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 13,870 yen by non-reserved seat or around 14,500 yen by reserved seat. 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.
Only available to foreign passport holders, the "Shinkansen Round Trip Package" provides a round trip within seven calendar days by non-reserved seat on any train between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka for around 23,000 yen. The ticket can be purchased at JR Tokai Tours travel agencies.
With the "Puratto Kodama Economy Plan", you can travel between Tokyo and Osaka by reserved seat on a Kodama train for only 10,700 yen, but the plan has to be purchased at least one day in advance from JR Tokai Tours travel agencies.
The Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass is a rail pass that allows holders to travel between Tokyo and Osaka via Kanazawa, using the Hokuriku Shinkansen. It is not the fastest way to travel between Tokyo and Osaka, but it allows pass holders to visit the less-explored Hokuriku Region along the way. At 24,440 yen for seven consecutive days, the pass is cheaper than a 7-day Japan Rail Pass.

By highway bus
Direct, 8 hours, 3,00-20,000 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 3000 yen; while premium buses charge up to 20,000 yen. If used effectively, the Japan Bus Pass can also reduce the cost for the bus trip to around 3000 yen. Online reservations can be made through Willer and Japan Bus Online.

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 26,000 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 13,500 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 13,500 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 8910 yen, however, with a Seishun 18 Kippu you could theoretically do the trip for as little as 2410 yen.

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. Be sure to check current yen exchange rates.

Getting around

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. Note that some of them are named after the Umeda district rather than Osaka. 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 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 Kansai Airport, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara and to the Universal Studios. The shinkansen (bullet trains) stop at Shin-Osaka Station.
  • Subways are often the most convenient means of getting around central Osaka. The city 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 Railway connects Namba to Kansai Airport, Wakayama and Mount Koya (Koyasan).
  • Hankyu Railway connects Osaka-Umeda Station with northern Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto.
  • Kintetsu Railway connects Osaka with many destinations in the southern Kansai Region, including Nara, Kyoto, Asuka, Yoshino, Ise and Nagoya. Lines start at Namba (Osaka-Namba Station), Tennoji (Osaka-Abenobashi Station) and Nagata Station.
  • Hanshin Railway connects Osaka with Kobe. The lines start at Osaka-Umeda and Osaka-Namba Stations.
  • Keihan Railway connects central Osaka with central Kyoto and Uji. The lines start at Yodoyabashi and Nakanoshima Stations.

Passes and Tickets

See also our separate page about the various passes available for the Greater Osaka Region.

The prepaid IC card available in Osaka is called Icoca. It does not give you any discounts over regular tickets, but it makes the process of taking trains easier, as you do not always need to buy a ticket before riding a train. Icoca cards can be purchased through 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). Additionally, 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.

The Kansai One Pass is a special version of Icoca exclusively for foreign tourists that additionally qualifies for discounts at various attractions in the Kansai Region. It is available for sale at Kansai Airport and major railway stations in the Kansai Region.

Furthermore, the following one day passes are available for the Osaka area:

  • Osaka Amazing Pass (1-day: 2800 yen, 2-days: 3600 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. 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 Enjoy Eco Card (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.

Hotels around Osaka

    • Kaneyoshi Ryokan
      A modern Japanese inn in Dotombori. the center of Osaka. 2 subway stations nearby. Close to many shops and Osaka Castle.
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Top rated in Osaka
    • Feel Osaka Yu
      Open in 2018, just a minute's walk from Shinsaibashi Station, Feel Osaka Yu offers shared dormitory rooms and private rooms. Free WiFi and a shared kitchen are provided. Guests can conveniently go shopping at the nearby America Village. Osaka Castle is a 5-train ride from the property, while Umeda is a 6-minute train ride away. The shared bathroom is fitted with free toiletries. All guest rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Yodoya Bridge and Kyocera Dome are both a 4-minute train ride away. Nagahoribashi Station is a 10-minute walk away.
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    • Osaka Guesthouse Midoriya
      Osaka Guesthouse Midoriya offers dormitory rooms that are shared with other guests, and private rooms in Osaka, 2.2 km from Osaka Castle and 4.1 km from Shitennoji. Every room is fitted with a shared bathroom. Osaka Guesthouse Midoriya features free WiFi throughout the property. There is a shared kitchen at the property. The hostel also offers bike hire. Glico Man Sign is 5 km from Osaka Guesthouse Midoriya, while Namba CITY shopping mall is 5 km from the property. Osaka Itami Airport is 15 km away.
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    • Hostel Yu - Luxury Mixed Dormitory -
      Open in 2018, just a minute's walk from Shinsaibashi Station, HOSTEL 優 - Luxury Mixed Dormitory - offers shared dormitory rooms. Free WiFi and a shared kitchen are provided. Guests can conveniently go shopping at the nearby America Village. Osaka Castle is a 5-train ride from the property, while Umeda is a 6-minute train ride away. The shared bathroom is fitted with free toiletries. All guest rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Yodoya Bridge and Kyocera Dome are both a 4-minute train ride away. Nagahoribashi Station is a 10-minute walk away.
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    • Tomiya
      Located just a 2-minute walk from Dobutsuen-Mae Station, Tomiya offers free WiFi. JR Shin-Imamiya Station is a 5-minute stroll away, while Shin-Imamiya Station on Nankai Line is a 10-minute walk from the property. All units have a private bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, freezer and flat-screen TV. Free drinks and scale are provided in the public area. Property is secured with a security camera and auto-lock entrance door. Tsutenkaku is 700 metres from Tomiya. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 17 km from Tomiya. There are various convenience stores and dinig options within a 10-minute walk from the property.
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    • 旅館-ホテル業 The Familiar Inn
      Situated in Osaka, near Hanazono Shopping Mall, Matsunomiya Shrine and Haginochaya Shopping Street, 旅館-ホテル業 The Familiar Inn features free WiFi. All units here are air-conditioned and feature a flat-screen TV, a living room with a sofa, a well-equipped kitchen and a private bathroom with bidet, slippers and a hairdryer. A microwave and fridge are also available, as well as a kettle. Tsurumibashi Shopping Street is 1.3 km from the holiday home, while Tsumori Shrine is 1.9 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 17 km from 旅館-ホテル業 The Familiar Inn.
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    • Guest House Laule'a Tennoji
      Set in Osaka, near Abeno Harukas, Kuwazu Ten Shrine and Kyozen-ji Temple, Guest House Laule'a Tennoji features free WiFi. The accommodation features a spa bath. Accommodation is fitted with air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen with a dining area, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with hot tub, slippers and a hairdryer. A microwave, a fridge and stovetop are also featured, as well as a kettle. Popular points of interest near the aparthotel include Shitennoji Koshindo Temple, Negainomiya Temple and Horikoshi Shrine. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 17 km from Guest House Laule'a Tennoji.
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    • Guesthouse Ten-roku - Female Only
      Attractively set in the centre of Osaka, Guesthouse Ten-roku - Female Only features air-conditioned rooms, free bikes, free WiFi and a shared lounge. Popular points of interest nearby include Toyosaki Shrine, Tsunashikiten Shrine Otabisha and Hankyu Men's Osaka. The accommodation provides a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and luggage storage for guests. All guest rooms in the guest house are fitted with a kettle and an iPad. The rooms have a shared bathroom, slippers and bed linen. Popular points of interest near Guesthouse Ten-roku - Female Only include Catholic Osaka Umeda Church, Seibi Park and EST Osaka - Umeda. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 10 km from the accommodation.
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    • Hostel Mitsuwaya Osaka
      Located a 10-minute walk from Matsuyamachi and Tanimachi Rokuchome subway stations, Hostel Mitsuwaya Osaka offers cosy accommodation decorated with wooden interior. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Compact units come with reading lights, power outlets and curtains to secure privacy. Bathroom facilites are shared. You will find a 24-hour front desk and a shared kitchen at the property. Guests can relax in the common area fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring. The hostel also offers bike hire. Shitennoji is 1.7 km from Hostel Mitsuwaya Osaka, while Tsutenkaku is 2.1 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 14 km from the property.
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    • HOTEL THE FLAG Shinsaibashi
      3-star accommodation, HOTEL THE FLAG Shinsaibashi is located in central Osaka, 600 metres from Dotonbori River and the Ebisu Tower Ferris Wheel, 700 metres from popular music and shopping district America Village. Conveniently located in the Chuo Ward, the hotel is situated 2.4 km from Shinsekai. The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk with multi-lingual staff. Free WiFi is available at the hotel. Each air-conditioned room is equipped with a flat-screen TV and desk. Free toiletries and rain shower are provided in all rooms, while certain rooms feature a bathtub. A buffet breakfast is available daily at the hotel. Traditional locations such as Shitennoji Temple and Kuromon Ichiba Market are within 2.5 km from the hotel. Osaka Itami Airport and Kansai International Airport are both less than a one-hour train ride from HOTEL THE FLAG Shinsaibashi.
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    • Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel
      Opened in March 2014, Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel is located on the high floors of Abeno Harukas building featuring direct access to Tennoji Station. Luxurious rooms feature free WiFi, and guests can enjoy 360 degree views of the city from the panoramic view point on the 58th floor. On-site private parking is available at an additional charge. The spacious air-conditioned rooms feature Sealy beds, a coffee machine, an electric kettle and a minibar. Ironing facilities, a safety deposit box and an en suite bathroom are included in each. Located above the 38th floor, all rooms offer stunning city views. Guests can work out at the fitness centre or shop at the Kintetsu Department Store located on the lower floors of the building. A free-use business centre is on site, while a museum and outdoor terrace can be enjoyed on the 16th floor. Luggage storage and concierge services are offered at the 24-hour front desk. The restaurant on the 57th floor offers Japanese and Western meals, as well as Teppanyaki grill dishes. A buffet restaurant featuring a bright open kitchen is available on the 19th floor. Miyako Osaka Marriott Hotel is a 10-minute train ride from Namba Station and a 20-minute train ride from Osaka/Umeda Station. Tennoji Zoo is a 10-minute walk away. Guests can purchase a 1-day Studio Pass for Universal Studios Japan TM, which is located a 30-minute train ride away. Osaka Marriot Miyako Hotel is an Alliance Hotel of Universal Studios Japan TM. ? Universal Studios. CR15-0113
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