The Hanshin Railway is one of three train companies connecting Osaka to Kobe, along with the JR Line and the Hankyu Electric Railway. The Hanshin Railway is the southernmost, running along the seaside.
The atmospheres along these three railway lines are different. However, the Hanshin Line is said to be the most commonly used. Because of that, you can also enjoy communicating with the friendly locals of the town.
Hanshin is also the home of the famous professional baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers, and Koshien Stadium. Let's see what exciting sightseeing spots can be found along the Hanshin Line!
TOP Image: MR. AEKALAK CHIAMCHAROEN / Shutterstock.com
- Table of Contents
- Overview of the Hanshin Railway
- Great value sightseeing: The Hankyu-Hanshin 1-Day Pass
- Main sightseeing attractions near Hanshin Electric Railway stations
- 1. Osaka Umeda Station
- 2. Osaka Namba Station
- 3. Kobe Sannomiya Station and Motomachi Station
- 4. Uozaki Station
- 5. Nishinomiya Station
- 6. Koshien Station
Overview of the Hanshin Railway
The Hanshin Electric Railway, which connects Osaka to Kobe, opened in 1899. In the past, there were tourist spots such as beaches and amusement parks along the line. Today, there are the Hanshin Koshien Stadium (Koshien Station) and Kyocera Dome (Dome-Mae Station). Both are live venues for professional baseball games and artists, and many people visit both.
3 Main Routes
The Hanshin Railway has three main routes: the Hanshin Main Line, the Hanshin Namba Line, and the Mukogawa Line.
The Hanshin Main Line offers convenient access from Osaka Umeda Station to Kobe Sannomiya Station, taking only about 35 minutes by limited express. Sannomiya Station offers excellent access to central Kobe and points further west. This giant station offers access to many other areas, including Himeji (home to the famous 'White Heron Castle').
Using the Hanshin Namba Line, you can travel from Amagasaki Station to Osaka Namba Station in about 20 minutes, and from Osaka Namba Station to Nara Station via the Kintetsu Nara Line, which conveniently requires no transfer!
The Mukogawa Line runs through a residential area, and it is rarely used for sightseeing.
Differences between the Hanshin Railway and Hankyu Railway
Although the names may seem similar, the Hanshin Railway and Hankyu Railway are operated by two different companies.
Visitors should be careful to note that while station names on different lines may be the same, they may be located in different places. When asking or giving directions, be sure to clarify which station on which line is being mentioned.
Great value sightseeing: The Hankyu-Hanshin 1-Day Pass
The Hankyu-Hanshin 1-Day Pass is a ticket you can purchase on all lines of the Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Electric Railway, and Kobe Rapid Transit Railway (including Nishidai and Minatogawa), valid only for one day.
Adult passes are 1,300 yen, and children's passes are 650 yen. You can purchase a pass at all station offices and ticket gates at Osaka Umeda Station, Amagasaki Station, Koshien Station, Mikage Station, Kobe Sannomiya Station, and Shinkaichi Station.
Main sightseeing attractions near Hanshin Electric Railway stations
1. Osaka Umeda Station
This area, commonly called Kita, is one of Osaka's two major downtown areas. There are all kinds of shops in the station building and the underground shopping area. There, you can enjoy shopping and delicious food.
Hanshin Department Store
You can find fashionable clothing shops, miscellaneous goods, and restaurants on the ground floor. There is an underground grocery store called Depa-Chika, and a snack park on the 1st basement floor where you can eat Osaka's famous grilled squid, sushi, ramen, and more.
Grand Front Osaka
This is Japan's largest shopping town on the north side of JR Osaka Station. There are a wide variety of stores, including long-established craft shops and high-brand stores from overseas. You'll also find a beautiful garden here with green plants and flowing waters. The view from here is spectacular, and it is a place where visitors come to relax.
2. Osaka Namba Station
This area, known as Minami, is another downtown area, along with Kita. The areas around Dotonbori River and Ebisu Bashi-suji Shopping Street are often crowded with many people.
Hozenji (Mizukake Fudoson)
This long-established temple is located in the back streets of the old downtown area, lined with restaurants and crowded with many people. When visiting this shrine, you sprinkle the Buddha with water. Because of this, it is also known as Mizukake Fudo ("water-splashing fudo"). Hozenji Yokocho, the path which leads to the temple, has two narrow roads, one on the east and the other on the west. There you can find restaurants, bars, and okonomiyaki shops.
This is one of the signature areas of Minami. It is home to huge 3-D signboards and is a popular photo spot for many tourists. In addition to local foods such as takoyaki and ramen, you will also find plenty of souvenir shops.
3. Kobe Sannomiya Station and Motomachi Station
Kobe City is a relatively compact port city in Hyogo Prefecture, with the Rokko Mountains towards the north and the sea in the south. There are many chic cafes and shops that can be found here.
This shrine is located about 10 minutes on foot from Kobe Sannomiya Station towards Yamate. It is popular with young women, as it is said to bring good luck in love and marriage. Behind the main shrine is the Ikuta-no-Mori pond, where you can have your fortune told with the 'Mizu-mikuji,' or water-fortune-telling.
Motomachi Shopping Street
Commonly known as 'Motoco,' this shopping street is located under the elevated railway that runs from JR/Hanshin Motomachi Station to JR Kobe Station. Unique shops line the road under the tracks from Motomachi to Sannomiya. The chaotic atmosphere of the backstreets, full of restaurants, old record shops, and miscellaneous goods, is also popular with tourists.
This is one of Japan's three largest Chinatown areas, along with Yokohama and Nagasaki. The streets are lined with shops selling goods such as pork buns, steamed buns, and dumplings, so you can enjoy snacking as you walk or enter one of the shops for a full course meal.
4. Uozaki Station
Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewery Museum
Nadagogo is Japan's leading sake-brewing town and extends from the new homes along the Hanshin Line to Imazu. Nadagogo is a collective term for Nishigo, Mikagego, Uozakigo, Nishinomiyago, and Imazugo.
Many of the sake breweries, such as the Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewery Museum, offer facility tours and have shops where you can directly purchase their products. If you can, be sure to pay a visit.
5. Nishinomiya Station
This is the main shrine of all the Ebisu Shrines nationwide. Ebisu, also known as Ebessan, is said to be the god of prosperous business and brings good fortune. Every January 9, 10, and 11th, a special Shinto event called the Toka Ebisu Festival is held. During this period, nearly 1 million people visit to pay respects.
6. Koshien Station
Hanshin Koshien Stadium
This baseball field was established in 1924. Japan tends to go crazy with its spring and summer high school baseball tournaments. At the Koshien History Museum, you can view exhibits of materials related to high school and professional baseball by the Hanshin Tigers and purchase memorial goods. There is also a reservation-only stadium tour, where you can see the backyard, which is usually off-limits.
The Hanshin Electric Railway, which connects Osaka and Kobe, is a very convenient line. You can easily travel to Nara and Himeji without transferring to trains from other companies.
The fare is also cheaper than the JR Line. The JR train fare from Osaka to Kobe is 410 yen, while using the Hanshin or Hankyu Line will only cost you 320 yen from Osaka Umeda to Kobe Sannomiya. (Note however that you cannot use the Japan Rail Pass on these private lines.)
Enjoy your trip around Osaka and Kobe using the convenient and affordable Hanshin Line.
*The above article is based on information from June 2020
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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