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.

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

  1. Hi
    We will be in Osaka for 7 days in November. We are 4 in the group staying in Osaka for these 7 days
    Day 1- KIX -Osaka (Namba)
    Day 2- Osaka – Hiroshima-Miyajama – Osaka
    Day 3 – Osaka- Himeji city – Kobe – Osaka
    Day 4 – Osaka whole day
    Day 5 – Osaka – Kyoto – Osaka
    Day 6 – Osaka – Kanazawa – Osaka
    Day 7 – Osaka – KIX
    We plan to get JR Pass for 7 days (National JR Pass)
    Will the National JR Pass covers the trains to these city
    Thanks

  2. Hi,

    I’ll be coming from Kyoto and will be bringing my luggage, are their lockers or luggage storage at Umeda (Osaka) station since I plan to proceed directly to Universal Studios. I hope you could help.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Jezzalee,

      There are many many lockers at many sites in Osaka station. But even though it has many many, sometimes it’s hard to find empty one. Especially if you want to have large size, it’s very challenging.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Hi thank you for the infos above. We will visit osaka this week for 5 days only. I have few questions:

    1. From kansai airport how will we go to shin osaka esaka tokyu rei hotel (shin osaka)? We are arriving at 8:00pm. what ticket/passes do we need to buy?

    2. When is the best day to go to universal studios?

    3. For the 5 days tour will we be able to maximize our tour if we go to kyoto and nara?

    4. Since this will be our first time in osaka, wont it be hard for us if we tour on our own? Do we need tour guide?

    1. Hi Anna,

      1. I’m not sure the exact location of your hotel. But Esaka is a few stations away from Shin-Osaka by subway. There are two ways.
      KIX-(Nankai)-Namba-(Subway)-Shin Osaka or Esaka
      KIX-(JR Haruka)-Shin Osaka-(Subway, maybe?)-Esaka
      If you take Nankai route, you can use Kanku Chikatoku Ticket. If you take Haruka, ICOCA and Haruka is the best. Please find more info at the links below:
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/kansai-airport-transportation-guide-find-info-about-station-ticket-airport-bus-and-high-speed-ferry.html
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-from-kansai-airport-to-downtown-osaka-kyoto-and-kobe.html
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/namba-stations-guide-how-to-change-the-trains-among-nankai-kintetsu-hanshin-subway-and-jr.html

      2. Weekdays. But everyday is busy because it’s summer break.

      3. It depends on what you want to see. I have a post about making plan in Osaka at the link below. You may get some idea.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/how-to-build-the-itinerary-and-choose-the-deals-for-osaka-stay-5-to-7-days.html
      Both Nara and Kyoto are old cities and there are lots of temples and shrines. If you want to have more time in Osaka, you can visit Kyoto only. Kyoto is more attractive than Nara.

      4. I think you can do it by your own. My website is exist for the tourist who want to do by own.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Hello there!

    I’m so glad to have come upon your site, the infos here are really helpful.

    I’ll be coming there next month and I still have some unclear things I need to know. Can you please advise on the following:

    1. What time does the JR Ticket Office opens & closes at JR Osaka Station and at the Kansai International Airport? (I have to exchange my JR Kansai Wide voucher).

    2. When I use my JR Kansai Wide Pass, is there a separate entrance/exit “ticket machine”? It’s different from the IC Cards where you will “tap” it, right? And do I need to approach a station personnel and tell them the route I will take then they will issue me a ticket?

    Thanks so much in advance!

    1. Hi Anj,

      1. Please see the following link. This link shows you the exchange office hours for JR pass. But it’s same for Kansai Wide Area pass.

      2. You cannot go through automated ticket. There is manned gate too. You can show your pass and enter/exit station.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hi Takeshi!

        Uhm…there’s no link (from your reply to question #1). Can you re-post, please? ^_^

        And may I ask some more things?

        1. I looked at JR’s timetable website and saw these schedules:
        Depart KIX at 21:49
        (via Kansai Airport Rapid Service for Kyobashi)
        Arrive Osaka at 23:01

        Depart Osaka Stn at 17:24
        (via Kansai Airport Rapid Service for Kansai Airport)
        Arrive KIX at 18:34

        Does this mean that these routes will go direct to Osaka Stn and KIX respectively? We don’t need to change platform?
        (I just want to make sure because some say that we need to transform platform at Tennoji)

        Thanks so much again in advance!

  5. hi …
    May I ask about the train line ?
    31st agus_7sept I plan a vacation to Japan especially osaka kyoto . I ‘ve never been to Japan .
    from 6:30 till 22:25 jakarta arrived at Kansai airport . it was dated August 31, huh? confused about the message the hotel or not because the average coming in an hour that much he has no trains were operating , not in the immigration queue . then I decided to stay at the airport tomorrow . nah date I stayed at a hostel 1-3 imamiya shin . I boarded the train what ‘s good and where aja direction ? Nishinari – ku Haginochaya address .
    then for two days I do not know where he is going wrote in osaka related constraints do not know where the train I was riding just as good . I want to continue the rest of the day in kyoto . it is also the same . I made the itinerary has not been completed .
    Thank you ….

    1. Hi Rini,

      You can take Nankai railway to get Shin-Imamiya. There are some deals for KIX to Osaka.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      But Shin-Imamiya can be accessed by JR train. Especially if you want to have ICOCA card (e-money) that can cover all trains, take JR train and use ICOCA and Haruka deal. If you get round trip type of this deal, you can take direct train “haruka” to KXI from Kyoto on departure day.

      And also the following posts may help you to build your itinerary.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/how-to-build-the-itinerary-and-choose-the-deals-for-osaka-stay-5-to-7-days.html

      When you go to Kyoto, you can use single fare. If you use ICOCA and Haruka, you can use ICOCA e-money. The following post can help you to build your plan in Kyoto.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. good afternoon, thank you for the explanation. but I am still confused, excuse me. may I ask for opinions? I came tonight from Kansai airport. plan to stay in the hostel area Izumisano. morning September 1 to 3 september I plan to play in osaka. I was looking for a place that has a museum of history osaka, osaka temangu shrine, osaka aquarium Kaiyukan, USJ, osaka castle, fortress himeji, koyasan, Dotonburi, national bunraku theater, umeda sky building, Namba park, Shitennoji, Shinsekai, Tsutenkaku, mino park osaka , the temple of love in umeda in doyama-cho.

        who would I ask. The good in 2/3 days I used to be a place where I’ve seen on the internet. any place that should be discarded or should not visit. continues, train ride and ticket arrangement what should be purchased. What helps me buy tickets directly at the station? 3rd sept daytime or evening before 16:00 I already have to exist in kyoto.

        my question very long, sorry. I was very interested and want to travel to Japan but were afraid the wrong way. hehehe …. terms of love.

        1. Hi Rini,

          The places on your wish list are mostly popular place to visit. Everybody has different taste. It’s hard to say which place is not worth visiting.
          In your plan, you need to expect to spend one full day each for trip to Koyansan and USJ.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-get-mt-koya.html

          In these days, USJ has been so popular. I recommend you to spend one full day. Otherwise you cannot be satisfied.

          If you do both, you will spend two full days. I think you need to give up one of those. You cannot make both in your stay. You will spend half day to get Himeji.
          http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-access-to-himeji-and-kobe-from-osaka.html

          Other places are located in the city of Osaka. You can visit most of them.

          So at this point, you have to decide which place you go. And then we can find the deals of you need to go for single ticket.

          When you have any questions next time, please show me your detailed itinerary. Sorry but I cannot make it for you because I have to do same thing to all readers. But I can check and give you suggestions. And I have lots of resources in my website. Most of things about transportation can be found in my website.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. Hello,
    Please comment on my itinerary. Will stay in osaka June 10-17. We are 4 in the group from the Philippines
    Day 1- arrival
    Day 2- universal studio
    Day 3 – himeji city, nara city
    Day 4 – arashima, higashiyama, nanzen-ji temple, path of philosophy
    Day 5 – uji city, central and north kyoto
    Day 6 – arimaonsen, explore kobe
    Day 7 – explore osaka, flight back home at 8pm
    I plan to buy a kansai area pass from day 3-6 plus Kyoto day bus pass on day 5

    Thank you,
    Albert

  7. THANK you so much for this great post!!! It’s well-written, thorough, informative, and so helpful!!! Really appreciated all the information you have covered!!!

  8. Hi Takeshi
    I try to find the way from Higashiumeda subway st. to Hankyu umeda ( first day) andto Hanshin umeda(second day). And i found in your web , but i can open the vdo.Please tell me the way.
    Thanks a lot
    Sakuntala.

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