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How to get to Osaka

From Kyoto

Kyoto and Osaka can be considered as two districts of the same big city, and are connected by numerous train services at any minute of the day. You can stay indifferently in one or the other city and visit them both from a single starting point.

By shinkansen

(1440¥, 15 minutes)
All JR Tokaido shinkansen high-speed trains from the north (Nagoya, Tokyo, etc.) stop at Kyoto station and, immediately after, Shin- Osaka . The route between Kyoto and Shin-Osaka takes just 15 minutes. A one-way ticket for a non-reserved seat costs 1440¥, for a reserved seat more than 3000 ¥. Unless you have an active Japan Rail Pass and you can travel for free on shinkansen (except Nozomi trains), this solution is very expensive and it is not worth it, also because Shin-Osaka station is located in a decentralized area in the north of the city, and once you get there you will still have to waste more time to change trains and take a local line to the Namba areas or Umeda. On balance, if you have no experience on how to get around Shin-Osaka station, perhaps the shinkansen is not worth it even if you have the Japan Rail Pass.

JR Kyoto line

(570¥, 30 minutes)
You can take this line from Kyoto station, to get to Osaka station (Umeda area). Before Osaka Station, trains make various other stops in outlying areas of the city. There are three types of trains along this line: local trains (which take approximately 45 minutes), rapid trains (approximately 40 minutes) and special rapid trains (about 30 minutes). All trains cost 570¥ one way from Kyoto to Osaka station, and being a JR line you can take it for free if you have the Japan Rail Pass.

Hankyu Kyoto Line

(400¥:, 40 minutes)
You can take this line from Karasuma station or Kawaramachi station (two convenient stations in downtown Kyoto), to get to Umeda station in about 40 minutes, at a price of 400¥. This is the cheapest alternative ever connecting two central areas of Osaka and Kyoto . Recommended for those who do not have the Japan Rail Pass and are willing to lose 10 minutes more to save 170¥.

Keihan Main Line

(410¥, 40-50 minutes)
This line can be taken from various stations in central Kyoto and near tourist attractions, notably Sanjo (Higashiyama), Gion-Shijō (Gion) and Fushimi-Inari (Fushimi Inari), and stops at some secondary stations in Osaka city, notably Kyōbashi (Osaka Castle area, interchange with JR Osaka Loop line, subway) and Yodoyabashi (interchange with subway). Journey times are between 40 and 50 minutes depending on the departure and arrival stations and the price is 410¥. In general this line is not very convenient, but it can be useful for someone.

From Tokyo and Yokohama

By shinkansen

The JR Tokaido shinkansen high-speed line connects Osaka (Shin-Osaka station) with Tokyo (Tokyo Station and Shinagawa stations) and Yokohama (Shin-Yokohama station) quickly and comfortably. A one-way ticket costs 13870¥ for a non-reserved seat. Reserved seats cost around 1000¥ more. There are three types of shinkansen trains. If you are a Japan Rail Pass holder, you can reserve a seat for free on Kodama and Hikari trains, not on Nozomi trains: Finally, keep in mind that a 7-day Japan Rail Pass costs almost as much as a Tokyo-Osaka return ticket, so in this case we recommend to carefully evaluate the purchase of the pass.

By bus

Tokyo and Osaka are connected by numerous bus companies that offer various daily trips, both day and night. Journey time is approximately 8 hours and prices range from 3000¥ for standard seats on offer up to 10,000¥ for very comfortable premium seats. The popular company Willer Express also operates on the route, very easy for foreigners to use by booking directly online on their site in English.

By plane

Tokyo and Osaka are also daily connected by many flights operated by various companies, both major and low-cost. The flight takes about 1 hour and there are departures from both Tokyo (Narita and Haneda) and Osaka (Kansai and Itami) airports. It is advisable to discard the idea of the plane (unless you have to take a connecting flight), and opt for the shinkansen or the buses depending on your budget and time requirements. If, on the other hand, you want to take the plane, it is advisable to use the threshold of 10000¥ each way, a flight below this figure could have its convenience compared to the shinkansen, above this figure it makes absolutely no sense considering that you also need to add the costs of travel to /from the airports.
See also How to get to the city from Osaka Kansai airport and vice versa

From Nagoya

By shinkansen

The JR Tokaido shinkansen high-speed line connects Osaka (Shin-Osaka station) with Nagoya quickly and comfortably. A one-way ticket costs 5940¥ for a non-reserved seat. Reserved seats cost around 1000¥ more. There are three types of shinkansen trains. If you are a Japan Rail Pass holder, you can reserve a seat for free on Kodama and Hikari trains, not on Nozomi trains:

By local trains

If you don't have a Japan Rail Pass, the shinkansen seem too expensive, and you don't like taking the bus, there is another alternative, that of the local trains along the JR Tokaido Main Line. The entire journey takes at least 150 minutes with one or two train changes, and costs 3410¥.

By bus

Nagoya and Osaka are connected by numerous bus companies that offer various daily departures, especially during the day. The travel time is about 3 hours and the prices range between 2000¥ and 4000¥. The popular company Willer Express also operates on the route, very easy for foreigners to use by booking directly online on their site in English.

From Hiroshima

By shinkansen

The JR Sanyo shinkansen high-speed line connects Osaka (Shin-Osaka station) with Hiroshima quickly and comfortably. A one-way ticket costs 9890¥ for a non-reserved seat. Reserved seats cost around 1000¥ more. There are five types of shinkansen trains. If you are a Japan Rail Pass holder you can reserve a seat for free on the Kodama, Hikari, and Sakura trains, not on the Mizuho and Nozomi trains:

By bus

Hiroshima and Osaka are connected by numerous bus companies that offer various daily departures, especially during the day (very few at night). The travel time is about 6 hours and the prices range between 3000¥ and 5000¥. The popular company Willer Express also operates on the route, very easy for foreigners to use by booking directly online on their site in English.

From Fukuoka

By shinkansen

The JR Sanyo shinkansen high-speed line connects Osaka (Shin-Osaka station) with Fukuoka (Hakata Station) quickly and comfortably. A one-way ticket costs 14750¥ for a non-reserved seat. Reserved seats cost around 1000¥ more. There are five types of shinkansen trains. If you are a Japan Rail Pass holder you can reserve a seat for free on the Kodama, Hikari, and Sakura trains, not on the Mizuho and Nozomi trains: Finally, keep in mind that a 7-day Japan Rail Pass costs almost as much as a Fukuoka-Osaka return ticket, so in this case we recommend to carefully evaluate the purchase of the pass.

By bus

Fukuoka and Osaka are connected by numerous bus companies that offer various daily departures, especially during the day (very few at night). The travel time is about 9-10 hours and the prices fluctuate between 3000¥ and 5000¥. The popular company Willer Express also operates on the route, very easy for foreigners to use by booking directly online on their site in English.

By plane

The plane can be a valid alternative to travel between Osaka and Fukuoka: Fukuoka airport (FUK) is very convenient and is located a few minutes by train from the city center, and the two cities are daily connected by many flights, operated by the majors Japan Airlines and ANA and also by the low-cost airlines Peach and Jetstar Japan. The flight takes approximately 75 minutes. If you consider the plane, use the threshold of 12000¥ each way, a flight below this figure could be more convenient than the shinkansen.

From abroad

By plane

The city of Osaka has two airports, one mainly dedicated to domestic traffic ( Osaka Itami airport ), another to international traffic ( Osaka Kansai airport ). From Kansai Airport ( KIX ), there are direct daily connections to all major Asian and Australian cities, as well as to some European and North American cities. In organizing your trip to Japan you could therefore also consider the idea of arriving in Osaka, or building your own itinerary arriving in Tokyo and departing from Osaka and vice versa.

By ferry

Osaka city can be reached by ferry from China and South Korea:

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.

How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences

Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences

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