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 Visitors’ Ticket

  • Price (weekday) – Adult:550 yen / Child:Not available
  • Coverage – All Osaka subway lines and Osaka city bus in allocated area
  • Valid period – one day (midnight to midnight)

This deal gives you the exactly same coverage as Enjoy Eco Card above. But the price is 550 yen and it is much cheaper if you use it on week days.

This pass is not available in the station. You must purchase it in Kansai airport or Tourist Information Center in Shisaibashi.

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, Pitata 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.

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 regional deal, such as 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.

Guide to take trains in Osaka. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

I hope this post helps you to find the best deal!

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

  1. Hi Takeshi san,

    We’re planning to visit Japan this September. Our itinerary is as follows:

    Day 1: Arrival at Nagoya. A bit of sightseeing then travel to Osaka.
    *For this we plan to purchase the Kintetsu 5 day pass.

    Day 2: Sightseeing in Kyoto then back to osaka.

    Day 3: Sightseeing in Kyoto then back to osaka.

    Day 4: Sightseeing in Nara then sightseeing in osaka.

    Day 5: USJ

    Day 6: Sightseeing in osaka.

    Would be really happy to know what pass you could recommend for these activities.

    Thanks so much!☺

    Vida

    1. Hi Vida san,

      You may use Kintetsu rail pass for the first 4 days. But Kintetsu rail pass takes you to Kyoto station only. You may add city bus pass at 600 yen for one day. It gives you unlimited ride and you can get the worth of it by 3 rides of bus per day.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      You don’t need any passes for day 5. You can find the deal for day 6 in the post above.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi San

    Thank you taking the time for the write up. Can you assist to see whether my planing for my upcoming trip to Japan work.

    Osaka accommodation- Namba area
    Day 1- arrival Kansai Airport 9am
    Buy Kanku Chikatoku ticket (buy at vending machine and change Osaka subway ticket at counter?)

    Day 2 – Kyoto & Nara
    Buy Kansai Area Pass 1 day

    Day 3 – Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium & Osaka castle
    Buy Osaka Kaiyu- Osaka City version

    Day 4 – should we unable to cover Nara during day 2
    Buy single journey to Nara
    should we able to finish Day 2 itinerary
    Buy eco card 1 day pass / Osaka visitor 1 day pass

    Accommodation in Tokyo – near shibuya
    Day 5 – Osaka to Tokyo – shibuya, sensiji temple & Tokyo Skytree
    Buy 1 way Shinkansen
    Buy 3 days Tokyo metro pass

    Day 6-7 – Tsukiji market, Roppongi, Harajuku
    Covered by 3 days tokto metro pass

    Accommodation in Tokyo Disneyland
    Day 8 – Tokyo Disneyland
    Buy single journey ticket from shibuya to maihama ( metro & jr single journey)

    Day 9 Tokyo Disneyland to Narita Airport
    Buy single journey metro ticket & NEX

    Regards

    1. Hi Tony san,

      Your itinerary is good. It’s very organized.

      For day 1, you will take Nankai Railway from kansai to Namba. It costs only 920 yen. You don’t need to take subway. Do you want to take subway later? If you intend to visit somewhere in Osaka, Yokoso Osaka Ticket is better deal. It includes Kansai to Namba by Limited Express Rapi:t and unlimited one day subway ride. Rapi:t offers more comfortable trip.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/yokoso.html

      You may visit one or two places on arrival day. You may visit Osaka castle on arrival day if you want. If you do so, you can visit other places in Osaka on day 3 after visiting Kaiyukan. You may be able to spend two days for Nara and Kyoto. In this case, I recommend you to use Kansai thru pass.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      It covers Kintetsu railway to Nara. You can get Nara from Namba directly. Kintetsu Nara station is located much closer to tourist spots than JR Nara station.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/how-to-access-to-nara-by-japan-rail-pass-if-you-dont-use-jr-pass-kintetsu-railway-is-more-convenient.html

      In Kyoto, Kansai thru pass covers city bus. It’s a big benefit in downtown Kyoto. Most of places can be accessed by city bus. JR trains are very limited.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      In Tokyo, your plan is good and I don’t have anything to tell you.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi takeshi san,

        Thank you for your time to reply.

        Day 1 my lodging to be exact will be around dontoburi area so I believe I’ll need a subway trip from Kansai Airport that’s what I pick Kanku Chikatoku tickets as it’s includes 1 subway trip, our flight from origin country are midnight and we have an infant with us hence I’m not sure whether for Day 1 will we be touring around only dontoburi area or we will be exploring a little of Osaka, your recommendation are definitely good as it cover our day 1 in any case we need to tour around, will definitely take your recommendation.

        Day 2 for Kyoto and Nara your suggestion on Kansai Thru Pass, I’m a little confuse here, as far as I read thru, Kansai Thru Pass do not cover JR trains, how do I go around from Osaka to Kyoto by normal subway? And do Kansai Thru Pass cover Osaka subway as well? Understand that the 2 day pass may not be use consecutive so how do we activate the pass?

        Pardon me as it is the first visit to Japan

        Do you think my itinerary is workable for Kyoto & Nara in 1 day? Or it is better to split Kyoto in day 2 and Nara in day 4?

        For transfer from Osaka to Tokyo is there any deal for getting single journey Shinkansen together with Tokyo metro 3 days pass? Or my planning of single journey Shinkansen & Tokyo Metro 3 days pass is the only way?

        Regards

        1. Hi Tony san,

          You don’t need to take subway. Dotonbori is located between Namba and Shinsaibashi. But Namba is closer. Subway ride is not required. If you take ordinary train, regular fare is 920 yen and it’s what you need.

          Kansai thru pass covers Osaka subway, Kyoto subway, Kyoto city bus, Keihan railway, Hankyu railway, Kintetsu railway and many more. Actually it covers all other than JR. Please see the link below:
          http://www.surutto.com/images/ticket/kansai_thru_pass/english/en_map.pdf

          You can decide which day you use when you purchase Kansai thru pass.

          I don’t recommend you to do Kyoto and Nara in one day. But it’s totally up to you. And it depends on which place in Kyoto and Nara you want to go. Remember that many travelers spend 2 days for just Kyoto easily. Nara is easy because most of spots are located near Nara station. But Kyoto is much bigger and it’s hard to cover whole part of Kyoto for even one whole day.

          There is no deals for Shinkansen and subway. If you are okay with slower Shinkansen train, Platt Kodama is available:
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi takeshi San,

            Thank you, will be getting Kansai Thru Pass 2 days since Nara & Kyoto in a day seems a bit too rush, subsequent departures to Tokyo will be getting Shinkansen.

            Thank you so much for the suggestion

            Regards

  3. Hi there : )

    I’ll be arriving from kansai airport to osaka end of May and will be staying in osaka for 3 nights and kyoto for 2 nights. Can you advise what pass should I get during my trip ?

  4. Hello Takeshi-san,

    Thank you for the website, which is very helpful for my family (2 adults & 1kid -under 3years) to plan our Japan Trip.

    We are traveling to Osaka in November for 3 days and then continue to Tokyo for another 4 days (we are still planning our Tokyo itinerary).
    I need your advice on what pass to get around Osaka & Kyoto. Here is our itinerary:

    Day 1 (KIX & Osaka Aquarium)
    – Arrive at KIX around 12.35PM
    – Head to our Hotel at Nishishinsaibashi (nearest station is Namba Subway Station)
    – Go to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
    – Head back to Minami/Dotonbori for dinner
    For Day 1, I’m planning to buy OSAKA Kaiyu Ticket Nankai Plans.

    Day 2 (Osaka Sightseeing)
    – Osaka Castle
    – Kids Plaza Osaka
    – Kuromon Ichiba Market
    – Back to Hotel
    For Day 2, I’m thinking to get Enjoy Eco Card/Osaka Visitors’ Card or maybe Osaka Amazing Pass (if we could find more attractions to visit).

    Day 3 (Kyoto Sightseeing)
    – Fushimi Inari Shrine
    – Arashiyama
    – Kinkakuji Temple
    – back to Osaka
    Day 3, I’m not sure whether we should book 1-day trip Tour Osaka-Kyoto or just go on our own. If we decided to go on our own, could you please advise which Pass should I get.

    Day 4 (Tokyo)
    – Flight to Tokyo (Haneda) at 10AM via Itami Airport
    For Day 4, i believe we can just buy normal train ticket?

    Also, could you please advise is it feasible to visit Nara for half day trip on my Day 1? If yes, then we could move our visit to Osaka Aquarium to Day 2. Otherwise, I’m gonna stick to our current plan.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    David.

    1. Hi David san,

      You can visit Nara in half day. If you do so, Kansai thru pass 2 days is recommended for day 1 and 3.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      If you keep this original plan (not go to Nara and visit Kaiyukan on day 1), you may use Keihan railway Kyoto Osaka sightseeing pass + Kyoto city bus pass for day 3.
      https://www.keihan.co.jp/travel/en/tickets/special/kyoto-osaka
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      But your arrival time is not very early. You will spend at least 1.5 hours to clear custom, immigration, baggage pick up and purchase a ticket to Osaka. You will be Osaka around 14:30 or may be 15:00. And then go to Nara and spend another 45 mins to 1 hour. If you are okay with this, you can go for it. Otherwise you will keep your original plan

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thank you for your response.

        I guess you’re right that Nara trip on Day 1 is little bit too much. As you said we still have to clear custom & immigration, pick up baggage then have lunch there and purchase a ticket to Osaka. So I guess we might spend 2 hours. So, I’ll keep to my original plan for Day 1.

        As for Day 3 (Kyoto Sightseeing) – I just re-reviewed it and decided to go to Kiyomizu-dera Temple instead of Arashiyama. I hope that we will have enough time (including travel) to visit these places.

        In your opinion, is it difficult to travel between Osaka to Fushimi Inari Shrine – Kiyomizu-dera Temple – Kinkakuji Temple and go back to Namba?

        Thank you.

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    We will be in Osaka late May. Here is my itineraries

    Day 1 – arrive KIX airport around 5PM. Stay at Nipponbashi for 3 nights.
    Day 2 – will go to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Ninenzaka, Sannenzaka, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine and come back to Nipponbashi.
    Day 3 – Will explore Osaka.
    Day 4 – Leaving Osaka around noon time to catch the 5PM flight.

    Would you please recommend which is the best budget pass that we should purchase?

    Also, would you please advise what is the best transportation that I should take from Osaka to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Ninenzaka, Sannenzaka, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine. Should I buy pass or use ICOCA pass for the trip from Osaka to Kyoto?

    Thank you very much and waiting to hear from you soon.
    Van

    1. Hi Van,

      If you visit some places in the morning on day 4, you can use Kansai thru pass 3 days for day 1, 2 and 4.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      But if you don’t go many places on day 4, like walking around Namba, Kansai one pass is better choice for day 3.
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      And you can use subway and Nankai railway deal for day 1 and 4.
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/chikatoku.html

      You may find the deal for day 3 in the post above.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi, seeking your advice and guidance for the transportation. My itinerary as belows:
    Day 1: Osaka Aquarium/Tempozan Market Place/Umeda Sky Building/ Shinsekai

    Day 2: Osaka Castle/Sumiyoshi Taisha/Dontobori/Shinsaibashi

    Day3: Kyoto- Fushimi Inari Shrine/Kinkakuji/Kiyomizu-dera/Gion District

    Day 4: Arashiyama/Togetsukyo Bridge/Nishiki Market

    Day 5: Nara Park/Kofuku-ji Temple/The Manyo Botanical Garden
    Day 6: Kobe -Sake Breweries/Chinatown/Aksashi Kayo

    Any pass should i get? Thanks.

  7. Hi, I need your guides/recommendation for transportation in my family trip. I’ll be staying in Higashiyama area in Kyoto and Dotonbori area in Osaka. My itinerary are as follows:

    Day 1
    KIX to Kyoto
    Kyoto Stn.
    -Kyoto Gyoen National Garden
    -Nijo Castle
    -Keage Incline
    Kyoto Stn.
    -Explore around Kyoto Stn. area
    -Kyoto Tower

    Day 2
    Kyoto Stn.
    -Kiyomizu-dera
    -Sannenzaka
    -Ninenzaka
    -Maruyama Park
    -Shirakawa Dori, Gion
    -Nishiki Market
    Kyoto Stn.

    Day 3
    Kyoto Stn.
    -Togetsu-kyo Bridge
    -Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
    -Okochi Sanso Garden
    -Kameyama-koen Park
    Osaka Stn.
    -Explore around Osaka Stn. area

    Day 4
    Osaka Stn.
    -Osaka Castle Park *Ice Cream
    -Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
    -Tempozan Ferris Wheel
    -Shinsaibashisuji
    -Dotonbori

    Day 5
    -Universal Studio Japan

    Day 6
    -Nara
    -Kobe
    – Last night in Osaka

    Day 7
    Osaka to KIX

    I need ICOCA & Haruka and a few passes like KTP and OAP ?
    Appreciate your help, Thank you.

    1. Hi Shah,

      You can use ICOCA and Haruka on arrival day. You can add Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA because Kansai one pass is basically ICOCA which offers discount at many attractions:
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      You may use Kansai one pass to take trains in Kyoto, train to Osaka and train to USJ. When you take a bus, don’t use this and purchase one day bus pass at 500 yen. You can get the worth by only 3 rides.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Osaka amazing pass is okay for day 4. You can use Kansai area pass one day for day 6.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/how-to-use-jr-west-kansai-area-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      You can find the deal for day 7 in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi, need help / recommendation on transportation 🙂 Will be staying at Namba area. My itinerary as follows;

    Day 7
    Kyoto > Umeda (JR Kyoto Line)
    Umeda Station> Tanimachi 9-chome Station
    Tanimachi 9-chome Station > Namba Station

    Day 8
    Tanimachi 9-chome Station > Ikeda Station
    Ikeda Station > Umeda Station
    Umeda Station > Namba Station

    Day 9
    Namba Station > Kobe-Sannomiya Station
    Kobe-Sannomiya Station > Osaka Castle
    Osaka Castle > Namba Station

    Day 10
    Osaka-Uehommachi > Kintetsu-Nara Station
    Kintetsu-Nara Station > Moriguchi Station
    Moriguchi Station > Namba Station

    Day 11
    Namba Station > Kaisai Airport (Back home)

    Will it be better for me to get any pass? Or ICOCA card will be sufficient for my trip? Thank you so much in advance!

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