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Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass - Enjoy Scenic Views In Western Japan!

Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass - Enjoy Scenic Views In Western Japan!

Translated by Greg

Written by MATCHA-PR

Hiroshima 2020.03.31 Bookmark

The Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass is a discount travel ticket that allows travel for 5 days in Hiroshima and Okayama for 15,000 yen! Enjoy the best of charming Western Japan, from the cycling route of Shimanami Kaido to Kurashiki's traditional townscapes, to a rabbit island.

Travel in Western Japan with a Discount Pass!

setoda port

Picture courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture

Take in an amazing view from Mt. Washuzan of the islands in the Seto Inland Sea, and travel down the Shimanami Kaido, a route for cyclists high above the ocean. These are just two of the many appealing areas in Western Japan.

In Okayama Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture, which both face the Seto Inland Sea (Setonaikai), there are stunning views to enjoy of the ocean, mountains, and islands.

We highly recommend the Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass offered by West Japan Railway Company (JR-WEST) to enjoy the sights in both prefectures.

Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass - Travel 5 Days for Only 15,000 Yen

Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass

Please refer to the JR-WEST official website for details

The Japan Rail Pass is a well-known, convenient discount transportation pass offering seven days of unlimited riding privileges on JR lines for 30,000 yen. The Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass is ideal for those wanting to explore the Kansai area at a leisurely pace, for a reasonable price.

The Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass costs 14,500 yen for adults (13,700 yen at travel agencies) and 7,250 yen for children (6-11 years old).

This pass covers five days of unlimited rides on JR lines in the Kansai Region. It can also be used on the Shinkansen (non-reserved seating) from Osaka to Hiroshima, and limited express trains going to Kyoto and Tottori.

To purchase this pass, order it before you travel. Purchase a pass vouchers first, which is redeemable for the actual pass when you arrive in Japan. It is for sale online via the JR-WEST website shown below and at travel agencies.

*After pre-ordering your MCO (Miscellaneous Charges Order) or E-TICKET, go to the Midori no Madoguchi (JR's green ticket office) at the designated JR station, and exchange it for your pass. For those with an MCO or E-TICKET printed with a QR code, we recommend taking it along with your passport to a JR ticket vending machine. Click here for instructions on how to use the JR Ticket-Vending Machines. For visitors with a paper voucher, please go to the JR ticket office and pick up your pass.
Click here for Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass Reservations and Details

5 Day Travel Itinerary for Okayama and Hiroshima

There are countless scenic spots in nature-filled Okayama Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture. We suggest planning your trip beforehand so that you can travel efficiently and enjoy as much of Western Japan as you'd like.

In this article, we introduce a five-day travel itinerary in the Okayama and Hiroshima areas using the Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass.

Our departure point will be Okayama Airport, offering international and domestic flights. However, departing from Kansai International Airport or Hiroshima Airport is also convenient, so choose the airport that suits your travel needs.

For foodies and those wanting to see Okayama and Hiroshima's most popular sights, please refer to the articles down below.

*The train, bus, and ferry information in this article is current as of March 2020.

Day One: From the Airport to Kurashiki

Kurashiki's Night View

kurashiki

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

After arriving at Okayama Airport, our first destination is Kurashiki City's Bikan Historical Quarter.

The Bikan Historical Quarter is filled with Edo Period-style (1603-1868) townscape with preserved storehouses and buildings. Be sure to see Kurashiki Ivy Square, an old factory that was renovated into a sightseeing facility.

From Achi Shrine you can get great views of the entire Bikan Historical Quarter.

A bus departing from Okayama Airport goes directly to JR Kurashiki Station. It takes around thirty-five minutes one-way and the fare is 1,150 yen. For those taking the train, the Bikan Historical Quarter is a fifteen-minute walk from JR Kurashiki Station.

kurashiki

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

At night, the Bikan Historical Quarter becomes gently enveloped by a mystical illumination. Every year around March, the Kurashiki Haruyoi Akari event is held. During this event, the banks of the nearby river are lit up and decorated with candles and parasols.

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

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Pick Up Your Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass at JR Okayama Station

Kansai-Hiroshima

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Visitors can pick up their Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass from JR Okayama Station's green ticket office (open until 23:00). If you arrive in Okayama early, we suggest first going to JR Okayama Station and getting this taken care of.

Okayama Castle—just thirty minutes away from JR Okayama Station—is beautifully illuminated at night. If you have the time, this castle is also worth visiting.

Okayama Castle

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Day Two: Inujima and Mt. Washuzan

Inujima Island

inujima

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

We suggest a trip to Inujima, a small island in the Seto Inland Sea where travelers can enjoy art and architecture.

Buildings from a former copper smelter were restored and renovated into what is now the present-day Inujima Seirensho Art Museum. It's a unique museum that uses natural energy such as solar power and geothermal heat. Inside there's a piece inspired by Yukio Mishima, a famous Japanese writer.

The island also has an art installation called the Inujima "Art House Project".

If you visit Inujima in the morning, take the 10:05-departure bus from JR Saidaiji Station (Japanese), and head for the Higashi Hoden bus stop. At Higashi Hoden, get off the bus and walk two minutes to Hoden Port. Here, we'll board the ferry leaving at 11:00 and arrive ten minutes later at Inujima.

It takes around twenty minutes to get to JR Saidaiji Station from JR Okayama Station.

Inujima

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Mt. Washuzan Observatory Two

Mt. Washuzan

Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

Mt. Washuzan Observatory Two is known as a great spot for watching sunsets.

Standing in the foreground is the Seto Ohashi Bridge—which accommodates both trains and cars and is the longest bridge of its kind in the world. The sun sets in the background behind the bridge. The view is simply sublime!

When coming here after Inujima, try to return to Hoden Port on the 13:20 ferry. Then, hop aboard the 13:35-departure bus headed for Higashi Hoden, and you'll arrive at JR Saidaiji Station at 14:05. Next, ride the train to JR Kojima Station, which takes around one hour.

If you take the 15:30 bus leaving from Kojima Station (Japanese), you'll get to Mt. Washuzan Number Two Observatory Deck at 16:00.

Washuzan Observation Deck

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Day Three: Onomichi and Shimanami Kaido

Go Cycling Along the Shimanami Kaido

しまなみ海道

Picture courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture

The Shimanami Kaido connects Onomichi City with Shikoku's Imabari City and is famously known as a cyclist's paradise. This is a route that crosses six islands and extends for a total of 70 kilometers (around 43 miles), with amazing views all along the way.

If you decide to do the entire route, it'll take you a full day. However, you can also do an enjoyable half-day course that stops part-way along the route.

For example, you can rent a bicycle at Onomichi Port and ride until Ikuchijima Island. Make a return trip by ferry from Setoda Port. This is essentially a thirty kilometer (around 18 miles) course in which you can enjoy bicyclying for about three hours (*).

*You can also go from Onomichi to Setoda Port by ferry. If you're feeling tired we suggest taking the ferry from Onomichi Port.

Onomichi Port Bicycle Rental Terminal

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Kosanji Museum and The Hill of Hope

Kosanji Museum

Picture courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture

There are several sightseeing highlights near Setoda Port. One of the most popular of these is Kosanji Museum. Sitting beside this collection of colorful and bright Buddhist architecture is The Hill of Hope (Miraishin no Oka). This is a park covering 5,000 square meters (31 square miles), filled with numerous works of art made with white marble.

When returning to Onomichi from Setoda Port, you can board a ferry at 15:00, 17:00, or 18:30. It takes about forty minutes to get from Setoda Port to Onomichi Station Mae. You can return your bicycle at the Setodacho Tourist Information.
Please see the Setouchi Cruising Homepage for times and other information on ferry operation between Onomichi and Setoda.

Kousanji

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Day Four: Okunoshima and Ondonoseto Park

Meet Cuddly Rabbits on Okunoshima

okunoshima rabbit island

Around the world there are special cat towns and cat islands, such as Kagawa Prefecture's Sanagijima and Taiwan's Hoton. However, islands with rabbits are more unusual.

Despite being just four-kilometers long, Okunoshima, often called "Rabbit Island" (Usagi Shima), is inhabited by some 900 rabbits.

Enjoy the adorable rabbits and head to Kyukamura Okunoshima to visit a cafe with a rabbit-themed menu including soft ice cream, and a souvenir stand as well. This is a must-see for animal lovers.

You can get to Okunoshima by taking a fifteen-minute ferry ride from Tadanoumi Port, just three minutes on foot from JR Tadanoumi Station. Ferries to Rabbit Island depart once or twice every hour. JR Tadanoumi Station is forty minutes from JR Onomichi Station.

Kyukamura Ohkunoshima

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lodging

Ondonoseto Park

ondonoseto park

Picture courtesy of Hiroshima Prefecture

Hiroshima Prefecture's Kure City served as the setting for popular Japanese animation movies such as "Kantai Collection" (Kan Colle) and "In This Corner of the World". A local museum houses a collection of old battleships and submarines, so this is a spot perfect for ship lovers.

When spring arrives, Kure City's Ondonoseto Park offers exquisite seasonal views. From the end of March until early April, more than 2,000 cherry trees come into full bloom. Then, between late April and early May, around 8,000 azaleas show their colors. These stunning flowers decorate the beautiful crimson-colored arch bridge sitting nearby.

It takes one hour and thirty minutes from JR Tadanoumi Station to get to JR Kure Station. From JR Kure Station, take the Hiroden (Hiroshima Electric Railway)'s Kurekurahashijima Bus Line, and you'll arrive at Ondonoseto Park in about twenty to thirty minutes. Buses depart once or twice every hour.

Ondonoseto Park

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park

Day Five: Enjoy Pastoral Landscapes on a Bike

kibitsuhiko shrine

Left: Kibitsuhiko Shrine; right: Kibitsu Shrine. Picture courtesy of Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation

To get from Kure to JR Okayama Station, it takes about one hour and thirty minutes, via JR train and Shinkansen. Then, it takes about thirty minutes by bus to get from Okayama Station to Okayama Airport. Please be sure to arrive at the airport ahead of your flight departure time!

If you still have time and energy left over, why not explore Okayama just a bit longer?

Ten minutes by train from JR Okayama Station lies Bizen-Ichinomiya Station. In the area between Bizen-Ichinomiya Station and Kibitsu Station is a beautiful countryside landscape.

At Bizen-Ichinomiya Station you can rent a bicycle (Japanese). Why not enjoy a leisurely ride through this landscape with picturesque seasonal views?

Two spots thought to contain spiritual power, Kibitsu Shrine and Kibitsuhiko Shrine, are right near these two stations.

Bizen-Ichinomiya Station

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train_stationtransit_station

The Seto Inland Sea Still Has Lots of Great Scenery!

There's still lots of beautiful scenery left in Okayama Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture including Bicchu Matsuyama Castle (Japanese) and Miyajima (Japanese).

Using your Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass allows you to take in the stunning scenery that the Seto Inland Sea region offers.

Click here for Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass Reservations and Details

JR-WEST offices offer several other travel passes at excellent value for international visitors. Refer to the JR-WEST official website for details.

For additional information on tours in western and central Japan offered by JR-WEST, please refer to Discover West Japan.

Please see the following MATCHA articles for details on today's featured destinations.

Written by Mizzochi
Sponsored by Okayama Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture, JR-West

Main image courtesy of Setouchi Finder

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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