Enjoy spring-time Ise and Kumano Kodo with the great-deal “Ise-Kumano- Wakayama Area Tourist Pass”!
Japan has four distinctive seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter). Among them, spring is said to be the best season to visit tourist spots because with the right temperature and humidity, even taking a long walk is enjoyable in this season. That said, it is true that spring is definitely a popular time for tourists to visit Japan especially to enjoy cherry blossoms. However, though, May and June are fairly good time to travel because things are calmer and places are less crowded.
If you know that you are going to visit multiple sites, it’s a good idea to find out if there is any discount ticket available. Depending on a way to use it, you may be able to save almost half the regular price. In this article, we will tell you about “Ise- Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass” by JR Central and JR West.
What Is the “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass”?
The “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass” is a convenient ticket for those who wish to travel to famous sights of the Kii Peninsula including Ise, Toba, Kumano Kodo, and Shirahama from Kansai International airport or Nagoya area.
It grants you unlimited use for rides on applicable JR express trains and bus lines for five consecutive days. Without the pass, a visitor traveling both ways from Kansai International Airport to Matsusaka, Ise, Toba, Kumano Kodo, Shirahama, and Wakayama spend around 23,000 yen on express trains and bus tickets (price varies depending on order of stops and means of transportation). That said, the “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass” costs only 11,000 yen, a savings of over 50% (5,500 yen for children 6 to 11 years of age)!
How to Purchase the “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass”
Please note that you can only purchase this great value pass before arriving Japan! See below for detailed notes on how to purchase and obtain a pass.
- To be eligible to purchase the pass, you must be in possession of a non-Japanese passport and come to Japan as a “temporary visitor.”
- First, you must purchase an Exchange Order (MCO: Miscellaneous Charges Order) at a designated overseas travel agency. Then, after arriving in Japan, you can exchange it for the pass at exchange offices in designated JR Central and JR West stations, as well as at select JR Tokai Tours locations listed below. (You must present your passport at the time of the exchange.)
*Designated Overseas Travel Agencies: Overseas branches of the below listed companies or travel agencies.
JTB Corporation, Nippon Travel Agency, KINTETSU INTERNATIONAL, Tobu Top Tours, Japan Airlines, JALPAK (listed in no particular order)
【Exchange Office Locations】
・JR Central: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka
・JR West: Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kansai Airport
・JR Tokai Tours: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama
※Seat reservations can be made at the above locations, as well as at ticket windows in JR Central and JR West stations.
About Major Areas You Can Visit with the “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass”
Ise (also known as Ise-Shima) is famous for “Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine)”. For both Japanese and foreign visitors, this place is known as a renowned power spot full of mystical energy. The grand Uji-bashi Bridge at the entrance to the shrine is a must-see object. You can’t also pass up the chance to visit the nearby Okage Yokocho area, where local gourmet specialties like Ise udon noodles are available.
- 1 Ujitachi-cho, Ise City, Mie Prefecture
Mikimoto Pearl Island, located in Toba Bay, is the site of the world’s first success in culturing pearls. Highlights of the area include the Pearl Museum, Mikimoto Kokichi Memorial Hall (Mikimoto Kokichi was the first person in the world to succeed in producing cultured pearls), Pearl Plaza, and pearl collection shows put on by female divers called “ama.” Additionally, the area is a home to a variety of tourist attractions, such as beautiful “Meoto Iwa” (“Married Couple Rocks”), the popular “Toba Aquarium,” and “Futami Sea Paradise.”
3) Kumano Kodo
Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kumano Kodo is a series of pilgrimage paths that lead to the Kumano Sanzan (a collective name for the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha). For over 1000 years, people of all classes –from nobles to commoners– have walked these paths in prayer.
“Nachisan Seiganto-ji temple”, one of the temples in the Kumano Sanzan shrine complex, is registered as an Important Cultural Property of Japan. With the 133-meter-high Nachi Falls as a backdrop, Seiganto-ji’s three-storied pagoda is a must-visit site if you get a chance.
- Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture
As its name suggests, Shirahama (“White Beach”) is a beach resort town with white sand. A stark contrast to Osaka’s bustling city center, Shirahama is a place you can relax and let time pass you by. Shirahama has easy access to various attractions, including the famous Shirahama Onsen and “Adventure World,” a theme park where guests can meet animals like dolphins and giant pandas.
- Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture
Furthermore, in the areas listed above, there are a variety of savory local specialties including Matsusaka beef, Ise shrimp, Toba abalone, Kii-Katsuura tuna, and Wakayama Ramen. The area is also a home to many famous hot springs. So, all things considered, why not stay in a ryokan (Japanese-style inn), enjoy some local cuisine, and let hot springs rejuvenate your body and mind?
Spring is a great season to stroll around. In such time, it is certainly nice to visit metropolitan areas, but going around other parts of Japan as shown in this article is also greatly recommended. With “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass”, let’s go explore Wakayama, Kumano Kodo, Ise and Toba area.