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.

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

  1. Hi Takeshisan
    i’ll traveling to Japan very soon, my flight will arrive at Haneda n depart from Haneda back to my country. Is a 11 days trip. I’ll travel from Haneda to Osaka on the 1st day and stay 5 nights in Osaka then only back to Tokyo. Within the 5 nights in Osaka, i will travel the city downtown of Osaka, Kyoto and maybe Nara (optional). I understand that some places in Osaka cant travel by using JR pass alone, so i’m planning to have a prepaid card, either rainbow card or ICOCA cd, which one is better since i ard have the JR pass? Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks in advance.

    Your sincerely

    1. Hi Jessie,

      First of all, you have to find how many times you need to take NON JR trains. As you guess, some of places cannot be accessed by JR trains. Especially in Kyoto, you have to rely on bus and subway. Please see the links below and find more info.

      If you intend to take subway more than 4 times a day in Osaka, purchase 1 day pass (Eco card). It gives you unlimited travel. In Kyoto, all day bus pass is sold at 500 yen. If you take bus more than 4 times a day, it’s paid off. Nara is okay. Most of places can be accessed by walk from JR Nara station.

      If you don’t need day pass, ICOCA or Suica is recommended. Both card can be used at both end, Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto. Rainbow card is nor recommended.


      Takeshi /

  2. Hai,
    i wanna go to kawaguchiko from Tokyo . May i use JR Pass?
    can u let me know the step by step . or u can suggerst me any line that more cheaper .
    Thank you.

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I’ll be landing @ Haneda airport on 7am, going to Osaka straight and staying there for around 3d2n or 4d3n (Touring around in Osaka and Kyoto) then go to Tokyo for 6days. Should I buy the 7-days pass?
    Or is it better for me to land straight in Osaka, then after that buy a single trip Shinkansen ticket to Tokyo from Osaka?

    Is it very easy or troublesome to travel from Haneda airport to the station to catch the Shinkansen to Osaka?
    Thanks. :)

    Jerry Too

    1. Hi Jerry,

      JR pass is recommended for round trip between Tokyo and Osaka.
      If you want to start using JR pass right after arriving Haneda, you may take Tokyo Monorail to Hammatsucho. And transfer to Yamanote line to Tokyo or Shinagawa. And then take Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka or Kyoto. You can book all train booking when you exchange your JR pass at Haneda if you want. The window in Haneda is open at 7:45.


      Takeshi /

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    My whole trip will be 10 days. I already bought the 7 days JR pass to travel in between cities, but I was wondering what the best way to travel within cities would be. I will be at Tokyo for 6 days , Osaka for 3 days and 1 day around at Narita Airport. I am planing to buy a 3 days Tokyo subway ticket to use when traveling around Tokyo. I will buy a one way N’EX from Nirita airport to Shinjuku. What kind of pass should I buy to travel around in Osaka?

    Thank you

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I have a JR Pass and am currently in Osaka. I would like to go to the aquarium and a shop near Yotsubashi station (or is it subway?). Do I need to purchase separate ticket? Can you suggest the best way to go to both?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Aldi,

      You cannot use JR pass to get Kaiyukan aquarium. Only subway can take you there. You have to take subway to get Yotsubashi area too. Please find more info at the link below:

      Osaka Kaiyu Ticket is very good deal for aquarium and subway ride even though you have JR pass. Because you will have lots of subway ride.


      Takeshi /

  6. Hi Takeshi,
    I have a very awkward schedule here. I leave from Nagoya to Osaka on 9th, so I’ll start to use my JP pass then, then stay in Osaka till 12th, then go to Kyoto for three days, and leave for Tokyo on 15th, also the last day for me to use my 7 day JR pass. Do you think it’s still a good deal to buy the 7 day JP Pass, or is it a waste of money? 28300yen is not cheap!

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi xiaoyu,

      At this point, JR pass is more expensive than single fare. But if you use JR train from Nagoya to Osaka, Osaka to Kyoto and Kyoto to Tokyo, total fare is about 8000 yen cheaper than JR pass. But you will take JR train when you are in Osaka and Kyoto. The difference may be much smaller.

      If you have one more long trip when you are in Osaka and Kyoto, like day trip to Hiroshima, day trip to Kanazawa, JR pass will work.

      I understand you want to save your budget. But even if you use single fare, you will not get a big saving. And also you will purchase a single ticket one by one. It makes you headache. JR pass may be more expensive than single ticket. But it’s more flexible and much easier to handle than single fare ticket.


      Takeshi /

  7. Hi Takeshi, I am going to Osaka next month, and so do i, this is my first time travel to Japan. I will arrive at Kansai Osaka Airport. I’m in Osaka only be 2 days. My itinerary schedule was to Osaka Castle, USJ, Namba Park and Tennoji Park. The next day I would go to Kyoto – Arashiyama. is there any advice regarding the purchase JR Pass? Thanks in advance.

  8. Hi Takeshi, I am going to Osaka next month, and this is my first time travel to Japan. I will be going for 8 days and all in Osaka only plan for day trip to Kyoto, Nara & Tokyo. So can you give me advise that how many days JR pass should i purchase? i am very confused with the JR line and subway line. Thanks.

  • Your comment will not be shown until I approve.
  • 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.
  • 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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