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Getting Around Osaka: Transport Tips & Public Transportation Guide to the Osaka Metro Area

Getting Around Osaka: Transport Tips & Public Transportation Guide to the Osaka Metro Area

Date published: 15 November 2019
Last updated: 15 February 2021

Osaka is Japan's third-largest city. Trains and the Osaka Metro system are generally the best way of getting around Osaka. Getting familiar with the Osaka subway map and what train lines go to what train stations will help you get to the main sightseeing areas within Osaka - and the surrounding areas, too.

In Osaka, there are a variety of railway lines belonging to JR and other private railways. Knowing which train goes where will help you create an effective sightseeing plan, so we'll share the most common Osaka train stations and Metro stations, plus the major sightseeing spots on the Osaka subway map.

Table of Contents
  1. JR: 3 main JR West lines run through Osaka
  2. Osaka Metro Map: 8 lines and main sightseeing points of interest
  3. Hankyu Electric Railway: Private railway connecting Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe
  4. Hanshin Electric Railway: Easy way to get from Osaka to Kobe
  5. Kintetsu Railway: Serving greater Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara - and beyond
  6. Nankai Electric Railway: Access to Mount Koya, Wakayama and Kansai International Airport
  7. Hankai Tramway: A retro streetcar running through Sakai City
  8. Keihan Electric Railway: Connecting Osaka and Kyoto, with Osaka Castle and Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine on the way

JR: 3 main JR West lines run through Osaka

Many JR lines run through the Kansai area. When going sightseeing through the Osaka area, you’ll mainly be using the Kyoto Line, the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line, the JR Osaka Loop Line, and the line with the closest station to Universal Studios Japan, the Yumesaki Line. Note that a Japan Rail Pass may be used on each of these lines.

・JR Kyoto Line: The fastest way to get from Osaka to Kyoto
The JR Kyoto Line connects Osaka Station and Kyoto Station, 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 route.

・JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line: Getting from Osaka to Kobe
The JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line (also called the Kobe Line) connects Shin-Osaka Station (on the Shinkansen) with Osaka Station. It also runs from Osaka Station to Kobe Station and over to Himeji Station. The trip between Osaka and Kobe takes about 25 minutes on the special rapid service train.

The JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line makes it easy to get to popular Kobe sightseeing spots, including:
・Nankin-machi (Motomachi Station), Kobe's Chinatown and
・The Kobe Kitano foreign residences (Sannomiya Station).

・JR Osaka Loop Line: Perfect for sightseeing around Osaka
The JR Osaka Loop Line operates in a circle around the center of Osaka. There are many sights along its tracks, such as Osaka Castle and Tsutenkaku.

The most popular sightseeing spots and their closest stations are listed below.

Osaka train map: JR lines in the Osaka metro area
Osaka train map: JR lines in the Osaka metro area

Shitennoji Temple – JR Osaka Loop Line Shitenno Station
Osaka Castle – Morinomiya Station, Osakajo Koen Station
Hep Five (Shopping mall) – Osaka Station
Tsutenkaku Tower – Shinimamiya Station

Recommended discount rail passes
JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, 21 Days)
Kansai WIDE Area Excursion Pass
JR Osaka-Tokyo Hokuriku Arch Pass (7 Days)
JR West Kansai Pass (1, 2, 3, 4 Days)

Osaka Metro Map: 8 lines and main sightseeing points of interest

Osaka Metro map
Osaka Metro map

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 critical Osaka train stations.

Furthermore, Osaka’s subway has its lines divided into colors, and its stations divided into numbers. For example, the Midosuji Line is red, and Umeda Station is number 16.

1. Midosuji Line
The Midosuji Line is Osaka’s most popular subway line. It runs under the city’s main street, Midosuji.

Main Points of Interest
Umeda Station (Hep Five)
・Yodoyabashi Station (The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka)
Namba Station (Namba Parks)
・Dobutsuen-mae Station (Tsutenkaku Tower)
・Tennoji Station (Shitennoji Temple, Abeno Harukas)

2. Tanimachi Line
The Tanimachi Line covers Osaka’s north and south sides. It runs under Tanimachi Street, which has plenty of temples and government offices alongside it.

Main Points of Interest
・Higashi Umeda Station (Hep Five)
・Tenmanbashi Station (Osaka Castle)
・Tanimachi Yonchome Station (Osaka Castle, Osaka Museum of History)
・Shitenoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station (Shitennoji Temple)
・Tennoji Station (Shitennoji Temple, Abeno Harukas)

3. Yotsubashi Line
The Yotsubashi Line runs under Yotsubashi Street, which goes from north to south.
Main Points of Interest
・Nishi Umeda Station (Hep Five)
Namba Station (Namba Parks)

4. Chuo Line
The Chuo Line runs from east to west, mainly in the center of Osaka. It also transfers off to the Kintetsu Keihanna Line.
Main Points of Interest
・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)

5. Sennichi-mae Line
The Sennichi-mae Line runs underneath Sennichi-mae Street, from Tsuruhashi to Sakuragawa, next to the Kintetsu Namba Line and the Hanshin Namba Line.

Main Points of Interest
Namba Station (Namba Parks)

6. Sakaisuji Line
The Sakaisuji Line runs under Sakai Street, a road with plenty of shops dealing in medicine, fabrics, and electronics.

Main Points of Interest
・Kitahama Station (The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka)
・Ebisucho Station (Tsutenkaku Tower)

7. Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line
Japan’s first linear motor rapid transit line. Shinsaibashi Station is connected to the Midosuji and Yotsubashi lines by passages at the ticket gate, allowing transfers.

Main Points of Interest
・Mori no Miya Station (Osaka Castle)
・Osaka Business Park Station (Osaka Castle)

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

Recommended discount rail passes
Kansai Thru Pass – Unlimited Travel around Osaka & Kyoto! (2,3days)

Hankyu Electric Railway: Private railway connecting Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe

Hankyu railway map
Hankyu railway map

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, Takarazuka Line, Kobe Line, Arashiyama Line, Senri Line, Mino-o Line, Itami Line, Koyo Line, and 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 Sannomiya’s Kobe Line Limited Express (30-minute trip).

Recommended discount rail passes
Hankyu Tourist Pass for Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe(1, 2Days)

Hanshin Electric Railway: Easy way to get from Osaka to Kobe

Hanshin railway map
Hanshin railway map

The Hanshin Electric 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.

Recommended discount rail passes
Hanshin Electric Railway Tourist Pass 1 Day

Kintetsu Railway: Serving greater Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara - and beyond

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.

Recommended discount rail passes
(Osaka Kyoto Nara) Kintetsu Rail Pass (1, 2, 5 days, Plus)

Kintetsu railway map
Kintetsu railway map

Nankai Electric Railway: Access to Mount Koya, Wakayama and Kansai International Airport

This railway has plenty of normal and limited express trains on its two main lines: The Nankai Main Line, which runs from Namba to Wakayama City, and the Koya Line, which runs from Namba to Mount Koya (also known as Koyasan).

It also has the Nankai Airport Line that goes to the Kansai International Airport, taking about 40 minutes to get to it on the limited express from Namba Station (with an extra limited express charge of 510 yen) and 45 minutes by express.

Recommended discount rail passes
Nankai All Line 2 Day Pass

Hankai Tramway: A retro streetcar running through Sakai City

The Hankai Tramway 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 Shrine is found along the way; it is a famous picturesque temple built in the ancient architectural style of Sumiyoshi-zukuri.

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

The Keihan Electric Railway connects Osaka with Kyoto and Shiga. The Osaka side is Yodoyabashi and Nakanoshima.

On the way, the line passes through Sanjo and Gion-Shijo, and the terminal station on the Kyoto side is Demachiyanagi Station.

The train ride between Yodoyabashi (Osaka) and Demachiyanagi (Kyoto) takes about 55 minutes by limited express.

main photo: noina / Shutterstock.com

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*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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