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How to Use Train Travel to Your Advantage on Your Next Trip to Japan

June 1, 2020 Rail No Comments

Trains are one of the most efficient ways to travel in Japan. Offering comfort, reliability, and access to almost every corner of the country. Here are three ways you can use train travel to your advantage when planning your next trip to the Kansai region.

1. Explore more of Kansai with easy day trips by train

Japan is world renowned for its impressive train network and impeccable timetabling. The high frequency of train services coupled with trains that are almost always on time provide ample freedom when planning day trips around the Kansai region.

Nara Prefecture is one of the most popular day trip destinations from Kyoto and Osaka and can be reached in just over 40 minutes using the Kintetsu Railway. With frequent trains to Nara and its surrounding areas, travellers can map out a stress-free itinerary and have more time to explore the lesser known side of Kansai.

When planning a day trip using trains as your main mode of transport, it’s important to consider the location of the train station in regard to the sights you wish to explore.  The Kintetsu stations are located conveniently near many of Nara’s famous sightseeing spots, so you can access them easily. Nara Park, Naramachi town, Mt. Yoshino and Hasedera temple are all walking distance from their nearest stations.

The Akame 48 Waterfalls is also a must-see. Travellers can hike though the luscious Akame Valley which is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. The four-kilometre walk allows you to get up close and personal to the waterfalls. Travellers can access this beautiful destination via a short bus trip from the nearest station, Akameguchi station

2. Use your railway journey to relax and reconnect with nature

The Ise-Shima region in Mie Prefecture is home to some of Japan’s most important spiritual sites.  The coastal destination also boasts some of the most scenic train rides in Japan.

Travellers can take the short trip from Osaka, Kyoto or Nagoya via the Kintetsu Railway on the “Shimakaze”, a luxurious sightseeing limited express train. This train was specifically designed to make each ride, not just the destination, part of the experience.

The train’s large windows allow travellers to enjoy the ever-changing scenery, with private rooms (Japanese style and Western style) giving passengers the option to relax in privacy. In the café car, located in the centre of the train, passengers can enjoy meals, sweets, and local drinks from the region along the line.

Once they arrive, travellers can soak in the spiritual atmosphere of Ise Jingu Grand Shrine, one of the most sacred Shinto shrines in the nation, with close ties to the Japanese Imperial Family. The whole area is approximately the same size as the centre of Paris. Over 1,500 rituals are held every year to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial Family, the peace of the world, and the huge harvest.

The whole trip including the train experience and the visit to the shrine will surely offer calm and tranquil moments to travellers.

3. Invest in a Rail Pass

Rail passes such as the Kintetsu Rail Pass can make travelling by train even easier and often result in considerable savings on train fares and local attractions.

The Kintetsu Rail Pass gives travellers unlimited rides across the Kintetsu Line and Iga Tetsudo Line, making exploring Kansai easy. This saves time at the station and makes it easy to explore unexpected destinations without having to worry about buying another ticket.

In comparison to other rail passes, the Kintetsu Rail Pass allows travellers to use the automatic ticket gate, with no need to wait and show the pass to station staff before being able to enter the station.

When using the Kintetsu Railway’s Limited Express services, the Kintetsu Rail Pass forms the basic fare of the ticket, Limited Express reservations, including tickets for the Shimakaze, are available to easily purchase online. Importantly, travellers can display their Limited Express reservation using their smartphone, so there is no need to scramble to find a printer.

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