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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.


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.

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83 Comments to “How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?”

  1. KuN says:

    Hi Takeshi san,
    i will be visiting kyoto for 2 days and will be staying at koyoto tower hotel, would be visiting the following places. i believe that my Jr pass does not allow me to visit this places. can you advise me what is the best/cheapest option to reach this places.

    – Kinkakuji
    – Kiyomizudera
    – Kyoto Shopping District
    – Downtown Kyoto

  2. Fabian says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    It seems you are very helpful here. My family and I will be travelling to Japan and will be there for 11 days starting from 21st January to 1st February. Following are the schedule we plan:
    21/1-23/1: Kansai airport- Osaka- Himeji ( we are planning to go to Himeji just for half day through Shinkansen)
    23/1-24/1: Nara
    24/1-27/1: Kyoto
    27/1-1/2: Tokyo and Yokohama
    We are planning to book hotels near train station like Osaka and Kyoto station. Is it a good plan for travelling?
    Another question is should I get a 7 days or 14 days pass? Or a local pass will do?

  3. Lee says:


    i will reach kansai airport on 19th Nov morning and back on 25th Nov. Would like seek your advise which trasport package i shoud buy.

    1) 19/11/2014 – kansai airport to kyoto (accomodation near kyoto station)
    2) 21/11/2014 – from kyoto to osaka (accomodation nea shin fukea station)
    3) 22/11/2014 – from shin kukea station to Nara.
    4) 23/11/2014 – from shin fukea station to Kobe half day. from kobe to kita umeda
    5) 24/11/2014 – from shin fukea station to universal studio japan
    6) 25/11/2014 – from shin kukea station to rinku town and kansai airport.

    i am very confuse about what transport package to buy. hope to get your advise.

    thank you.

  4. Rei says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will visit Japan on November 8 until November 15. I already have an itinerary and a place to stay. I’m confuse whether I should buy a JR Pass or just make a single ticket purchase every time I use the train.
    My plan is just to tour Kansai District. That includes, the 7 major prefectures in Kansai District:
    Day 0 – Arrival Kansai Airport at night
    Day 1 – Wakayama
    Day 2 – Hyogo (including Awaji)
    Day 3 – Shige (Otsu City) – Mie (Iga) – Nara
    Day 4 – Kyoto
    Day 5 until Day 7 – Osaka (until departure)

    By the way, I’m planning to stay in just 1 hotel in the Tennouji area (for the whole trip) so I’ll always go back to the hotel every evening. For example, Day 4 to Kyoto then go back to the hotel in Osaka by night. Please let me know if it’s wise to buy JR pass or just purchase single ticket every time I will use the train. Thank you.

  5. Sandy says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    My two adult children and I are visiting Japan for the first time from Nov. 12-27, 2014. We want to make the most of our time in visiting the best places to go within this time period, at the least cost by being smart in planning on hotels and fares (JR PASS?). We will arrive in Osaka and plan to stay there for 1 or days; then visit Hiroshima for 1 or 2 days, then Nara and stay 2 or 3 nights in Kyoto. From Kyoto, we visit Tokyo and stay there for the remaining days until we depart on the 27th from Narita,Tokyo airport. During our Tokyo visit, we will go nearby places like Yokohama, Nagoya– actually, we are still searching for the best places to go from here that’s worth our time and travel (we would really appreciate advise from a pro-Japan traveler or local… HELP!!!) Anyway, would you recommend to buy a JR pass for 7? or 14? days and would the JR pass cover our WHOLE trip from one place to another? Our total whole travel days around Japan is only 10days, since the first/arrival and last/departure days wouldn’t count. I feel so blessed to come across your site, thank you so much for your help!

  6. YMChong says:

    Takeshi / JP Rail

    Am visiting Osaka in Feb 2015 for 6 Days 5 Nights with my family.
    Wondered what travel pass to buy due I wish to visit Kyoto too.

    Thank you

  7. Ricky says:

    We are in Kyoto now and we need to travel from Kyoto station to Tennoji station in Osaka, where our hotel ( Marriot Miyako Osaka) is located at Abeno Harukas. What will be the best way and would you be able to help ?

    Thank you very much.

  8. rissa says:

    We will be travelling from Kyoto to Osaka using JR Pass. What train can we use for this matter to reach Shin-Osaka station?

    From Shin-Osaka we will have to stay close to Namba station. What is the convenient train tha we can take by using JR pass too? If I have a ICCOCA card which I purchased with my Haruka Express ticket, will that be okay to use in which train in Osaka (like Midosuji Line)?

    Let me know as I am confused with all the train in Japan.

    Thank you.

  9. Victor says:

    I will travel with my wife to Tokyo on March 31, 2014. I am planning to start my tour on April 2 visiting Hiroshima first and stay two nights. Then visiting Osaka and stay one night, visiting Nara and stay 2 or 3 nights in Kyoto. I was planning to go to Kanazawa,Takayama,Nagoya and back to Tokyo. Do you recommend to buy a JR pass for 7 or 14 days and this pass cover my trip in trains? Also can I reserve hotels for Hiroshima,Kyoto,Osaka here in Los Angeles or can I reserve in Japan I return to America on April 14.

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Victor,

      If you visit all places on your wish list, 14 days pass will meet your trip.
      You can book your hotel online. You will be able to find your hotel after you arrive in Japan. But it may be stressful. I recommend you to book it in advance.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

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