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Nankai Railway Sightseeing Guide: From Kansai to Namba!

Nankai Railway Sightseeing Guide: From Kansai to Namba!

Date published: 27 August 2020
Last updated: 30 October 2020

The Nankai Railway connects Osaka with Wakayama. Along the railway line are many great attractions, such as Osaka Namba, the city center, Izumisano, the gateway to the Kansai Area, the sacred Mount Koya, and the nature-rich Wakayama.

Here you can experience the history and culture along the Nankai Electric Railway, which covers a wide area of ​​154.8 km.

Table of Contents
  1. What is the Nankai Railway?
  2. Main Routes: Nankai Line and Koya Line
  3. Limited Express Trains to Mount Koya and Kansai Airport
  4. Two Great Must-See Tickets on Nankai Railway
  5. Sightseeing Spots Along the Nankai Railway, Introduced by Station!
  6. Nankai Airport Line: Kansai Airport Station
  7. Nankai Airport Line: Namba Station
  8. Nankai Airport Line: Imamiya Ebisu Station
  9. Nankai Airport Line: Wakayamashi Station
  10. Koya Line: Koyasan Station

What is the Nankai Railway?

What is the Nankai Railway?
glen photo / Shutterstock.com

The Nankai Electric Railway is a historic railway company founded in 1885. There are huge commercial facilities directly connected to Namba Station, including Namba CITY, Namba Parks, and Namba SkyO.

Also, there are many leisure and sightseeing spots, such as Sakai City, the hometown of Sen no Rikyu, Wakayama City, famous for Wakayama Castle and its local ramen, the hot springs of Inunakisan, and the mysterious Mount Koya. As it is also a commute route to the center of Osaka, there are many residential areas along the line. Each city is said to have its own unique face.

Main Routes: Nankai Line and Koya Line

Main Routes: Nankai Line and Koya Line

The Nankai Railway has two main routes. The Nankai Line runs from Namba Station to Wakayamashi Station, and the Koya Line runs from Namba Station to Koyasan Station. Along the Nankai Line, you can get from Izumisano Station to the Kansai Airport Station by transferring to the Kuko-sen (Nankai Airport Line).

The branch lines include the Takashinohama Line, the Tanagawa Line, the Kada Line, and the Wakayamako Line.

Limited Express Trains to Mount Koya and Kansai Airport

The Limited Express Train is full of features. On the Nankai Line (Nankai Airport Line), the Limited Express Southern Line runs to Wakayamashi Station and Wakayama Port, stopping at Sakai Station and Izumisano Station along the way. There is also the Limited Express Rapi:t train, which runs to Kansai Airport Station. Please note that the stations differ depending on whether you ride the α or β line.

On the Koya Line, you can access the Limited Express Rinkan train from Namba Station to Hashimoto Station, and the Limited Express Koya train to Gokurakubashi Station. There is also the Semboku Liner, which runs from Izumi-Chuo Station from Namba Station, and the elegant sightseeing train, the Koyahana Railway Tenku, which runs from Hashimoto Station to Gokurakubashi Station.

Two Great Must-See Tickets on Nankai Railway

There are a variety of great travel passes that you can purchase on the Nankai Electric Railway. Here, we will introduce two of them.

The Koyasan World Heritage Ticket includes a discounted round-trip pass from the station of purchase to Koyasan Station, and a 2-day unlimited pass for the Nankai Rinkan Bus on Mount Koya. You will also get a bonus 20% off admission to Kongobuji Temple, Kondo Temple, Konpon Daito, and Reihokan, as well as discount souvenir coupons for specified stores. Passes are valid for 2 days, and sold at major stations including Namba Station (2F Service Center/3F Limited Express Ticket Sales), Shin-Imamiya Station, Tengachaya Station, Sumiyoshi Taisha Station, Sakai Station, and Kansai Airport Station.

The Wakayama Sightseeing Ticket is a set of a discounted round-trip or one-way pass from the station of purchase to Wakayamashi Station, and a one-day unlimited pass for the Wakayama Bus and Wakayama Bus Naga. You may also be eligible to receive discounts when you present your pass at sponsoring shops and facilities. Use is valid only on the day of purchase.

Sold at Namba Station (2F service center, 3F limited express ticket sales place), Shin-Imamiya Station, Tengachaya Station, Sumiyoshi Taisha Station, Sakai Station, and Kansai Airport Station (one-way version only).

Sightseeing Spots Along the Nankai Railway, Introduced by Station!

Nankai Airport Line: Kansai Airport Station

Nankai Airport Line: Kansai Airport Station
Mirko Kuzmanovic / Shutterstock.com

Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport, the gateway to Kansai, is the world's first completely artificial island maritime airport. There is a rooftop park on the 5F sky deck, where you can enjoy a 360° panoramic view of Osaka Bay and the Kii Peninsula. From Kansai Airport Station, you can go directly to Namba Station via the Nankai Electric Railway Airport Express or Limited Express Rapi:t (yes, that’s it’s official name!).

Rinku Premium Outlets

This is an outlet mall located just one station away from Kansai Airport Station, and close to Rinku Town Station. There is duty-free shopping and popular Japanese and overseas brands at reasonable prices. It’s very popular with foreign tourists.

Nankai Airport Line: Namba Station

Nankai Airport Line: Namba Station

Namba SkyO

On the 3F is Namba Station, on the 4F is Takashimaya, and on the 5F is a convenient facility that connects to Swissôtel Nankai Osaka. Inside this 30-story building there are offices, clinics, and unique shops. On the 5th floor, there are also shops and restaurants where you can experience Japanese tradition and culture, which are also popular with foreign tourists.

Namba Parks

This commercial complex is directly connected to the Nankai Namba Station Central Exit. It is a streamlined building on an expansive ground, with many fashionable cafes, shops, and restaurants. The rooftop garden connects each floor from the 2nd floor to the 9th floor in a staircase. It is a great oasis of trees in the city where people can relax.

Nankai Airport Line: Imamiya Ebisu Station

Imamiya Ebisu Shrine

This is a shrine where people gather in faith before the god of prosperous business. Like the Nishinomiya Shrine, which is the main shrine, over 1 million people come to pay their respects during the Ebisu Festival, held every year on January 9th, 10th, and 11th. On the 10th, the Hoekago Parade marches around the city, during which women called 'fukumusume' hand out 'sasa,' or good luck bamboo branches, at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine.

Nankai Airport Line: Wakayamashi Station

Nankai Airport Line: Wakayamashi Station

Wakayama Castle

This is the castle tower on the top of Mt. Torafusu that overlooks the city of Wakayama. There are plenty of highlights such as the Otemon Gate, moats, gardens, and stone walls. Inside the castle, there are items on display related to the Tokugawa family, who owned the castle.

  • Wakayama Castle
    • Address 3 Ichibancho, Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture, 640-8146
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Wakayamashi Station (Nankai Line / Nankai-wakayamako Line)
      16 minutes on foot
    • Phone Number 073-422-8979

Wakayama Ramen

Ramen, which is locally called Chuka soba, is so popular that many people come to eat it from afar. Soup bases vary by shop, from soy sauce to pork bone to flavors in between. The soft boiled thin noodles entwined in the soup have a rich and delicious taste.

Wakayama Marina City

This is an artificial island in Wakayama Bay. It has a theme park called Porto Europe, a marina, a sea fishing park, natural hot springs, resort hotels, and more. You can even rent fishing equipment for a day of sea fishing.

Koya Line: Koyasan Station

Koya Line: Koyasan Station

Kongobuji Temple

About 1200 years ago, Kobo Daishi Kukai established the main hall of Shingon Buddhism on Mount Koya. Kongobuji Temple is the head temple of the Mount Koya Shingon Sect, and serves as the center of religious matters on the entire Mount Koya. This is a peaceful place where you can spend time looking at the Banryutei Rock Garden and the Kano School fusuma paintings.

Danjo Garan

The two major sacred places of Mount Koya are the Danjo-garan and Oku-noin. Danjo-garan is Japan's first esoteric Buddhist temple built by Kobo Daishi. In the precincts are the Konpon Daito pagoda, said to be the symbol of Shingon Buddhism, and Kondo Temple.

Oku-no-in

This is the sacred area designated to Kobo Daishi. It is approximately 2km from Ichinohashi Bridge, which serves as the traditional entrance, to the temple, and is lined with over 200,000 tombstones, memorials, monuments, and memorial towers. Regardless of religion or ethnicity, whether person, animal, or thing, the spirit of Mount Koya is such that forgives and accepts all things.

Shukubo

Koyasan has more than 100 temples, about 50 of which are shukubo (priest quarters). There are even places in the shukubo where ordinary people can stay, try shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegan cuisine), and experience zazen and sutras, so be sure to book you spot in advance.

Along the Nankai Line, there are many places where you can enjoy sightseeing, leisure activities, and shopping. It is convenient to be able to travel from Kansai as the starting point. So take a ride on the Nankai Electric Railway, and enjoy the charm and convenience of the surrounding areas.

*The above article is based on information from June 2020

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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