Enjoy early-summer Ise and Kumano Kodo with the great-deal “Ise-Kumano- Wakayama Area Tourist Pass”!
The rainy season is gone and it’s finally summer! This picture that looks like Okinawa or somewhere tropical was actually taken in Shirahama Beach in Wakayama prefecture. Away about 2 and half hours from the Kansai International Airport; this beach with extended shallow seashore is well known for its powdery white sand and magnificently clear beautiful ocean. That said, why not go a little way further from Osaka and enjoy summer in the best way? In this article, we will pick up Wakayama and Mie area that everyone is talking about! They are both accessible from the Kansai International Airport.
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”
1) Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture
There are so many hidden charming spots in Wakayama Prefecture, which is only about 1 to 2 hours away from the Kansai International Airport. Especially in Shirahama area, in addition to the beautiful white sand beach, there are many nature-themed view spots including dynamic Engetsu Islet, Sandanbeki and Senjojiki. Of course, we cannot forget the famous Shirahama Onsen Hot Springs too! What’s more, with the “Adventure World” where you can meet giant pandas and dolphins, this is an area where you can enjoy natural beauty and theme parks both at the same time!
- Shirahamacho, Nishimurogun, Wakayama Prefecture
2) Kumano Kodo #1
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. To go around the Kumano Sanzan, the “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass” offer you a great value because in addition to JR lines, it allows you to use busses that are very convenient to go visit the area.
- Hongu, Hongu-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture
3) Kumano Kodo #2
As well known, Kumano Kodo is a pilgrimage route that leads to Kumano Sanzan (Hongu, Shingu, Nachi) but did you know that it includes a route from the Mie side too? Let’s check out this route from Mie that runs along the stunning Kumanonada. The oldest shrine in Japan, “Hana-no-Iwaya Jinja Shrine” and “Shishi Iwa (Lion Rock)” are both accessible on foot from the JR Kumanoshi station and they both represent strong essence of nature-worship from the ancient time. How about learning about local history and observing magnificent natural sceneries at the same time while trekking?
- 130 Arimacho, Kumano City, Mie 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?
Utilize the “Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass” and enjoy traveling around Wakayama, Kumano Kodo and Ise & Toba area.