Osaka Railway Guide

Osaka Railway Guide

Date published: 19 July 2019
Last updated: 22 July 2019

The general way of getting around Osaka for sightseeing is the train. You’ll be mainly taking the train to get to Kyoto, Kobe, and other areas, too. There are a variety of lines, belonging both to JR and other private railways, so knowing which train goes where will help you put together an effective plan.

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The Three Main JR West Lines

There are many JR lines that run through the Kansai area, but when going sightseeing through the Osaka area, you’ll mainly be using the Kyoto Line, the Kobe Line, the Osaka Kanjo Line, and the line with the closest station to Universal Studios Japan, the Yumesaki Line.

Faster than a private railway from Osaka to Kyoto: JR Kyoto Line
This line connects Osaka and Kyoto Stations, with the special rapid service train getting you from one to another in 30 minutes. This is quicker than a private railway, but there aren’t that many sightseeing spots along the tracks.

If you’re after sightseeing in Kobe: JR Kobe Line
This line connects Osaka Station with Kobe Station, and Kobe Station with Himeji Station. The trip between Osaka and Kobe takes about 25 minutes on the special rapid service train. This line makes it easy to get to popular Kobe tourism spots, such as Nankin-machi (Moto-cho Station), the city’s Chinatown, and the Kobe Kitano foreign residences (San no Miya Station).

If you’re after sightseeing in Kobe: JR Kobe Line
The Osaka Kanjo Line operates in a circle around the center of Osaka. There are plenty of sights along its tracks, such as Osaka Castle and Tsutenkaku. The most popular sightseeing spots and their closest stations are listed below.

Sightseeing Spots Along Osaka Kanjo Line and Their Closest Stations

Shitenno Temple – Kanjo Line Shitenno Station
Osaka Castle – Mori no Miya Station, Osakajo Koen Station
HepFive (shopping mall) – Osaka Station
Tsutenkaku – Shinimamiya Station

Osaka Metro: With 8 lines all over Osaka, it will take you where you need to go

Osaka Metro has eight separate lines running in Osaka, rivaled only by Tokyo Metro in terms of line amount. Of the eight, the best for sightseeing is the Midosuji Line. It passes through Shin Osaka Station, Umeda Station, Shinsaibashi Station, and Namba Station, giving it excellent access to many of Osaka’s critical stations. Furthermore, Osaka’s subway has its lines divided into colors, and their stations divided into numbers. For example, the Midosuji Line is red, and Umeda Station is number 16.

The 8 Lines and their Sightseeing Spots

Midosuji Line/The most popular subway line in Osaka. Runs under the city’s main street, Midosuji.
Available Spots
Umeda Station (HepFive)
Yodoyabashi Station (The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka)
Namba Station (Namba Parks)
Dobutsuen-mae Station (Tsutenkaku)
Tennoji Station (Shitenno Temple, Abeno Harukas)

Tanimachi Line/A line that covers Osaka’s north and south sides. It runs under Tanimachi Street, which has plenty of temples and government offices alongside it.
Available Spots
Higashi Umeda Station (HepFive)
Tenmanbashi Station (Osaka Castle)
Tanimachi Yonchome Station (Osaka Castle, Osaka Museum of History)
Shitenoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station (Shitenno Temple)
Tennoji Station (Shitenno Temple, Abeno Harukas)

Yotsubashi Line/Runs under Yotsubashi Street, which goes from north toe south.
Available Spots
Nishi Umeda Station (HepFive)
Namba Station (Namba Parks)

Chuo Line/This line runs from east to west, mainly in the center of Osaka. It also transfers off to the Kintetsu Keihanna Line.
Available Spots
Osaka Metro Station (Kaiyokan Aquarium, Tempozan Ferris Wheel)
Tanimachi Yoncho-me Station (Osaka Castle)
Mori no Miya Station (Osaka Castle)
Tanimachi Yoncho-me Station (Osaka Museum of History)

Sennichi-mae Line/This line runs underneath Sennichi-mae Street, from Tsuruhashi to Sakuragawa, next to the Kintetsu Namba Line and the Hanshin Namba Line.
Available Spots
Namba Station (Namba Parks)

Sakaisuji Line/Runs under Sakai Street, a road with plenty of shops dealing in medicine, fabrics, and electronics.
Available Spots
Kitahama Station (The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka)
Ebisucho Station (Tsutenkaku)

Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line/Japan’s first linear motor rapid transit line. The Shinsaibashi Station is connected to the Midosuji and Yotsubashi lines by passages at the ticket gate, allowing for transferring.
Available Spots
Mori no Miya Station (Osaka Castle)
Osaka Business Park Station (Osaka Castle)

Imazatosuji Line/This line cannot transfer to the Midosuji Line, and it mainly runs through residential areas.

The only private railway that connects Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe: Hankyu Dentetsu

This private rail connects Umeda (Osaka), Kobe San no Miya (Kobe), and Kawaharamachi (Kyoto). It’s the only private railway that covers Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, the three great cities of Kansai. It has nine lines: The Kyoto Line, the Takarazuka Line, the Kobe Line, the Arashiyama Line, the Senri Line, the Mino-o Line, the Itami Line, the Koyo Line, and the Imazu Line. The most popular trains among tourists are the Umeda (Osaka) to Kawaharamachi (Kyoto)’s Kyoto Line Limited Express (45 minute trip) and the Umeda (Osaka) to Kobe San no Miya’s Kobe Line Limited Express (30 minute trip).

Pick this if you’re going from Osaka to Kobe! Hanshin Electric Railway

This private railway connects Osaka with Kobe. A trip from Umeda (Osaka) to Motomachi (Kobe) will take about 35 minutes on the limited express, while a trip from Osaka Namba to Motomachi (Kobe) will take about 46 minutes, with a transfer at Amagasaki Station.

Not just Osaka, Kyoto and Nara – Mie and lots more! Kintetsu Railway

Kintetsu Railway has standard lines in Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara, but they also have trains going to the Mie and Aichi prefectures. A trip from Osaka Namba to Kintetsu Nara will take about 40 minutes on the rapid express. Along the lines in Osaka, you’ll find sights and spaces such as Dotonbori, Abeno Harukas, and the Osaka Aquarium. In Nara, you’ll find Nara Park, Mount Yoshino, Ise-Shima, and Ise Grand Shrine.

If you’re after Mount Koya, Wakayama and Kansai International Airport: Nankai Electric Railway

This railway has plenty of normal and limited express trains on its two main lines: The Nankai Main Line that runs from Namba to Wakayama City, and the Koya Line that runs from Namba to Mount Koya. It also has the Nankai Airport Line that goes to the Kansai International Airport, taking about 40 minutes to get to it on limited express from Namba Station (with an extra limited express charge of 510 yen), and 45 minutes by express.

A retro streetcar that runs through Sakai City: Hankai Tramway

This streetcar has two main lines: The Uemachi Line from Tennoji Ekimae Station to the Hamaji Ekimae Station, and the Hankai Line from Ebisu-cho to Abikomichi Station. Sumiyoshi Taisha is found on the path, famous for being an example of the ancient architectural style of Sumiyoshi-zukuri.

Connecting Osaka and Kyoto, with Osaka Castle and Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine on the way: Keihan Electric Railway

Connecting Osaka and Kyoto, with Osaka Castle and Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine on the way: Keihan Electric Railway

*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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