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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Japan Trip 5/4-12/4: Travel from Osaka Airport to Kyoto- ICOCO & Haruka Pass

We took MAS flying from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka Kansai International Airport. Whole journey took us around 7 and half hours, quite tiring journey if you travel at night. Light sleeper like myself, can hardly sleep in the plane. I would like to give a thumb up for the MAS services which feed us throughout the whole trip. It seem like every 2 hours they serve food & beverage. First, they served you peanuts & drink; second round, sausage sandwish & drink; third round, breakfast-Nasi Lemak. Basically, you can sleep one hour in between the serving.

Once we reached the airport, after the immigration, the first thing we do is to find the JR Ticket Office to buy the passes to travel to Kyoto. The JR office for passes is located at second floor with big signboard of all the passes price outside the office.

Since April 2014, all passes price have increased. We bought the ICOCO & Haruka pass which cost 3,030 yen (one way). There are two items in this package: ICOCO card (top up card like touch'n go that can be use for other subway and stores) with 2000 yen e-money ready to use and Haruka pass that able you to take the Kansai Airport Express"Haruka" train to Kyoto fastest and shorter time within 75min. 

**The Haruka one-way pass is valid for one day only. The round-trip pass is valid for 2 weeks. More information, check out their website.

We only bought one way ticket to Kyoto because I will travel from Osaka to airport on the last day. In addition, the route travel by Haruka train do not stop at Osaka directly but to the nearest Shin-Osaka. You can travel from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka and get a subway to Osaka. But we want to avoid all the hassle of changing train, there is a JR Kyoto line that travel direct to Osaka which take around 30min and cost only 540 yen where you actually save half of the price compare to two-way Haruka pass. This is where your ICOCO card come in handy, you top up and touch n go. ICOCO card can use for some JR line, subways, buses as well as outlet stores. You might need to get the map from the counter to check on the available route.

In Japan, there are many cards similar to ICOCO card but some are restricted on the lines that you are able to travel. So far to travel between Osaka and Kyoto, I only use ICOCO card for JR lines and subways. For buses in Kyoto, you have to purchase a bus card for 500yen (one day use) or pay cash 200 yen a way. If you have plan your itinerary earlier, you can actually save a lot on the transportation by visit places at the same area in walking distance.

We reached the JR Kyoto station in the morning, and the weather was super cold in Spring, around 7 degree celsius. Basically, every Japanese passing by are wearing winter clothes except both of us and some foreigners with shorts and slippers. It seem like most foreigners got the wrong weather forecast for Spring in Kyoto.

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