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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Osaka
Access and Orientation

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How to travel between Osaka and Tokyo

By shinkansen
Direct, 155-175 minutes, about 14,000 yen one way, multiple connections per hour
Tokyo (Tokyo and Shinagawa Stations) and Osaka (Shin-Osaka Station) are connected with each other by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen. Nozomi trains require about 155 minutes to reach Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo, Hikari trains about three hours and Kodama trains about four hours.
The regular one way fare is 13,620 yen by non-reserved seat on any train, around 14,200 yen by reserved seat on Hikari or Kodama trains and around 14,500 yen by reserved seat on a Nozomi train. A 7-day Japan Rail Pass costs about the same as regular round trip tickets. The Japan Rail Pass is valid on Hikari and Kodama trains, but not on Nozomi trains.
Japanican offers an E-Voucher for a round trip by Nozomi or Hikari from Tokyo to Osaka and back plus a 1-day pass for subways and buses in Osaka for only 22,000 yen. The return journey has to be done within seven days of the outward journey. The E-Voucher can be used by foreign tourists only.
Japanican also offers various Shinkansen Tour packages that combine transportation by shinkansen with hotel stays in Osaka. One way packages start from 19,500 yen, while round trip packages can cost as little as 31,500 yen per person in case of double occupancy. In the opposite direction, i.e. for a side trip from Osaka to Tokyo, the similar Tokyo Train & Hotel Packages are available from 26,300 yen.
With the "Puratto Kodama Economy Plan", you can travel between Tokyo and Osaka by reserved seat on a Kodama train for only 10,300 yen, but the plan has to be purchased at least one day in advance from JR Tokai travel agencies.

By highway bus
Direct, 8 hours, 3,500-10,000 yen one way, multiple daytime and overnight connections per day
The one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka by highway bus takes about 8 hours. There are daytime and overnight buses. Fierce competition on the Tokyo-Osaka route has produced a wide variety of comfort levels (from discount to super premium buses) and an abundance of low priced offers. Typical one way fares for discount buses, such as Willer Express, start from around 3500 yen; while premium buses charge up to 10,000 yen. If used effectively, the Japan Bus Pass can reduce the cost for the bus trip to around 3000 yen.

By air
2-3 transfers, 3-4 hours, 6,000-20,000 yen one way, multiple flights per day
Multiple airlines operate between Tokyo and Osaka. A majority of flights use Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Osaka's Itami Airport, but a smaller number of flights also serve Tokyo's Narita Airport and Osaka's Kansai Airport. The regular one way fare by conventional airlines is about 23,000 yen, however, few travelers pay more than 15,000 yen thanks to various discount fares. One way fares by discount airlines start from around 4500 yen, but most are using the less centrally located Narita Airport and Kansai Airport. Flight duration is one hour.

By car
6 hours without breaks, around 10,000 yen one way in expressway tolls
Driving between Tokyo and Osaka via the Tomei and Meishin Expressways takes about six hours without breaks and traffic jams. The expressway toll is around 10,000 yen one way.

By local trains
4 transfers, 9-10 hours, 2370-8750 yen one way
By local trains, the one way trip from Tokyo to Osaka takes nine to ten hours and typically involves about four transfers of trains. The regular fare is a relatively expensive 8750 yen, however, with a Seishun 18 Kippu you could theoretically do the trip for as little as 2370 yen.

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.

 
Orientation

Osaka has two major city centers and four major train stations. The two city centers are nicknamed Kita ("North") around Osaka/Umeda Station and Minami ("South") around Namba Station. While Kita is a large shopping and business area, Minami is Osaka's most famous entertainment district.

JR Osaka Station is located in the center of the Kita district. Two other railway companies and three subway lines have their own stations in the vicinity of JR Osaka Station, however, these stations are named Umeda Station rather than Osaka Station. The shinkansen trains stop not at Osaka Station, but at Shin-Osaka Station, one station north of Osaka Station by JR train.

In the Namba area (Minami), three railway companies (JR, Nankai and Kintetsu) and three subway lines have their separate stations, all named Namba Station. The fourth of Osaka's major railway stations is Tennoji Station in the southeast of central Osaka. It is served by JR, Kintetsu Railways, the Hankai Tramway and two subway lines.

The city of Osaka is served by over seven different railway and subway companies. Most relevant to foreign visitors of Osaka are the subway lines and the lines operated by JR West. The lines operated by the other private railway companies are useful for accessing neighboring cities and regions.

JR West
JR West operates a dense network of local train lines in the Osaka area. The most prominent line is the Osaka Loop Line, the equivalent to Tokyo's Yamanote Line. JR also operates lines to the Kansai Airport, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara and to the Universal Studios. The shinkansen (bullet trains) stop at Shin-Osaka Station.

Subway
Osaka has eight subway lines that cover especially the area inside the Osaka Loop Line. The subway offers the quickest connection between Osaka's two main districts Kita and Minami and is of great value to foreign visitors in general.

Nankai Railways
Nankai connects Namba to Kansai Airport, Wakayama and Mount Koya (Koyasan).

Hankyu Railways
Hankyu connects Umeda Station with northern Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto.

Kintetsu Railways
Kintetsu connects Osaka with many destinations in the southern Kansai Region, including Nara, Kyoto, Asuka, Yoshino, Ise and Nagoya. Lines start at Namba, Tennoji and Nagata Stations.

Hanshin Railways
Hanshin connects Osaka with Kobe. The lines start at Umeda and Namba Stations.

Keihan Railways
Keihan connects central Osaka with central Kyoto. The lines start at Yodoyabashi and Nakanoshima Stations.

 
Special Tickets

The following one day passes are available for the Osaka area:

Osaka Amazing Pass (1-day: 2300 yen, 2-days: 3000 yen)
  The Osaka Amazing Pass (formerly: Osaka Unlimited Pass) provides unlimited use of subways and city buses within Osaka City on one or two consecutive calendar days, plus free admission to many of Osaka's popular tourist attractions such as Osaka Castle and the Umeda Sky Building. The one-day pass additionally covers non-JR trains in central Osaka. While the one-day pass is available to everyone, the two-day pass is only available to foreign tourists. Sales locations include tourist information centers and travel agencies. The pass is a very good deal if visiting several of the tourist attractions covered.
Osaka One-Day Pass (800 yen on weekdays, 600 yen on weekends and public holidays)
  Unlimited use of subways, city buses and the New Tram (but excluding the OTS Line) on one calendar day. The pass also provides discounts on admission to designated sightseeing spots. It can be purchased at subway stations and kiosks. The pass is a good value and easily pays off, especially on weekends and if visiting spots with discounted admission.

Prepaid cards don't give you any discounts, but they make the process of taking trains easier, as you do not always need to buy a ticket before riding a train. Prepaid cards can be purchased at vending machines.

Prepaid IC Cards
  The prepaid IC card available in Osaka is called Icoca and can be purchased at ticket machines at JR stations. Local non-JR railway companies offer their own IC card called Pitapa; however, Pitapa is a postpaid card that works more like a credit card and is targeted at residents rather than tourists.
  Icoca and Pitapa can be used on most trains and buses in the Greater Osaka region (and many other major cities in Japan) with the prominent exception of Kyoto buses. Furthermore, eight other IC cards from other major cities of Japan can also be used on the trains and buses of Greater Osaka, including Suica, Pasmo, Kitaca, Toica, Manaca, Sugoca, Nimoca and Hayakaken.
Surutto Kansai Card (1000, 2000 and 3000 yen)
  The Surutto Kansai Card is an old-fashioned prepaid card that cannot get recharged and is inserted in the ticket gate slot rather than swiped over the IC card reader. Surutto Kansai Cards can be used on most trains and buses in the Greater Osaka region with the prominent exception of JR trains. The only advantage of Surutto Kansai over Icoca is that it can be used on buses in Kyoto.
  Note that the Surutto Kansai Card is also known under various alternative names, depending through which company you buy it (e.g. Lagare Card in case of Hankyu, Rainbow Card in case of the Osaka Subway or Miyako Card in case of Kyoto Subways).

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

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Hotels and Ryokan
Osaka offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets. The most convenient base for exploring the city and its surroundings is the Umeda district around JR Osaka Station. Also convenient is the Namba district, the city's prime nightlife area. The Shin-Osaka Station area does not offer much entertainment and dining options, but is most convenient for travelers using the shinkansen.
Search Hotels
Sponsor Hotels
Japan Osaka Ryokan Association
For business or pleasure, search by area for the perfect traditional Japanese ryokan to match your Osaka accommodation needs.
Hotel Ichiei
A comfort modern Japanese hotel located in the center of Osaka. 3 train stations of Namba within a walking distance.
Hotel Kinki
A hotel close to JR Osaka Sta. & subway Umeda Sta. Free WiFi in rooms & PC in lobby. Laundry, non-smoking rooms. From 2900Yen.
Hotel Kuramoto
A clean ryokan with a history of nearly 60 years. From 4000yen. 2 min to Dotombori area. 5 min to 2 subway stations.
Kaneyoshi Ryokan
A modern Japanese inn in Dotombori. the center of Osaka. 2 subway stations nearby. Close to many shops and Osaka Castle.
Osaka Yamatoya Honten
Japanese style budget ryokan. From 5,775yen.
Right next to Dotonbori in Osaka.
Recommended Hotels around Osaka - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Hilton Osaka Hotel
Very convenient high-class hotel just across from JR Osaka Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Hotel Granvia Osaka
Very conveniently located inside JR Osaka Station City.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport
Directly connected to the terminal building, this is the most convenient hotel at Kansai Airport.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
InterContinental Hotel Osaka
Beautiful hotel recently opened near JR Osaka Station in the convenient Umekita district.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
J-Hoppers Osaka Guesthouse
Popular and inexpensive hostel about a 15 minute walk from JR Osaka Station.
Reserve through
Booking
Remm Shin-Osaka
Recently opened business hotel conveniently located inside JR Shin-Osaka Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Swissotel Nankai Osaka
Well established, leading hotel conveniently located above Nankai Namba Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
The Ritz-Carlton Osaka Hotel
Often considered Osaka's leading luxury hotel, located a short walk from JR Osaka Station.
Reserve through
Agoda

Tours and Packages
Osaka Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Osaka and surroundings.

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
Osaka Amazing Pass
Official English website of 1 and 2 day passes for transportation and sightseeing.
Kansai Railway Network Map (pdf file)
Railway network map for Osaka and surroundings.
JR West
Official English website.
Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau
Operator of subways and city buses.
Hankyu Railways
Official English website.
Hanshin Railways
Official English website.
Keihan Railways
Official English website.
Kintetsu Railways
Official English website.
Kansai Airport Limousine
Operator of airport buses to Kansai Airport.
Osaka Airport Transport
Operator of airport buses to Itami Airport (domestic airport).

Japanese Links
Osaka Amazing Pass
Official website of 1 and 2 day passes for transportation and sightseeing.
JR West
Official website.
Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau
Operator of subways and city buses.
Hankyu Railways
Official Website.
Keihan Railways
Official Website.
Kintetsu Railways
Official Website.
Hanshin Railways
Official website.
Nankai Railways
Official website.

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