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

  1. Rain Wong says:

    Hi, Takeshi-san

    I need some advice on how to proceed with my travelling plans. Do i buy the 7 day JR pass or other passes?

    Is the suica card only usable in tokyo only? Are there other prepaid cards as well?

    I have already booked for a trip to japan from 27 may – 03 June.

    I would be entering and exiting from KIX but will i hope to cover Nara, Mt Fuji, Kyoto while only lodging in nagoya, tokyo and osaka.

    27 may – ETA at KIX take shinkansen to Nagoya(my 1st & 2nd night is spent there)

    29 may – check out and take shinkansen to tokyo.( any way to drop by and visit Nara / Kyoto / Mt Fuji for some short sightseeing?) staying for 3 nights

    1 June – leave tokyo and head for Osaka. Will stay for 2 nights and depart on the 3rd June.
    Will spend a day in USJ.

    This is just a rough outline of my itinerary.

    Hope to hear from you soon and thank you for taking time to look through my comment.

    Rain W.

  2. Regina says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    I would like to ask your opinion. I will visit Osaka/Tokyo in June 2015. Could you give me some advice if I worth to buy 7 days JR Pass or any other ticket like Kansai Pass 3 days or something else.

    My itinerary as below :
    Day 1 : Arrive Kansai in the morning – stay at Shinsaibashi – going to Osaka Castle / Umeda
    Day 2 : Travel to Nara – Kyoto – stay at Ibis Kyoto Station
    Day 3 : Back to Osaka / Shinsaibashi – going to Universal Studio
    Day 4 : Before noon, going to Tokyo by Shinkansen – stay at Ginza / Shimbashi Station
    Day 5 : Going to Mt. Fuji / Gotemba
    Day 6 : Going to Yokohama
    Day 7 : Travel in Tokyo – Shinjuku/Shibuya/Asakusa – around 5 pm going to Narita
    Day 8 : catch morning flight from Narita airport

    Please advise me, i need your help. because i am still confuse about transportation in Japan.
    Thank you in advance for your attention..


  3. jaeprincess says:

    Hi there … I really like Your website… its so detailed!
    I’m planning a trip to Japan in march.

    I will stay in osaka and plan to visit Tokyo Disney land and yokohama aquarium. I will be in Japan for 7 days. Is it advisable to buy the JRP?

  4. Ee ling says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    i will be in Osaka on 18th March (arriving late at night) till 22nd March (departing after lunch). I plan to have day trips to Kobe & Osaka as well. Would you suggest the JR West Rail Pass or Kansai Thru pass? i’d like to be able to take the JR Haruka to our guesthouse near ShinOsaka / Mikuni Station. Thank yOU!

  5. Axel says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    How would I know what trains will be covered by the JR Pass? I’m trying to book a hotel that is close to a train that I can is the JR pass.

    1 – arrival
    2 – Universal
    3 – Osaka – Kyoto
    4 – Kyoto
    5 – Nara – Tokyo
    6 – 12 – Tokyo

    Should I get the 14 day pass?

    Also can I maximize the train pass in Tokyo?

    Thank you so much!

  6. Lydia says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Would like to get your advise if it’s worth to purchase 7 days JR pass.
    Knowing that JR pass can’t used at subway and trying to minimize on transportation cost.

    Day 1 – Arrival Haneda Airport and overnight near airport
    Day 2-3 – Hakone via train from Haneda Airport (buy 2 days Hakone free pass)
    Day 4 – Kamakura via JR pass travel from Hakone (buy 1 day Kamakura Enoshima pass)
    Day 5-6 – Kyoto via JR pass (buy 2 days Kyoto City Sightseeing Bus)
    Day 7-8 – Osaka via JR pass (buy 2 days Osaka unlimited pass)
    Day 9 – Nikko via JR pass (buy 2 days unlimited bus ride)
    Day 10 – Tokyo via JR pass
    Day 11-16 – Tokyo (buy 2 or 3 days Tokyo Subway Pass (Toei Subway +Tokyo Metro Subway)


    • Hi Lydia,

      Your plan is very organized. Yes, JR Pass will work for your trip.
      The only think I want to mention is Hakone Free Pass. I think you may know but I tell you just in case. You can take bus from Haneda to Hakone-Yumoto. It’s only direct transfer from Haneda to Hakone.

      Hakone Free Pass can be purchased at Hakone-Yumoto station. You can use this pass to Odawara staon on day 4. After Odawara, you can take JR trains by JR Pass.

      I recommend you to exchange JR pass at Haneda. But it opens 7:45-18:30 only. You may not have a time to exchange. But you can exchange it at Odawara too.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Jho says:

    Hello! I just thought I’d shoot you a message because I find all your comments really useful about Japan.

    I was wondering if you could help me what pass to get: JR Pass 7 days or 14 days or something else.

    *Note that the hotel/area we are staying have already been pre booked as this is a gift.

    Day 1 Arriving OSAKA Kix Airport at 9pm. – staying in Osaka near JR Namba station.

    Day 2 Osaka – sight seeing within the area

    Day 3 Osaka – day trip to Nara

    Day 4 Osaka – free day or if you can recommend a day trip place.

    Day 5 Osaka – transfer to Kyoto. Staying in APA Hotel.

    Day 6 Kyoto – Apa Hotel Horiwadori. Sight seeing.

    Day 7 Kyoto – sight seeing

    Day 8 Kyoto – looking for a place to daytrip. if you can suggest something

    Day 9 Kyoto – transfer to Tokyo. Our house is in Shinjuku, Kabukichoo 160-0021 near Higashi statiion A 1 exit.

    Day 10 – Tokyo sight seeing

    Day 11 – Tokyo Disneyland

    Day 12 – Mount Fuji and 5 lakes. Should i get a tour or better on your own. If on your own, will JR Pass okay?

    Day 13 – Tokyo

    Day 14 – Tokyo to Narita Airport 1145am flight back home.

    Please let me know what you think and if it is something we can achieve :-) any advice, changes please feel free to let me know! Thank you so much!

    Best regards!

  8. Aiwei says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will be heading to Japan from 31 mar to 12 apr.

    I would like to double confirm with you that my choice of 7days JR pass is worth buying for the first part of my journey?

    Rough itinerary:

    31 mar : narita airport to Osaka
    31-5th apr: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe
    5th apr evening travel back to Tokyo.
    6th -12 apr: Yokohama, hakone, Tokyo.

    Thank you.


  9. elektra says:

    Hi. I will reach narita airport on 16th. And i wana goes to osaka straightaway. I thought of staying at osaka side for a total of 10 days which I will also travel to kobe and kyoto. On the 10th day I will wana take bullet train bk to narita. Is there any idea I should I pan my trip as I realise the pass is only for 7 days. Thanks alot

    • Hi elektra,

      It’s tough. As you guess, if you have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka in 7 days, 7 days pass will work for your trip. But 14 days pass is too much for your trip. Even if you will make some trips when you stay in Kansai area, it’s not enough. If you make a trip to outside Kansai, like Hiroshima, Kanazawa, 14 days pass will be suitable. But at this point, single fare is your choice for Tokyo-Osaka round trip


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  10. Ellen says:

    Hi Takeshi, I would like to ask for your advise about my coming family trip on feb. I will arrive in Osaka kansai airport and stay for 3 nights then plan to use Shinkansen to Tokyo, in Tokyo we will go through the cities about 4 days and most probably will go to mt Fuji. So is it suitable for us to use the japan rail pass ? Tq

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