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

  1. Mae says:

    Hi, we’re travelling as a family on June 6-11. Arriving on Osaka at about 9PM on June 6. Would like to spend time both in Osaka and Kyoto. If we plan to be based the whole time in Osaka and make 2 day trips to Kyoto, what is the most cost effective tickets/pass should we buy. And where would be the most convenient location during our stay which is accessible to stations that will take us to Kyoto and to popular areas in Osaka ? Thank

  2. Ann says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    We have already purchase the JR pass for a round trip for Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Tokyo.
    For the first time, we will need to bring the exchange order to the ticket office in the airport to change for the pass to Kyoto (and reserved seat etc.) Do we have to do it again for subsequent trips say from Kyoto to Osaka and back to Tokyo as well – Total 3 exchanges? Or once exchanged, it will be valid for 7 days?

    Also, can I confirm if the following is covered by JR pass?
    1) Kyoto Station to Inari Shrine
    2) Kyoto Station to Southern Higashiyama
    3) Osaka Station to Yotsubashi station
    4) Yotsubashi Station to Osaka Castle
    5) Osaka station to Tokyo Disneyland (Maihama station)

    Thank you for your help!

  3. Charlene says:

    Hi Takeshi!

    I always come to your blog to read more about the train lines in Japan. It has been very pleasant. I have plans to get the 7 day JR pass and JR Kanto Pass and this is how I plan to use it.

    Day 1: Tokyo – Osaka
    Day 2: Osaka – Hiroshima, Hiroshima – Osaka
    Day 3: Osaka
    Day 4: Osaka – Kyoto
    Day 5: Kyoto
    Day 6: Kyoto (To Nara/Kobe and back)
    Day 7: Kyoto – Ito
    Day 8: Ito
    Day 9: Active JR Kanto Pass. Ito – Tokyo.
    Day 10 and 11: Use JR Kanto Pass to travel out from Tokyo for day trips.

    Would getting both of these passes be worth it? Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Charlene,

      Thank you for sticking around my website. :)

      Your plan is perfect. It’s worth using both deals.
      I just want to tell you just one thing. Don’t forget to purchase Kanto Area Pass before you leave Tokyo. You cannot purchase it at Ito. You can purchase this deal in advance and you can pick the date when you want to start to use.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Au says:

    Hi Takeshi, we’ll be arriving in osaka and stay in kansai area for 3 days then we’ll move to tokyo on the 4th day and stay there for almost same number of days. We dont have to go back to osaka from tokyo as our flight out of japan is already in haneda. I’m thinking of the following itinerary:
    Day 1 – universal studio
    Day 2 – kyoto
    Day 3 – osaka area
    Day 4 to 6 – tokyo area.
    Do you think it is cheaper to get a jr pass or would be better to buy single journey tickets?
    Thanks in advance your help.

  5. Jerry says:

    We are planning a trip this coming May.is it advisable to get JR pass,we will be staying in osaka the whole 6 days and our itenerary would be:
    Trips from osaka-nara-osaka
    Can we use the JR pass within osaka?
    Much appreciated for your info and help

  6. Patricia says:

    Hi, we are planning to go to Dotonbori, Namba. Can you please tell me the fastest way to get there and how to get there from Osaka Station using JR Pass or in anyway by train. Thanks in advance

  7. Yvonne says:

    Hi Takeshi, would like your recommendation on whether we should get the Kansai Thru Pass or Kansai Area Pass. Below is my itinerary.

    Day 1- explore osaka
    Day 2- Osaka to Himeji
    Day 3- Osaka to Kobe
    Day 4- Osaka to Kyoto
    Day 5 – Osaka to Kyoto
    Day 6- Osaka to Nara
    Day 7- explore Osaka
    Day 8- explore Osaka

    Also, will either of the passes cover the subways in thw individuals areas? Example within Kyoto and Osaka?

    Thanks for your help! Arigato gozaimasu!

  8. yan says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    You have been really helpful with advice for transportation in Japan! I intend to get a 7 day JR pass for travel and sightseeing between Osaka, Nara and Kyoto. That would be ideal, is that right? Can I use the pass for travels within the different cities?

    Appreciate your confirmation!
    Thanks in advance :)


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