Check the following link on how to ride the shinkansen (bullet trains), which link cities from Fukuoka in the southwest to Hachinohe in the northeast with many stops in between, with Tokyo being about central to those two cities mentioned. There is also a short line from Yatsushiro to Kagoshima (in the southwest). In total there are 8 distinct lines, but all are linked except for the line between Yatsushiro and Kagoshima. OSAKA is at the junction of the Tokaido and Sanyo shinkansen lines. a 7-day (consecutive) pass costs around 240 USD (23,800 yen). A one-way trip from Tokyo to Osaka is around 115 USD! (13,500 yen). Regardless, you can buy a base ticket and pay the difference at your destination should you go wrong. The cost is approximately 20 yen per km, for short distances, decreasing to 10 yen for longer distances.
Here is the link:
One of the great things about using Osaka as a regional base to visit Kyoto, Nara and Himeiji is that you have an excuse to ride the shinkansen -- the bullet train. While I'm pretty sure the shinkansen has been surpassed as the world's fastest train, it's still the fastest land conveyance I've ever traveled on. Yet, at the same time it was oddly disappointing -- the ride was so smooth that I really didn't feel like I was going all that fast. Still, for the 4000 or so yen that it cost to travel from Himeiji to Osaka, it was worth doing at least once. I'm glad I did it, and I wouldn't hesitate to ride it again if the time saved was worth it.
The best way to get around Osaka is by train/subway. You can get to within a 20 minute walk of anywhere in the city you need to go. Day passes are available at most major hubs, and be sure to get one if you're going to make several trips. And they are deservedly famous for their punctuality. As my friend Luke, who lived in Tokyo for five years, told me: if you think your train is a couple minutes early, don't get on, that's the wrong train. The clocks are superpunctual as well, apparently set to match the atomic clock in Nagoya.
This is the main shinkansen station to the Osaka vicinity. It is the western terminus of the Tokaido Shinkansen, and the eastern terminus of the Sanyo Shinkansen.
It is conveniently connected with the Midosuji subway line and JR West - Kobe Line.
The major stop for the city of Osaka on the Shinkansen line is Shin-Osaka Station. There are Shinkansen trains running from Tokyo in the north right down to Fukuoka in Kyushu. The cost from Tokyo on the Sanyo Shinkansen line is 13,750 Yen.
The Shinkansen is by far the most convenient way to travel around Japan. Unfortunately it isn't very cheap! Luckily there is a Japan JR Rail Pass available to foreign travellers. See the JR East website for details:
It must be bought abroad and stamped in Japan before you can use it. There are several options including one week (unlimited JR travel except for the super fast Nozomi service), two week, JR East and JR West passes. Check with your local travel agent for the best option or click on the link to see for yourself!
Here is a link to a very cool page that lets you see the routing between cities/stations/ports within Japan. It will tell you the route and includes the cost and time. http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/.
1st thing to do when in Osaka: buy a rail pass. .... Trains go everywhere, and are a very inexpensive way to get around. .... Unbelievably punctual and plentiful. .... Usually crowded, but I was never uncomfortable, including the 30-minute ride back from Kyoto when I stood. ... Take your time and read the detailed schedule. .... People are very helpful.
If you have the JR railpass, you can take a tour around Osaka City on the JR train. Circle route.
There's a station called "Shin-Osaka" where the Shinkansen trains will stop. Change to another train to "JR Osaka" station.
Nankai Railways is a good choice to get from Kaisai International Airport to Namba, which is near Shinsaibashi, the most popular shopping and dining area in Osaka.
If you just getting around within the downtown in Osaka, Subway is a good choice. It's not cheap though for a single ride: the cheapest fare for the shortest destinations costs you aout 250yen. There is a 1-day ticket for unlimited rides within 1 day, which costs 850yen.
A direct link from the airport to Osaka and Kyoto. It takes around 45min to reach JR Shin-Osaka station from Kansai International Airport. Costs 2,470 yen per adult to Shin-Osaka.
We took the bullet train from Kyoto station to JR Osaka Station. It is very easy and fast to go to Osaka from Kyoto. The train journey is about 1 hr 30 mins.