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Osaka station guide. How to change JR trains, subway trains and other private railways


Osaka station platforms (C) Asacyan

Osaka station is the biggest station in west part of Japan. Osaka station is located at one of two biggest downtown cores, Umeda. Even though Shinkansen do not stop at Osaka station, many limited express trains and many local trains stop there. And also three subway lines (Midousuji line, Tanimachi line and Yotsubashi line) and two private railways (Hankyu and Hanshin) have stations near Osaka station.

In this post, I would like to explain about JR Osaka station. And also I would like to share the information about transferring to subway lines, Hankyu and Hanshin lines at Osaka station.

Rakuten
Rakuten

Overview

Osaka station is covered by the huge roof. There are two big shopping complex at both south and north side. (C) w0746203-1

Unfortunately there is no English station map. But Osaka station city map is very useful. This map shows you Osaka Station City Shopping complex. But it shows the station very clearly.

Osaka Station City map ground floor (PDF)
Osaka Station City map third floor

It looks very complicated. Don’t worry. Actually Osaka station itself is not complicated so much. All platform is located on second floor. There is only conventional lines. Shinkansen do not have station here in Osaka station. (You need to go to Shin-Osaka station to catch Shinkansen train.) There are so many signs in English, Chinese and Korean. Don’t worry about transfer among JR trains in Osaka station.

Ticket gate/Exit

There are four ticket gates on the ground floor and another one more gate on third floor.

First of all, please refer the ground floor map. On the ground floor, there are Midousuji gate (御堂筋口), South gate (南口), Central gate (中央口) and Sakurabashi gate (桜橋口). Both Midosuji and Central gates have a long concourse and connect to south and north. South gate is located between Midousuji and Central and facing south side of the station. Sakurabashi exit is located south west side and facing south side only.

On third floor, there is a connection bridge and Bridge gate (連絡橋口) is located at the middle. Please see the second link above.

You can access to any platform from all ticket gate. And when you transfer the train, you can take stairs or escalator to go up or down to change the platforms. Both ground level and third level can be used to transfer.

I will talk about transfer to private lines and subway lines later.

Tracks and platforms

There are 11 tracks / 6 platforms on second floor. There is no underground platform in Osaka station. And also you need to go to Shin-Osaka station to catch Shinkansen train. Therefore it is very simple to transfer in Osaka station.

Track# Name of line Destination
1 ■Osaka Kanjo line (Loop line) Uchimawari – Nishikujo, Bentencho, Tennoji
■Yumesaki line Direct train to Universal city (USJ) via Nishikujo (Peak hour only)
Yamatoji Rapid train Direct train to Nara via Tennoji
Kansai Airport Rapid train Direct train to Kansai airport via Tennoji
Kishuji Rapid train Direct train to Wakayama via Tennoji
2 ■Osaka Kanjo line (Loop line) Sotomawari – Kyobashi, Osaka Castle, Tsruhashi, Tennoji
3,4 ■Takarazuka line, Fukuchiyama line Takarazuka, Shin-Sanda, Sasayamaguchi
Limited Express Kounotori, Hamakaze, Super Hakuto Fukuchiyama, Kinosaki-Onsen, Tottori
■Kobe line Special Rapid /Rapid train to Sannomiya, Kobe, Himeji use this platform during peak hour.
5 ■Kobe line Special Rapid / Rapid train to Sannomiya, Kobe, Himeji
6 ■Kobe line Local train to Sannomiya, Kobe, Himeji
■Takarazuka line, Fukuchiyama line Takarazuka, Shin-Sanda, Sasayamaguchi
7 Kyoto line Local train to Shin-Osaka, Takatsuki, Kyoto
8 ■Kyoto line Special Rapid / Rapid train to Shin-Osaka, Takatsuki, Kyoto
9,10 ■Kyoto line Special Rapid / Rapid train to Shin-Osaka, Takatsuki, Kyoto use this platform during peak hour.
Twilight Express Sapporo
11 Limited Express Thunderbird Fukui, Kanazawa, Toyama, Wakura-Onsen
Limited Express Wide View Hida Gero, Takayama (one round trip from Osaka a day)
Limited Express Wide View Shinano Matsumoto, Nagano (one round trip from Osaka a day)
Limited Express Sunrise Izumo / Sunrise Seto Only train to Tokyo stop at Osaka station.

When you go to Shin-Osaka, go to track #5 and #6 at same platform. Shin-Osaka is the next station from Osaka. All trains stop there and you can take any trains, local, rapid or special rapid. Travel time is just 3 minutes by any trains.

If you go to Kansai airport (KIX), you have two choices. The first choice is Rapid Kansai Airport train. This departs from track #1. The second choice is Limited Express Haruka. But this train does not go through Osaka station. You have to go to Shin-Osaka to catch this train. Actually rail from Shin-Osaka/Kyoto do not connect to Osaka loop line in Osaka station. Any trains come from Shin-Osaka cannot go to Osaka loop line. There is bypass line between Shin-Osaka and Osaka loop line. Limited Express Haruka takes this route and cannot stop at Osaka station.

If you use Japan Rail Pass, JR West Kansai area pass, JR West Kansai WIDE Area Pass, JR West Sanyo area pass or JR West Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu area pass, you can take Limited Express Haruka without any extra charge. Travel time between Haruka and Rapid is not much different. But Haruka gives you more comfortableness. Because rapid train is a kind of commute train.

Transfer to Hankyu Railways, Hanshin Railways and Subways

JR Osaka station is located in Umeda area. Only JR station is named Osaka. Other railways’ stations are called Umeda. That makes you be confused. Simply Umeda stations is same place as JR Osaka station. If you transfer to other railways from JR Osaka stations in Umeda area, it might be complicated for you. Because there are many Umeda stations around JR Osaka stations. But there are many signs and is not far from JR Osaka station. First of all, please see the map below:


View Osaka station in a larger map

I will explain about access to other railways’ stations one by one. And also I found very useful movies and share with you.

Hankyu Railway Umeda station

If you go to Shijo-Kawaramachi and Arashiyama in Kyoto, Kobe or Takarazuka, you may take Hankyu trains. If you go to Hankyu Umeda station, exit from Midousuji North exit and take overpass. The movie below shows you how to get JR Osaka station from Hankyu Umeda station. It is opposite way. But it will help you to understand the route clearly.

Subway Midousuji line Umeda station

Midousuji line is most primary line in Osaka subway lines. If you go to Yodoyabashi, Shinsaibashi, Namba, you will take this train. You can access to this Umeda station from Midousuji exit concourse. There is escalator to get underground. You will see Midousuji line Umeda station right after you get underground. See the movie below to get the details.

Hanshin Railway Umeda station

Hanshin Railway connect Umeda and Kobe. And some trains go through different private railway company Sanyo Railways to Himeji. There are several way to get Hanshin Umeda station from JR Osaka station. I think Central South exit to Umeda station route is the easiest. Central exit concourse connects to underground path. Just keep going straight and get Hanshin Umeda station. See the movie below to get the details.

Subway Yotsubashi line Nishi-Umeda station

Nishi-Umeda means West Umeda. It is located at west side of Umeda. This lines goes along Midousuji line most of part. The train stops at Honmachi and Namba. When you access to Nishi-Umeda station, use Central South exit. It is same route as getting Hanshi Umeda station at the first part. Please see the movie below to get the details.

Subway Tanimachi line Higashi-Umeda station

Higashi-Umeda is located at east part of Umeda. As you guess, Higashi means east. This line goes near by Osaka castle (Tenmabashi and Tanimachi-Yonchome) Tanimachi=Kyuchome (=Uehonmachi) and Tennoji. When you access to Higashi-Umeda station, exit from Midousuji South exit and go down to Underground arcade. Unfortunately there is no movie available for this route. But there is well signed. You won’t miss it.

Osaka Station City

Most part of Osaka station is under your eyes from Times Square. (C) JP Rail

Umeda is one of the biggest downtown core in Osaka city. And JR Osaka station is located between two shopping complex buildigns, South Gate Building and North Gate Building. These buildings, station and shopping complex are called “Osaka Station City“. This is one the biggest station shopping complex in Japan.

In South Gate Building, there are Daimaru department store, Hotel Granvia Osaka, Tokyu Hands, Uniqlo and many more stores and restaurants. North Gate Building was opened in 2011. Before it was opened, north side of Osaka station was very quiet. In North Gate Building, there are Mitsukoshi-Isetan department store and huge shopping complex “Lucua”. These two buildings are connected each other by overpass on third floor and fifth floor.

On third floor, there is connection bridge and fare gate at the middle as I mentioned above. On fifth floor, there is “Times Square (時空の広場)”. This square is located just above Osaka station platforms. It is a landmark of Osaka station now.

And there are many shopping spots around Osaka station, such as Hankyu department store, Hanshin department store and Yodobashi Camera. If you want to shop, you must expect to spend at least all day around Osaka station.

Japan Rail Pass, JR West Rail Pass exchange/sales office

Midori no Madoguchi (reservation window) and ticket window at Central Exit concourse. (C) JP Rail

You can exchange Japan Rail Pass in Osaka station. There is a ticket office at the Central exit concourse. You will see the sign that says “Japan Rail Pass” at the end of the ticket counter.

If you want to purchase JR West Kansai area pass, JR West Kansai WIDE Area Pass, JR West Sanyo area pass or JR West Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu area pass in Japan, you can purchase it at Osaka station. The location is same as Japan Rail Pass exchange place.

But you CANNOT purchase Japan Rail Pass in any places in Japan.


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22 Comments to “Osaka station guide. How to change JR trains, subway trains and other private railways”

  1. Hau Le says:

    Dear JRrail,

    I want to go from osaka to tokyo today or tomorrow. Can you show me the cheapest way to tokyo? overnight train or bus are ok.

    I’am looking for your answer as soon as possible.

  2. tina says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Do one day pass for Kaiyu is available staring this month?
    Last time it said that the Kaiyu pass will stop until 31 March because they want to revise the fee.

    Hope you can give ome update. Thank you Takeshi.

  3. Ann Lim says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will be in Osaka next week and planning to go to the Ramen Museum. Based on their website, I need to take the express train in Hankyu Umeda Station via the Takarazuka Line going to Ikeda Station. I will be staying in Toyoko Inn Osaka Umeda Higashi. Can I ride the JR going to Ikeda? If Minamimorimachi Station is the nearest station from our hotel, can I get a train there direct to Ikeda? Or the only way is to go to Hankyu Umeda? I hope you can help me with specific directions? What station should I go to, what track number or line should I take to reach Ikeda Station.

    Thank you in advance =)

  4. Patrina says:

    Hello Takeshi-san

    Thanks to your explanation above, the Osaka Station does not look so daunting now!

    We have checked hyperdia, to travel from Arashiyama to Namba (as we are staying there) is to take the train from Hankyu Arashiyama. However, when we reach Umeda (Hankyu), we have to walk 4 mins to Umeda Subway (Midosuji Line). From what I can see from the map, it seems that the 2 stations are in different building. Please advise us on how to get from one station to the other.

    Another question, is the Grand Front Osaka connection to the Uemda subway? Or can it only be accessed on the JR Osaka Station side?

    Looking forward to your response

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Patrina,

      Please see the following youtube.

      I think 4 minutes is very tight. Lots of subway trains run on Midoujuji line. You can take next one in another 5 minutes.

      In Umeda everything is connected in underground. You can go directly but it may be tricky. There are lots of sign. All you have to do is just following sign.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

    • Patrina says:

      Takeshi-san

      Thanks for the video. It seems that I will have to get out from the Hankyu Umeda station, then walk to the Umeda Subway station and tap in again…

      By the look of things … I think it will take us more then 4 mins :)

  5. Kirsten says:

    Dear Takeshi:
    I’m hoping you might be able to help me! I’m venturing off the JR rail line. and sounds like I need to take another train to get to my destination. I am travelling from Kyoto with my next destination being in Koyosan: Ekoin temple.. The monk from Ekoin gave me these instructions:
    “I recommend you are going to come to Koyasan from Kyoto, you should go to Kyoto first and take the JR LINE bound for Osaka at Kyoto station.
    From Osaka station, you take the Kanjo line for Sinimamiya at Osaka station.
    From Sinimamiya station you NANKAI KOYA LINE bound for Koyasan at Sinimamiya station. It takes about two hours to Koyasan.
    From koyasan station, you take the bus to “okunoin” or “okunoinguti” and take off the bus at “karukayado mae”.”
    I emailed him for futher clarification, but haven’t heard back. I used hyperdia which got me from Kyoto to Osaka, but after that, NO LUCK! Hyperdia does not recognize Sinimamiya. What information do you have on other rail ines that I need to take to get to Ekoin. I’m hoping there will be some fares listed too.
    I love your site, this will be the second time you help me with down to earth information. You’re a gift to us tourists! Thank you

  6. Miyako says:

    Hi Takeshi San

    I have to alight at Umeda(Subway) from Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line and take the JR Special Rapid train to Kyoto Station.

    Do I follow your “Subway Midousuji line Umeda station” video above? Just that I go the opposite way?

    Also there are many JR Lines (Gates) on 1st and 3rd Level of Osaka Station City Map. Are they the same, in the sense that no matter which gate I enter, I can reach the JR Special Rapid train very fast?

    I’m worried that I’m not in time for the transfer as the time limit for transfer is less than 5 minutes.

    Appreciate your advice.

    Thank you.

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Miyako,

      That’s right.

      As long as you transfer from subway, you will use 1st level gates. Of course you can use 3rd level gate. It’s same.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. arafah says:

    very good info!keep it up bro!

  8. Andy says:

    Great photos and info. By far my most loved station in Japan, I was there last may, especially now that the station has been upgraded, Osaka is such a incredible mix of old and new.

    Am I correct in thinking there is one less platform than there used to be before the upgrade?

    Thanks again for the site

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Andy,

      You are right. There used to be 13 tracks and 7 platform before North Building open. JR West remove one platform to make some spaces for this building.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  9. Jim Nakazawa says:

    JPRail,

    Thank you for the very informative guide about the Osaka station. This information will certainly be very useful when we visit this April.

    But does the Tracks and Platforms table disagree with the paragraph just under it? The table appears to indicate to me that tracks 5 & 6 are to Kobe or Takarazuka, and tracks 7 through 10 are the trains to Shin-Osaka.

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Jim,

      Mostly trains to Shin-Osaka/Kyoto depart from track #7 (local) and #8 (Rapid/Special Rapid). But some of Rapid and Special Rapid depart from track #9 and #10, especially in peak hours. For opposite direction (Kobe/Takarazuka), track #3 and #4 are used for these trains in peak hours too.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

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