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!

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

  1. Good day Takeshi.
    Your article is really very helpful but Im still quite confused as to which pass to use. My family and I will be travelling for the first time in Japan this May. We will be coming from Tokyo via the shinkansen and will be staying near the Nagahoribashi station. Can you please help me which pass will suit our itinerary and the most practical at that.
    Day 1: Tokyo to Osaka
    Day 2: Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium and Umeda Sky Bldg
    Day 3: Shitennoji Temple, Kuromon Ichiba Market and Dotonbori
    Day 4: Osaka to Kyoto for 1 day only to visit Fushimi Inari Taisha Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple and Yasaka Shrine (will go back to Osaka)
    Day 5: Universal Studios Japan

    Your reply will be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Richie,

      The suggested deals are the following:

      Day 1 Single ticket or Platt Kodama
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      Day 2
      Osaka Kaiyu ticket + admission for Osaka castle and Sky Bldg
      http://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/trip-to-osaka-kaiyukan-aquarium-by-osaka-kaiyu-ticket-2.html
      But if you visit one more attraction on the list of Amazing pass, amazing pass is better choice.
      http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/facility/free.php
      If you use Amazing pass, you have to pay admission for Kaiyukan aquarium.

      Day 3
      Enjoy Eco card or Osaka Visitor’s ticket

      Day 4
      Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass one day 700 yen
      http://www.keihan.co.jp/travel/en/tickets/special

      Day 5
      Single ticket

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    Your page is very helpful but I’m still confused on which rail pass is the best to buy. I hope that you can help me for my trip. Below is my itinerary, kindly advise what are the passes i should purchase for the trip

    Day 1: Osaka
    Kansai airport to Kamishinjo stn (Stay around that area)

    Day 2: Osaka-Universal Studios Japan/Shinsekai

    Day 3: Osaka – Shitennoji Temple/Osaka Castle/Umeda Sky Building/Dotonbori

    Day 4: Kyoto-Kinkakaku-ji Temple/Arashiyama/Gion/Nishiki Market

    Day 5: Kyoto South & Nara -Nara Park/Todaiji Temple/Kasuga

    Day 6: Kobe -Kobe & Himeji Castle

    Day 7&8: Kanazawa & Shirakawago
    Kamishinjo station to Shin-Osakaa Station transfer to Kyoto . From Kyoto to Kanazawa then take bus to Shirakwago.
    (Baesd on your sample itinerary of Day Trip to kanazawa and shirakawago from Osaka or Kyoto as reference)

    Day 9: Nagoya-Osaka

    Day 10: Osaka – Kansai Airport

    QUESTIONS:
    1) Should i purchase ICOCA & Haruka pass or JR pass or only Haruka pass? Which pass is the best for Kansai airport round trip?

    2) Please advise me whether which pass is the best for this trip;
    a) Day 2&3: Kansai One Pass/ICOCA?
    b) Day 4-6: 3-Days Kansai Thru Pass
    c) Day 7-8: Takayama Hokuriku Area pass & Nohi Bus
    d) Day 9: Takayama Hokuru Area pass
    e) Day 10: Haruka pass or JR Pass or JR West rail pass?

    Looking forward for your reply.

    Thank you for your help.

    Best regards
    Agnes

    1. Hi Agnes,

      1. Kyoto Access Ticket is the best deal for only arrival day.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/kyoto.html

      You don’t go to Kyoto but Kamishinjo. Kamishinjo is located on the route to Kyoto by this pass. You can take this ticket to get Kamishinjo. It’s cheaper than regular fare. ICOCA and Haruka is not recommended to get Kamishinjo. If you take Haruka, you can get Shin-Osaka. And then take subway and Hankyu. You have to change the trains twice at least. If you use my suggested deal, you may get Kamishijo directly from Tengachaya because some of subway train goes directly Hankyu line. But you may need to change the trains at Awaji station.

      This deal is not available for to KIX. you have to pay single fare which is around 1300 yen.

      2. You may have Kansai one pass. But for day 3, amazing pass may be better choice if you visit one more attractions on the list of this pass.
      http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/index.html

      Kansai thru pass is okay for day 4 to 6.

      Takayama Hokuriku area pass is okay for day 7 and 8. But on day 9, this pass does not cover Nagoya to Osaka direct route. If you use this pass to get Osaka, you have to go up to Toyama via Takayama, change train to Kanazawa there and then need to take train to Osaka. It’s a big big detour and wasting time. You should have one way ticket from Nagoya to Osaka. Most recommended deal is Platt Kodama.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      On last day, as I mentioned, Kyoto Access ticket is not available. You may use Kansai one pass to take Hankyu, subway and Nankai railway.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi San,

        Thank you for your advise.

        I am wondering whether Kyoto Access Ticket still able to purchase from the counter as I will arrive Kansai Airport at 9.40pm?

        Moroever, I would like to know is it all passes as mentioned in the itinerary will be cover for me to travel between Kamishinjo Stn to those destination? Because me and my friend likely will stay there for 4-5 nights.

        Really appreciate for your help because this is our first time free and easy travel to Japan.

        Thank you for ur patience and advise again.

        1. Hi Agnes san,

          The ticket office is open until 23:00. Please see the links below:
          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://www.howto-osaka.com/en/traffic/informationcounter/NankaiTicketOffice.html

          If you can get the ticket office at 9:40 pm, it’s no problem. But if your flight will arrive at 9:40 pm, you may spend one hour to clear custom and immigration. It may be tight to get there by 23:00. You may not be able to get a ticket and need to use regular ticket.

          If you spend many minutes in custom and immigration or late arrival of your flight, you may not be able to get Kamishijo by train. You must take 23:06 departure from Kansai airport if you want to take my suggested route by train. If you miss it, you still can get Umeda by midnight bus. Please see the link below:
          http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-access-to-osaka-kyoto-and-kobe-from-late-arrival-flight-at-kansai-airport-kix.html

          But you may have to take a taxi from Umeda to Kamishinjo. I don’t know the exact cost. I guess it costs more than 3000 yen if you take a taxi from Uemda.

          You can use Kansai one pass and Kansai thru pass from Kamishijo. Both pass covers Hankyu railway.

          You have to use Kansai one pass to get Osaka (Umeda) or Shin-Osaka when you use Takayama Hokuriku area pass. This does not cover Hankyu railway.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Dear Takeshi San,

            Thank you so much for your advise. I will do more homework for my trip. Love your advise and all your suggested itinerary in JPrail. I found all information very useful and guide me to plan my itinerary.

            Thanks again.

            Sincerely,
            Agnes

  3. Hi,
    Could you help me choose the pass for my trip?
    1) I’ll arrive KIX around 10.40pm . I’ll be staying in Shinsaibashi, so I’m planning to take Nankai line to Namba, then change to subway to Shinsaibashi. Is there any pass I can use for Nankai line?

    2)On the next day, I’ll go to Shinsaibashi>>>Osaka Castle >>> Umeda Sky Building >>> Namba >>> KIX
    What pass should I use?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Toey,

      1. Before choosing deal, I tell you that you may not be able to take trains because of late arrival. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-access-to-osaka-kyoto-and-kobe-from-late-arrival-flight-at-kansai-airport-kix.html

      If you can catch the train, Nankai and subway deal is available in the link below:
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/chikatoku.html

      2. Eco card or Visitors ticket is your choice.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi,

    please help me with what other pass I should get if necessary for the following itinerary, I plan to purchase the JR Rail pass. Staying at Osaka Tokyo Inn, 531-0072 4-12-13, Toyosaki Kita-ku Osaka-city

    Day 1 – Hiroshima sightseeing (do I need a whole day for this one?)
    Day 2 – Nara & Kyoto sightseeing
    Day 3- Osaka sightseeing

    Thankyou
    JP

  5. Hi Takeshi,
    Do you know how many “osaka visitor ticket” can We buy from the airport? Per person? I will be at Osaka about 3 days, and had already bought amazing Osaka pass previously. I only need unlimited subway pass.
    Thanks

  6. Hi Takeshi,
    So much informations, thank you.
    I’m going to Japan on 9th – 15th February.
    I’ll be stayng in Kyoto for 2 nights and Osaka for 3 nights, and planning to visit some cities in Kansai area.
    Day 1 KIX – Kyoto (Arashiyama & Kinkaku-ji)
    Day 2 Kyoto (Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizudera, Kyoto sightseeing)
    Day 3 one day trip to Nara and Kobe (stay in Osaka)
    Day 4 Osaka
    Day 5 Osaka
    Day 6 KIX – Indonesia.
    What kind of pass should I choose the best?
    Thank you so much before.

    1. Hi Ayu,

      Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/visit-kyoto-osaka-nara-and-kobe-for-5-to-7-days-sample-itinerary.html

      In this sample itinerary, one day trip each made to Kobe and Nara. But you will do both in one day. You can use Kansai thru pass 2 days as I mentioned in the link above. But you need to use it for other day. Probably day 2 is the best day to use Kansai thru pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Please help.

    Day 1: Osaka (arriving at KIX)
    Day 2: Osaka – Kyoto
    Day 3: Kyoto

    Let me know which pass is best for me.

  8. Hi , I’ll be staying in Temma area and would like to know the best pass to purchase to suit my itinerary. I hope to be able to get just one pass for everything.

    Day 1 – Kansai airport to Temma – travelling around downtown such as Dotonburi, Castle, Shinsekai
    Day 2 – Temma to USJ only and back
    Day 3 – Temma to Nipponbashi, Shinsaibashi, Minami, Tenjimbashi-suji, Ebisubashi (all the shopping areas)
    Day 4 – Temma to Mount Yoshino and back
    Day 5 – Return to KIX airport

    Thank you so much for your help!

  9. Hi , I stay in Shin-Osaka and would like to know the best pass to purchase to suit my itinerary :

    Day 1 – Shin -Osaka to Nara
    Nara- Kyoto
    Kyoto- Shin -Osaka
    Day 2 – Shin -Osaka to Kyoto
    Fushimi Inari
    Day 3 – Shin-Osaka – Hakodateyama resort
    Day 4 -Universal Studio
    Day 5 -Osaka
    Kyoto- Shin -Osaka

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