How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO
Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO

There are many deals for sightseeing in Osaka. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Osaka and want to visit the places in Osaka. I believe you will find most suitable for your trip.

By the way, if you intend to have a day trip to Osaka from other cities, such as day trip to Osaka from Kyoto, from Kobe, Kansai thru pass is most recommended. Because Kansai Thru Pass and other deals are available. Please find the detailed information in the link below:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area

One-day unlimited Pass, Enjoy Eco Card

Subway Midousuji line Namba station
Subway Midousuji line Namba station
  • Price (weekday) – Adult:800 yen / Child:300 yen
  • Price (weekend) – Adult:600 yen / Child:300 yen
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight)

This is most common deal to cover Osaka. You can get unlimited ride of Osaka city subway and city bus. You can visit almost anywhere in city of Osaka.

Osaka subway map

If you use buy this pass on weekends or holidays, you can get this pass at lower price, only 600 yen. If you take subway train from Umeda (same place as JR Osaka) to Namba, the fare is 230 yen.

Roughly, if you make 4 trips by subway a day, it is paid off. It is not hard to use more than worth of 800 yen. You can purchase this pass at Osaka subway stations.

Osaka Amazing Pass

Umeda Sky Building is on the attraction list of Osaka Amazing Pass. (C) JNTO
Umeda Sky Building is on the attraction list of Osaka Amazing Pass. (C) JNTO
  • Price (one day) – Adult:2,500 yen / Child:Not available
  • Price (two days) – Adult:3,300 yen / Child:Not available
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight), two consecutive days

This deal is 28 attractions free entry adding on Enjoy Eco Card (subway day pass). Please find the link below to find which attraction is included.

Attraction list of Osaka Amazing Pass

If you visit three or more attractions on the list, this deals gives you a better deal than subway pass.

There are two kinds of Amazing Pass available, 1 day and 2 days. The difference is coverage trains. Actually 1 day pass has better coverage. It covers not only subway but also non JR lines in city of Osaka, such as Nankai railway, Hanshin Railway, Kintetsu Railway and Keihan Railway. Please see the links below to compare the coverage trains:

Osaka Amazing Pass one day coverage map
Osaka Amazing Pass two days coverage map

As long as you stay in downtown Osaka, subway is okay to visit all places. But if you stay outside downtown Osaka, one day pass coverage may help you to access downtown Osaka. Please check the location of your stay before choosing the deals.

Child rate is not available. You need to use Eco Card (one day subway pass) and pay admission separately. But some attractions offers discount rate for Eco Card user.

Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Kaiyukan is one of the most popular venue in Osaka. It can be accessed by Osaka subway. (C) JNTO
Kaiyukan is one of the most popular venue in Osaka. It can be accessed by Osaka subway. (C) JNTO
  • Price (Basic Osaka city version) – Adult:2,550 yen / Child:Not 1,300 yen
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight)

This is combo deal of Osaka subway unlimited ride pass and Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium admission. You can take subway train to get Osakako station which is the nearest station to Kaiyukan Aquarium. If you visit there from Namba or Umeda by this pass, it is paid off. If you take subway train after visiting Kaiyukan Aquarium, your saving is getting bigger and bigger. There are several versions of Osaka Kaiyu Ticket available. Some deals include other railway trains to get Osaka from other cities. Please see the detailed information in the link below:

Osaka Kaiyu Ticket basic information

I have used this ticket before and wrote about it in the link below. It may help you to plan for your visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

Trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium by Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

If you use Osaka Amazing Pass, you can get a discount to enter this aquarium. Osaka Amazing Pass covers other attractions around Kaiyukan Aquarium, such as Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel, Cruise Ship Santa Maria. If you have a plan to visit these places when you visit Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka Amazing Pass may be better than Osaka Kaiyu Ticket.

ICOCA, Kansai One Pass and other IC cards

ICOCA is most popular IC card in Kansai area. (C) タンジェント (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
ICOCA is most popular IC card in Kansai area. (C) タンジェント (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

You may use these cards to take any trains and buses in Osaka. You can use even other area’s card, such as Suica, Pasmo too. These cards give you convenience. You can avoid to purchase a ticket whenever you make a train trip. You can take any kinds of trains, such as JR, subway and Non JR trains. However these cards do not give you any discount and unlimited travel.

If you meet these following things, IC card is your choice.

1. You intend to visit a few places in a day.
2. You need to take both subway and JR trains.
3. You cannot fix your plan and want to have some flexibility.

If you visit three places in subway coverage area, you may need to take subway 4 times. It costs around 800 yen that is equal to one day subway pass.

Please refer the post below to find the information about IC card in Japan:

Find your hotels in 500 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels in Namba
Hotels in Umeda (JR Osaka station)
Hotels in Tennoji
Hotels in Osaka
Hotels in Kansai International Airport

Kansai One Pass

This is same type of card as ICOCA. You can use this pass by same way as ICOCA. But this card is designed for overseas tourist. Preload amount is 2,500 yen (plus 500 yen deposit and sold at 3,000 yen) and you can get discount at many attractions. ICOCA is sold at any JR stations throughout Kansai area. But Kansai One Pass is sold in the designated stations only. Please see the link below to find the detailed information at official site.

Kansai One Pass official site

For traveler who visit Osaka and other cities in same day

As I mentioned at the top of this article, there are some deals available, such as Kansai Thru Pass. But if you move other city after sightseeing in Osaka, Kansai Thru Pass and other deals may not be suitable.

e.g.
Sightseeing in Osaka, move to Kyoto and stay (no sightseeing in Kyoto)

In this case, the combination of one of the deals in Osaka and single fare between Osaka and Kyoto is usually cheaper than Kansai Thru Pass or other pass. But if you do sightseeing in two cities, Kansai Thru Pass is your choice.

e.g.
Sightseeing in Osaka, move to Kyoto and sightseeing in Kyoto

But sightseeing in two cities in one day is very tight and not very recommended.

For traveler who use national or regional pass

If you use JR pass (national pass) or other JR regional deals, such as Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, JR train network in Osaka is covered. You may visit many places by these passes. You may not have any other passes beside these deals. Please see the link below to find the coverage of these national and regional deals in Osaka.

I hope this post helps you to find the best deal in Osaka.

244 thoughts on “How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka”

  1. Hi, my family & 1 will touch down at Kansai Airport at about 10 pm on 29.5.2019. We are staying at Ebisuhonmachi Naniwa-ku (Airbnb). Could you advise which line is convenient and economical and ticket station close at what time? thanks.

  2. Hi,

    we are planning to trip to the Kansai area in April-May. Could you please advise which daily tickets could be the best choice for the following days?

    Day 1 [with Limousine Bus Transfer and 1 day Osaka Unlimited Travel Pass]
    from KIX to Osaka (accommodation is near to the Shin-Osaka Station)

    Day 2 – Osaka [with 2-day Osaka Wonder Loop, first day]
    day tour around Osaka: Osaka Castle, Shinsekai, Shitennoji Temple, Dotonbori, (Shinsaibashi or Kuromon Market?)

    Day 3 – Osaka [with 2-day Osaka Wonder Loop, second day]
    Minoo Park, (Shinsaibashi, Kuromon Market?), Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

    Day 4 – Kyoto [with 2-day Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass, first day and Randen + Subway 1 Day Pass?]
    Arashimaya Bamboo forest, Kiyomizudera, Gion, Fushimi Inari

    (Day 5 – guided tour, including the transfer)

    Day 6 – Kyoto + Uji
    [with 2-day Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass, second day]

    (Day 7 – guided tour, including the transfer)

    Day 8 – Himeji, Kobe
    Himeji Castle, Koko-En Garden and Engyō-Ji Temple
    Kobe Maritime Museum

    Day 9 – Nara (+ Wakayama?)
    Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shinto and Botanical Garden, Nara Park, Yoshikien Garden
    Wakayama Castle

    Thank you very much in advance for your kind help!

    Cheers,
    Ani

    1. Hi Ani,

      I recommend you to use the following deals:

      Day 1 – Your choice is okay.

      Day 2 – Osaka Amazing Pass one day
      https://www.osp.osaka-info.jp/en/

      Day 3 – Osaka Kaiyu Ticket
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/trip-to-osaka-kaiyukan-aquarium-by-osaka-kaiyu-ticket-2.html
      But Minoo is outside the coverage area. You have to pay a regular fare to take Hankyu railway between Umeda and Minoo.

      Day 4, 8 and 9 – Kansai Thru Pass 3-day
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html
      * I don’t think you have enough time to visit Wakayama on day 9.

      Day 6 – Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass 1-day
      * Kansai Thru Pass offers same coverage as this pass. Actually it covers other railways and city bus in Kyoto. Kansai thru pass is better choice on day 4.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hello!
    Could u advise me on what passes should i get for my trip? I am not sure how many days of JR should i get.

    Day 1 ( osaka monorail-> hanyku->osaka metro)
    – osaka airport 6pm
    – airbnb near daikokucho stn (3 Chome-2-26 Daikoku )

    Day 2
    – to osaka aquarium
    – 553-0007 MariCar
    – Dotonburi
    – Travel back to airbnb

    Day 3
    – Nunobiki falls
    – bamboo grove
    – fu fu no yu
    – airbnb

    Day 4
    – Nara park
    – Todaiji temple
    – airbnb 3-15-18, Kozu Chateau Sekimoto 506, Chuo-ku
    – Nishiki Market

    Day 5
    airbnb 3-15-18, Kozu Chateau Sekimoto 506, Chuo-ku
    hiking fushimi inari taisha
    street food kyoto den OTOT
    back to airbnb

    Day 6
    USJ

    Day 7
    airbnb to airport

      1. Hi Takeshi!
        I would like to ask if i would like to go to the night illumination (nabana no sato)
        https://www.kintetsu.co.jp/senden/Railway/Ticket/nabana/
        May i ask how do i get there?
        The website recommended a round way trip from kintetsu train station then a bus to the village. Does it mean i can take from any kintetsu train station?
        I will be staying around daikokucho station.
        Thank you for your time!

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I am planning a 10 day trip to Kansai area in March. Could you advice if the train pass combination and itinerary arrangement is the best ideal situation?
    Draft itinerary as below:
    Day 1 (ICOCA/Haruka with Round trip return on Day 10)
    • Arrive at Kansai International Airport – Terminal 1 @ 6pm
    • Depart airport for accommodation at Shin-osaka

    Day 2 (Amazing Osaka Pass)
    • Explore Osaka (Visit Shinsaibashisuji, Kuromon Ichiba Market, Denden Town, Namba Yasaka, River Cruise, Dotonbori, Umeda)

    Day 3 (Amazing Osaka Pass)
    • Explore Osaka (Visit Shinsaibashisuji, Kuromon Ichiba Market, Denden Town, Namba Yasaka, River Cruise, Dotonbori, Umeda)

    Day 4 (ICOCA)
    • USJ Full day

    Day 5 (JR Kansai-Hiroshima Pass)
    • Kyoto (Arashimaya Bamboo forest, Kiyomizudera, Gion and Fushimi Inari)

    Day 6 (JR Kansai-Hiroshima Pass)
    • Kyoto (Arashimaya Bamboo forest, Kiyomizudera, Gion and Fushimi Inari)

    Day 7 (JR Kansai-Hiroshima Pass)
    • Nara (Nara Park)
    • Himeji (Castle)
    • Kobe (Nunobiki Falls, Kobe beef experience)

    Day 8 (JR Kansai-Hiroshima Pass)
    • Tottori (Sand dunes)

    Day 9 (JR Kansai-Hiroshima Pass)
    • Hiroshima (Miyajima)

    Day 10 (ICOCA/Haruka)
    • Depart to Kansai International Airport – Terminal 1 @ 10am

    Thank you very much in advance.
    Will be based in Osaka and doing daily trips out to the wider Kansai area.

    1. Hi Keven san,

      You have picked up the correct deals for your trip. Please try to use ICOCA when you travel in Kyoto by city bus. ICOCA can be used for city bus in Kyoto too. Because only 220 yen for one way between Shin-Osaka and Universal city. You will have more than 1000 yen in ICOCA after trip to USJ.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. HI! Takeshi-san,
    My family will travel to Osaka on May this year. We will be staying near Tsuruhashi station.
    We are planning for this itinerary:
    Day1; arrival kansai transfer to tsuruhashi
    Day2: Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, Kuromon market.
    Day3: Osaka Castle and Osaka Museum of History and Housing and Den den town
    Day4: Mitsui Outlet
    Day5: Kyoto ( Arashimaya Bamboo forest, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kiyomizudera, Gion and Fushimi Inari)
    Day 6: Nara (Nara Park< kokufuji Shrine)
    Day 7: universal Studio
    Day8: Tsuruhashi station to Kansai Airport.

    Which Pass is best for this itinerary?
    Jr West Pass or Kintetsu Rail Pass?
    Or Single journey ticket.

    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Misel san,

      You can use Kansai one pass and Haruka on day 1 and 8.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html

      You may use Kintetsu rail pass 2 days at 2,500 yen for Kyoto and Nara. But this pass does not cover any local transportation, such as city bus, subway and train other than Kintetsu. Use Kansai one pass to take these.

      In Osaka, you may think about using Osaka amazing pass one day on day 3. You may use Kansai one pass for the rest of your trips.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi

    Would love your recommendation on the rail and bus passes for the following itinerary. (please ignore my previous message)

    Day 1: Arrive in KIX, 8:45am
    Hotel: Sheraton Miyako Osaka (2 nights)
    – Osaka Castle
    – Kuromon Ichiba Market
    – Denden Town
    – Namba Yasaka
    – Dotonbori

    Day 2: Osaka
    Depart towards Kobe
    – Tetsujin 28 robot Wakamatsu Park
    – Akashi Kaikyo bridge
    – Nunobiki Falls
    – Ikuta Shrine

    Day 3: Kyoto (stay 3 nights)
    – Kinkakuji
    – Ryoanji
    – Kifune Shrine

    Day 4: Kyoto
    – Fushimi Inari
    – Kiyomizudera
    – Gion

    Day 5: Kyoto
    – Arashiyama
    – Tenryuji

    Day 6: Osaka (1 night)
    Depart towards Nara
    – Nakatanidou
    – Todaiji temple

    Day 7: Osaka
    – Free and easy
    – Depart to KIX airport 1pm

    1. Hi Aaron,

      Yokoso Osaka Ticket is the choice for day 1.
      https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/yokoso.html

      You may use Kansai thru pass for day 2, 3 and 6.

      Just pay as you go on day 4 and 5.

      And please see the link below for the last day.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      You can find the deal for Osaka in the post above. And please see the link below if you arrive/depart at KIX.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. I am arriving kansai airport on 7jan around 5.30pm with immediate connection to kyoto will be in Kyoto for the next 3day b4 going to Osaka. During the 3days will be visiting fushimi inari tausha kiyomixy dera temple hokanji temple ginkakuji/kinkakuji temple kibune temple then from kyoto to Osaka
    Will be staying near kyoto stn which pass would u recommend

    1. Hi Joyce,

      You may use Kansai one pass and Haruka.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html

      You can use Kansai one pass to take train, subway and bus in Kyoto but you may add all day bus pass in Kyoto to save your fund in Kansai one pass. It’s only 600 yen one day and you can get the worth of it by only 3 rides.

      You can use Kansai one pass too in Osaka if you still have fund in Kansai one pass. Otherwise you can add other deal in the post above.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi, I am having trouble deciding on whether to purchase the osaka amazing pass, icoca, kansai thru pass, jr kansai wide area pass or even combination of these.

    Please advise based on our itinerary:

    Day 1
    • Arrive at Kansai International Airport – Terminal 1
    • Depart airport via Kansai Airport Transportation Enterprise (KATE) Bus
    • Arrive in Universal City Walk Osaka
    • Check in Hotel Universal Port
    • Depart for Namba tour 4PM
    • Visit Shinsaibashisuji, Kuromon Ichiba Market, Denden Town, Namba Yasaka, River Cruise, Dotonbori

    Day 2
    • Visit Osaka Castle
    • Leave for Kobe, visit Tetsujin 28 robot in Wakamatsu Park
    • Lunch at Steakland Kobe
    • Return to Osaka, visit Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel, Pokemon Center, Umeda Sky Building

    Day 3
    • Whole day at Universal Studios Japan (9:30AM – 8PM)
    • Dinner in Universal City Walk

    Day 4
    • Travel to Kyoto and visit Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion), Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and Fushimi Inari Shrine
    • Return to Osaka for dinner and shopping

    Day 5
    • Travel to and visit Todaiji Temple and Nara Park
    • Return to Osaka
    • Depart to Kansai Airport via KATE

    1. Hi Mika,

      You may use Kansai thru pass 3 days for visiting Kobe, Nara and Kyoto. And you can add Osaka amazing pass for day 2. However you have to visit Umeda Sky Building by 6:00 pm by Osaka amazing pass. It does not cover evening admission. If you want to visit there in the night, you have to pay admission.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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