In Japan, New Year is a very important day and they usually perform the “hatsumode 初詣” visit to shrines and temples during the first week of the year. In order for people to be able to visit the shrines more easily (without incurring high expenses) during this period, the Kansai area Hankyu and Hanshin train lines have been offering “1-day all-you-can-ride on their specific train lines” pass for the past few years. This offer is really great as you can then stop and enjoy “hatsumode” at various places in one day. They are few types as listed below:
This is a really awesome ticket which allows you to travel for unlimited time on all Hankyu, Hanshin and Kobe Kosoku train lines in one day. This is really nice as the attraction spots can be located at various areas such as in Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka. And what is best, it costs only 1000 yen (2014’s pricing). From my experience, the validity of the pass is around 11 days and you can start using it from New Year’s Day (1st January).
Compared to the Hankyu-Hanshin New Year Ticket, the route is only limited to Hankyu train lines and it doesn’t cover the Kyoto area. No worries as there are still lots of nice shrines to visit which are within the coverage area. The cost of this ticket is only 500 yen (2014’s pricing), which is really reasonable. This pass is usually valid for 1 week, so just like the previous pass, choose any one day that you prefer to travel.
This is another nice ticket where you can ride Hanshin, Kobe Kosoku and Kintetsu Nara train lines and Ikoma cable lines for unlimited time in one day. The cost of this pass is 1540 yen, a little expensive compared to the previous two types of passes. The validity of the pass is 11 days. starting from the 1st of January.
Depending on the areas that you plan to go, all 3 tickets can be beneficial in their own way. “Hanshin One Day Pass” is already on sale. However, the other two types are not on sale until last week of December. Currently, no information has been put up for passes 1 and 2. Keep watch for advertisements in Hankyu magazines or the train stations for the latest information.
In addition to the introduced passes, the Hankyu train line also sells limited design New Year Lagare train cards. If you like collecting special design cards, why not get one for yourself? They are usually on sale only during the New Year period. Lastly, when you purchase these special new year passes, you might even get a free gift from participating shrines.
During the new year day, the train will run 24 hours. So no worries on being out late at night celebrating. Only local (as opposed to express) trains are running, though. Still, it is still better than nothing, right?
・97 Things to Do in Osaka, the Japanese City of Street Food, Culture, and Comedy, in 2018
・112 Things to Do in Kyoto, a City of Culture, Tradition, and Breathtaking Beauty, in 2018
・Hatsumode: The First Shrine Visit of the New Year