A popular way of traveling from Tokyo to Osaka is the night bus. With the night bus, you can enjoy sightseeing in Tokyo till nighttime before hopping on to get some shut-eye while the bus takes you to your next destination!
More than just a mode of transport, the eight-hour journey can become a memorable highlight of your trip if you choose a comfortable night bus. Hence, in this article, we will introduce five bus service providers.
These companies will be evaluated based on a set of judging criteria, including price, services, and convenience.
Comfort: Available services, Legroom
Convenience: Number of stops, Ease of making reservations
- Table of Contents
- 1. JR Night Bus “Dream Relier” (West JR Bus/JR Bus Kantō)
- 2. “VIP Liner” (Heisei Enterprise): Access to an Exclusive Lounge Before and After Your Journey
- 3. WILLER EXPRESS (WILLER): Seats Developed Based on Customers’ Feedback
- 4. The Sakura Kanko Bus (Sakura Kanko): Well-Equipped at a Reasonable Price
- 5. Orion Bus (Orion Tour): With Sales and Discounted Plans Available, Provides High Satisfaction at a Reasonable Price
- Bathhouses Available for Use in the Morning
- Delicious Breakfast Near Osaka Station!
- Breakfast Options Near Kyoto Station
- Night Buses Are the Way to Go for An Affordable Trip
1. JR Night Bus “Dream Relier” (West JR Bus/JR Bus Kantō)
A feature of the JR Tokyo to Osaka bus service is that the bus terminals are situated in front of the main stations, which makes the boarding points easy to locate. Plus, even with large-sized luggage, commuters can wait until the boarding time within the station, which means there is no need to worry about weather conditions.
There are various types of buses to choose from among the JR express night buses, from the “Seishun Eco Dream” bus, which has four-seater rows, to the most luxurious “Dream Relier” Tokyo to Osaka bus.
The luxurious and comfortable “Dream Relier” is especially popular for being equipped with toilets, privacy curtains, and air purifiers. Additionally, the seats come fully furnished with Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, and tablets to keep boredom away during your journey.
Most of the bus services leave Tokyo Station Yaesu South Exit and Starbucks Shinjuku (Shinjuku New South Gate), which are extremely easy to locate. Additionally, other services leave from Tokyo Disneyland, even though they are few.
Out of the 24 bus services available, 19 of them stop at Osaka Station JR Express Bus Terminal. Depending on the route of your choice, you may also alight at Kyoto Station or Universal Studios Japan, so be sure to plan your journey before making your selection.
Information about the JR Night Express Bus (Osaka-Tokyo)
・Price: from 3,500 yen (tax included; seat reservation allowed) *Discounts are available when payment is made through credit card
・Reservation site: https://www.kousokubus.net/JpnBus/en (Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Korean also available)
・Main stops in Kansai: Kyoto Station Karasuma Exit, JR Nara Station, JR Osaka Station, Universal Studios Japan, Tennōji Station, Takarazuka Station, Sannomiya Bus Terminal, etc.
・Services and features: toilets, air purifiers, privacy curtains, AC100V outlets (or USB charging ports), blankets, slippers, Wi-Fi
・Women-only seating: available in all bus services except Premium Dream and Dream Relier.
2. “VIP Liner” (Heisei Enterprise): Access to an Exclusive Lounge Before and After Your Journey
Although Tokyo to Osaka night buses are convenient, getting ready in the morning can be a challenge. Fret not, as the “VIP Liner” has just the solution – exclusive lounges available for use, free of charge, that are located near the main boarding points (Tokyo, Shinjuku, Kyoto, Osaka, Namba).
Within the lounge is a waiting room equipped with a large TV set, where passengers can also redeem a free drink. Furthermore, the lounge comes complete with a powder room, a fitting room, and free cosmetics. In Tokyo, Osaka, and Namba, the lounges are equipped with shower rooms as well.
With nine stops within the Kansai region, numerous options cover a range of buses, destinations, timings, and budgets. An announcement will be made on the bus for all passengers to recline their seats at the same time fully, so there is no need to worry about potentially causing discomfort to others.
The prices for “VIP Liner” are slightly higher, but there are coupons and last-minute deals available that can significantly lower costs.
There are 18 bus services daily that travel from Kanto to Kansai. They depart from Tokyo, with half of these services leaving from Busta Shinjuku 4F (Shinjuku Bus Terminal) and the other half setting off from “Tokyo VIP Lounge.” Some of the bus services also leave from Tokyo Disneyland and Akihabara.
Moreover, it is possible to board the bus from Saitama, Chiba, Yokohama, and so on. Stops that you can alight at include the “Kyoto VIP Lounge,” near Kyoto Station, Osaka Station, and “VIP Villa Namba,” near Namba Station. With many of their bus services stopping by many of Kansai’s key tourist attractions, the “VIP Liner” is no doubt an incredibly convenient option.
VIP Liner Information
・Price: from 3,400 yen (tax included; seat reservation allowed) *Coupons and last-minute deals available
・Reservation site: https://vipliner.biz/ (English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Thai available)
・Main stops: Kyoto, Gion-Shijō Station, Shin-Osaka, Osaka, Namba, Universal Studios Japan, Kobe-Sannomiya Station, and two other stations
・Services and features: privacy curtains, outlets, USB connectors, pillows, blankets, waist pillows. Toilets, free Wi-Fi, slippers, and room wear available only in some bus services
・Women-only bus services: Plumeria, Plumeria Grande, Cherish
3. WILLER EXPRESS (WILLER): Seats Developed Based on Customers’ Feedback
The popular WILLER EXPRESS has successfully launched specially designed seats that seek to maximize comfort based on customers’ feedback. Their expansive lineup of seats caters to different budgets and preferences, so take your pick!
The shell-shaped “ReBorn” are electric cradle recliner seats designed to provide the best conditions for sleep. These Tokyo to Osaka bus seats are so comfortable you will experience none of the usual travel fatigue. They are highly recommended to taller passengers too since they are spacious enough even for male passengers of height 181cm.
All of their buses are designed to have luxuriously spacious legroom. While each type of seat is priced differently, the options come with various perks.
On buses equipped with Wi-Fi, passengers can browse popular movies and audiobooks at no cost, by merely downloading the WILLER THEATRE application on their smartphones or tablets.
Twenty-seven bus services serve the route from Tokyo to Osaka, many of which depart from Tokyo Station, Ikebukuro Sunshine Bus Terminal, and Tokyo Disneyland, among other bus stops, making it extremely convenient.
Moreover, the bus routes cover a large area, which means passengers can choose to alight in Shiga Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture, or Hyogo Prefecture instead.
The stylish bus terminal in Umeda, Osaka, comes furnished with an “internet space” for surfing the net on provided computers and a powder room. It is exclusive to WILLER passengers, available for use from 6:00 a.m. till half past midnight.
Information about the WILLER EXPRESS
・Usual price for Tokyo-Osaka route for the Relax seat; the ReBorn seat starts from 6,900 yen
・Time sales available
・Reservation site: https://travel.willer.co.jp/bus_search/ (English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese also available)
・Main stops in Kansai: Hikone Station, Kyoto Station, Gion-Shijō Station, Willer Bus Terminal Osaka Umeda, Universal Studios Japan, Namba OCAT, Wakayama Station, Kobe Sannomiya and 11 other stations (Sakurajima Liber Hotel was added from February 1, 2020)
・Services and features: privacy curtains or a canopy (a hood for covering the face), charging ports (outlets or USB ports), blankets, Wi-Fi (only for some buses) / Women-only seating available
WILLER Co. Ltd
4. The Sakura Kanko Bus (Sakura Kanko): Well-Equipped at a Reasonable Price
Almost all of Sakura Kanko’s Tokyo to Osaka buses are equipped with outlets and free Wi-Fi, allowing passengers to plan the following day’s itinerary, watch videos or play games on the go. Thus, this makes a suitable option for families with children who will need to be kept entertained during the journey.
There are six types of buses to Kansai. The “Relax 3” (usual price of 6,550 yen; discounted plans available) consists of ten rows, with three seats in each row. Since the seats are all individual, this should ease the concerns of female passengers.
These seats come with footrests, are able to recline to 140 degrees, and are furnished with privacy curtains. Earplugs are provided for a good night’s rest, and the buses come with toilets as well. Considering how well-equipped the buses are for such reasonable prices, it is no surprise that the “Sakura Kanko Bus” is a popular option.
Twenty-one bus services travel from Kanto to Kansai, many of which depart from Tokyo Yaesu and Busta Shinjuku (Shinjuku Bus Terminal). Still, some services allow for boarding in Ikebukuro or Akihabara. Passengers may alight at Osaka or choose to alight at Kyoto or Kobe.
In Osaka, the bus will make a stop at Namba and the newly opened Yodobashi Umeda Bus Terminal exclusive to Sakura Kanko. Feel free to choose where to alight to match your itinerary.
Information about Sakura Kanko Bus
・Price: from 1,850 yen (tax-inclusive; seat reservation allowed at extra cost) *Sakugo SALE and discounted plans available
・Reservation site: https://www.489.fm/ (English and Thai available)
・Main stops in Kansai: Kyoto Hachijō Exit, Osaka Umeda, Yodobashi Umeda Tower, Universal Studios Japan, Namba, Kobe City, Kobe Sannomiya, and three other stops
・Services and features: toilets (only in Relax 3 and Kirakira), privacy curtains (only in Premium 2x1 and Relax 3), outlets (unavailable in Standard), Wi-Fi (unavailable in Standard), blankets, earplugs (unavailable in @LINER Standard and Standard) / Women-only bus service available: @LINER Standard
5. Orion Bus (Orion Tour): With Sales and Discounted Plans Available, Provides High Satisfaction at a Reasonable Price
The “Orion Bus” is yellow and marked with an Orion sign in the shape of a star. Five to six Tokyo to Osaka bus services travel from Kanto to Kansai.
The “Standard” is priced reasonably from 3,000 yen, the “Nobinobi Seat” from 3,500 yen and the “Private Triple” and “Relax Plus,” which are buses with two different seat types within the same vehicle, are available from 3,800 yen.
These buses are comfortable, luxurious, and well-equipped. Even during the peak period for traveling, the cost of the “Private Triple” rarely ever exceeds 10,000 yen. Out of the five to six bus services headed for Kansai, four services depart from Tokyo Disneyland and pass through Tokyo Station as well as Ikebukuro.
Alternatively, other bus services depart from Tokyo Bay Tokyu Hotel, passing through Shinjuku, depart from Shinjuku, passing through Yokohama, and depart from Tokyo passing through Shinjuku.
Four services pass through Kyoto Hachijō Exit before heading to the next stop. Five to six services either pass through or terminate at Umeda, four that pass through or end at Universal Studios Japan, and three that either pass through or terminate at Kobe Sannomiya.
Additionally, some services stop at Kusatsu, Namba, and Akashi. The wide range of stops means that you can easily select the bus service that serves your intended destination.
On top of the various early-bird discounts and last-minute deals up for grabs, there are also other offers that you can benefit from when you make reservations. For instance, some packages include a round bus trip and accommodation with the option to add tickets to Universal Studios Japan.
Information about Orion bus
・Price: from 3,000 yen (tax-inclusive, seat reservation not allowed) *Early bird discounts and last-minute deals (from nine days before the day of departure) available
・Reservation site: https://www.orion-bus.jp/
・Main stops in Kansai: Shiga (Kusatsu), Kyoto (Kyoto City), Osaka (Umeda, Namba, Universal Studios Japan), Kobe Sannomiya, Akashi
・Services and features: slippers, blankets, sleeping pillows, separating curtains (only in Private Triple?), outlets or USB ports / Women-only seating areas available (neighboring passenger will be female)
Bathhouses Available for Use in the Morning
An inconvenience of taking the night bus is that you might wish to refresh with a shower. However, that inconvenience can be avoided.
If you are in Umeda, Osaka and need to refresh yourself, try visiting Daitōyō Men’s Sauna and Daitōyō Ladies’ Sauna. Morning admission fees are 1,400 yen (tax-inclusive) from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Daitōyō.
For travelers near Kyoto Station, an option would be Kyoto Tower Public Bathhouse YUU, which is a 2-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station. This bathhouse is open for entry from 7:00 a.m.; admission costs 770 yen (tax-inclusive) on weekdays and 910 yen (tax-inclusive) on the weekends and public holidays. Towels, shampoo, body wash, and hairdryers are provided. Please note, however, that both of these bathhouses do not grant entry to tattooed customers.
Delicious Breakfast Near Osaka Station!
First, the WILLER café, under the direct management of WILLER, operates in Osaka’s Shin Umeda City from 6:30 a.m. The breakfast sets available include three food items and starts from 400 yen (tax inclusive). WILLER passengers get a discount of 50 yen off all items.
The second recommendation is tucked in the first basement of LUCUA, right next to JR Osaka Station. Open at 7:00 a.m., boo’s kitchen offers the “Morning Box,” which is reasonably priced at 310 yen (tax-inclusive) and also available for take-out.
Last but not least, a 1-minute walk from JR Osaka Station will take you to The City Bakery UMEDA in the first basement of Grand Front Osaka. This store also opens at 7:00 a.m. and begins offering breakfast plates from 7:30 a.m. These popular breakfast plates cost 1,100 yen (tax-inclusive) and consist of pretzel croissants and a drink.
Breakfast Options Near Kyoto Station
Located in the concourse of Kyoto Municipal Subway’s Kyoto Station, to the north of the first central ticket gate, is OGAWA COFFEE Kyoto. This store opens at 7:30 a.m. and offers popular breakfast sets at 900 yen (tax-inclusive).
Washoku Mai is another option, located on the first floor of the main building of Hotel Elcient Kyoto, which is a minute walk away from JR Kyoto Station Hachijō Exit. Here, a Japanese cuisine buffet is available from 6:30 a.m. for 1,650 yen (tax-inclusive).
Night Buses Are the Way to Go for An Affordable Trip
In this article, we have introduced our recommendations for night buses that take you from Tokyo to the Kansai region.
Do consider night buses, as you can get to save on travel time and make the best use of the limited time on your trip as well as enjoy the bus ride.
Sit back, relax, and get a good night’s rest on the comfortable Tokyo to Osaka bus so that you can explore your next destination to your heart’s content!
Text by: WestPlan
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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