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.

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

  1. こんばんは,

    I have a quick question which pass is good for four days trip
    Day 1: USJ
    Day 2: Nara/Osaka/Kyoto(stay for the night)
    Day 3: Kyoto
    Day 4: osaka/back to Tokyo

    And also another question if I have a working visa friend can he apply for Kansai thru pass as the guide for his overseas tourist friend?

    Regards
    アン

    1. Hi アンさん,

      Unfortunately there is no deals to cover whole part of your trip. I just can recommend you to use All day bus pass in Kyoto.
      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 cannot get the worth of Kansai thru pass. You can use Kansai one pass instead of purchase a regular ticket one by one.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/what-is-ic-card-suica-icoca-pasmo-how-to-use-these-cards.html

      Your friend may have Suica, ICOCA or other IC card already. Your friend cannot purchase Kansai one pass. Only ICOCA is available in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. All day bus pass in Kyoto is available for everybody.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi-San,

    Can I get your advise based on my itinerary below:

    Day 1 –
    Osaka Kaiyu ticket/ yokoso Osaka ticket
    Kix airport to swissotel Namba
    Checkin then lunch and head to Osaka aquarium
    Legoland discovery centre
    Tempozan Ferris wheel
    Back to Namba area

    Day 2 Osaka Amazing pass
    Osaka museum of history
    Osaka castle/ castle museum
    Illusion museum
    Osaka wonder cruise/
    Tomboro river cruise

    Day 3 ic card
    instant ramen museum
    Shinsabashi shopping

    Day 4 Ic card
    universal studio

    Day 5 – JR pass – 5 day Takayama-Hokuriku Atea tourist pass
    Kyoto
    Nishiki Market, gion to to Osaka

    Day 6 Shirawaka-go

    Day 7 Takayama

    Day 8 nozawa onsen

    1. Hi Caren san,

      I recommend you to use Osaka Kaiyu Ticket Nankai Railway version on day 1. You can find the info in the link below:
      https://www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/basicinformation.pdf

      It covers all on day 1 by only this ticket.

      You can use Takayama Hokuriku area pass to get Kyoto. But after arrival in Kyoto, this pass does not cover anything. You have to use IC card or purchasing other deal.

      Other part of your trip plan looks good.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JRPail

      1. Hi Takeshi- San

        Thanks for your advise.
        How about the ticket from KIX to Namba (should I get kanku webtoku ticket?)

        Or would it be better if I get Osaka amazing 2D pass for Day 1 & 2 + yokoso Osaka ticket instead?

        1. Hi Caren,

          Please see the link what I gave you in the previous reply. As I mentioned, you can use Osaka Kaiyu Ticket Nankai Railway version. It covers Nankai railway between KIX and Namba too. As I mentioned you, it covers all on day 1.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

        2. Hi Takashi-San

          Thanks for your advise. I had read up on the Osaka Kaiyu pass and found that the pass only offers discounts for tempozam Ferris wheel and lego discovery centre.
          Do you need it’s better to add on Osaka amazing 2D pass to cover this attractions?

          Will it be more cost effective?

  3. Good afternoon, Takeshi-san, I would just like to check – for the the following cards:

    a) Osaka Visitors’ Card – purchase can be from Kansai Tourist Information KIX. Do I need to book beforehand? Is it only one card allowable per person?

    b) Osaka Eco Card — If I were to purchase the Eco Card on a weekend but did not manage to use it on the weekend, can I use it during any other day including weekday?

    c) Kyoto Sightseeing Pass 1 day – When booking for the pass online, there is a calendar with date selection. Do I select the date of collection of pass from Nankai KIX or actual date of travel? I will be using this to go to Fushimi Inari up to Uji from Kyoto.

    d) I will be travelling to and from Namba Osaka to Nara for a day trip. I notice that the Kintetsu Nara Pass is ¥1500 per person but travel using Icoca on Kansai One Pass would be ¥560 per way – therefore the Pass would not be necessary. Am I correct in assuming this?

    My apologies for the many questions but am rather confused with the many passes available. Arigato gozaimasu for reading and hope to receive your assistance. Thank you once again.

    1. Hi PC san,

      a. Osaka Visitors ticket seems to be no longer available. There is no info any more. I just deleted this info from this post.

      b. No, you can’t. You can purchase it at the vending machine. So make sure whether you use it on the day of purchase or not before purchasing.

      c. You have to select the date. If you don’t want. please purchase it after you arrive in Kyoto.

      d. That’s right. Most of places in Nara can be accessed by walk from the station.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Arigato gozaimasu, Takeshi-san — most helpful information.

        1. Just to clarify for the Kyoto Sightseeing pass – can I book online and indicate travel date,say 10 November but collect the pass from KIX on 07 November?

        2. From Namba to KIX, would the KANKU-WEBTOKU TICKET be the best choice?

        Thank you and regards
        PC

  4. Hi Takeshi,there are 4 people will be travelling on 24 nov to 3 dec. We will be travelling from Osaka to Kyoto ( sight seeing eg Arashimaya,Kinkakuji,etc),Kyoto to Nara, and Kyoto as a base(24 nov to 28 nov)Then Osaka as a base(Universal studio,Osaka castle,) osaka to Hiroshima (29 nov 3 dec).Which pass should I get?Thank you.

    1. Hi Jocelyn,

      I recommend you to use ICOCA and Haruka, and Kansai Hiroshima area pass.
      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
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/kansai-hiroshima-area-pass-perfect-deal-for-the-traveller-who-wants-travel-both-kansai-and-hiroshima.html

      You may use Kansai Hiroshima area pass for the last 5 days of your trip. Before you start using it, you can use ICOCA and Haruka.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    We are a big family of 18 (10 adults and 8 children with ages 5 to 16) and we are traveling to Osaka from October 26 to November 3. Here is our itinerary:
    Day 1 – Arrive in Kansai International Airport, Check in at hotel in Namba
    Day 2 – Osaka Castle, Dotonbori
    Day 3 – Day trip to Nara
    Day 4 – USJ City Walk in the morning, USJ in the afternoon
    Day 5 – Whole day at USJ
    Day 6 – Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Tempozan Marketplace
    Day 7 – Day trip to Kyoto
    Day 8 – Visit Muji at Aeon Mall Sakai Kitahanada
    Day 9 – Check out from hotel, Depart from Kansai International Airport

    Can you please suggest which train pass should we use for our travel?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    Eileen

  6. Dear Takeshi,

    Hope this finds you well. I have been doing some research online in preparation for our trip to Osaka (4 adults) this end October. It will be our first time to visit. Below is our planned itinerary. We will be staying in a hotel in Namba all throughout our trip.
    Day 1: Arrive in Kansai airport, travel to hotel in Namba, go around Minami area/Dotonbori
    Day 2: Universal Studios Japan
    Day 3: Osaka Aquarium, Tempozan Marketplace, Osaka Castle, Amerikamura
    Day 4: Kyoto (day trip only)
    Day 5: Nara Park (am), Umeda Sky Building (pm)
    Day 6: Check-out hotel and travel to Kansai ariport

    Hope you can recommend the most cost-efficient tickets and/or train passes to buy. Please feel free to comment on the itinerary as well. Can we still squeeze in a trip to Kobe?

    Looking forward to your reply. Thank you!

  7. Dear Takeshi,

    Thank you for making this very informative website I found your website very helpful. If it is possible, I would greatly appreciate your advice on my upcoming trip to Japan in November.

    I plan to arrive in Osaka on 9th November and flight back to my country on 14th November, early morning from KIX airport. I would like to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara. I am still making the detailed itinerary. Because hotels in Osaka are far less expensive than that of Kyoto, I am thinking of using Osaka as my base, i.e. I would book only one hotel in Osaka for those 5 days, and would take the trains from Osaka to visit Kyoto, Kobe and Nara. At the end of each day, I will go back to Osaka to sleep. Also, I will use a lot of public transport such as subway or buses in Osaka and the other cities that I visit.

    My tentative plan:

    Day 1. From Osaka, go to Nara by train. Then go to Kyoto. After sightseeing, go back to Osaka.

    Day 2. From Osaka, go to Kyoto by train. After sightseeing, go back to Osaka.

    Day 3. From Osaka, go to Kobe by train. After sightseeing, go back to Osaka.

    Day 4. Sightseeing in Osaka.

    Day 5. Go to Kix airport in the early morning.

    So what is the rail pass that best suits my case?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Thanh,

      You may use Kansai thru pass for the first 3 days.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      For day 4, you may choose one of the deals in the post above.

      For day 5, please see 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,

    We’re travelling with 2 kids (4 and 6yo) on 23-30 Oct 18. Wish to seek your advice on what are the passes that I shld get for cost efficiency based on the planned itinerary below.

    Day 1- Arrival at KIX airport at 9plus in the evening. So will stay at the airport hotel.
    Day 2- Travel to Kyoto (accomd-Citadines Kyoto) and start sightseeing
    Day 3- Nara & Uji
    Day 4- Arashiyama
    Day 5- Travel back to Osaka (accomd- Hotel the Flag Shinsaibashi) and start sightseeing
    Day 6- Kaiyukan aquarium, Lego discovery center and tempozan ferries wheel
    Day 7- Cup noodles museum and Niferel/ expo
    Day 8- Sightseeing/ outlet shopping and head back to KIX airport (night flight)

    I’m thinking of getting the 2day Osaka amazing pass, the ICOCA + Haruka for KIX to Kyoto. Is it still necessary to get the Kansai Thru Pass for 2/3 days

    1. Hi Cindy,

      You may use ICOCA and Haruka. You can add Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/what-is-ic-card-suica-icoca-pasmo-how-to-use-these-cards.html

      You can use Kansai one pass to take train, bus and subway in Kyoto.

      I believe Kansai thru pass is recommended for day 3, 5 and 8.

      You can use Osaka amazing pass for day 6 and 7 as you think.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thanks for your advice. I read that you mentioned the ICOCA and Haruka bundle is not available for child, so the recommendation is to get the Kansai Area Pass for child 6yo & above right? Based on my itinerary above, how many days shld I get the kansai Area pass for my child?

  9. dear sir,
    i am going to japan from 12th to 21st nov this year. i have bought jr pass and planned to buy 2 days osaka amazing pass for first two days in osaka. my question is, do i need to buy kansai thru pass for my trip to kyoto,kobe and nara? or it is enough with jr pass to cover those areas? i was thinking of cost efficiency for my trip

    my travel is as follows

    day 1-2 osaka (osaka amazing pass)
    day 3 Universal studio (covered with jr pass)
    day 4-5 kyoto
    day 6 kobe/nara
    day 7-9 tokyo

    1. Hi sakinah,

      JR pass is okay for travel to Kyoto, Kobe and Nara.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html

      By the way, if you arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo, you may not be able to get the worth of JR pass. Osaka to Tokyo one way trip fare by Shinkansen is about half of JR pass price, (around 14,000 yen). Even if you take a local train in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara, you will get about 3000 yen worth. So try to make trips by JR trains as much as you can. When you go to Kyoto, you can take Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto. It’s only 10 minutes ride but it helps you to get the worth.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. oh, i forgot to mentioned i’ll returned to osaka after my trip in tokyo

        thankyou very much for the tips, can i used shikansen to nara and kobe too?

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