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

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!

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

  1. Hi Takeshi-san!

    Can you please help up decide on what tickets to buy for our Japan trip? Here’s our Itinerery as we will be landing on KIX airport and we will be staying within Osaka Prefecture 🙂

    Day 1
    Instant Ramen Museum
    Osaka Castle
    Pokemon Center
    Osaka Aquarium
    Legoland Discovery Center
    Umeda Sky Building
    Dotonbori

    Day 2 & 3 – USJ 🙂
    Day 4 – Daytrip to Kyoto
    Day 5
    Nipponbashi Denden Town
    Tenjimmbashisuhi Shopping Street
    Amerikamura

    Lastly, if I hold a Japanese passport, but I do live in another country, will I be eligible to get any of the passes?

    Please advise us on how we can make our trip more efficient 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Hi Chiaki san,

      Please see the link below to find the deal for KIX-Osaka.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html
      Nankai railway deal (subway+Nankai), Rapi:t Tokuwai is available for Japanese citizen too.

      Osaka amazing pass is recommended for day 2. It is available for Japanese citizen too.
      https://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/jp/
      But you need to add the fare for Hankyu railway between Umeda and Ikeda to get ramen musuem.

      Single ticket is okay for day 2 and 3.

      Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass is available for foreign tourist only.
      http://www.keihan.co.jp/travel/en/tickets/special
      Otherwise single ticket for trip to Kyoto and add city deals in Kyoto. City deals are available for Japanese too.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Single ticket seems to be okay. But if you swap day 1 and 4, you can use Osaka amazing pass 2 days and can visit more attractions if you change your mind when you are in Osaka.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi san,

        Wow! Great! Thank you so much for helping out! You’ve made our stay in Japan more convenient and efficient! 🙂

        You rock!

  2. Takeshi – san,

    Thank you for your reply.. i will definitely follow your suggestions.

    By the way, i have some follow up questions,
    1. can we buy kaikyu aquarium ticket at nippombashi station?
    2. From umeda to ikeda, what ticket should we use? Where can we buy the ticket?
    3. after ramen museum, is it advisable to go to shin-osaka to buy kodoma tickets before going to aquarium? Or is kodoma available at kansai airport?
    4. From kansai airport to tengachaya to nippombashi station, we can use the nankai and subway deal?

    Thank you very much! I appreciate all your help in making our family trip in Japan memorable!

    1. Hi Mich san,

      1. Yes. But you have to go to subway Nippombashi station. You cannot purchase Kitnetsu railway Nippombashi station.

      2. You can purchase single ticket at Hankyu Umeda station. Just purchase it at vending machine.

      3. You need to go to Shin-Osaka. You cannot purchase it at Kansai airport and any other stations in Osaka. In Shin-Osaka, don’t go to the ticket window. You have to go to JR Tokai tours.
      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#Sales_location

      4. No, you can’t. You have to change trains at Namba.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi! Takeshi-san,
    Its our 1st time in Japan,
    Pls help us with our itinerary:
    We are 4adults and 4 kids (ages 10-12)
    Day 1: arrive night at kansai ( kansai to nippombashi)
    Day2: momufuku ramen museum in Ikeda
    Osaka castle
    Kaiyukan aquarium
    Namba / dotonbori at night
    Day3: universal studio
    Day 4: nara (visit nara park )/ kyoto ( visit fushimi inari shrine)
    Day 5: osaka – tokyo ( via platt kodoma)

    1. Do you think this itinerary is ok?
    2. What are the pass/es we cn use?
    3. Also, the platt kodoma ticket should be purchase in advance. Where is the nearest place in this itinerary so we could drop buy at shin osaka to buy platt kodoma ticket?
    4. Also, one of the kid just turned 12 last april but still elementary grade 6. Is she consider a child or adult in buying train tickets?
    5. Its my son’s birthday on day 3, and we will going to universal studio. Is there any promo for birthday celebrants?

    Thank you very much! I appreciate all your help!

    1. Hi Mich san,

      1. It looks good.

      2. Nankai and subway deal for day 1
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/chikatoku.html

      Osaka Kaiyu ticket for day 2
      http://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/trip-to-osaka-kaiyukan-aquarium-by-osaka-kaiyu-ticket-2.html
      *But you need to add extra fare for Umeda to Ikeda to get ramen museum.

      Single ticket for day 3

      Kansai area pass 1 day for day 4
      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

      3. Shin-Osaka is only place where you can purchase Platt Kodama in Osaka.

      4. Adult fare is applied to 12 years old. Actually if she goes to school in Japan, she is grade 7.

      5. Sorry but I have no idea.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi san,
    My name is Ernie Tan from indonesia. This will be my first trip to Japan with my family. We plan to come to tokyo first for 5 nights and then take shinkansen to osaka and stay in osaka for 4 nights and go back to tokyo again for 4 nights and leave for indonesia from narita airport. We also plan to visit mount fuji. Could you advise me whether we should purchase 7 or 14 days JR pass or single far is better?

    1. Hi Emie san,

      You can use 7 days JR pass. As long as it cover the round trip to Osaka, it’s fine. You can use other deal for Narita-Tokyo round trip and staying in Tokyo. Please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html
      http://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      For the trip to Fuji, you may use JR pass partially. But other transportation, such as express bus may be better choice. Please refer the link below:
      http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Dear Takeshi-san,

    I would like to ask you opinion on which pass to get.
    My itinerary is
    6/5/17 – arriving in Kansai International Airport, sight-seeing to Kaiyukan and the Osaka Castle.
    7/5/17 – day trip to Nara
    8/5/17 – day trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima
    9/5/17 – Osaka to Kanazawa (via Thunderbird)
    10/5/17 – Kanazawa to Shirakawago then to Takayama.
    11/5/17 – explore Takayama and Shinhotaka
    12/5/17 – Takayama back to Kanazawa
    13/5/17 – Kanazawa to Kyoto (via Thunderbird)
    14/5/17 – explore Kyoto.
    15/5/17 – Kyoto to Kansai International Airport.

    Thank you very much.

    Warmest regards,
    James.

  6. Hi Takeshi
    We are here now in Kyoto and we bought Icoca pass this are the places we visited today 1. Kiyomizudera 2. Fushimi inari 3. Nanjenzi temple and Philosopher’s path 4. Chion in Temple and Shorenin Temple. Finally, Pontocho. Tomorrow Apr 7,2017
    We will visit Arashiyama. Ryoanji. Kinkakuji and Nijo castle. Then Nara. Next day April 8, 2017 we head to Osaka and visit these places Osaka Castle. Umeda Sky Building. Universal Studios. Osaka Aquarium and Namba, Dotonburi area as well as Rainbow bridge to diver city.

    Is our Icoca pass a good choice?
    Thanks in Advance for reply

    Mon Erfe Singian

    1. Hi Mon,

      You can use all day bus pass at 500 yen in Kyoto and use ICOCA when you take a train.
      You can use ICOCA for Kyoto to Nara to Osaka. But you should use other deals in Osaka as you might see the post above.

      Rainbow Bridge to diver city is not in Osaka but in Tokyo.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hello Takeshi-san,

    I will be buying the Yokoso! Osaka ticket to take me from KIX to Osaka (Tengachaya) when we arrive.

    I notice that with the Yokoso! Osaka that you receive a 1-day Osaka subway, bus and tram unlimited ticket which I was told has validity for one month after purchase, not sure if this is correct?

    Must we use this 1-day pass within the next day in Osaka, or can we use it two or three days later?

    Cheers,

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        May I confirm please, the KIX to Osaka portion, must be used the same day of purchase, correct?

        The Osaka day pass that comes with it, for unlimited subway, bus and tram travel, can be used the next day, and not the day after, correct?

        Cheers.

          1. Hi Takeshi san,

            Further to the Yokoso! Osaka ticket, can this only be purchased online, or can I buy it upon our arrival at KIX airport? If I can buy it at the airport, where do I buy it from?

            Also, the “Kansai One Pass” I have noticed now there is a new version for sale from the 17th April which will only be 2000 Yen instead of the previous 3000 Yen. Can you confirm please, the Kansai One Pass, if 2000 Yen, so includes the 500 Yen deposit, leaves then 1500 Yen correct? So this is basically used just like ICOCA card, with some additional benefits, correct?

            Cheers.

          2. Hi Micahel san,

            You cannot purchase Yokoso Osaka ticket on the spot as far as I know.

            Kansai one pass is same type of card as ICOCA with discount at many attraction as you think.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi

    I am going to osaka for 4 days from Friday – Monday. This is my itinerary and the passes I was thinking of using. Please advise whether this is the best. Thank you so much!

    Day 1 Fri: Kansai Airport – Nippombashi – Osaka City [Osaka Amazing 1 Day Pass]
    Day 2 Sat: Osaka City [Single Trip Tickets]
    Day 3 Sun: Nippombashi – Yamazaki Station – Ikeda Station [Single Trip Tickets]
    Day 4 Mon: Nippombashi – Kansai Airport [Osaka City Subway to Kansai Airport Value Ticket]

    Osaka City: Osaka Castle, Nishinomaru Garden, Umeda Sky Building, Shittenoji Temple, Kema Sakuranomiya Park, Tennoji Park

    1. Hi Richel,

      You may use Yokoso Osaka Ticket on day 1 and amazing pass on day 2.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/yokoso.html

      If you take ordinary train from KIX to Namba, it’s 920 yen. If you pay another 580 yen, you can get unlimited ride of subway. And also Yokoso Osaka ticket includes limited express rapi:t. It costs at least 1130 yen. This is not such a bad deal.

      You can use amazing pass on day 2 to visit the attractions on the list of amazing pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi

        Thank you for your advice.

        For day 3 and day 4, are the tickets I am proposing correct or should I use something else? Thank you.

          1. Hi Takeshi

            Thanks for that.

            Will you also be able to advise me on the following? Thank you so much!

            Day 4 Mon: Narita Airport – Kawaguchiko Station [Tokyo Shuttle & Fujikyuko Bus Single Trips]
            Day 5 Tues: Around Mt Fuji [Retro Bus 2 Day Ticket]
            Day 6 Wed: Around Mt Fuji [Retro Bus 2 Day Ticket] + Mt Fuji – Shinjuku Station [Fujikyuko Bus Single Trip]
            Day 7 Thur: Shinjuku – Disneysea [Bus Return Trip]
            Day 8 Fri & Day 9 Sat: Tokyo [48hrs Metro Pass}
            Day 10 Sun: Tokyo + Tokyo – Narita Airport [Tokyo Shuttle + 24hrs Metro Ticket]

  9. Thanks for the great write up!

    Can you help confirm if my following ticket/plans would be correct?

    I’ll be going to Kansai for 6 days, and staying at Osaka all 5 nights (Hotel is by JR Namba).

    Day 1 (Sun): Arrive at Airport at noon, go to hotel inOsaka and tour Osaka – ICOCA
    Day 2 (Mon): Visit USJ/Tour Osaka – Osaka Visitor’s Ticket
    Day 3 (Tue): Visit Kyoto and return to Osaka same day- Kansai Thru Pass (3 days)
    Day 4 (Thur): Visit Nara+Yoshino and return to Osaka – Kansai Thru Pass (3 days) + extra for Yoshino?
    Day 5 (Fri): Himeji and return to Osaka – Kansai Thru Pass (3 days)
    Day 6 (Sat): Return to Airport by Noon from Osaka (ICOCA from day 1)

    Thanks for your help again! 🙂

    1. Hi Ming,

      You have picked the correct deals and completely understand how to use the pass.

      I have only one thing to mention to you. For Kansai airport to Namba, if you take ordinary train, the fare is 920 yen. You can use ICOCA for this 920 yen trip. But if want to take faster and more comfortable train, “Rapi:t”, Webtoku deal is cheaper.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/webtoku.html

      You don’t need ICOCA in this case.

      And also even if you want ICOCA, you may get Kansai one pass instead. It’s same type of card as ICOCA but it gives you 2500 yen fund in the card and discount at many attractions. Kansai thru pass gives you many discount too. But if you have both, you may get many more chances to get the discount.
      http://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      If you use Kansai one pass, it’s enough to cover round trip fare for Kansai airport and Namba. And also it covers Nishikujo to/from Universal city. This is JR and it’s not covered by Osaka visitors ticket.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. Hi,

    Day 1-Arrival at Itami airport-(limousine bus to umeda/Osaka station)-shinsaibashi /Fukushima station(my hostel area)

    Day 2-Nara (day trip)-recommended walking for sighseeing?

    Day 3 to 5-Osaka-Kyoto(3 days 2 night)-recommended bus for sighseeing?-1 day bus pass?

    Day 5-6-Kyoto back to Osaka

    Day 6-Osaka to Kansai airport

    Pls advice how to choose pass ?
    TqVm

    1. Hi lili,

      You may use Kansai thru pass 3 days for trip to Nara, Osaka-Kyoto with sightseeing and Kyoto-Osaka with sightseeing:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      In Osaka when you don’t use Kansai thru pass, you can pick the deal in the post above. You can find the deal in Kyoto at the link below when you don’t use Kansai thru 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

      For trip to KIX, please see the link below:
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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