How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO
Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO

There are many deals for sightseeing in Osaka. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Osaka and want to visit the places in Osaka. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Osaka from other cities, such as day trip to Osaka from Kyoto, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass is most recommended. Because Kansai Thru Pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area

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

One-day unlimited Pass, Enjoy Eco Card

Subway Midousuji line Namba station
Subway Midousuji line Namba station
  • Price (weekday) – Adult:800 yen / Child:300 yen
  • Price (weekend) – Adult:600 yen / Child:300 yen
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight)

This is most common deal to cover Osaka. You can get unlimited ride of Osaka city subway and city bus. You can visit almost anywhere in city of Osaka.

Osaka subway map

If you use buy this pass on weekends or holidays, you can get this pass at lower price, only 600 yen. If you take subway train from Umeda (same place as JR Osaka) to Namba, the fare is 230 yen.

Roughly, if you make 4 trips by subway a day, it is paid off. It is not hard to use more than worth of 800 yen. You can purchase this pass at Osaka subway stations.

Osaka Visitors’ Ticket

  • Price (weekday) – Adult:550 yen / Child:Not available
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight)

This deal gives you the exactly same coverage as Enjoy Eco Card above. But the price is 550 yen and it is much cheaper if you use it on week days.

This pass is not available in the station. You must purchase it in Kansai airport or Tourist Information Center in Shisaibashi. Please see the detailed information in the official site.

Osaka Amazing Pass

Umeda Sky Building is on the attraction list of Osaka Amazing Pass. (C) JNTO
Umeda Sky Building is on the attraction list of Osaka Amazing Pass. (C) JNTO
  • Price (one day) – Adult:2,500 yen / Child:Not available
  • Price (two days) – Adult:3,300 yen / Child:Not available
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight), two consecutive days

This deal is 28 attractions free entry adding on Enjoy Eco Card (subway day pass). Please find the link below to find which attraction is included.

Attraction list of Osaka Amazing Pass

If you visit three or more attractions on the list, this deals gives you a better deal than subway pass.

There are two kinds of Amazing Pass available, 1 day and 2 days. The difference is coverage trains. Actually 1 day pass has better coverage. It covers not only subway but also non JR lines in city of Osaka, such as Nankai railway, Hanshin Railway, Kintetsu Railway and Keihan Railway. Please see the links below to compare the coverage trains:

Osaka Amazing Pass one day coverage map
Osaka Amazing Pass two days coverage map

As long as you stay in downtown Osaka, subway is okay to visit all places. But if you stay outside downtown Osaka, one day pass coverage may help you to access downtown Osaka. Please check the location of your stay before choosing the deals.

Child rate is not available. You need to use Eco Card (one day subway pass) and pay admission separately. But some attractions offers discount rate for Eco Card user.

Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Kaiyukan is one of the most popular venue in Osaka. It can be accessed by Osaka subway. (C) JNTO
Kaiyukan is one of the most popular venue in Osaka. It can be accessed by Osaka subway. (C) JNTO
  • Price (Basic Osaka city version) – Adult:2,550 yen / Child:Not 1,300 yen
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight)

This is combo deal of Osaka subway unlimited ride pass and Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium admission. You can take subway train to get Osakako station which is the nearest station to Kaiyukan Aquarium. If you visit there from Namba or Umeda by this pass, it is paid off. If you take subway train after visiting Kaiyukan Aquarium, your saving is getting bigger and bigger. There are several versions of Osaka Kaiyu Ticket available. Some deals include other railway trains to get Osaka from other cities. Please see the detailed information in the link below:

Osaka Kaiyu Ticket basic information

I have used this ticket before and wrote about it in the link below. It may help you to plan for your visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

Trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium by Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

If you use Osaka Amazing Pass, you can get a discount to enter this aquarium. Osaka Amazing Pass covers other attractions around Kaiyukan Aquarium, such as Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel, Cruise Ship Santa Maria. If you have a plan to visit these places when you visit Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka Amazing Pass may be better than Osaka Kaiyu Ticket.

ICOCA, Pitata and other IC cards

ICOCA is most popular IC card in Kansai area. (C) タンジェント (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
ICOCA is most popular IC card in Kansai area. (C) タンジェント (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You may use these cards to take any trains and buses in Osaka. You can use even other area’s card, such as Suica, Pasmo too. These cards give you convenience. You can avoid to purchase a ticket whenever you make a train trip. You can take any kinds of trains, such as JR, subway and Non JR trains. However these cards do not give you any discount and unlimited travel.

If you meet these following things, IC card is your choice.

1. You intend to visit a few places in a day.
2. You need to take both subway and JR trains.
3. You cannot fix your plan and want to have some flexibility.

If you visit three places in subway coverage area, you may need to take subway 4 times. It costs around 800 yen that is equal to one day subway pass.

Kansai One Pass

This is same type of card as ICOCA. You can use this pass by same way as ICOCA. But this card is designed for overseas tourist. Preload amount is 2,500 yen (plus 500 yen deposit and sold at 3,000 yen) and you can get discount at many attractions. ICOCA is sold at any JR stations throughout Kansai area. But Kansai One Pass is sold in the designated stations only. Please see the link below to find the detailed information at official site.

Kansai One Pass official site

For traveler who visit Osaka and other cities in same day

As I mentioned at the top of this article, there are some deals available, such as Kansai Thru Pass. But if you move other city after sightseeing in Osaka, Kansai Thru Pass and other deals may not be suitable.

e.g.
Sightseeing in Osaka, move to Kyoto and stay (no sightseeing in Kyoto)

In this case, the combination of one of the deals in Osaka and single fare between Osaka and Kyoto is usually cheaper than Kansai Thru Pass or other pass. But if you do sightseeing in two cities, Kansai Thru Pass is your choice.

e.g.
Sightseeing in Osaka, move to Kyoto and sightseeing in Kyoto

But sightseeing in two cities in one day is very tight and not very recommended.

For traveler who use national or regional pass

If you use JR pass (national pass) or other regional deal, such as Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, JR train network in Osaka is covered. You may visit many places by these passes. You may not have any other passes beside these deals. Please see the link below to find the coverage of these national and regional deals in Osaka.

Guide to take trains in Osaka. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

I hope this post helps you to find the best deal!

84 thoughts on “How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka”

  1. Hi Takeshi

    We’re couple who are first timer visit japan for 2 weeks during summer. We are going to stay near Shinjuku St.in Tokyo and near Shin Osaka St. in Kansai Area. We only visit popular attractions both in Tokyo and Kansai Area.

    Here is the itenerary :
    Day 1 -> Arrive afternoon at Narita (Stay near Shinjuku st.)
    Day 2 -> Disney sea using bus from Shinjuku st
    Day 3 -> Disneyland using bus from Shinjuku st
    Day 4 -> Hakone : using Hakone Pass
    Day 5 -> Tokyo : using Tokyo Subway Ticket 2 days pass
    Day 6 -> Half day in Tokyo then travel to Osaka by Shinkansen in evening (Stay near Shin Osaka St.)
    Day 7 -> Kyoto using Sightseeing 2 days Kyoto Pass
    Day 8 -> Kyoto using Sightseeing 2 days Kyoto Pass
    Day 9 -> Nara using Kansai Thru 3 days Pass
    Day 10 -> Kobe using Kansai Thru 3 days Pass
    Day 11 -> Osaka using Kansai Thru 3 days Pass
    Day 12 -> Depart evening to Osaka KIX

    Does the transport pass we are going to buy is the best deal?
    Need your advice.

    Thanks
    Elang

    1. Hi Elang,

      You have researched very deeply and have chosen the great deals.
      You have keep this plan but I just want to give you a few tips.

      When you go to Kyoto from Shin-Osaka, JR train is the best choice which is not covered by Kansai thru pass. But you need to pay single fare which is 560 yen. And as you think, you can add Kyoto sightseeing card 2 days.

      If you use Knasai thru pass, you need to go to Umeda or Yodoyabashi by subway. And then take Hankyu railway from Umeda or Keihan railway from Yodoyabashi. But you can access to Gion-Shijo, Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-Gojo (near Kiyomizudera temple), Fushimi-Inari by these trains. And Kansai thru pass covers subway, city bus and other non JR trains in Kyoto which is much more convenient than Kyoto sightseeing card.

      If I were you, I use Kansai thru pass 3 days for trip to Kyoto 2 days and Nara.

      I use single fare ticket to Kobe which is almost same as trip to Kyoto by JR trains. In Kobe, many places can be accessed by walk or you may add city loop bus pass.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kobe-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      In Osaka, there are lots of deals available in the post above.

      This is my thought.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. hi takeshi,
    this is a sample itinerary for my brother and his family. pls help me and advised me if the ticket im goin to purchase for them are the one applicable for their schedule. they will stay near namba area from jun 20-25, 2017.
    d1 arrive KIX late nite
    use yokoso osaka ticket
    d2 sightseeing around osaka
    use the same ticket
    am i correct?
    d3 visit USJ single ticket to and fro namba station
    d4 kyoto
    d5 kyoto and nara
    for d3-d4, can kansai thru pass good enough and save them time and money being a first time visitors?
    d6 AM dotonbori area
    PM single ticket goin to KIX
    what particular ticket should i buy for this?
    thank you and hope u can help me in this matter.

    cheers!
    ruth

  3. Dear Takeshi

    We are arriving in Kyoto on 1st June for 5 nights and would like some advice on transport passes during this period. Our Itinirary is below (we wrote earlier but not sure it got through, so we’ll try a different laptop and email).

    Day 1. Arrive Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) 18.00 and need to get to central Kyoto. Our Guest House is Sunput Nanajo Mibu 600-8833,Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Shimogyo-ku Nishisuya cho 3-21.
    Day 2. Tour of East Kyoto ending somewhere at the Philosopher’s path. Heian jingu shrine for Noh play in the evening.
    Day 3. Tour of West Kyoto including Kinkuju-ji and the afternoon at Arashiyama. Nishiki market perhaps later.
    Day 4. DayTrip by train to Nara. Gion in the evening.
    Day 5. Day trip to Miho museum (bus + train)
    Day 6. Morning bus ride to Hiei -zan and back and then leave for Osaka (KIX) to catch 19.00 flight to Nanjing

    1. Hi Dave,

      I think you need to purchase return trip of Haruka discount ticket to/from Kyoto at 3,200 yen and Kansai one pass.
      http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/
      http://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      There are some deals available in Kyoto. You may have bus pass at 500 yen for one day. 3 rides give you the worth of this pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      But other deals are too much for your trip. Just use Kansai one pass to take trains and buses as you need. You can use it for day trip to Nara too.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks Takeshi,
        Sorry for missing the reply and apologies for bothering you again but after looking at the links there are one or two things I’m still not sure about.

        a) it appears the Kansai One pass can be used on the Kyoto subway and the trains to Nara and Arashiyama but not on the city buses? Am I right?

        b) What about the buses that go to Heizan and to Miho museum?

        c) Also just to confirm, the Kansai One Pass can only be bought with cash.

        Thanks

        dave

        1. Hi David,

          a) Kansai one pass covers city bus too.

          b) Kansai one pass is your choice too. But I think bus to Miho and cable car to Hieizan are not covered by Kansai one pass. Only regular fare is your choice. Prepare to pay as cash.

          c) I think credit card is accepted but not 100% sure.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi, Takeshi -san,
    Can we use the jr area pass 1 in touring osaka also?
    If we tour nara in the am and go to osaka castle in the afternoon and osaka housing.
    Can we use this pass?

    Thank you.
    Michelle

      1. Hi! Takeshi san
        I bought a jr area pass 1 day at kix
        But i will not be able to use it today.
        Can I return it and get a refund?
        Can I return and get refund at shin-osaka station on Sunday?

        Thanks,
        Michelle

  5. Hi, Takeshi-san.

    I brought the jr area pass 1 day, I am a confused on how to use it.
    We will go to Nara on May13 from Nippombashi, we will go to Jr osaka.
    At jr osaka, which trains should we ride going to nara park? How long is the travel time?
    After nara park, which train should we ride going to fushimi inari and bamboo forest?
    and is there direct train from fushimi inari to osaka?

    Are all this locations covered by these pass?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Michelle san,

      Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/rapid-service-network-in-kansai-area.html

      You can take Yamatoji rapid to Nara. When you go to Fushimi-Inari, Inari station is in front of Fushimi-Inari. But rapid train skips this station. When you take a train at Nara and if train is rapid, you can go to Kyoto and go back to Inari station. If train is local, you can get off at Inari. And then take local train to Kyoto and then take another train to Saga-Arashiyma. There is no direct trains between Inari and Saga-Arashiyma. There is no direct trains either for between Saga-Arashiyma and Osaka, Inari and Osaka. You need to change trains at Kyoto.

      In the link above, I showed rapid train service. But local train runs as well on same lines.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi! Takeshi- san,
    Got it!
    So from Osaka station, we will use the kansai area pass 1 day to travel to Nara and visit nara park, then travel to fushimi nari, then transfer to Bamboo forest in arashimaya.
    Then go back to Osaka station.
    Is this correct?
    We can buy the kansai area pass at osaka station right?

    2. We also plan to go to Mt. fuji and gotemba outlet and lake kawaguchiko. Is there any pass for this?

    Thank you very much!
    Michelle

    1. That’s right, Michelle san.

      You can purchase it at Osaka but online price is a big cheaper. I recommend you to book it online and exchange it at Osaka station.
      http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/pass/kansai/

      Just purchase a ticket for bus one by one for Kawaguchiko and Gotemba.
      http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/highway/detail/id/1
      http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/route/detail/id/1
      http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/en/gotemba/access/bus/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. HI, Takeshi-san.
    Good evening. Can you give me informations for the following:
    Can I use the Osaka Visitor’s Ticket going from Nippombashi station to Universal Studio?
    We will tour NARA and kyoto in one day, what pass is best?
    From OSaka we will go to Nara ( Nara Park) Then go to bamboo forest and fushimi inari. then go back to osaka.
    Where can we buy the pass?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Michelle san,

      You need to take both JR and subway to get USJ. JR is not covered by Osaka visitor’s ticket. Single ticket is better choice.

      Kansai area pass one day is the best choice for Nara and Kyoto.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/how-to-use-jr-west-kansai-area-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      But you have to walk to JR-Namba station from Nippombashi or taking subway to get Namba. Subway is not covered by Kansai area pass. Only JR train is covered.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hello Takeshi san,
    Your article is very informative, below will be my travels in Japan. Let me know if you think it is suitable:

    Day 1: arrive kix. Staying near tengachaya station, planning to use yokoso pass. Can i make stopover at tengachaya?? Then head to dotonburi in the evening.

    Day 2: osaka castle and shinsekai area. Use 2 days osaka amazing pass.

    Day 3: kaiyukan and around. Visit sky umeda at night. Osaka amazing pass.

    Day 4: nara day trip to deer farm, todaiji. Can you suggest suitable pass to use for this?

    Day 5: head to kyoto. Any pass that you can suggesy to get to kyoto??

    Day 6 & 7 & 8: travel with bus in kyoto. 500 yen per day. I live near the electric train station. Would it be convenient to travel using that?

    Day 9: kyoto to kix. One way ticket

    Thanks!!

    1. Hi Sarah san,

      Yokoso and Amazing pass are good choice. You can disembark at Tengachaya. After that, start using subway portion of Yokoso Osaka ticket.

      I think you can use Kansai thru pass 2 days for day 4 and 5. I think you have a time to see in Osaka and/or Kyoto on day 5. Kansai thru pass gives you flexibility.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      Kyoto bus pass covers most part of Kyoto. You can visit almost anywhere in Kyoto.
      http://www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp/koho/eng/access/img/pdf/ENG160319(map).pdf

      Haruka discount ticket is available at 1,600 yen. You can get KIX from Kyoto directly by Haruka.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hi! Takeshi-san

    Thank you for all your advices.
    I would like to clarify something.
    We will be staying near kuromon market nearest is nippombashi station.

    Upon arrival at KIX, we will buy the Osaka City Subway to Kansai int’l Airport.
    Using this ticket, from kix, we will go to namba station ( we use the rapit ticket) then transfer train to nippombashi ( use the unlimited subway that comes with the ticket)? Is this correct?
    We will arrive 7:05 pm at kix.
    Can we still use the unlimited subway the next day?

    We plan to tour nara and kyoto in one day.
    We can use kintetsu 1day pass from kintetsu-nippombashi – kintetsu nara – kyoto – kintetsu nippombashi?
    When we arrive kyoto using this pass, is the station we are alighting near fushimi inari? Or do we need to buy another ticket / pass to go there?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Michelle san,

      Nankai railway and subway deal does not give you unlimited travel of subway. It just give you one way trip. The best deal for you is Yokoso Osaka ticket.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/yokoso.html

      It includes rapi:t ticket and one day subway unlimited ride. You can use subway one day in next day if you want. In this case, you need to add subway fare for Namba to Nippombashi.

      I think Kansai area pass 1 day may be better choice than Kintetsu rail pass. Because you need to take JR train to get Fushimi Inari which is not covered by Kintetsu rail pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/how-to-use-jr-west-kansai-area-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      And also if you intend to visit Arashiyama in Kyoto, this pass covers but Kintetsu rail pass does not. You can get Nara by JR traisn too.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html

      However you need to get JR-Namba station. You cannot take train from Nippombashi. Actually Kintetsu Nippombashi station and JR-Namba station is connected by underground shopping arcade. You can walk.
      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

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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