Osaka train route guide. How much can we use JR Pass in Osaka? How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots in Osaka?

osaka shin imamiyaOsaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara
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Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail
Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail
Dotonbori is "Must-See" place in Osaka.  	©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
Dotonbori is “Must-See” place in Osaka. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

I wrote about train system in Kyoto before. But I have received many inquiries about Osaka too. I think it is very complicated for travellers from overseas. There are three types of railway, JR, Osaka Municipal Subway and Private company’s railways. Once you understand train system, you can find the best location to stay, the best deal for trains ride and the fastest way to visit that you want to see.

As probably you know, there are many types of deals, such as ICOCA, Kansai Thru Pass, JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass, Osaka Subway Eco Card and Osaka Unlimited Pass. Each pass has different conditions. You must understand the coverage of your pass.

In this post, I tell you about using these deals and explain all train systems in Osaka.

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Which train services that are covered by ICOCA, Kansai Thru Pass, subway deals and other JR deals

Many deals are available in Kansai area. But each pass have different coverage. I tell you about major passes and deals.

For the travellers who use ICOCA, Kansai one pass, Suica, Pasmo or other IC cards

You can take all trains on the map above except Shinkansen. When you travel in Kansai area, don’t try to take Shinkansen for such a short transfer, like going to Kyoto or Kobe. Please see the post, How to transfer among Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Compare Japan Railway and private lines.

ICOCA does not cover Osaka city bus service too. But I don’t think you have many chances to take city bus in Osaka. You can go anywhere by train services. Train is much faster than bus.

For the travellers who use Kansai Thru Pass and Rainbow Card

Please see the map below:

Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail
Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail

Kansai Thru Pass is unlimited ride pass and Rainbow Card is pre-paid card for most of NON JR trains in Osaka.

The only place where you can’t go by these deals is USJ. But if you don’t care about riding city bus, you can catch the bus at Nishikujo station. Nishikujo can be accessed by Hanshin Railway that is covered by Kansai Thru Pass. Even if you pay for JR train, the fare is 160 yen foe one way. It is not a big deal. I will explain about access to Universal Studion Japan later.

JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass, Kansai WIDE Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Aea Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, Hokuriku Arch Pass

Please see the map below:

Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail
Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail

Many places can be accessed by JR Pass and other JR deals. I explained JR train network in the post below. Please refer it:

Osaka subway Enjoy Eco Card and Osaka Unlimited Pass

Please see the map below:

Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail
Click to enlarge (C) JP Rail

Enjoy Eco Card covers Osaka subway and city bus. Osaka Unlimited Pass includes unlimited ride of subway and bus, and free admission for major attractions in Osaka. There are one day and two day available. But coverage is a bit different. One day covers subway, bus and major private railways, like Hanshin, Nankai, Keihan and Kintetsu. It is very similar to Kansai Thru Pass. But two day pass covers subway and bus only. When you choose this deal, please make sure your itinerary and which train you need to get on.

As long as you can take subway, most of places can be reached by subway.

How to access to major spots in Osaka by train

Most of places in Osaka can be accessed by train. I would like to share the information of access to major spots with you.

Namba, Dotonbori, Houzenji and Shinsaibashi area

There are so many restaurants in Dotonbori area. ©JNTO
There are so many restaurants in Dotonbori area. ©JNTO

You can reach Namba by many ways.

  • Namba station (Nankai Railways) to/from Kansai Airport (KIX), Mt. Koya (Koyasan) and Wakayama
  • Namba station (Osaka Subway Midousuji line, Yotsubashi line and Sennichimae line) to/from Umeda, Nishi-Umeda, Tennoji
  • Osaka-Namba station (Hanshin Railways) to/from Sannomiya, Kobe and Himeji
  • Osaka-Namba station (Kintetsu Railways) to/from Nara, Ise and Nagoya
  • JR Namba station (JR) to/from Tennoji, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Kansai Airport (KIX

As I mentioned above, JR Namba station is not located in the core of Namba. JR Namba is closed to Subway Yotsubashi line Namba station and Sennichimae line’s Sakuragawa station is actually closer than Namba station.


View Namba in a larger map

Nankai Railways is the best way to get Namba from Kansai Airport. And also train runs to Mt. Koya.

Hanshin Railways and Kintetsu Railways trains go through each other. And their station is “Osaka-Namba” station. When you search on Hyperdia, you can find Osaka-Namba. It’s not Namba for these train companies but Osaka-Namba. If you stay in Namba and want to go to Nara or Kobe, you can use these train companies. You can go there directly from Namba.

If you go to Nara, you can catch Kintetsu Railway’s train at Osaka-Namba station. Please see the post below to learn more about access to Nara:

Shinsaibashi is one station away from Namba by subway. But Namba and Shinsaibashi are connected by shopping arcade. Dotonbori is located between Namba and Shinsaibashi. And also Shinsaibashi is connected with Yotsubashi and Nihonbashi by underground. So most of places in Namba can be accessed by walk.

Umeda

Umeda Sky Building is one of popular spots in Umeda area. ©JNTO
Umeda Sky Building is one of popular spots in Umeda area. ©JNTO

Umeda and Namba are two biggest downtown core in Osaka. There are many department stores and shopping complex in Umeda area. In Umeda area, only JR station is called “Osaka”. JR Osaka station and other railway’s Umeda station are located in same area.

There are many stations in Umeda.

  • Osaka station (JR Kobe line, Kyoto line, Osaka Kanjo line) to/from Kansai Airport (KIX), Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, USJ, Tennoji
  • Umeda station (Osaka Subway Midousuji line) to/from Namba, Shin-Osaka, Tennoji
  • Umeda station (Hanshin Railways) to/from Sannomiya, Kobe and Himeji
  • Umeda station (Hankyu Railways) to/from Kawaramachi, Arashiyama, Shijo, Sannomiya, Takarazuka
  • Higashi-Umeda station (Osaka Subway Tanimachi line) to/from Uehonmachi/Tanimachi Kyuchome, Tennoji
  • Nishi-Umeda station (Osaka Subway Yotsubashi line) to/from Namba
  • Kitashinchi station (JR Tozai line) to/from Namba

Please see the post below to get more detail about Osaka and Umeda station area:

Tenpozan, Kaiyukan

Kaiyukan is located in this Tenpozan waterfront area. ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
Kaiyukan is located in this Tenpozan waterfront area. ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

Osaka Subway Chuo line’s Osakako station is the nearest station. You can catch Chuo line’s train at Honmachi, Bentencho and many other places. If you stay in Umeda or Namba, simple take Midousuji line or Yotsubashi line train and transfer to Chuo line’s train at Honmachi. If you are JR Pass user, you can get Bentencho by Osaka Kanjo line from Osaka or Tennoji. You have to pay extra on top of your pass for taking subway from Bentencho.

USJ is located just across the river. But there is no direct train or bus. Please see next chapter to get USJ from Tenpozan.

Universal Studion Japan (USJ)

USJ at the entrance

JR Yumesaki line’s Universal City station is the nearest station. There is no subway or private railway’s service available. If you are not JR train user, you can catch the pass to USJ at Nishikujo station.

If you want to access to Tenpozan/Kaiyukan from USJ, shuttle cruise service is the fastest and only direct way to connect both places.

Shuttle Cruise Capt. Line

Otherwise you have to take Universal City station – Nishikujo station – Bentencho station – Osakako station route. It is a big detour.

Osakajo (Osaka castle)

Osaka castle is one of popular spot to see cherry blossom in Osaka. ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
Osaka castle is one of popular spot to see cherry blossom in Osaka. ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

There are several stations around Osaka castle. You can access there from Tenmabashi station (Keihan Railway), Tanimachi-Yonchome station (Subway Tanimachi line), Osakajo-Koen station (JR), Osaka Business Park station (Subway Nagahori-Tsurumi Ryokuchi line), and Morinomiya station (JR). The nearest stations to access to the castle are Tenmabashi and Tanimachi-Yonchome. Other stations are okay, but these stations are closed to Osaka Castle Park.

Shinsekai, Tennoji zoo

You can feel real tradition of Osaka in Shinsekai.   	©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
You can feel real tradition of Osaka in Shinsekai. ©Osaka Government Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

Shinsekai is old town of Osaka. There is very traditional shopping arcade. Tsutenkaku tower is located in Shinsekai area. This area can be accessed from JR and Nankai Railway’s Shin-Imamiya station.

Tennoji Zoo is located between Tennoji station and Dobutsuenmae station. (Dobutsuenma means “in front of zoo”.)

Minoo falls

Minoo is located outside downtown Osaka. Most of city deals, such as Osaka subway pass does not cover Minoo falls. Only Kansai Thru Pass covers this falls.

You need to take Hankyu Railway Takarazuka line train from Umeda to Ishibashi. And then take another Hankyu Railway Minoo line train to Minoo. You can change trains at Ishibashi very easily. Trip time is around 35 minutes from Umeda to Minoo.

In the peak season, like fall foliage season, the direct train service runs between Umeda and Minoo.

Instant Ramen Museum

This museum is located outside downtown Osaka either. Most of city deals, such as Osaka subway pass does not cover this attraction. Only Kansai Thru Pass covers the trip to Instant Ramen Museum.

You need to take Hankyu Railway Takarazuka line train from Umeda to Ikeda. Trip time is around 20 minutes from Umeda to Ikeda.

Comments

  1. Rico says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    I’m glad to see your blog. I hope you can help me and my family travel easily around Osaka. With so many options to chose from, I cannot decide which travel pass or discount tickets should I buy in going around Osaka. I’m thinking if these passes will make the most of our transportation budget or a single fare ticket should suffice.
    We’re on a 3 day/ 3 night tour of Kansai area this March 2014 and here is our tight itinerary:

    Day 1: Arrive at KIX at 7:55 PM. Check-in at Hotel Keihan near tenmabashi station. How’s our options in going to our hotel? Which do you think is the lesser complicated route for my family to travel to our hotel from the airport?

    Day 2: Visit Osaka Castle, Osaka Mint Bureau, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Floating Garden Observatory, Osaka Help Five and lastly, Umeda Sky Building. Proceed to Namba in late afternoon. Do you think we can cover all of these places for a day? Is there a 1 day pass ticket or any applicable discount pass applicable for this 2nd day intinerary?

    Day 3: Universal Studios (whole day)

    Day 4. Shopping then check-out of the hotel for the evening flight.

    I hope you can help me on these.

    Thanks and regards,

    Rico

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Rico,

      Day 1
      Actually Temmbashi is not very accessible from KIX. Please see the map at the following link:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
      It does not show any bus line. But even bus services do not connect there directly. So I recommend you to use ICOCA and Haruka deal.
      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 take Haruka express to Tennoji and then use ICOCA e-money to get subway Tanimachi line to Temmabashi. There are some cheaper deal. But your trip will be more complecated, like KIX-Namba-Tanicmachikyuchome-Temmabashi.

      Day 2, 3
      You can do, but it will be super tight. I guess you will spend lots of time at Kaiyukan. You can use Osaka Unlimited Pass.
      http://www.osaka-info.jp/osp/en/
      1 day pass is fine. You don’t need 2 day, because you can use ICOCA to get USJ.

      Day 4
      If you purchase ICOCA and Haruka round trip ticket, you can get KIX by this pass. But you may need to pay extra to get Tennoji or Kyobashi or other JR stations. Your ICOCA will be empty at this point. You can add some more fund into ICOCA if you want.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Rico says:

        Hi Takeshi,
        Thank you very much for your quick and detailed reply. This is really very helpful indeed.

        Regards,

        Rico

      • Rico says:

        Hi Takeshi,
        I hope you don’t mind mind me asking a follow-up question for Day 1. What could be the “possible problem” or complication that I might encounter if I chose this option:
        KIX-Namba-Tanicmachikyuchome-Temmabashi.?
        Is it the same as this one? KIX-(Nankai)-Namba-(subway)-Yodoyabashi-(Keihan)- Tenmabashi… will this route be harder to follow or more expensive than using the first route as you have suggested? Just in case, is a single fare option applicable for this or we will be using another type of pass? How about the return ticket?
        Kindly give me some enlightenment on this one.
        Thanks again and more power.

        Rico

        • JPRail says:

          Hi Rico,

          It is different.
          There is Kansai Chikatoku ticket and actually this is the cheapest option, only 980 yen to get Temmabashi.
          http://www.howto-osaka.com.e.iv.hp.transer.com/top/ticket/railway/chikatoku.html

          If you use this ticket, you have to take subway only from Namba to Tennmabashi. If you go Temmabashi via Yodoyabashi, you will take Keihan line from Yodoyabashi to Temmabashi. This is not subway route and you have to pay extra. That’s why I mentioned KIX-Namba-Tanicmachikyuchome-Temmabashi.

          But you want to take the easiest route. I think the route I told you, KIX-Tennoji-Temmabashi, is the easiest.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

          • Rico says:

            Hi Takeshi,
            Regarding the Kansai Chikatoku ticket, I understand this is just a one way ticket. If in case I chose this option, is there a return ticket that I can buy for our departure?

            Thanks and regards,

            Rico

          • Rico says:

            Hi Takeshi,

            Thank you so much Takeshi. Your guidance is really a big big help. Now I feel more confident that we can reach our destination without much hassle. I’m so glad that I chanced upon your blog. I hope you won’t get tired answering questions for first time tourists like me.

            Regards and more power,

            Rico

          • Rico says:

            Hi Takeshi,
            I’ve decided to take the ICOCA HARUKA deal because in this trip, my wife and I are bringing along our two children, aged 8 and 7 respectively that’s why I want to use the more comfortable route (only one train transfer from KIX to Tennoji station then Tenmabashi station via subway).

            I’m still a bit confused though. Upon checking the JR West time table. I only saw two destinations of the Airport Express Haruka (in red letters) and these are Kyoto and Maibara.(where is this station?). Which of these routes are we going to take?

            Is the Airport Express Haruka the same as the Limited Express?

            I’m sorry for these questions but how do I find the reserved and unreserved seats inside the cars?

            Thank you again.

  2. Azza says:

    i need your help. Im going to osaka next week for 4days and 3 night. I am still not sure what ticket pass should i purchase. please help.

    Day 1 : arriving KIX at 8.25 AM – hotel check in at 4 PM at For Leaves Inn Nagai.

    Visit
    Minami (Namba)
    Osaka Castle
    Shitennoji Temple
    Sumiyoshi Taisha
    Umeda

    Day 2:

    Visit:
    Nijo Castle
    Arashiyama & Sagano
    Gion
    Namba

    Day 3:
    Visit
    Toei Kyoto Studio Park
    Inari
    Miyazu Bay
    Kotohiki Beach
    Nara Park

    Which are the best pass should i purchase, TQ.

    Day 3:

  3. jigs says:

    Good day to you takeshi!

    Hope you can help me and my wife plan our visit to japan. I can see that your rail network is a bit complicated. Pls give advise about rail passes, and some tips on our plan itinerary as this will be our first trip to japan. We still dont know what train to take or what station should we go…

    We will be staying at a hotel near tanimachi yonchome.

    Day 1 – kansai airport to hotel

    Day 2 – namba / shinsaibashi / umeda / dotonburi

    Day 3 – wholeday tour of nara and nearby attractions
    Nara to our hotel

    Day 4 – wholeday tour of kyoto / arashiyama
    Kyoto to our hotel

    Day 5 – wholeday tour of tokyo
    Back to osaka to our hotel

    Day 6 – universal studios
    Back to our hotel

    Day 7 – wholeday around osaka
    Hotel to kansai airport.

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Jigs,

      JR Pass 7 days are the best and the cheapest choice. Even though JR Pass does not cover subway in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, it’s still the best choice.
      So you will try to take JR train as much as you can. For example, Tanimachi Yonchome is near by JR Morinomiya station. You can minimize to take subway that is not covered by JR Pass.

      And I just want to let you know that it takes 3 hours from your hotel to get Tokyo. So you will spend 6 hours for just transfer, subway and Shinkansen.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      Even

  4. Joseph Lim says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Konnichiwa! 🙂 My name is Joseph and I will be in Japan for 9 days. Thanks so much for your website. It has helped me a lot in understanding how to go around Osaka. My first trip though will cover much of Osaka-Kobe. Would you have any tips for me to navigate from Osaka to Hyogo prefectural museum, Awaji Yumebutai, and Honpukuji Temple? My second part of the trip will be to Koyasan, Todaiji, and Kyoto. The second part I have figured out already, but I am having problems with Awaji, since the train doesn’t pass there.Thanks!

    Joseph

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Joseph san,

      You can take a bus at JR Maiko station. Please see the following link:
      http://www.yumebutai.org/access/detail/time_maiko.html
      In this timetable, 高速舞子 is a bus stop at Maiko station. There is a highway just above JR Maiko station. You can get a bus stop by stairs or elevator from the station.
      And 淡路夢舞台 is Awaji-Yumebutai. In this timetable, it doesn’t mention anything, but most of bus go to Tateishigawa (立石川) bus stop. That is the nearest stop to Honpukuji.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. John says:

    Takeshi-San,

    I need some help with my itn below, we will expecting to arraive osaka on 2nd April around 7.30 am and departing back to our country from Tokyo at 11.50 pm. We are on honeymoon trip

    The area that we have in mind as below:

    Osaka: Osaka Castle,
    Nara: Todaiji + Deer park + Yoshino
    Kyoto: Arashiyama + Kiyomizudera
    Fuji: Kawaguchi and surrounding
    Tokyo: Chilling @ Starbuck of Shibuya, Shinjuku-Gyoen, Metropolitan building, Tokyo Tower, Ueno Park,Cidorigafuchi + Imperial Palace

    I hv drafted my day as per below; pls advise is this possible and what ticket/pass do we need to complete this itn.

    Between Day3 and 4, im not sure wheteher to take fujikyu bus to kawaguchi strait from Kyoto or heading 1st to Tokyo.

    Day 1(Wed): Osaka
    Day 2(Thurs): Nara & Yoshino
    Day 3(Friday): Kyoto
    Day 4(Sat): Kawaguchi
    Day 5(Sunday): Tokyo
    Day 6(Monday): 1/2 day Yuzawa + Tokyo (evening)
    Day 7(Tues): Tokyo + Depart

  6. jan schilling says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    I have been enjoying your articles and blogs about train travel in Japan. We are flying in to Osaka for 32 days holiday in late February and spending 5 nights in Osaka ( using ICOCA or day tickets to get around).
    Then down to the ferry in Wakayama to Tokushima and hire a car for 5 days.
    From Tokushima (Shikoku) to Hiroshima – not sure what the best ticket would be for this trip?
    I was going to buy a 14 day rail pass to cover travel from the 8th of March to the 21st of March as we want to travel to Kyoto, Kanazawa and surrounding areas, maybe Nagoya as well, and make our way back to Tokyo to fly home. I think the 14 day JR pass would be best for this part of our trip – would you agree?
    I look forward to your reply,
    thank you so much for your advice, it is much appreciated.
    cheers Jan

  7. weng says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Your post is such a lifesaver! It’s good to know Japan offers a variety of transport & tour admission passes for tourists on budget like us (JR Pass, Osaka Unli Pass, Osaka 1-day Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Kansai Grutto Pass). However, I’m quite confused which of these passes to take for our May 2014 trip. Below is our 5-day itinerary, & please let me know what you think 🙂

    DAY 1 / APR 30 / Wed (Osaka)
    – check-in hotel at Namba Area
    – explore nearby parks and/or shops

    DAY 2 / MAY 01 / Thu (Osaka)
    – Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) , Tempozan Harbor Village
    – Jump Shop Universal City Walk Osaka
    – Osaka Castle
    – Nipponbashi Denden Town
    – back to hotel at Namba

    DAY 3 / MAY 02 / Fri (Tokyo)
    – fr Namba, Osaka to Tokyo
    – Akihabara & other Otoku attraction
    – Disney Resort (just a ride in the monorail if time permits)
    – fr Tokyo to Namba, Osaka

    DAY 4 / MAY 03 / Sat (Kyoto)
    – fr Namba, Osaka to Kyoto
    – Fushimi Inari Shrine, Inari
    – Gion District
    – head back to Namba, Osaka

    DAY 5 / MAY 04 / Sun (Osaka)
    – Umeda Sky Building
    – checkout from hotel
    – head to Kansai International Airport (KIX Osaka)

    I’m tempted to take the night train from Osaka to Tokyo (Day 2 to Day 3) & Tokyo to Kyoto (Day 3 to Day 4) to save time, however, our luggage keeps me from doing it. Unless there are baggage counters that could safe keep our things while exploring these areas.

    Thank you so much and more power to you and your helpful articles.

    Truly yours,
    Weng

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Weng,

      As long as you have a round trip between Osaka/Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan Rail Pass 7 days will be your choice. There is no passes that includes both Tokyo and Osaka other than Japan Rail Pass.

      As probably you know, JR Pass does not cover all trips in Osaka and Kyoto. You have to add some fares for subway trains in Osaka. I think single fare or Eco card in Osaka and single fare or Kyoto sightseeing pass will be okay.

      If you take overnight train, you will arrive in Tokyo around 7:00 am. Most of attraction are not open yet. On the way back, overnight trains does not stop at Osaka. You have to drop off at Himeji and come back to Osaka. And also this overnight train, Sunrise Seto/Izumo is sometimes sold out easily.

      You will use Japan Rail Pass. It covers Shinkansen trip. Try to get the earliest and latest. You will make your day maximum.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. mmm says:

    Hi Takeshi
    I will be going to Osaka next week from Tokyo for 2 daysvia train on JR Pass. The hotel will be near Osaka Station. Any advice which ticket that should I take to go ard Osaka city for 2 days.
    Thank u in advance

  9. Tya says:

    Hi takeshi san,
    first, it such a relieved to find your blog, it helps me alot to arrange my ittenerary.
    I would like to visit osaka as part of my 7 day trip in japan using jrpass and have these places in my wishlist:
    sayamaike museum, I would take nankai koya line local to sayamaike station. then walk.
    chikatsu Asuka historical museum, I would take kintetsu minami-osaka to kishi station then take kongo bus
    church of the light ibaraki, I would take jr kyoto line local to ibaraki station then take kintetsu bus.
    May I know if Osaka subway enjoy eco card one day pass covered these non jr train transportation fees, or is there any suggestion which card I should take. or maybe single tickets would be more effective. I need your opinion about this. domo arigato.

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Tya,

      Thanks for your comment about my website.

      Eco Card does not cover these non JR trains. Only Kansai Thru Pass cover these trains. If you use Kansai Thru Pass, your total fare must be more than 1900 yen a day. If you visit only one place, I think it’s not enough.

      ex) Namba – Sayama by Nankai 480 yen for one way
      Osaka-abenobashi – Kishi by Kintetsu 390 yen for one way

      I don’t know where you will stay in Osaka. Even if you take subway before taking Nankai or Kintetsu, add another 500 yen for round trip by subway. It’s still not enough to use Kansai Thru Pass.

      At this point, single ticket is your option. If you intend to take subway lots after these trips, Kansai Thru Pass may be considerable.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Tya says:

        Hi Takeshi,

        actually, I would stay in kyoto and have 3 days ittenerary around kansai area. I found that kansai thru pass is too much to cover non jr train fees on my whole kansai area ittenerary. so it’s very clear now for me to use single tickets for any other jr train. thank you very much.

  10. Casey Loo says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    Thanks so much for this awesome blog. I almost tear when I found this site.

    I am going to Osaka in Nov 2013. Planning on the transportation is one of the toughest thing when visiting Japan. I am so afraid to venture too wide an area because of the cost of transport.

    I hope you can help me out. This is my initial planning:

    I intend to get the ICOCA and Haruka round trip ticket but not the JR pass. However, Kansai WIDE Area pass and Kansai Thru Pass looks good too.

    Day one: KIX -> Umeda (Osaka) stn via Hankyu train line

    Day two: Umeda -> visit Osaka Castle and then Osaka Castle Hall (Osaka jokoen)

    Day three: Umeda -> visit Umeda Sky Building and then Osaka Castle Hall (Osaka jokoen)

    Day four: Umeda -> transfer to Nara area, go to Shin-omiya Station via Kintetsu Nara Line. Tour Nara area (not decided where)

    Day Five: Nara -> Tour Nara area (not decided where)

    Day Six: Nara -> Tani-machi Yon-chome Station / Sakaisuji Honmachi Station , then tour nearby vicinity

    Day Seven: Osaka -> Visit Kyoto Kinkakuji, Nijo castle, Kiyomizu (will it be too ambitious?) I am thinking of getting Kyoto Sightseeing One-day Pass Card for Kyoto tour.

    Day Eight: Osaka -> then Osaka Hikari-Renaissance 2013 – Harmony Between Water and Light Preview (Miotsukushi Promenade – South side of the City Hall)

    Day Nine: Osaka -> KIX , after going Tennoji (Tanimachi Line Tanimachi 9 chome Station) in morning

    After doing the planning, I am wondering is it necessary to move to Nara in the midst of the trip or just stay put in Osaka area as the base.

    Regards
    Casey

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Casey,

      Thank you very much for your comment. 🙂

      ICOCA and Haruka is a good choice. But how come do you need to ride Hankyu on day 1? If you use ICOCA and Haruka, take Haruka to Shin-Osaka and transfer train to Osaka (Umeda). You don’t need to catch Hankyu train.

      So let’s see for Day 2 to 8.

      Day 2
      Single ticket is okay. You can use ICOCA.

      Day 3
      You can walk.

      Day 4
      What are you going to do in Shin-Omiya? You may be able to see most of places in Nara for one day. It depends on your schedule.
      If you go to Heijoukyu, Yamato-Saidaiji station is the nearest. Even if you see Heijoukyu, you still have lots of time to see more places in Nara. You may not need to stay there.
      The fare to Nara is around 700 yen for one way. If you have round trip to Nara and take some more train trip in Osaka and Nara, you may be able to use Kansai Thru Pass. In this case, Kanasi Thru Pass is minimum 2 days. You have to use this pass for trip to Kyoto.

      Day 5
      It depends on day 4. You may be able to stay in Osaka.

      Day 6
      May be single ticket is enough.

      Day 7
      You may be able to use Kansai Thru Pass. You can go all places on your wish list by Kansai Thru Pass. It’s easy to complete three places in one day. If I were you, I put one or two more places to visit.

      Day 8
      Single ticket is enough.

      So Kansai Thru Pass may be your choice with ICOCA and Haruka. Kansai WIDE Area Pass is too much. If you travel outside of Kansai, it will be considered. But at this point, it’s not a good idea to use it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

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