Shin-Imamiya station guide. How to transfer among JR, Nankai Railway and Subway lines

JR Shin-Imamiya station Tsutenkaku Tower Exit exterior

Shin-Imamiya is one of the stations on Osaka Kanjo (loop) line and Nankai Railway line. It is located in southern part of downtown Osaka and it is near Namba and Tennoji. This station is also accessible to “Shinsekai”.

Shin-Imamiya is not a mega terminal station but this station is a transfer point of JR, Nankai Railway and subway lines. Many of you will change trains at this station.

In this post, I would like to show you the structure of this station. You will see how to change trains. Subway station’s name is not Shin-Imamiya but Dobutsuenmae. The name is different but it is same location. I will show you subway station, Dobutsuenmae in this post too.

JR and Nankai Railway Shin-Imamiya station overview

Shin-Imamiya station is located on Osaka Kanjo line which is loop train line in downtown Osaka. Osaka Kanjo line connects Osaka (Umeda), Kyobashi, Tennoji, Nishikujo and many more stations. This station is next to Tennoji which is one of downtown core of Osaka. Limited Express train skips this station but there are lots trains stop at this station. Of course you can access to any stations on Osaka Kanjo line. And also you can get JR-Namba by local train, Nara, Kansai airport and Wakayama by rapid trains.

Shin-Imamiya is also knowns as Nankai Railway’s station. Nankai Railway is one of major private railway lines. This railway connects Namba, Kansai airport, Wakayama and Koyasan (Mt. Koya).

Station structure, tracks and platforms

JR Shin-Imamiya station layout

Shin-Imamiya station is four levels structure. On the ground level, JR has ticket gate at the east end. JR Osaka Kanjo line platforms are located on the second floor. Nankai Railway’s platforms are located on fourth floor. In JR station map, it is shown as third floor but in Nankai Railway station map, it is shown as fourth floor. But these are same level.

Nankai Railway station layout. Nankai Railway station 4th floor is same level as JR 3rd floor.

You can go up and down to transfer among these station by stairs and elevators. But there is no elevators JR and Nankai Railway transfer gates. I will tell you about this later in this post.

Platforms (JR)

Track#Lines/TrainsDestination
1Osaka Kanjo line
(inner loop)
Tennoji, Tsuruhashi, Kyobashi
2Yamatoji line
(Yamatoji rapid)
Nara, Oji
Kansai Airport line
(Kansai Airport rapid)
Kansai Airport
Hanwa line
(Kishuji rapid)
Wakayama
3Osaka Kanjo line
(outer loop)
Betencho, Nishikujo, Osaka
Yamatoji lineJR-Namba
4Osaka Kanjo line
(outer loop)
Betencho, Nishikujo, Osaka

Shin-Imamiya station has only two platforms and very simple layout. You cannot miss the direction.

At platform #1 and #2 toward the stairs for West gate
At platform #1 and #2 toward the stairs for Tsutenkaku Tower gate

Platforms (Nankai Railway)

Track#Lines/TrainsDestination
1Koya lineKoyasan
2Namba
3Nankai Main line
Kansai Airport line
Wakayama, Kansai Airport
4Namba

Nankai Railway Shin-Imamiya station has four tracks and three platforms. Koya line and Nankai Main have two tracks each. It is very easy to find the destinations.

At platform #2 and #3 (C) DVMG, CC 3.0 via Wikimedia commons

Ticket gate/Exit

JR and Nankai Railway Shin-Imamiya stations have two ticket gates each.

JR has two gates at east side and west side. East side is called Tsutenkaku Tower gate. It is one of the closest stations to Tsutenkaku tower. You also use Tsutenkaku Tower gate if you change trains between JR and Osaka subway. I will tell you about Osaka Subway station later in this post.

Tsutenkaku Tower gate (East gate)

West side gate is just called West gate. This gate is connected with Nankai Railway’s ticket gate. Its is also called JR-Nankai Railway transfer gate. If you need to change trains between Nankai Railway and JR, you will use this gate.

JR and Nankai Railway West gate. JR gate is right side in the photo and Nankai Railway gate is not seen but left side in the photo.

One of Nankai Railway’s ticket gate is same as JR West ticket gate.

Nankai Railway ticket window. You can purchase some discount tickets here, such as Koyasan World Heritage Ticket.
Train departure information board at Nankai Railway West gate

Nankai Railway also has one more gate at second level. It is a small gate. If you access to Nankai Railway Shin-Imamiya station from outside, you will find this gate before reaching JR-Nankai transfer gate.

The entrance of Nankai Railway Shin-Imamiya station on the street
This entrance is located on the second floor. It is very small ticket gate.

Transfer route for wheelchair and a person with a disability

If you change trains between Nankai Railway and JR, there is no elevators and escalators at West gate. If you move by yourself, you have to enter/exit at JR East gate and move about 200m on the street along the station. Please see the map below to find the route.

And you enter/exit Nankai Railway station. It is very very inconvenient especially in rainy day. You can ask for help to station staff to avoid this inconvenient move.

Osaka Subway Dobutsuenmae station overview

As I mentioned above, Osaka Subway Dobutsuenmae station is same location as Shin-Imamiya station. You can find one of the entrances to Dobutsuenmae station near JR Tsutenkaku Tower gate.

You can catch two subway line trains at Dobutsuenmae station.

  • Midousuji line – Shin-Osaka, Umeda, Yodoyabashi, Shinsaibashi, Namba, Tennoji, Abiko, Nakamozu
  • Sakaisuji line – Tengachaya, Nippombashi, Kitahama, Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome, Awaji (via Hankyu railway), Kitasenri (via Hankyu railway), Takatsukishi (via Hankyu railway)

Please refer the map of Osaka Subway system in the link below:

Route map of Osaka Subway lines

Midousuji line is the primary line of Osaka subway lines. It connects all downtown core, such as Umeda (JR Osaka), Shin-Osaka, Shinsaibashi, Namba and Tennoji.

Sakaisuji line shares the track with Hankyu Railway. Both Sakaisuji line train and Hankyu Railway line train run on both tracks each other. Technically Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome station is the last station of Sakaisuji line. But you can get Hankyu Railway Kyoto line without transfer. Most of trains go to Kita-Senri or Takatsukishi on Hankyu Railway line directly.

Station structure, tracks and platforms

Midousuji line and Sakaisuji line have two tracks each. Midousuji line has two platforms and Sakaisuji line has one platform.

Platforms (Midousuji line)

Track#Lines/TrainsDestination
1Midousuji
line
Tennoji, Nagai, Abiko, Nakamozu
2Namba, Shinsaibashi, Yodoyabashi, Umeda, Shin-Osaka, Senri-Chuo
Midousuji line platform (C) Monja (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Platforms (Sakaisuji line)

Track#Lines/TrainsDestination
1Sakaisuji
line
Tengachaya
2Nippombashi, Kitahama, Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome
Awaji, Kitasenri, Takatsukishi (via Hankyu railway)
Sakaisuji line platform (C) Monja (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ticket gate/Exit

Both Midousuji line and Sakaisuji line have two ticket gates. Midousuji line has East gate and West gate. Sakaisuji line has North gate and South gate. These two stations are connected both inside and outside ticket gate. You can change these two subway line trains without exiting station. There are several exits in Dobutsuenmae station. But if you change trains between subway and JR, or between subway and Nankai Railway, you should use #6 entrance. It is beside Sakaisuji line North gate. If you arrive there by Midousuji line, use West gate and follow the signage to get exit #6.

Hankai Railway Shin-Imamiya Ekimae stop

There is one more train station in Shin-Imamiya station which is Hankai Railway’s station. Hankai Railway is a tram service which connects southern part of Osaka, such as Sakai. You can find this tram stop behind Osaka Subway #6 exit.

How to change trains at Shin-Imamiya and Dobutsuenmae stations

I mentioned transfer among these trains. But now I would like to give you the detailed instruction of changing trains at Shin-Imamiya and Dobutsuenmae stations.

JR and Nankai Railway transfer

As I explained above, JR West gate is connected with Nankai Railway gate. All you have to do is following the signage. You will find it very easily. You may find how these gates look like in the movie below:

JR and Osaka Subway transfer

It is very easy but the entrance to subway is not seen. Please see the route in the photos below.

First of all, exit JR station through Tsutenkakuguchi gate (East gate). Once you exit at this ticket gate, turn right.

Tsutenkaku Tower gate from inside the gate
After through the gate, proceed to the right.

Just go down the street to the intersection.

You will see the entrance to subway ticket gate on your right. This is #6 exit of Dobutsuenmae station.

Go down the stairs and you will find the ticket gate. This is Sakaisuji line north gate.

Sakaisuji line north gate is located just beside the stairs to #6 exit.

This is not Midousuji line ticket gate. If you go to Namba, Shisaibashi, Umeda, Shin-Osaka, this is not a right gate.

Many travelers confuse. That is why this sign is put on the wall.

You will find the hallway left side of Sakaisuji line ticket gate. This is the way to get Midousuji line ticket gate.

Just go down the hallway.

You will find another ticket gate quickly. This is Midousuji line ticket gate.

If you arrive there by subway, you can take same way. Go up the stairs to get #6 exit. Turn left and proceed. You will find JR Shin-Imamiya station Tsutenkaku Tower gate on your left hand side.

Nankai Railway and Osaka Subway transfer

Actually I do not recommend to change Nankai Railway trains and Osaka Subway trains at Shin-Imamiya / Dobutsuenmae stations. If you want to do it, you have to walk on the street about 200 m. It is not very far but if you have luggage, it is not easy thing. And also there is no roof. When it is rainy day, I am very sure nobody likes to do it.

You can change Nankai Railway and Osaka Subway Sakaisuji line at Tengachaya. Tengachaya is next station from Dobutsuenmae. At Tengachaya station, Osaka Subway station is located just under Nankai Railway station. It is much easier to change trains at Tengachaya than Shin-Imamiya. Even if you arrive at Dobutsuenmae by Midousuji line, you can change to Sakaisuji line to get Tengachaya. Or you can change trains between Osaka Subway Midousuji line and Nankai Railway at Namba. You can move underground and no worry about rain.

So do not try to change Nankai Railway and Osaka Subway at Shin-Imamiya / Dobutsuenmae.

I am glad if this post make you feel more comfortable to stop at Shin-Imamiya and Dobutsuenmae stations

53 thoughts on “Shin-Imamiya station guide. How to transfer among JR, Nankai Railway and Subway lines”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    We are planning to go to Japan next year and we will be arriving at KIX.

    Our accommodation, according to the site is 100 m from Dobutsuenmae Subway Station and 400 m from Shin-Imamiya Station.

    Should we use a JR West Kansai pass or a Nankai Line airport express to Namba Station? Or none of those?

    We are also planning to visit Kyoto, Nara and Kobe in the following days.

    I am confused if I should stick with the JR West Kansai Pass or would it be better to buy a Hankyu Pass, Keihan Pass or Kansai Thru Pass? Or should I just buy a Suica?

    I would like to save on traveling expenses if possible.

    For exploring Downtown Osaka, we are planning to buy the Amazing Osaka Pass. What are your thoughts on this?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Regular ticket is okay to take Nankai railway express from KIX to Shin-Imamiya.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Kansai thru pass is the best choice for trip to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe. Osaka amazing pass is a good choice if you intend to visit many attractions.

      You may find some more info in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7to9-days/how-to-build-the-itinerary-and-choose-the-deals-for-osaka-stay-5-to-7-days.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi, thank you for this detailed post. So helpful.

    I will be staying at MIDI hotel near JR Imamiya Station. The hotel advised that I take the Nankai Railway from Kansai Airport, and transfer to JR train at Shin-Imamiya and get off at JR Imamiya & walk about 5 Min to hotel. However, we (husband and I) have 3 luggages and 2 children.
    Is there a better way of transferring without having to drag our luggages too much? I’m not sure if I have to deal with many staircases too. Thank you. I could perhaps also forward 2 of my luggages from Kansai Airport to the hotel although it seems unnecessary.
    The hotel is near Daikokucho subway too, it seems.

    1. Hi Mel,

      I recommend you to take JR train from Kansai airport more than Nankai railway. The easiest way is taking JR Kansai airport rapid from Kansai airport to Shin-Imamiya and change a local train to Imamiya.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/how-to-get-kansai-airport-and-wakayama-kansai-airport-rapid-service-and-kishuji-rapid-service.html

      You still need to change trains at Shin-Imamiya. But you can change trains at same platform, #3 and #4. You don’t need to go up and down stairs. Just get off a train at Shin-Imamiya and wait for a local train (Osaka loop line) there. It’s much easier.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks so much Takeshi for responding so quickly!
        Wow your directions are so brilliant! I don’t think any of the google map or other rail searches gave me such a direction…
        So basically I just look for the JR rapid train from Kansai and take it towards shin-Imamiya and then change to Imamiya, right? Thanks so much!!

        I am also planning to go to Takayama but I find the Shinkansen to Nagoya + Limited express train to Takayama prety costly for a return trip, especially for my family of 4. I did some research and found that the Takayama-Hokuriku pass doesn’t seem to make sense for my family as we are only planning to go from Osaka to Takayama and back to Osaka after staying 3 nights at Takayama. Am I correct?
        Is there a cheaper alternative to get from Osaka to Takayama but yet not exceed 4 hours+?
        Would Shinkansen to Nagoya followed by a bus to Takayama save me money? If we take bus, where do we take the bus and how much does it cost? Would the scenery by bus lose to scenery in the train?
        My itinerary in japan is 4N Osaka + 3N Takayama + 3N Osaka. Thank you so much in advance for any advice you might have. For info, I’m leaving this Sat 8/12. This is really last-minute. Sorry!

        1. Hi Mel,

          You have understood the route to Imamiya from KIX.

          Regarding trip to Takayama, if you change Shinkansen and bus at Nagoya, you may save about 2000 yen. Total trip time is not much different from Shinkansen + limited express train. But you have to move from the station to the Meitetsu bus terminal.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/nagoya-station-guide-how-to-transfer-among-shinkansen-kintetsu-meitetsu-subway-and-jr-local-trains.html
          https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/nagoya_en/

          Most affordable way is taking bus from Osaka to Takayama but trip time is more than 5 hours.
          https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/osaka_en/

          There is no other ways and no deals available unfortunately.

          Please see the link below to find the info about deal in Osaka.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Thank you so much Takeshi. Deeply appreciate your amazing and resourceful research and advice. I think i do prefer going to nagoya by shinkansen then take a bus from nagoya to takayama.

            I went to the Willer Express bus website and chose Nagoya (Aichi) to Gifu, but can’t seem to find a route to Takayama. Not sure where i went wrong. The route choices state a few choices but do not state Nagoya to Takayama. Did i choose the start and end points wrongly?

            http://willerexpress.com/st/3/en/pc/bus/route/tokai/gifu/?aid=184
            Nagoya to

            1. Hi Mel,

              I don’t think Willer and other online bus site handle both Nagoya-Takayama and Osaka-Takayama route. You have to make a call to Nohi bus. Please see the link which I gave you in the previous reply. You can find the phone number.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

              1. Ok I will also check the JR West bus company. Thank you so much for your prompt reponse and your kind advice! Looking forward to visiting your beautiful country!

                  1. Hi Takeshi,
                    Can I please check how I can book or buy rail tickets for takayama?
                    1) Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Nagoya
                    2) Limited express Hida from Nagoya to Takayama

                    => I know I can reserve the Shinkansen ticket online using an app and print the tickets at the shin-Osaka station. But where do I buy the limited express train tickets? Do I reserve them online too? Where do i collect them?

                    => the reason why I’m asking is because when I checked Hyderdia, the connecting time between the Shinkansen at Nagoya to the next Ltd Express train to Takayama is only like 8 Minutes. So how do I have time to buy the tickets and then board the train to Hida? Are the platforms on the same floor?

                    Is it even necessary to reserve the limited express train to hida? Or should I buy on the spot when I reach Nagoya?

                    Thank you

                    1. Hi Mel,

                      You cannot book Limited Express Hida online. And I do not recommend you to book Shinkansen online. Because if you book Shinkansen online and book Hida in Japan separately, total cost is higher than booking altogether in Japan. Please use hyperdia and check the fare for Shin-Osaka to Takayama, and Shin-Osaka to Nagoya, Nagoya to Takayama separately.
                      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

                      The reason why half price discount is applied to limited express seat fee for Hida if you change from Shinkansen. If you book it separately, this is not applied.

                      And also, there is one limited express Hida depart from Osaka in the morning.
                      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/limited-express-wide-view-hida.html#Route_schedule_and_trip_time

                      If you take this train, the cost is cheaper than Shinkansen + Hida.

                      You can book a ticket at any major JR stations, even Shin-Imamiya. You can book both for Shinkansen and/or Hida in Shin-Imamiya station or other JR stations.

                      Cheers,

                      Takeshi / JPRail.com

                    2. Thanks Takeshi for that tip! I totally didn’t know that. My friend suggested I book the shinkansen on the app before I leave my country (Singapore).
                      Since I can buy at any JR station, do you suggest I buy it at Shin-Osaka on the day of departure itself (13 Dec), or should I buy when I reach Osaka & buy at any JR station (eg. on 10th Dec)? Just want to make sure I have seats secured for Takayama though I read that it is not the peak season to visit Takayama on 13 to 16 Dec.
                      I suppose I should also buy express bus tickets to Takayama (from Nagoya station or Meitetsu station) if I want, right? No need to book online beforehand?

                    3. Hi Mel,

                      I recommend you to book a ticket for Shinkansen and Hida in advance. It’s not a peak season but Takayama is always busy in these days. You will stay near Imamiya station. You can book it at JR Imamiya station too.

                      If you take a bus, you have to book. As per our conversation before (you asked me about willer), you have to make a call to book. Online is not available as far as I know if you take a bus from Nagoya to Takayama by Nohi bus.

                      Cheers,

                      Takeshi / JPRail.com

                    4. Hi Takeshi!
                      I’m in Osaka now! Thank you for your directions to my hotel. I also took your advice to buy my tickets to Takayama from JR office. It was cheaper than booking Shinkansen online + buying limited express ticket. Thanks so much!

                      I would like to ask for directions for train transfer at Nagoya station from Shinkansen to limited express Hida (to Takayama) . I realised I only have 8 mins connecting time but there are 4 of us + 1 luggage. May I check for the fastest route to transfer to the limited express hida so I don’t miss my train? The JR office guy said we should be able to connect if we move fast. But because we are not familiar with which Level to go to transfer I would like to seek your advice. Thank u

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be staying at an apartment 200m away from Imamiyaebisu station. I found out that Imamiyaebisu station has no elevators. I am having 1 double stroller and 1 big luggage. I will be from Kansai International Airport. Is it more advisable to alight at Shin Imamiya station and walk to my apartment or alight at Imamiyaebisu station?

    1. Hi Farhan,

      Imamiyaebisu station is located at second floor.
      https://goo.gl/maps/fnm6G14wAht

      As you think, you have to go down by stairs. If you walk from Shin-Imamiya, you have to walk about 1km for 20 minutes. It’s hard to say which is better. But if I were you, I get off at Imamiyaebisu. 1km is too much to walk with luggage. Especially if it’s rain, Shin-Imamiya is too far.

      If you come from Kansai airport, you have to change trains at Shin-Imamiya. All trains from Kansai airport does not stop at Imamiyaebisu station.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi, my family will be staying at Daikokucho. May I know which is a more convenient and easier route to Kansai airport, Namba Nankai station or Haruka train at Tennoji station, considering all the transfers from Daikokucho? Thank you!

  5. Hi,
    I will have to buy a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket at the Nankai Railway ticket window early in the morning.
    What time does the ticket window at the Shin-Imamiya station open?
    Thanks,
    Sergio

  6. Hi,
    I am planning to go to Koyasan from Kyoto via Osaka – Shin imamiya- GOKURAKUBASHI, where can I buy the Koyasan World Heritage Ticket in Kyoto?
    Thanks
    KR
    Milena

          1. Hi I will have to buy a Koyasan World Heritage Ticket at the Nankai Railway ticket window the day before the travel. What time does the ticket window at the Namba Nani station close? Thanks, Milena

              1. Thanks Takeshi
                As we are a group of 16 friends Can I buy the tickets for all of us or my 15 friends have to be also phisically there to buy their own ticket? Any need to show passport ?

                Thanks
                Milena

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