How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?

Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO
Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO

I supposed to write about the transfer among Kobe (神戸), Osaka (大阪) and Kyoto (京都). But I should explain about JR (Japan Railway) lines in downtown Osaka. I believe the information about the location of JR stations and rail system let you understand the rail system outside of Osaka easily.

And this post may help the tourists who will start the trip from Osaka. Some of you are not sure to buy 7 days pass or 14 days pass for your trip. You may learn how much you can use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. For example, if you travel in Japan for 10 days and stay in Osaka for the first 3 days, you may not use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. As a result, you can buy 7 days pass.

Anyway I show you JR line in downtown Osaka and I compare JR lines and Osaka subway lines.

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

JR lines in downtown Osaka

View JR line in downtown Osaka in a larger map

The above map shows you all JR lines in downtown Osaka. I put some placemarks on all major stations. I would like to explain about each lines.

Osaka Kanjo line is operated very frequently. The train comes every 3 to 4 minutes.
Osaka Kanjo line is operated very frequently. The train comes every 3 to 4 minutes.

Osaka Kanjo line (Osaka loop line=大阪環状線)

This line encircles downtown Osaka. You may use this line very often when you stay in Osaka. This line is started from the biggest station in Osaka, Osaka station. You maybe confused because JR station is called Osaka. And some of other stations nearby are called Umeda (梅田). JR Osaka station is located at same location as other Umeda stations.

This line go through several terminal stations. Kyobashi (京橋) is the junction of Keihan Railway (京阪=private company to Kyoto) and JR Tozai line. Tsuruhashi (鶴橋) is the place to catch Kintetsu Railway (近鉄=private company to Nara, Kyoto, Ise and Nagoya).

Tennoji (天王寺) is the biggest JR terminal station in south side of Osaka. All trains that go to Wakayama (和歌山), Kansai airport (関西空港) and Nara (奈良) stop at this station. But all limited express train to Kansai airport or Wakayama and to the south of Wakayama depart from Shin-Osaka (新大阪). Most of rapid trains to Nara, Wakayama and Kansai airport depart from Osaka. So basically you don’t need to change the train at Tennoji. If you need more information about these trains, please read the following posts.

Kansai line (関西本線)

Kansai line is called Yamatoji line (大和路線) as well. This line connects JR Namba (JR難波) with Nara. As probably you know, Namba is one of the tow biggest downtown core. You can access Namba by JR line. And also you can access from another huge downtown core, Umeda by JR only. But You need to take Osaka Kanjo line to Imamiya and transfer the train to JR Namba. It is not shortest way. Osaka subway Midosuji line (大阪地下鉄御堂筋線) is much faster and more convenient. I tell you about Osaka subway later.

Yumesaki line (ゆめ咲線)

This line starts from Nishikujo (西九条) station on Osaka Kanjo line and goes to Sakurajima (桜島). One of most popular attraction, Universal studion Japan (USJ) is on this line. Many trains are operated from Tennoji via Kyobashi and Osaka. If you go to USJ, you may not need to change the train at Nishikujo.

JR Tozai line (JR東西線)

This line connects Amagasaki (尼崎) with Kyobashi. Kitashinchi station is 10 minutes away from Osaka station on foot. I don’t think you take this line very often.

Kobe/Kyoto line (神戸線/京都線)

If you go to Kobe or Kyoto, you take this line from Osaka station. And also when you need to take Shinkansen, you need to go to Shin-Osaka station by Kyoto line. It is 4 minutes away from Osaka by any trains.

Osaka Subway (大阪地下鉄)

Please refer this map in Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau website. Osaka subway operate 8 lines. The subway is more convenient than JR lines when you transfer from north to south. For example, if you go to Namba from Umeda by Osaka subway Midosuji line, it takes only 8 minutes and costs 230 yen. If you take JR lines, it takes 17-20 minutes and you need to change the trains at Shin-Imamiya or Imamiya. If yo buy a single ticket, it costs 190 yen. It is cheaper, but not big difference. And also JR Namba is not located in the center of Namba. Which one do you want?

By the way, Osaka subway have three stations near JR Osaka station, Umeda (梅田/Midosuji line=御堂筋線/to Shinsaibashi, Namba, Tennoji), Nishi-Umeda (西梅田/Yotsubashi line=四つ橋線/to to Nanba) and Higashi-Umeda (東梅田/Tanimachi line=谷町線/to Uehonmachi, Tennoji). All three statione are only 5 minutes away from Osaka station. So don’t worry about the location in Umeda.

198 thoughts on “How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    May I know what is the discount rate to stay at JR hotels if I have a Jr pass?

    Does the Jr rail pass cover the Tokyo – Mount Fuji sector?

    Thank you.


  2. Hello Takeshi,
    We will be in Japan for 10 days.
    Landing in Tokyo Haneda, head to Osaka/Kyoto straight away
    Osaka / Kyoto – 5 days
    We will spend around 2 days each in Osaka and Kyoto, therefore hoping to travel to only the worth going attractions there. Is the JR pass usable in this case?
    Before heading back to Tokyo, will stay in Mt Fuji for 2 days 1 night.
    Will the 7 day JR pass be the most cost effective?
    Thank you.

    Warm regards,

  3. Olá Takeshi

    Estava lendo seu Blog, muito bom. Estou indo de Tokyo a Osaka usando meu Jr Pass, ficarei 6 dias em Osaka. Onde vou fazer bate e volta para Kioto, Hiroshima. Em Osaka estou pesquisando apartamento no site Airbnb, queria uma dica de perto de que tipo de estação é melhor ficar. qual bairro. Pois os perto de estaçao Jr nem sempre são bem localizados. Estou chegando em Osaka dia 5 de outubro. Obrigada

  4. Hi, we are planning to travel from kyoto to Osaka through the shinkansen. Then, stay in Osaka for 2days (3rd day we will be leaving for airport). Is JR pass useful or any other passes? What about ICOCA or amazing osaka pass? Thx

    1. Hi Meg,

      Shinkansen from Kyoto to Osaka
      Single ticket is only choice. Please use hyperdia to find the schedule and fare.

      In Osaka
      There are several deals available, Eco card, Kaiyu ticket and Amazing pass. If you intend to visit many attractions, amazing pass is your choice. If you will visit Kaiyukan aquarium, Kaiyu ticket is recommended. Otherwise eco card (subway pass) is most recommended.

      ICOCA is okay if you take subway and other Non subway trains. But it does not give you any discount and unlimited ride.

      At last, please see the link below to find the deal to get KIX.


      Takeshi /

  5. Hello Takeshi,
    We will be in Japan for 15 days.
    Landing in Tokyo – 2 days
    Heading through Nagoya, Takayama & Kanazawa – 3 days
    Osaka / Kyoto – 6 days
    Back to Tokyo/Nagano/Tokyo – 4 days.
    Will the 14 day JR pass be the most cost effective?
    Thanking you in advance.
    Phil Young

    1. Hi Phillip,

      In my rough calculation, your total fares will be almost same as 14 days pass. You can go for it but it does not give you a big saving. You don’t have any other better deals. JR Pass is only choice for your trip anyway.

      If you have another big trip, such as day trip to Himeji, or Hiroshima from Osaka or Kyoto, JR pass may give you more saving.


      Takeshi /

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    I still can’t decide which one is the best even after read so many article regarding the operation of trains in Tokyo & Osaka. But i think I don’t need the 7 days JR pass for my itenarary below:

    Day 1 -> Narita to Shinjuku (will stay in Shijuku)
    Day 2 – Day 5 – > Will be around Tokyo (maybe day trip to Mount Fuji)
    Day 6 -> Tokyo to Osaka
    Day 7 – Day 8 -> Around Osaka (Universal Studio & Other places)
    Day 9 – Fly Out From Kansai Airport.

    My plan is just to get Metro& Subway 5 days pass (3 days+2days) in Tokyo. Other than that, just pay on every ride. Is this the most cost effective. THANKS!

  7. Hi, Takeshi!
    We hope you are doing fine, we are plannning to visit japan for 24 days aproxemetly, and we want to know, which kind of jr pass is more convenient for us, we would like to save money as much as we can.. this is our itinerary

    *NARA 3 DAYS
    *Kanazaw 3 DAYS ,
    *TOKYO 3 DAYS.


    1. Hi Valery,

      At this point, only 21 days pass is your choice. But if you use 21 days pass, it does not give you a big saving. If you can complete all places other than Tokyo in 14 days, you may use 14 days pass. In downtown Tokyo, you can use subway pass. JR Pass is not required.

      If you have a day trip to outside Tokyo, such as Nikko, when you are in Tokyo, 21 days pass gives you a saving and flexibility.


      Takeshi /

  8. Hi, if I need to take the subway regular due to the location of my accomodation, which pass do you recommend?

  9. Hi Takeshi,
    I want to confirm, if I have the JR pass and I travel from Tokyo to Osaka and go back to Tokyo. Then in Osaka I want to visit Osaka Castle, Shitennoji Temple, Namba and Dotonbori, all areas are covered by JR pass right? Thanks

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  • 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.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • 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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