Osaka and Umeda stations 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. This may make you be confused. JR Osaka station is completely same as Umeda station. You can transfer JR trains and other trains at Osaka and Umeda stations.

Even though Shinkansen does not stop at JR Osaka station, many limited express trains depart and arrive at this station. And three subway lines (Midousuji line, Tanimachi line and Yotsubashi line) and two private railways (Hankyu and Hanshin) have stations as “Umeda” station.

In this post, I would like to explain about JR Osaka station and other Umeda stations. You will find the information about Osaka and Umeda station. And also you will find some idea about transferring among JR trains, subway lines, Hankyu and Hanshin lines at Osaka station.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

JR Osaka station 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 does not have station here in Osaka station. (You need to go to Shin-Osaka station to catch Shinkansen train.) There are many signage 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.

Movie from JR Osaka station to Midousuji line Umeda station

Movie in Midousuji line Umeda station

Movie from Midosuji line Umeda station to Hanshin Umeda station

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. The movie below shows us JR Osaka, Hanshin Umeda, Yotsubashi line Nishi-Umeda and Herbis osaka.

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.

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.

Movie from Tanimachi line Higashi-Umeda station to JR Osaka station

Movie from Tanimachi line Higashi-Umeda station to Yotsubashi line Nishi Umeda station

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.

64 thoughts on “Osaka and Umeda stations guide. How to change JR trains, subway trains and other private railways”

  1. Hi Takeshi,
    If I am taking a trip from Osaka Station to Hineno on the Kansai Airport Rapid Service, which ticket gate should I enter by? Thank you!


  2. Hi, my family will be traveling to Japan on March 2016. The main places we will be going to.would be Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. Would you advice us to get Japan Rail Pass? Will the JR Pass be able to use between Shin Osaka to Umeda? Thanks!

    1. Hi Chew,

      If you have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka, JR Pass 7 days will work. Please find the coverage of Osaka by JR pass at the link below:

      If you have only one way trip, single fare is cheaper. And you may use local deals in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. There are many deals but you have to make the complete itinerary before choosing deal. Otherwise you cannot compare deals and single fare.


      Takeshi /

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be stating my journey from Higobashi Station to Shin-Osaka. Do I need to transit somewhere? Rushing my 1st shinkansen to Odawara@6am. What time does the subway open? Does subway direct to shin-osaka?

    1. Hi Jolene,

      Higobashi is on Yotsubashi line and this line does not go to Shin-osaka. Please see the subway map at the link below:

      You have to change the train from Nishi-Umeda to JR Osaka station. And you need to catch local train to Shin-Osaka.
      Subway starts to run around 5:30. You can find the exact schedule at Hyperdia.

      I think you have to catch the first one. Otherwise you will miss 6:00 am Shinkansen.


      Takeshi /

  4. Hi! My family of 4 (children ages 17 and 15) will be spending 8 days in Osaka, staying at Umeda area. Our main activity will be eating a he shopping in Osaka. We wish to go for day trips to USJ, Kobe and Kyoto as well. The various types of visitor travel card sare confusing. Can you advise on transfer from Kansai International Airport to Umeda Osaka Station, as well as the best card to purchase for rail and subway use for our trip please. Would taking airport limo bus to hotel be better. Thanks!

  5. Hi

    I am planning to take train from Kinosakionsen to tennoji station. From hysteria, I have to transfer at Osaka station track 10 to track 11. The timing difference is 5 mins. I wonder if these 2 tracks are opposite each other. Can I make it on time for the transfer consider I have luggages and my mum is 85 years old? Should I buy separate train tickets then or take a cab from Osaka to tennoji? Appreciate your advice.

    1. Hi Eileen,

      You need to go down and up. Those tracks are not located at same platform.
      I believe you can make it in 5 minutes.

      Are you taking train to Tennoji at track #11? Train to Tennoji is Osaka loop line. It’s not track #11 but #1 or #2. If you take Osaka loop line, train comes every 5 minutes. If you miss it, next one is coming right away.


      Takeshi /

      1. Dear Takeshi

        Sorry, I ask a few more questions.

        I will arrive at Kansai airport on 24Nov. Staying at Kyoto for 3 nights, then go to Kinosakionsen for 2 nights and then to Osaka for 4 nights. My last hotel at Tennoji station.

        Should I buy JR pass or should I buy individual train tickets? Can I get the tickets on the day of departure or I should buy beforehand? Thank you.

  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve.
  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals

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