Getting Around in Osaka, Japan

The entrance to Osaka is its bullet train terminal, Shin-Osaka Station. From here, you can transfer to the JR Kyobashi Line or the Midosuji subway line, and head to central parts of the city such as Umeda or Namba. Other railway lines have their terminals and JR Osaka Station are all located in Umeda.The entrances to Osaka by air are Itami Airport and Kansai International Airport. After landing by plane, you can take a monorail or shuttle bus from Itami Airport, or a train from Kansai International Airport to travel into the city.

Bus

  • Osaka does have a bus system, but it is nowhere near as easy to use as the rail network. Japanese-language bus maps are available from the tourist offices.

Taxi

  • MK Taxi

    06-6452-4441

    Taxis are very expensive in Japan, usually costing about 600 yen (about US$5) just to get in! And do NOT expect your taxi driver to speak good English, as they most likely would in other countries! (Thus the need for your hotel's business card.) But if you are not too far from your hotel (if you are in Namba and your hotel is in Umeda, for example), and you don't mind paying 1000 or 2000 yen, or don't want to bother with figuring out the train or subway, or missed them since they finish so early, then taxis are the way to go. Generally the drivers are honest and won't take the "long way" to run up the bill! But do not be offended if you wave down a taxi and they do not stop for you: they may already have a customer to pick up via pre-calling, or they may be off shift and on the way home, or they may not have enough confidence in their English to pick up a foreigner. They also do it to Japanese people, so please do not think of it as discrimination against foreigners if they do not stop to pick you up. In Japan it is considered that they are doing a service to you by picking you up, rather than they serving you just because you pay! So just keep waving at the next taxi that comes buy, and one will eventually stop to pick you up.

Train

  • JR Limited Express "Haruka"

    About 2000 yen, 30 minutes to Tennoji

    About 3000 yen, 50 minutes to Shin-Osaka

    About 3500 yen, 70 minutes to Kyoto

    Departures every 30 minutes

    The Haruka is a comfortable train for travelers to and from the airport, which connects to Tennoji (a large station in southern Osaka), Shin-Osaka (the shinkansen station of Osaka) and Kyoto. Reserved and non reserved seats are available. Thanks to the Icoca & Haruka package, the Haruka can also be a relatively economical airport access option.

  • JR Kansai Airport Rapid

    About 1000 yen, 50 minutes to Tennoji

    About 1200 yen, 70 minutes to Osaka

    Departures every 15 minutes

    The JR Airport Line is the inexpensive JR alternative to the Haruka limited express between the airport and central Osaka, serving Tennoji, Osaka and other major stations on the Osaka Loop Line. It cuts the ticket price in half, but increases the traveling time by about 15 minutes. Unlike the Haruka, it is a normal commuter train which stops a few times between the airport and Osaka and can become crowded during rush hours.

  • Nankai "Rap:t"

    About 1400 yen, 35 minutes to Namba

    Departures every 30 minutes

    The Nankai "Rap:t Alpha" and "Rap:t Beta" trains are limited express trains which connect the airport with Namba, the heart of Osaka's southern city center. Beta trains stop at one more station than Alpha trains and are, therefore, just slightly slower than Alpha trains. Both are comfortable trains especially for travelers to and from the airport. All seats are reserved.

  • Nankai Airport Express

    About 900 yen, 45 minutes to Namba

    Departures every 30 minutes

    The Nankai Airport Express, also connecting the airport with Namba, is the cheaper but slower alternative to the "Rap:t" trains. Unlike the "Rap:t" trains, these trains are normal commuter trains which stop more frequently and can become crowded during rush hours.

Car Rental

  • TOYOTA Rent a Car

    0800-7000-815

    The minimum age for driving in Japan is 18 years, and you will need a Japanese driver's license or an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to rent and drive a car.

    International driving permits are not issued in Japan and should be obtained in your home country in advance. They are usually issued through your country's national automobile association for a small fee. Foreigners can drive in Japan with a recognized international driving permit for a maximum of one year, even if the IDP is valid for a longer period. Japan only recognizes permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, which are issued by a large number of countries.

    Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan do not issue permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, but instead have a separate agreement that allows drivers from these countries to drive in Japan for up to one year with an official Japanese translation of their driver's license. A translation can be obtained from the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF), through Japan Experience or from some of the respective countries' embassies or consulates in Japan.

    People from other countries whose international driving permits are not recognized by Japan, must obtain aJapanese driver's license in order to drive in Japan.

    Typical rental fees are around 5000 yen per 24-hour period for a sub-compact car, 7500 yen for compact cars, 10,000 yen for mid sized cars, 15,000 yen for full sized cars and 20,000 yen for vans. Rates are sometimes increased during peak seasons, especially in Hokkaido. Many companies also offer rates for short rentals of up to 6 or 12 hours. In rare cases, fees are calculated based on calendar days (midnight to midnight) rather than 24-hour periods.

    Parking in the center of large cities is very expensive, costing several hundreds of yen per hour. Fees decrease with the size of the city and the distance to the city center. In small towns and in the countryside, parking is often free. Parking lots in national parks or near tourist attractions sometimes charge a flat fee (typically 200 to 500 yen per use). Urban hotels usually provide parking for their guests at a flat rate (typically 1000 yen per night), while hotels outside the large cities usually offer free parking.

    Payment

    You are asked to pay estimated rates based on the scheduled rental hours and charges for special equipment before departure. Any excess or deficit will be adjusted after you return the car. A prescribed penalty will be charged if you overrun your scheduled rental hours without prior notice.

    Please use a credit card to make payment.

    Fuel charge

    Cars are filled with gasoline or diesel before you rent. Fill the tank when you return the car. If you do not, a prescribed fuel charge depending on mileage will be charged. Fuel charges differ depending on shops. Please contact your nearest shop.

    Recommended for hybrid cars is the HV Fuel Charging option, which means that the car does not need to be returned with a full tank.

  • Nippon Rent A Car

    03 3485 7196

    Nippon Rent-A-Car was established in 1969, and we are one of the most experienced car rental companies in Japan.

    Our corporate commitments are to establish car rental services as a third means of public transportation (after air and railway) by creating advanced and efficient systems, and to offer better services for customers and seek the well-being of everyone involved in the business.

    Based on these corporate commitments, we have set the following policy as goals to achieve in our daily business activities.

    Enhance customer satisfaction by offering No. 1 customer service and pursuing quality assurance.

    Continue to propose more convenient and economical ways to use automobiles.

    Recognize the shared destiny of our Group Companies, show respect for others and strive to realize workplaces that allow all individuals to achieve beneficial growth both psychologically and materially.

    We are committed to more than simply providing rental vehicles to customers—we provide satisfactory and reliable services. As part of this, we aim to create added value by not only renting vehicles to customers, but also by appreciating our customers at all times.

Driving

Distance unit
Metric (km/h)
Traffic system
Left-hand drive

Traditional

5

Many residents get around by bicycle, as the city is mostly flat and easily navigable by bike. Riding on the sidewalks is permitted and some sidewalks even have bike lanes marked. If nothing is marked, try to stay to the left where possible (but often you simply need to find the best path through the pedestrians).

Rental bikes are available, but if you are staying longer than a few weeks, purchasing a used bike can be a good deal. Finding a used bike can be a bit tricky, however, particularly if you don't speak Japanese. Craigslist and websites such as Gaijinpot.com have classified listings, and there are a few used bike shops around. Renge, near Osaka Castle, sells a range of used bikes starting at around ¥5500.

Technically, you are required to register your bicycle with the police. Bikes registered under a name other than the rider may be considered stolen, and bicycle theft is not uncommon. Bike shops can help with the simple registration process.

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