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Travel around Kyoto prior to JR pass activation

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Three of us are arriving in KIX and staying in Kyoto for the first 3 days of our 12 day trip. On day 4 we plan to activate 7 day JR passes and travel in Japan.

Would it be best to buy individual train tickets for the trip from the airport and for trips to Nara, Wakayama, Fushimi-Inari, Arashiyama or to buy a Kansai area 3 day pass? I'm not clear if this pass would slow our travel down as it can only be used on certain trains? Or is there another pass that would suit us better?

I also plan to buy IC cards in Kyoto. From what I've read I think we can also use these IC cards in Tokyo, where we'd use it for the subway, but am I able to top the card up in Tokyo or only in Kyoto where it was purchased?

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An IC card from Kyoto can be used and topped up in Tokyo and other locations in Japan.


Kansai Thru Pass covers all your destinations (on non-JR lines), as well as subways and buses in Osaka and Kyoto. You can find the full list here: http://www.surutto.com/tickets/kansai_thru_english.html

JR Kansai Area Pass covers all your destinations on JR only lines.

If you’d like the flexibility of using both JR and non-JR lines an IC card will work well.


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