Osaka Kanjo line is operated very frequently. The train comes every 3 to 4 minutes.

How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?

Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO
Osaka Castle is one of the most popular spot in Osaka. ©JNTO

I supposed to write about the transfer among Kobe (神戸), Osaka (大阪) and Kyoto (京都). But I should explain about JR (Japan Railway) lines in downtown Osaka. I believe the information about the location of JR stations and rail system let you understand the rail system outside of Osaka easily.

And this post may help the tourists who will start the trip from Osaka. Some of you are not sure to buy 7 days pass or 14 days pass for your trip. You may learn how much you can use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. For example, if you travel in Japan for 10 days and stay in Osaka for the first 3 days, you may not use Japan Railway line when you stay in Osaka. As a result, you can buy 7 days pass.

Anyway I show you JR line in downtown Osaka and I compare JR lines and Osaka subway lines.

JR lines in downtown Osaka


View JR line in downtown Osaka in a larger map

The above map shows you all JR lines in downtown Osaka. I put some placemarks on all major stations. I would like to explain about each lines.

Osaka Kanjo line is operated very frequently. The train comes every 3 to 4 minutes.
Osaka Kanjo line is operated very frequently. The train comes every 3 to 4 minutes.

Osaka Kanjo line (Osaka loop line=大阪環状線)

This line encircles downtown Osaka. You may use this line very often when you stay in Osaka. This line is started from the biggest station in Osaka, Osaka station. You maybe confused because JR station is called Osaka. And some of other stations nearby are called Umeda (梅田). JR Osaka station is located at same location as other Umeda stations.

This line go through several terminal stations. Kyobashi (京橋) is the junction of Keihan Railway (京阪=private company to Kyoto) and JR Tozai line. Tsuruhashi (鶴橋) is the place to catch Kintetsu Railway (近鉄=private company to Nara, Kyoto, Ise and Nagoya).

Tennoji (天王寺) is the biggest JR terminal station in south side of Osaka. All trains that go to Wakayama (和歌山), Kansai airport (関西空港) and Nara (奈良) stop at this station. But all limited express train to Kansai airport or Wakayama and to the south of Wakayama depart from Shin-Osaka (新大阪). Most of rapid trains to Nara, Wakayama and Kansai airport depart from Osaka. So basically you don’t need to change the train at Tennoji. If you need more information about these trains, please read the following posts.

Kansai line (関西本線)

Kansai line is called Yamatoji line (大和路線) as well. This line connects JR Namba (JR難波) with Nara. As probably you know, Namba is one of the tow biggest downtown core. You can access Namba by JR line. And also you can access from another huge downtown core, Umeda by JR only. But You need to take Osaka Kanjo line to Imamiya and transfer the train to JR Namba. It is not shortest way. Osaka subway Midosuji line (大阪地下鉄御堂筋線) is much faster and more convenient. I tell you about Osaka subway later.

Yumesaki line (ゆめ咲線)

This line starts from Nishikujo (西九条) station on Osaka Kanjo line and goes to Sakurajima (桜島). One of most popular attraction, Universal studion Japan (USJ) is on this line. Many trains are operated from Tennoji via Kyobashi and Osaka. If you go to USJ, you may not need to change the train at Nishikujo.

JR Tozai line (JR東西線)

This line connects Amagasaki (尼崎) with Kyobashi. Kitashinchi station is 10 minutes away from Osaka station on foot. I don’t think you take this line very often.

Kobe/Kyoto line (神戸線/京都線)

If you go to Kobe or Kyoto, you take this line from Osaka station. And also when you need to take Shinkansen, you need to go to Shin-Osaka station by Kyoto line. It is 4 minutes away from Osaka by any trains.

Osaka Subway (大阪地下鉄)

Please refer this map in Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau website. Osaka subway operate 8 lines. The subway is more convenient than JR lines when you transfer from north to south. For example, if you go to Namba from Umeda by Osaka subway Midosuji line, it takes only 8 minutes and costs 230 yen. If you take JR lines, it takes 17-20 minutes and you need to change the trains at Shin-Imamiya or Imamiya. If yo buy a single ticket, it costs 190 yen. It is cheaper, but not big difference. And also JR Namba is not located in the center of Namba. Which one do you want?

By the way, Osaka subway have three stations near JR Osaka station, Umeda (梅田/Midosuji line=御堂筋線/to Shinsaibashi, Namba, Tennoji), Nishi-Umeda (西梅田/Yotsubashi line=四つ橋線/to to Nanba) and Higashi-Umeda (東梅田/Tanimachi line=谷町線/to Uehonmachi, Tennoji). All three statione are only 5 minutes away from Osaka station. So don’t worry about the location in Umeda.

316 thoughts on “How to use and how much can we use Japan Rail Pass in downtown Osaka?”

  1. Hello,

    My boyfriend and I will be travelling to Japan this coming May 2-10, 2019. We will arrive from Osaka Kansa airport. We will travel from Osaka for 2-3 days then Kyoto for 2 days to Tokyo for 4 days. I’m confused if we should buy the JR pass or not. Can we use the JR pass in all trains that we will use while we’re there? My idea is only that we can use the JR pass for the train ride from Kyoto-Tokyo. Is the JR pass worth it? Thank you.

  2. Hi Mr Takeshi,

    I will be in Japan for 13 days.
    I will be in Osaka for from Day 1 to Day 7 and Tokyo from Day 7 to Day 13.
    As I will be arriving only at night on Day 1, I planned to get the JR pass for Day 2 to Day 8.
    For my 7 days in Osaka, I plan to make day-trips to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.
    I will be staying in Dotonburi area for the Osaka part of my trip and I plan to visit the Cup Factory Museum, Rinku Outlets, USJ, Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium as well.

    I was wondering if a JR pass is worth it or is there any other more suitable deals?
    I was considering the JR pass because I need to take the shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo so it probably covers half the cost of the JR pass.
    But I saw that trips to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe are only about 1000+ yen from Osaka and taking the midosuji line seems faster and more convenient than the Osaka loop line.

    Please let me know your opinion. Thank you!

  3. Hi,

    I will be travelling to Japan for 14 days. Below is my planned trip:
    Day 1-6: Tokyo (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Disneysea etc)
    Day 7: Hakone
    Day 8-11: Kyoto (Arashiyama Bamboo grove, Fushimi Inari Shrine etc)
    Day 12-14: Osaka
    Day 15: Tokyo

    I am confused and would like to know if it is better to buy a 7 or 14 days JR pass. Please advise!

    Thank you

    1. Hi Zac,

      First of all, 14 days pass is too expensive. You cannot get the worth of it unless you have another big trip, such as day trip to Hiroshima from Osaka, day trip to Kanazawa from Tokyo or Osaka.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/day-trip-to-hiroshima-and-miyajima-from-osakakyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/sample-itinerary-of-day-trip-to-kanazawa-and-shirakawago-from-tokyo.html

      If you intend to stay in just city of Tokyo and Osaka, forget about 14 days pass.

      Regarding 7 days pass, if you go move from Hakone to Kyoto on day 8 and from Osaka to Tokyo on day 14, you may use it for this period. If you go to Tokyo on day 15, even 7 days pass does not work. In this case, your choice is a regular ticket for city to city movement. And you may add some local deals in each cities.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/how-to-build-the-trip-plan-to-hakone-various-sample-itineraries-of-hakone.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      You will have lots of time in Tokyo and Osaka. If you really want to use JR pass, think about adding a big day trip to get the worth of 14 days pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Mr. Takeshi
        Im going to Japan with my family (5pax) for 12 days. 1-5 days osaka, 6-12 days Tokyo. Is it advisable to get a 7day jr pass for this trip? For getting around Osaka and Tokyo, what would you suggest, taking the subway or using yamamote line?
        Thank you,
        Jude

  4. Hi Takeshi,
    I will be getting 14days JR pass for my following itinerary.

    12/12 – Arrived Narita (JR Pass to Tokyo)
    13/12 – Disneyland
    14/12 – Tokyo to Fujinomiya (JR Pass)
    15/12- Fujinomiya to Kyoto (JR Pass)
    16/12- Kyoto
    17/12- Kyoto to Osaka (JR Pass)
    18/12-Universal Studio
    19/12- Osaka to Kobe (round trip) (JR Pass)
    20/12- Osaka to Nara (round trip) (JR Pass)
    21/12- Osaka to Tokyo (JR Pass)
    22/12-Tokyo
    23/12- Tokyo to Gala Yuzawa (JR Pass)
    24/12- Tokyo to Narita airport (JR Pass)

    I am confused and wondering if the JR Pass can be used in downtown of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka? If cannot use, which card should I use? Kindly advise. Domo arigatou gozaimasu.

    1. Hi Takeshi,

      Would you please recommend what passes I should get?
      The following is my itinerary:

      3/17 Narita airport to Tokyo
      3/17-3/22 Tokyo stay for 5.5 days
      3/22-3/25 Tokyo to Osaka (3/22) and stay for 3 days with a day trip to Nara
      3/25-3/29 Osaka to Kyoto (3/25) and stay for 4 nights
      3/29-3/30 Kyoto to Hakone (3/29) and stay for 1 night
      3/30-3/31 Kyoto to Tokyo (3/30) and stay for 1 night, leave
      3/31 Tokyo to Haneda airport

      Thanks
      Alan

      1. Hi Alan,

        Unfortunately there is no deals to cover whole part of your trip. You have to use several local deals and regular fare ticket.

        Narita to Tokyo
        https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

        Tokyo-Osaka, trip to Nara, Osaka-Kyoto, Kyoto-Odawara (Hakone), Odawara-Tokyo, Tokyo-Haneda
        A regular ticket is your choice. But if you visit other than Osaka, Kyoto or Nara, such as Kobe Koyasan, you can use Kansai thru pass for trip to Nara, Osaka to Kyoto and one more trip to outside Osaka or Kyoto. Sightseeing in Osaka or Kyoto is not enough to get the worth. You may use other deal for sightseeing in Osaka and Kyoto.
        https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html
        https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

        Odawara-Hakone-Odawara
        Hakone Free Pass
        https://www.odakyu.jp/english/passes/hakone/

        Cheers,

        Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    My family will be travelling to Osaka on 14th to 26th December 2018 and we will be arriving late night. We are staying in Nishi-ku, Osaka -shi for 12 days. We would like to cover as many places as we could. We would like to cover Osaka (2 days), Kyoto (2 days), Nara, Kobe, Hiroshima, Wakayama, Biwako Valley, and Ise-shima area.

    I would like to know what is the best JR pass to buy. And if possible, can I use my SUICA card from Kansai International Airport to Nishi-ku on the night of my arrival?

    Thanking you in advance for your advise.

    1. Hi Wendy san,

      You can use ICOCA to get Osaka on arrival day.

      I recommend you to use Kansai Hiroshima area pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass.
      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
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/kintetsu-rail-pass-most-affordable-deal-for-osakakyoto-nagoya-and-access-to-ise.html

      Kintetsu Rail Pass covers Nara and Ise-Shima. Kansai Hiroshima area pass covers the rest of places where you want to visit. You may get Kyoto by Kintetsu Rail Pass but it does not cover any local transportation. Kansai Hiroshima area pass covers JR local lines in Kyoto and you can get Arashiyama, Nijo, Fushimi Inari. Kansai Hiroshima area pass is better than Kintetsu rail pass to visit Kyoto.

      If you still need other deal, do not use these two passes for sightseeing in Osaka. You may add other deal in the link below. Of course you can use ICOCA too:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi,
    I need some help on which pass I should take for my trip.
    Day 1: Kyoto (staying at Kyoto Higashiyama)
    Day 2: Osaka (staying at Osaka Namba)
    Day 3: Osaka (staying at Osaka Namba)
    Day 4: Kobe (staying at Osaka Namba)
    Day 5: Nara (staying at Osaka Namba)
    Day 6: Hiroshima (staying in Hiroshima)
    Day 7: Miyajima (staying in Hiroshima)
    Day 8: Fukuoka (staying at Fukuoka Hakata)
    We will be spending a couple more days in Fukuoka after day 8.
    Hope to hear from you.

  7. Hi.
    My family of 5 will be in Osaka for 5 nights.
    We will be spending some time in Kyoto (Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari Shrine) and going to Cup Noodle Osaka.
    We will have an activated 7day jrpass- just wondering how much would be covered by the jrpass and what other passes you might recommend?
    Also, siuca vs icoca- which one, as we will be returning to Tokyo for 4 nights, then 2 nights Disney land.
    Thank you In advance 🙂

    1. Hi Diane,

      Please see the link below to find the coverage of JR pass in Osaka and Kyoto.
      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
      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

      In your list, only cup noodle museum is outside coverage area.

      It doesn’t matter you choose ICOCA or Suica. Actually those cards are almost same. Suica is sold in Tokyo area and ICOCA is sold in Osaka area. But both cards can be used in both areas.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Tajeshi,
        I’ve come across the Hankyu Tourist Pass- do you think this is a better option than using the IC cards with our jr passes, for visiting Minoo Park and cup noodle museum.
        (And all the Kyoto exploring we will be doing. )
        Or do you recommend the Kansai thru pass?
        Or the jr pass and IC cards.
        Kyoto and Osaka have so many different passes that it becomes confusing!
        Sorry! And thank you

        1. Hi Diane,

          Please tell me the detailed your trip schedule. Are going to Minoo, Cup noodle and Kyoto in one day? Or do you use two days pass to visit these places. In Kyoto, where you go? And I also need to know other part of your trip. Do you go to other places surrounding Osaka, like Kobe and/or Osaka.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi,
            We arrive in Osaka late 29/3 and leave 3/4 morning.
            So we have 4 full days-
            Not sure exactly the day order that we are doing these but-
            Day by day itineraries are:
            A/ Kyoto- hozugawa boat ride, and Arashiyama sightseeing.
            B/ Nara morning and Kyoto afternoon- Fushimi Inari Shrine, nishiki market and Maruyama Park/Gion.
            C/ Himeiji Castle and Kokoen Garden. Then Osaka afternoon- Osaka Castle and Aquarium.
            D/ Minoo Park and Cup Noodle Museum. And if we can fit in- Osaka Museum of Housing and Living.
            Thank you so much for being so generous of your time : )

            1. Hi Diane,

              I recommend you to use 3 days Kansai thru pass and one day Osaka amazing 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
              https://www.osp.osaka-info.jp/en/

              And change your itinerary on C and D as follows:
              C/ Himeiji Castle and Kokoen Garden. Then Osaka afternoon- Minoo Park and Cup Noodle Museum.
              D/ Osaka Castle and Aquarium, and if we can fit in- Osaka Museum of Housing and Living.

              Minoo and Cup Noodle are outside Osaka amazing pass coverage area but Kansai thru pass covers. Osaka castle and Osaka Museum admission are included in Osaka amazing pass. You can get discount at Kaiyukan by this pass. If you are not sure to visit Osaka Museum, you can go for Osaka Kaiyu ticket:
              https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/trip-to-osaka-kaiyukan-aquarium-by-osaka-kaiyu-ticket-2.html

              Kaiyukan admission is included but you need to pay for Osaka castle. I think you can visit all and may be more by Osaka amazing pass.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Dear Takeshi,
    Please advise my (revised) itinerary, whether i have understood correctly:

    Stay during trip Nishinari.
    Day 1: KIX – Nishinari; We use ICOCA/Haruka .
    Which nearest station we have to reach Nishinari from KIX?
    Day2 – 3: Exploring Osaka (Kaiyukan, USJ, etc); We use ICOCA/Haruka

    Day 4: Kyoto (Fushimi Inari – Arashiyama – Kameoka) – back to Nishinari
    Day 5: Nara – back to Nishimari
    Day 4 and 5 using 2 Day Kansai Area Pass

    Day 6 Nishinari –KIX; We use ICOCA/Haruka

    Thank you so much, Takeshi.

    1. Hi Ftaraya,

      Actually there are many stations in Nishinari ward. Only Shin-Imamiya is JR station which is covered by ICOCA and Haruka. Other stations are Nankai railway or subway. Please make sure which station the nearest to your place. It it’s not Shin-Imamiya, ICOCA and Haruka is not your choice. You may choose Nankai railway single ticket or Rapi:t deal.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      For day 2 and 3, you can use ICOCA if you like. Even if you don’t use ICOCA and Haruka, you can purchase ICOCA itself. But if you spend one whole day at USJ, single ticket is okay. There are other deals available for sightseeing in Osaka, such as Osaka Kaiyu ticket.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      For day 4 and 5, if you stay near Shin-Imamiya, Kansai area pass is okay. Otherwise Kansai thru pass is better choice because it covers both Nankai and subway, and other Non JR trains.
      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 / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        thank ou for your advise.

        the nearest station to our stay is tengachaya. so, i suppose Nankai railway (single ticket) or Rapi:t is our best option, and for day 4 and 5 we’ll have Kansai Thru pass. is that correct?

        our trip include my 6 years old son and some more kids, do you think the above options suits us best?

        really appreciate your advise, Takeshi.

        Thank you.

  9. Hi Takeshi, we need your advice for the pass we need to take. We’ll stay 7 days in Osaka (We stay at Nishinari) and planning to visit several places:
    Day 1: KIX – Go to homestay at Nishinari – Dotonburi
    Day 2: Kyoto: Arashiyama – Fishimi– Kameoka*
    *We got 5.30 pm ticket Sagano Train at Kameoka-Saga. Please advise due to time constraint, because we stay at Nishinari and hv to go back to Osaka)
    Day3: Osaka Aquarium
    Day 4: USJ
    Day 5-7: Nara and exploring Osaka
    Is it possible for me to use 5 days KANSAI Wide Area? And what other passes do I need to cover my itinerary above.

    Thank you, Takeshi.

    1. Hi Ftaraya,

      Please see the link below to find the deal for arrival day and departure day.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      I recommend you to use Kansai area pass 2 days for day 2 and 3. But you should visit Nara on day 3. You can visit aquarium later. Kansai wide area pass is too expensive.
      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

      On day 2, you should visit Fushimi Inari first. You can visit Arashiyama on the way to Kameoka. You can go back to Osaka after Sagano train easily. Train runs until midnight.

      You use Osaka Kaiyu ticket when you go to aquarium.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/trip-to-osaka-kaiyukan-aquarium-by-osaka-kaiyu-ticket-2.html

      Other deals are available for sightseeing in Osaka.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. hi!! our schedule is simple… and i’m still confused about which pass to take.

    KIX-> JR Namba Station (our hotel is near the station -> Umeda Sky Building

    JR-> Kyoto -> Bamboo Forest -> Fishimi -> Gion -> JR Namba Station

    JR Namba Station-> Osaka Castle ->Osaka Aquarium -> JR Namba

    Then, 2 days in Dotunburi after the schedule above. Which pass should we get?

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Faith,

      You may use Kansai area pass 2 days for the first 2 days.
      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

      And use Osaka Kaiyu ticket for day 3.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/trip-to-osaka-kaiyukan-aquarium-by-osaka-kaiyu-ticket-2.html

      You need to add single fare to get Gion because you need to take a bus and it’s not covered by Kansai area pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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