiful view at Granite Café, Rokkosan

Genki & I made our own musical boxes at Rokko Music Box Museum

On the way back from Kobe, we stopped by this delicious Muslim friendly sushi restaurant, Matsubazushi (www.matsubasushi.jp) that has been around since 1938! 

It’s walking distance from Tsukaguchi station on Hankyu Kobe line. Normal sushi usually contains rice wine vinegar, but in this restaurant they omitted that and replace it with halal certified vinegar. If they didn’t mention it I couldn’t even tell the difference, all sauces here are also from halal certified sources (pun not intended lol) and they even use exclusive kitchen utensils for preparing the dishes. If there are any dietary restrictions one can call to let them know, like my case I was allergic to shellfish so they replaced mine with fish instead.

They are open from Wednesdays to Mondays and close on Tuesdays

Day 4 : Kyoto

Pass used: Hankyu Tourist Pass

I find the Hankyu train very stylish, maybe it’s because of the color lol
Did you know that they'll be having a new Kyotrain (to Kyoto) with traditional style interior starting from 2019? You can check out the article on Soranews24, can't wait for it because it looks so cool :D

I've visited almost every tourist attraction in Kyoto and little did I know there is a temple named within its vicinity as well! They welcome guests all year round but if you would like to enjoy the view from the top veranda (Kami shoin), it's open to the public every 17th of the month & other special occasions. A popular Japanese history movie (Nihon no ichiban nagai hi – Japan’s longest day) scene was shot at Kami shoin too!

The top veranda facing the garden.
The entry fee to enter here is 500 yen

Where Nihon Ichiban Nagai no Hi scene was shot

The view during the peak of each season is breathtaking, unfortunately we just missed the autumn view, now are the leftovers before winter arrives.
You can participate in craft activities like pressing flower art and perfume making at this temple too, a great way to bring home a beautiful and meaningful handmade souvenir.

Getting Here:

To get here isn't too difficult, as you can use the Hankyu tourist pass (1 day) - 800 yen from Osaka station to Nishiyama Tennoyama station (1 time transfer at Takatsuki station) and take a short taxi ride to the temple.
It saves you alot on your train rides between Osaka to Kyoto for 1 day, there is also a 2 day pass if your plans are to explore Kyoto longer and super worth it!

Photo with the breath-taking mountain view in Arashiyama 

Hankyu pass is very useful around Kyoto area as it passes through most main tourist attractions like Arashiyama (bamboo forest), kawaramachi (shopping district), Higashi Muko (this place has the best & spiciest food in town).

I’m Malaysian and we eat spicy food almost every day but I can’t even stomach one mouth full of this ramen, seriously crazy spicy and we ordered level 2! I can’t imagine how spicy level 5 would be, probably they spam the whole broth with ghost chilis lol. Really suicidal mission and this shop is in Kyoto. In for a challenge? Then head over to Kirin-en restaurant!

Hankyu Line Arashiyama station stops next to the Togetsu kyo bridge 
We went back to our hotel in Umeda, Osaka using the same pass as well. Couple of trips around Kyoto for only 800 yen pass a day, not bad!

Day 5: Ise Shima, Mie

Pass Used: Kintetsu rail pass + Limited express ticket

With the sleek Ise Shima Liner, its gorgeous! 
Photo credits to Stella Lee

Managed to catch a glimpse of its sibling in a different color haha, it's also the Ise Shima liner by the way.

This trip is the furthest I've ever traveled within Kansai region and it requires the usage of an express train to reach. Approximately 2.5hours directly from Umeda, Osaka and I would honestly recommend to stay 2 days to explore Mie abit rather than a day trip because this prefecture is so beautiful, next to the sea and it would be a shame to not see its iconic “married rocks” (Meoto Iwa) at the shores of Futami city.

Comfortable assigned standard seats

There's even charging ports onboard!!

Ninja train at Iga Kambe station on the Iga Railway line covered under Kintetsu pass

We only had one day to spare here so we visited the Ninja Museum Igaryu and Ise Jingu which was equally spectacular! I’ll need to make a separate entry for my experience in Mie even if it’s just a 1 day trip because there was so many interesting things I’ll like to share with you guys and this post is getting rather lengthy lol but thank you for reading until here! You have read approximately more than 2000 words :-P 

Iga City, the birthplace of Ninja, catch them in action at Ninja Museum of Igaryu

Getting Here: 

Using the Kintestu Rail Pass, you’ll just need to buy the express train ticket to ride and if you don’t have the Kintestsu Rail pass you’ll need to purchase 2 tickets (1 basic fare ticket + 1 limited express ticket) which costs around 3500-3900 yen 1 way.

My advice if you are planning to visit Mie, just get the Kintestu pass even if you don’t use it everyday (like me since I bought the 5 days one and only used it for Nara during day 1), a trip both ways alone the basic fare ticket costs 3840 yen and 3220 yen for limited express ticket. 

Total costs would 7060 yen for 1 adult, with the Kintetsu Rail Pass you only need to pay 3220yen (1 way is 1610yen) for your limited express reserved seats. Bear in mind with this pass, rides are UNLIMITED on entire Kintetsu & Iga Tetsudo Line for 5 days (3800 yen pass). So if you are like me who can't read maps, getting lost without an extra cost is a bonus ;)

Take some time to digest the calculation above lol, there are 4 kinds of Kintetsu Rail Passes
  1. Kintetsu Rail Pass (the one I used) – 5 days unlimited rides on Kintetsu & Iga Tetsudo Line 
  2. Kintetsu Rail Pass PLUS- 5 days Unlimited rides on Kintetsu & Iga Tetsudo Line, Nara Kotsu bus, Mie Kotsu bus, Toba city “Kamome” bus lines 
  3. Kintetsu 1 day Rail Pass- only on designated sections of Kintetsu Railway lines 
  4. Kintetsu 2 days Rail Pass- All Iga Railway lines 
More details can be found on their English website: https://www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/ticket/index.html

I may be terrible at maths, but when it comes to saving costs while traveling my brain works overtime for it lol.

Now my only regret was how I wish I knew about all these passes earlier before I moved to Japan *sobs* well at least those of you who are reading this post, make sure you take full advantage of these tourist passes during your trip to Japan!

Day 6: Universal Studios Japan (USJ)

Pass Used: N/A

When in Osaka, go USJ!

Christmas edition Minion popcorn holder now available at Despicable Me town, it's banana flavored by the way lol.

One of Osaka's most iconic attraction and I'm glad to be back here for the 2nd time in 2018, enjoy some rides that I couldn't while I was pregnant earlier this year lol. Not exactly the most pregnant, children friendly as they are fast thrilling rides that requires certain health & height regulation to meet. Definitely a place more for teenagers and young adults!

Getting There:

From my hotel in Umeda (New Hankyu Hotel Osaka) is walking distance to Osaka station, like literally just opposite the hotel lol from there you can easily get on the train to USJ. This trip requires you to purchase normal train tickets, I did not use any of my tourist passes as it doesn't cover under JR lines.

Though my summer visit to USJ is still sitting in my draft box collecting dust lol, I'm gonna share my top picks to do in USJ here.
  1. Minion town (very photogenic location) & Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride
  2. Harry Potter world (their rides don't even require to wear 3D glasses and it's so real!!)
  3. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
  4. Happiness Cafe for lunch because they have the cutest minion themed lunch set ever and during seasonal events they'll release special designs

There are definitely more rides like the EVA, Hollywood dream, JAWS, Jurassic world, and the list goes on!! At this rate I should probably get th annual pass lol. Best to spend a whole day in USJ and plan which rides you want to go for so you can buy the fast pass which allows you to skip the usual queue. However, if you go during non peak days like (weekdays) and non holiday period you can easily go for rides without needing the fast pass.

 When in Hogwarts, drink butterbeer! It's actually non alcoholic beverage despite its name, tastes more like rootbeer lol. The sky was dull because of the rain so added in the background to make it look Instagram worthy haha, first time doing something like this. Not bad eh my amateur editing skills.

Stella's edition haha, she's truly a pro in making photos looks so good!
If you are looking for a photographer in Tokyo, feel free to contact her for her rates.
Check out her Instagram: @Stellalee92

Extra Travel Tips:

Staying at New Hankyu Hotel Osaka

If you do not like the idea of switching hotels so frequently (especially if you have kids or elderly people in the group), I would highly recommend to stay at New Hankyu Hotel, Osaka instead because it's in a very strategic location (Umeda) and they even have direct buses to and fro from Kansai Airport to the doorstep of the hotel!

Will share a separate entry on this hotel on my next post because this entry is getting way too long and I’m afraid of uploading anymore pictures the page might crash lol.

Hope you found the brief introduction & example usage of the various daily passes useful! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below & I’ll get back to you soon  :)

Thanks for reading and enjoy Kansai!

Yours Truly,


  1. Nice write up babe. Kintetsu rail pass seems so worth it. everytime I go Japan I only buy JR pass. now I know there's more to choose

    1. In Kansai region mostly private lines so JR lines not much unless you are just using the shinkansen then it's worth it for JR pass. Kintetsu, Hankyu and Hanshin are local lines

  2. Thanks for the detailed write up babe. I can see you really put a lot of effort on this.

    1. Thank you! Hope it helps those who are planning to travel to Japan :)

  3. I wish I could go Japan again.. such a lovely country to visit.. nice one..

    1. Don't just wish! come over for next holiday :)

  4. Good to know about this. I hope that i can go to Hyogo and Nara soon. So miss Japan already.

    1. Come, come babe! Waiting for you to come visit me haha


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