A huge Osaka Station is situated in the centre of the city of Osaka's Umeda district in Kita-ku.
I have noticed that this subway station is so busy anytime of the day. I guess this is because it is in the business area of Osaka.
There are a couple of other railway companies and subway lines run their own stations in the vicinity of JR Osaka Station named Umeda Station.
There are also shops within the station that you can spend time strolling around during your waiting time.
If you are staying at Hotel Taiyo in Osaka, it is very convenient to travel by train from Kansai International Airport. It is 55 minutes travel time for 1030 Yen by Express JR line. Get off at a subway train station called Shin-Imamiya. I posted a picture taken just outside the entrance of the station. From the signboard on the photo, it is only 3 minutes on foot to the Hotel Taiyo.
There are four major subway stations in Osaka, these are:
JR Osaka Station
Shin Osaka Station
Osaka is a big city and so it have few major train stations. We used Shin Osaka and Osaka station to get from/to the city. Check carefully where exactly your train stop and where you actually need to go when planning your trip.
Getting around osaka is a breeze coz they have a really efficient transport system of subways and trains. But, avoid the the peak hours when taking local trains, unless you really want to squeeze like sardines in a tin. Luckily for us, we had the choice of taking a rapid train instead of a local train. So it was not as crowded and we were spared the crush.
There is a very extensive railnetwork in Osaka. The main stations are:
Osaka station: This is the main gateway to the north central part of Osaka and the office district.
Shin-Osaka: North of Osaka, this is the station where the Shinkansen trains stop.
Tenoji Station/Namba Station: in South-Osaka these 2 stations are the main gateways. Namba is nearest to the shops/nightlife but Tenoji has better connections.
Another important thing is the Osaka Loop line. If you travel through Japan on a JR Rail pass, this loop line will make subways unnecessary, the loop-line runs very frequently around the center of Osaka and also stops at Osaka & Tenoji station and Osaka-Ji Castle. Connections to Namba (from Tenoji) and Shin-Osaka (Osaka) are very frequent and easy, so you can get everywhere by train.
Best way to get to Osaka from Tokyo or any other major cities of Japan (except those islands like Okinawa or Hokkaido) is via the Shin-Kan-Sen (or the bullet train).
Just remember :- anything on the tracks above ground is the JR and anything on the tracks underground is the subway.
Subways are a little more complicated to navigate as they can be operated by different companies and so sometimes you can't see the station you want to get to on a certain
ticketing platform because you are at the wrong station to buy the ticket. It's difficult to explain here but after moving around and getting stressed out, you'll figure out something.
the JR is more straightforward as it goes to major stops.
If you plan to be conveniently located and want to hop on the Shinkansen to various
cities like Kobe or Kyoto for day trips, staying near Shin Osaka JR station is very
convenient as the Shinkansen at Osaka only embarks from Shin Osaka JR station.
Note that the ShinKansen though operated by the JR Railway Company doesn't
embark from any JR station. ShinKansen runs on its own tracks as it goes super-fast.
If you are a foreigner and plan to travel on ShinKanSen, remember to purchase your
JR Rail Pass from your home country. It's a pass that allows you unlimited travel
on ShinKansen and JR trains in all parts of Japan. But it doesn't allow you travel on Noizumi Shinkansen which is the fastest of all the Shinkansen.
But it doesn't matter as it's only faster by half an hour. Any Shinkansen is fast enough to get you to where you want to go. For example, it's only 3 hrs from Tokyo
station to Shin Osaka!
I just love the Shinkansen. Since I bought the JR RailPass and get unlimited travel on shinkansen and any JR lines, I use it to get to Kyoto in 20 minutes on the Shinkansen from Shin Osaka! If I've gone on the normal JR train, it'll take me about 40 minutes!
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:
Kyoto is a easy day trip from Osaka, or even half a day. The whole Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara area is just a big urban blob that blends together.
Check www.hyperdia.com/en/ for travel times and details.
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.
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/.
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