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.

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

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    I am travelling to Japan next month. I have been doing a lot of research about JR pass and train fares. I am not sure if the way my trip has been planned will suit a JR pass. Can you kindly help check if it’s worth for me buying a JR pass? If I do get a JR pass, when is the best day to activate it?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    20/4/19 – Osaka 6 nights
    Some sight seeing places: Osaka Castle, Osaka Castle Park, Shitennjoi Temple, Osaka Aquarium, Nara, Todai-J Temple and possibly Universal Studios.

    26/4/19 – Kyoto 5 nights
    Sight seeing places: Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Tenryu-ji Temple, Monkey Park

    1/5/19 – Takayama 2 nights

    3/5/19 – Tokyo 4 nights
    Some sight seeing places: Shibuya, Tokyo DisneySea

    1. Hi Lily,

      It’s hard to say that you can get the worth of 7-day pass or not. The total fare for Kyoto to Takayama and Takayama to Tokyo is around 25,000 yen. If you leave from Narita airport, you will take Narita Express and it costs more than 3,000 yen. It helps to get the worth of JR Pass. But train rides in Tokyo does not help much. It costs a few hundred yen per ride. So it may be okay but you cannot get a big saving.

      For staying in Osaka and Kyoto, JR pass is not required. You may use a local deal. Please see the links below:
      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
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you Takeshi.

        Are there other ways I could make use of the 7 day pass if I purchase such as the sight seeing places I’ve got listed?

        If I choose to activate it in time to use for Kyoto
        sight seeing and still be covered for the trip to Takayama and then from Takayama go Tokyo? Do you think I will make use of it this way?

        Kind regards,
        Lily

        1. Hi Lily,

          If you start to use JR pass in Kyoto, you cannot use it for Tokyo to Narita if you go to Narita. It’s actually worse. You cannot have many chances to use JR pass in Kyoto. You may use just for visiting Arashiyama and Fushimi. It costs only a few hundred yen. If you want to make the worth of it more, you have to add the big trip, like day trip to Hiroshima.
          https://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/day-trip-to-hiroshima-and-miyajima-from-osakakyoto.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Thanks again.

            If I choose to not go to Narita, will it still work?

            If I don’t get the JR pass, how long will a train ride to Takayama be? As well as leaving Takayama to Tokyo (without going to Narita)? Can I still travel on JR line without a pass?

            Do you have recommendations?

            Kind regards,
            Lily

            1. Hi Lily,

              If you don’t go to Narita by JR Pass, you may not be able to get the worth of JR Pass. You should use a regular fare ticket:
              https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/for-non-jr-pass-travellers-guide-to-use-jr-single-ticket-basic-rules-validity-and-stopover.html

              Actually you will take same trains even if you use a regular fare ticket. If you use JR pass, you don’t need to buy a ticket one by one. If you don’t, you have to purchase a ticket one by one.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi,

    I am travelling to Japan with my family soon and would like to know whether it will be worthwhile to get a JR pass or not (considering we need to get the Hakone pass too). The itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1: Day trip from Tokyo to Aomori to see the cherry blossoms
    Day 2: Tokyo to Mt Fuji then overnight stay at Hakone
    Day 3: Hakone to Osaka. We plan to stay here for 3-4 days and plan to do a day trip to Kobe and Hiroshima.
    Day 7: Osaka to Kyoto. We plan to stay here for 3-4 days and plan to do a day trip to Nara.
    Day 11: Kyoto to Tokyo. We plan to stay here for a few days before heading back home.

    Thank you so much in advance!
    Kind regards
    Queenie

  3. Hi,
    I hope you can help me out here. I am travelling with 2 children in April. We will arrive Narita and overnight in Hakone, then to Osaka for 5 nights. During this 5 nights stay, we are hopping to Hiroshima or Kobe/Nara and Kyoto for day trips but spending 2 days in Osaka for sightseeing and USJ before heading back to Tokyo for 4 nights. We are thinking of getting the JR Pass, to have it activated on arrival so that it will end on the day we get into Tokyo. Is it worthwhile to get the JR Pass as I read more of information here, I got confused. If JR pass is a yes, which passes would be good to supplement when I am touring within Osaka and also in Tokyo?

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to get some transportation advice from you. My friends and I will be travelling to Japan in June 2019. Below is the detail of our itinerary:

    Day 1: Kansai Airport to Osaka (Nishinari Ward)
    Day 2: Osaka to Kobe, to Himeji (if time permitted)
    Day 3: Osaka to Kyoto (Arashiyama Bamboo grove, Tenryuji Temple,Kinkaku-ji, Nijo Castle)
    Day 4: Osaka to Kyoto (Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, Kenninji Temple, Gion, Yasaka Shrine)
    Day 5:Osaka to Nara (Todaiji Temple, Nara Park, konfukuji)
    Day 6: USJ
    Day 7: Osaka Sight Seeing ( Osaka Castle, HEP Wheel, Umeda Sky buidling, dotonbori River)
    Day 8: Osaka to Kansai Airport

    We will stay at Osaka for the whole trip. I am thinking of getting Kansai thru pass for day 2,3,4 but what pass should we be using for getting around at Kyoto and Kobe.
    I would also like to know whether ICOCA card be using for using train/bus in Nara, Kobe, Kyoto and Osaka?
    For Day 7, we will be getting Osaka Amazing pass.

    Your help and support is much appreciated.

    Many thanks
    Gene

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be going Japan in May but I really have no idea whether I should get a JR pass or not. Or if I did, how can I fully utilize it.

    16 May – 23 May: Arrive in Narita Airport T2 > Osaka and Kyoto
    (Osaka Airbnb is located in Ebisu nishi, Naniwa-ku)
    24May – 26 May: From Osaka > Tokyo
    (Tokyo Airbnb is located in Okubo, Shinjyuku)
    27 May 10am Flight: Narita Airport

    We will be spending the first part of the week exploring Osaka and Kyoto (2-3 days), but will only be staying in Osaka. Means we will be travelling back and forth to Kyoto.
    The later part of the week, we will be going to Tokyo Disneyland and exploring part of Tokyo. Should I be getting the JR pass or just get the tickets individually?
    Kindly advise and thanks for your time 🙂

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      I think JR pass does not work. Because 7-day JR pass is almost same cost as Tokyo-Osaka round trip fare. You will spend more than 8 days in Osaka. Even if you use JR pass for Narita to Tokyo, taking JR train between Osaka and Kyoto, in Osaka, it’s not enough to get the worth of 14-day JR Pass. So your choice is using a regular ticket for Tokyo-Osaka round trip and use a local deal, such as subway pass in Osaka and Tokyo. Or add one big day trip when you are in Osaka. For example, you can visit Hiroshima/Miyajima, Kanazawa/Shirakawago as day trip. If you add one of these, you can get the worth of 14-day pass. Please find more info in the link below about a big day trip:
      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-osaka-or-kyoto.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi,
    With JR Pass, kindly assist us to plan out the latter part of the route
    Narita Terminal 2 -> Tokyo Station: On Narita Express
    Tokyo Station -> Shin Osaka : On Hikari Shinkansen
    Shin Osaka -> Osaka ???? (Not sure about the train and the schedules)
    Osaka -> Kyobashi Osaka : Local train on Osaka Loop line (not sure about the times)
    From there to reach Monterey La Seour Hotel Osaka on foot.

    Please advise.

    1. Hi Chandi,

      There are lots of commute trains running, such as Special Rapid train, rapid train and local train from Shin-Osaka to Osaka. Train comes every 5 minutes or even less. Just hop on the train to get Osaka in 5 minutes.

      On Osaka Loop line, it’s same. Train comes every 3 to 5 minutes. Just hop on the train to get Kyobashi.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to know if there are JR buses running around metro Osaka. I was able to book a hotel near the Ōsaka-Uehommachi Station but found out that only kintetsu rail lines are available in this station. I’m looking for ways to use my JR pass by using a JR bus in going to Osaka station.

    Thank you so much for your time.

    Regards,
    Bing

    1. Hi Bing,

      JR bus does not run in downtown Osaka. You have to pay a regular fare to take subway or Kintetsu railway. Tsuruhashi is the nearest JR station.
      Osaka Metro Subway Tanimachi 9-chome is same location as Osaka-Uehonmachi.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Sir / Ma’am,
    Me and my wife will visit Osaka this coming March 21 to March 30…we are planning also to visit Kyoto, Kobe and Nara…Kindly advise what JR Pass are we going to buy…
    Regards,
    Roldan

  9. Hi,
    First time in Japan or Osaka from April 1-8. I would love to visit Kyoto and maybe Tokyo tome permitted. Would it be a good idea to get 7-day jr pass vs buying individually. Also, would you recommend taking the rail system from KANSAI airport to downtown Osaka?

      1. Thanks for your reply. What do you think of Wi-Fi access in Osaka and Kyoto? If I utilize Softbank free Wi-Fi, would that suffice? Or should I rent a Mobil hotspot?

  10. Hi Takeshi,

    I Have a round trip flight from Narita Airport for 10 Days. I’m planning to purchase the 7 Day JR Pass, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. My itinerary is:
    3/21: arrived at Narita, activate the JR pass and take it to Osaka
    3/22-3/23: explore Osaka
    3/24-3/25: explore Kyoto
    3/25: Shinsaken to Tokyo
    3/35-3/29: explore Tokyo
    3/30: flight home
    I know I will need to buy additional metro pass for Tokyo, since the 7-Day JR pass will expired when I’m there, but I’m still unsure of which pass to get. Please recommend one to me.

    Thank you so much for your time.
    Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Tokyo Subway Ticket is most convenient deal and it has the biggest coverage in downtown Tokyo. Please see the links below to find more info:
      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/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/compare-many-discount-tickets-and-passes-for-sightseeing-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-right-tickets.html

      There is no deals available to cover from Tokyo to Narita unfortunately.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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