A Complete Guide to Osaka and Umeda Stations For Foreign Travelers
The area around Osaka and Umeda Stations is great as a base for sightseeing or as a cuisine or shopping spot, but it's so confusing that even Japanese people often get lost. This article has photographic guides to help foreign travelers find their way through the stations as well as helpful information. Please check it when you're coming to Osaka for a smooth trip.
Oct 28 2016 (May 14 2021)
What Are Osaka and Umeda Stations?
Many train lines run through JR Osaka Station, the gateway to the city, so it makes access to the rest of the city, Kyoto, and Kobe very easy. In the area, there are the latest shopping buildings and lodging accommodations, plenty of restaurants, and is perfect as the base for your travels! JR Osaka Station is a huge station through which more than 420,000 people pass through daily. You might get lost the first time you're there. It's difficult for people both foreign and Japanese to smoothly reach their destination within the station because of its size.
Before you go, you should know that JR Osaka Station is in Umeda. Umeda is an area made up of 7 different stations, including Umeda, Nishi-Umeda, Higashi-Umeda, and Kitashinchi. All of the stations are connected underground, so you can walk between them.
Here is a complete guide to JR Osaka Station and Umeda Station! You can learn everything you need to know before you go.
What Is Osaka Station City?
JR Osaka Station is actually part of a facility called Osaka Station City, consisting of two soaring buildings to the north and the south and Osaka Station in the center. In the photo above, the left building is the South Gate Building, and the right is the North Gate Building.
The South Gate Building is a department building that includes a Daimaru, a Pokemon Center, UNIQLO, Tokyu Hands, and more, as well as the Hotel Gran View Osaka. The North Gate Building is a shopping building that has the areas LUCUA and LUCUA 1100, home to apparel, cosmetics, and other types of shops. There are plenty of shops inside the station too, so it's one of Osaka's landmarks where many people no matter the time of day always cross paths.
Osaka Station City is a Labyrinth?!
You can move from north to south in Osaka Station City using bridges and escalators, but it's tricky. It's split up into a few floors, and many people get lost going up and down.
(Here is the English map in PDF version)
Just looking at the map makes you feel a little apprehensive, doesn't it?
The escalators that connect underground are especially tricky. The area below Umeda has been called both "the world's largest labyrinth" and "dungeon." Going back to where you started because you got completely lost is a pain.
Because it's that confusing, this article will use photos of each station, both inside and out, so you can travel through smoothly.
Traveling to Tourist Destinations From Osaka/Umeda Station
Here is some useful information about the different ways of traveling throughout the city and the wider region, and how to navigate them if you're at starting from Osaka or Umeda Station.
Taking the Train From Osaka Station
When you ride the train, first you must reach the platform by passing through the automated gates. To pass through, you need a ticket, or a tappable IC card like "ICOCA". You can buy tickets at the machines near the gates, where you can also recharge your IC card. If you're carrying the JAPAN RAIL PASS, you don't need additional tickets or cards to ride the JR lines.
For a full guide to buying tickets and boarding trains, complete with pictures, check out our Complete Guide to Riding Trains in Japan!
You can also buy cards from private companies, like the Kansai Thru Pass or the Rainbow Card, beforehand, although these can't be used on JR lines. Other discount tickets include the Enjoy Eco Card, that lets you ride the subway and the city bus routes as much as you want for a day.
All trains begin running around 5 AM. The last trains of the day are usually around midnight, but some of the lines stop running sometime after 11 PM. For more information, please use a train route app.
Which Line Should I Take?
Here is a list of popular tourist destinations within Osaka and in the wider region, and which line you should take to get there. For specific information on how to get to the platforms or which specific train you should take, read the sections below!
- Universal Studio Japan: JR Osaka Loop Line (11-15 minutes)
- Shin-Sekai/Tsutenkaku: JR Osaka Loop Line (15 minutes)
- Osaka Castle: JR Osaka Loop Line (9-11 minutes) or Tanimachi Subway Line (4-6 minutes)
- Dotonbori/Shinsaibashi/Amerikamura: Midosuji Subway Line (6-9 minutes)
- Amerikamura/Horie: Yotsubashi Subway Line (5 minutes)
- Abeno Harukas: Midosuji Subway Line (16 minutes) or Tanimachi Subway Line (13 minutes)
- Kaiyukan Aquarium: Midosuji Subway Line (20 minutes)
- Tenjinbashi: Tanimachi Subway Line (4 minutes)
- Kyoto: JR Kyoto Line (29 minutes on Special Rapid) or Hankyu Line (40-43 minutes)
- Kobe: JR Kobe Line (22 minutes on Special Rapid), Hankyu Railway (27 minutes), or Hanshin Railway (31-38 minutes)
- Nara: JR Yamatoji Line (50 minutes on an express)
Taking JR Lines [Osaka Station]
JR Osaka Station has 11 platforms. You can use the bridges that connect them for smooth passage. If you have to transfer trains, first use the stairs or escalator to reach those bridges. The JR Lines passing through Osaka Station can get you to:
Universal Studios Japan: Take the JR Osaka Loop Line on platform 1. You can take a direct train bound for Sakurajima. You can also take the JR Osaka Loop Line towards Nishikujo or Bentencho, then switch to the JR Yumesaki Line at Nishikujo heading to Sakurajima. Alight at Universal City Station. 11-15 minutes
Shin-Sekai/Tsuutenkaku: From platform 1, take the JR Osaka Loop Line heading towards Nishikujo or Bentencho. Alight at Imamiya Station. 15 minutes
Osaka Castle: From platform 2, take the JR Osaka Loop Line towards Kyobashi or Tsuruhashi. Alight at Osakajokoen or Morinomiya. 9-11 minutes
- You can also take the Kansai International Airport express train heading to Tennoji.
Kyoto: Take the JR Kyoto Line from platforms 8, 9, and 10. All trains will stop at Kyoto Station, EXCEPT for the train heading to Takatsuki. Alight at Kyoto. 29 minutes (on a special rapid express)
Kobe: Take the JR Kobe Line from platforms 3, 4, and 5 (all trains). Alight at Sannomiya. 22 minutes (on a special rapid express)
Nara: Take the JR Yamatoji Line bound for Kamo or Nara from platform 1, or take the JR Osaka Loop Line, then transfer at Nishikujo or Bentencho to the Yamatoji Line. Alight at Nara Station. 50 minutes (on a Yamatoji express train).
Taking Hankyu Railway [Umeda Station]
Hankyu Railway can get you to:
Kyoto: From platform 1 or 2, take the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line limited express to Kawaramachi. Alight at Kurasuma (HK85) or Kawaramachi (HK86). 40-43 minutes
Kobe: From platform 8 or 9, take the Hankyu Kobe Main Line limited express to Shinkaichi. Alight at Kobe Sannomiya (HK16). 27 minutes
If there aren't any limited express trains running, you can also take the express or the commuter express trains. They run from the 2 and 3 platforms for Kawaramachi and 8 and 9 platforms for Kobe Sannomiya.
・Getting to the Platforms
(1) Exit the Midosuji ticket gates, and leave the station through the Midosuji north exit.
(2) Right after you exit, take the escalator front and to the right.
(3) When you get off the escalator, head to the right.
(4) When you see the red Ferris wheel ahead of you, continue forward on the pedestrian bridge.
(5) Enter the building, and as you continue you'll see a convenience store named Asnas. There you take a left.
(6) Continue straight and you'll reach Hankyu Umeda Station.
Taking Hanshin Railway [Umeda Station]
Hanshin Railway can get you to:
Kobe: From platform 2, take the Hanshin Main Line special express to Sanyo-Himeji or Sumaura-Koen, or trains heading to Higashi-Suma, Sanyo Suma, Shinkaichi, etc. Alight at Kobe-Sannomiya (HS32) or Motomachi (HS33). 31-38 minutes
Kobe Harborland: From platform 2, take the Hanshin Main Line special express to Sanyo Himeji or Sumaura Koen, or trains heading to Higashi-Suma, Sanyo Suma, Shinkaichi, etc. Alight at Kosoku-Kobe (HS35). 37 minutes
・Getting to the Platforms
(1) From the Sakurabashi ticket gates, exit out of the Sakurabashi exit.
(2) Take the stairs in front of the exit, and continue down the street.
(3) Keep going straight, and you'll reach a Tully's Coffee.
(4) Take a left, and you'll find the Hanshin Umeda Station ticket gates.
Taking the Midosuji Subway Line [Umeda Station]
The Midosuji subway line can get you to:
Dotonbori/Shinsaibashi/Amerikamura: Take the train from platform 1*. Alight at Shinsaibashi (M19) or Namba (M20). 6 to 9 minutes
Abeno Harukas: Take the train from platform 1*. Alight at Tennoji (M23). 16 minutes
Kaiyukan Aquarium: Take the train from platform 1*, and switch to the Chuo Line heading to Cosmos Square at Honmachi Station. Alight at Osakako (C11). 20 minutes
* - In all three cases, you can also take trains heading to Tennoji, Abiko, and Shinkanaoka.
・Getting to the Platforms
(1) Exit from the Midosuji ticket gates and head diagonally towards the right.
(2) You'll see a sign with a red train mark, so you can use the escalator to head underground. (The subway lines can be distinguished by their colors, and the Midosuji is red.)
(3) When you get off the escalator, you'll be able to see the ticket gates ahead of you.
(4) The ticket gates right before you is platform 2, heading towards Shin-Osaka. For Namba and Tennoji, keep going to the ticket gates in the back for platform 1.
Taking the Tanimachi Subway Line [Higashi-Umeda Station]
The Tanimachi subway line can get you to:
Tenjinbashi: From platform 2, take the train bound for Dainichi or Miyakojima. Alight at Tenjinbashisuji Rokuchome (T18). 4 minutes
Abeno Harukas: From platform 1, take the train bound for Yaominami (or Fuminosato or Kire-Uriwari). Alight at Tennoji (T27). 13 minutes
Osaka Castle: From platform 1, take the train bound for Yaominami (or Fuminosato or Kire-Uriwari). Alight at Tenjinbashi (T22) or Tanimachi Yonchome (T23). 4-6 minutes
・Getting to Higashi-Umeda Station
(1) Leave the Midosuji ticket gates and exit out of the Misosuji south exit.
(2) Go straight and you'll reach a small crosswalk. Cross it, and head towards the bus terminal.
(3) If you keep going straight, you'll find some stairs. Use those to head underground. (The Tanimachi Line's color is purple.)
(4) Once you go downstairs, take a left. You should be able to see the Hanshin Hyakkaten department store to your right.
(5) When you reach a slightly open area, head diagonally to the right.
(6) To the left ahead of you will be a Dotour Coffee shop, and you'll head into Whity Umeda
(7) Keep going forward, and at the first corner, take a right.
(8) Keep going straight, and to your left there will be a bookstore. At that corner, take a left, then a right.
(9) The first ticket gates you see will be for the second platform heading to Dainichi. The ticket gates in the back are for platform 1, heading to Tenjinbashi and Tennoji.
Taking the Yotsubashi Subway Line [Nishi-Umeda Station]
The Yotsubashi subway line can get you to:
Amerikamura/Horie: From platforms 1 or 2, take the train bound for Suminoekoen or Kitakagaya. Alight at Yotsubashi (Y14). 5 minutes
・Getting to Nishi-Umeda Station
(1) Take the Sakurabashi ticket gates and exit out of the Sakurabashi exit.
(2) Take the stairs in front of the exit and keep going straight.
(3) Keep going straight, and you'll reach a Tully's Coffee. (This is the same route as the Hanshin Line so far.)
(4) Head to the right, and when you can see red pillars, head that way.
(5) After a little while, you should be able to see a sign to your left. The Yotsubashi Line is light blue.
(6) There are ticket gates in front of the stairs, but those are only for exiting.
(7) On both sides of the exiting ticket gates are hallways that will take you to the ticket gates for entering the subway.
Taking the JR Tozai Line [Kitashinchi Station]
The Tozai Line is operated by JR but does not pass through Osaka Station. Instead, it runs through Kitashinchi Station, slightly to the south, which is a business district filled with high-class clubs and traditional restaurants.
・Getting to Kitashinchi Station
(1) Take a right outside of the Chuo ticket gates and head to the Chuo south exit.
(2) From the Chuo south exit, head down the stairs in front of you. There is also an escalator.
(3) When you reach the basement, head straight and pass through the South Gate Building.
(4) To the left will be the Hanshin Hyakkaten, and to the right will be a ticket shop. Keep going straight.
(5) You'll reach Diamor Osaka, and head into that and keep going straight until the Circle Plaza.
(6) From the Circle Plaza, take the road that stretches towards the right.
(7) As you continue, you'll eventually see a sign for JR Kitashinchi Station.
(8) You can take either the left or the right hallway, and you'll eventually arrive at the ticket gates.
JR Odekake Net (Japanese): http://www.jr-odekake.net/
JR-WEST Official Homepage in English: http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/
Taking the City Bus
You board city buses from the back and alight from the front. You pay when you're alighting, so you pay by putting money in the box next to the driver. You can use an IC card or the KANSAI THRU PASS. From here, you can get to:
Dotonbori: Take bus number 8 or 75 from bus stop #3 to Namba (around 26 minutes)
Osaka Castle: Take bus number 62 from bus stop #3 to Osakajo Ootemae (around 17 minutes)
Kaiyukan Aquarium: Take bus number 88 from bus stop #2 to Tempozan (around 46 minutes)
・Getting to the Bus Terminal
When you exit the Midosuji south exit in front of the Midosuji ticket gates and go straight, you'll be able to see the bus terminal right away. The bus stops are different depending on the bus you're taking, so please double-check using the information signs.
Taking the Taxi
While taking taxis is relatively more expensive, if you have luggage it's much easier to travel using them. However, you might get caught in traffic jams, so please use them when you have plenty of time.
Traveling to major destinations (estimated without using toll roads):
- Dotonbori: about 25 minutes
- Abeno Harukas: about 25 minutes
- Osaka Castle: about 15 minutes
- Kaiyukan Aquarium: around 30 minutes
・Getting to the Taxi Stands
There are two taxi stands at JR Osaka Station. The first one is on the 2nd floor of the North Gate Building. When you exit the Chuo ticket gates and head to the left, you can take the escalator to the 2nd floor. Enter LUCUA 1100, and if you follow the signs with the taxi mark on it, you'll reach the taxi stand.
There's another one at the Sakurabashi exit. Once you exit the Sakurabashi ticket gates, the taxi stand will be directly in front of you. Sometimes there aren't taxis waiting at the North Gate Building stand, so this one is a little more certain.
Renting a Car
Just like taxis, rental cars can be very useful when you have lots of luggage. However, you might get caught in a traffic jam or not be able to find parking, so it would be good to take plenty of precaution if you decide to rent a car.
There are two rental car companies near JR Osaka Station. The first is Orix Rent-A-Car on the B1 floor of the north building of Grand Front Osaka. Exit the Chuo ticket gates and take the escalator to the 2nd floor, then use the connecting bridge to reach the Grand Front Osaka. That building is the south building, so continue forward. Use the connecting deck and head to the north building.
The 2nd is Toyota Rent-A-Lease. You can take the same route to Grand Front Osaka. In the area between the north and south buildings on the 1st floor, head 1 block east, then take a left, and you'll find it.
Convenient Services Inside JR Osaka Station
Inside Osaka Station City, there are plenty of convenient services that you should know about. Once you master the convenience of this facility, you can have a very comfortable trip!
Coin Lockers and Luggage Counters
Coin lockers where you can leave our luggage are on the 1st and 3rd floors of JR Osaka Station. The area with the most lockers are straight ahead of the Chuo exit ticket gates, through the Chuo ticket sales area. There's also a left luggage office there that will take luggage too big for the lockers.
Where to Exchange Currency
From the Chuo ticket gates, head to the left (north) and you'll be able to see this currency exchange booth inside TiS Osaka on the right-hand side. There's also one on the B1 floor of the north building of Grand Front Osaka.
・Outside of Banks
The following are other currency exchange places outside of the station.
The first one is the currency exchange outside of the bank. There are currency exchange shops outside the Mitsui Sumitomo Bank and the Ikeda Senshu Bank on the B1 floro of the Hankyu Sanbangai, as well as in front of the Mizuho Bank on the 2nd floor of Hankyu Umeda Station in front of the Chuo ticket gates. Also, you can withdraw Japanese yen from your international bank account at every Seven Bank ATM. There's one inside the station on the southern side of the connecting bridge between north and south on the 3rd floor inside the Tourist Service Center.
Japanese only: http://www.smbc.co.jp/kojin/kaigaiservice/
At the ticket shop, you can get currency changed at better rates than at Travelex or at banks, but not all shops will do it. Ticket Zone on the B2 floor of the 2nd building is recommended because they accept many types of currency.
On the southern side of the north-south connecting bridge on the 3rd floor of JR Osaka Center is the Tourist Service Center. When you exit the ticket gate of the connecting bridge and go straight, it will be on your right. There, you can find:
- A touch-panel map with information about inside the building and about the surrounding area
- A luggage delivery service, where you can ship your luggage to hotels inside the city of Osaka, to Kansai International Airport, nationwide, and even internationally
- Seven Bank ATM for withdrawing Japanese yen
Also in that area on the 3rd floor of JR Osaka Station is the information desk for all of Osaka Station City. Take a right when you exit the ticket gates of the connecting bridge, and it's between LUCUA and LUCUA 1100. There, you can find:
- Information about the building
- Lost and found
- Reservations for all sorts of guided tours
- Wi-Fi router rental (passport necessary)
- Applications for use of the prayer room
- Available languages are Japanese, English, and Chinese
On the 1st floor central concourse of JR Osaka Station is a Tourist Information Center. Exit the Chuo ticket gates and take a left, and the entrance will be next to the ticket machines.
- Railroad information in Japanese and English
- Sightseeing information in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean
Inside Osaka City Station, there are a few places where you can use a public Wi-Fi service. There will be a sticker that says JR-WEST in the area. Be aware that you have to get a guest code before you arrive in the country to use it. Otherwise, you can rent a Wi-Fi router from the information desk on the 3rd floor of the North Gate Building.
Prayer Rooms (Multi-Denominational)
There's a prayer room available for use on the 1st floor of the South Gate Building in the South Gate Plaza. There are separate rooms for men and women, and there's a small purification area to cleanse your body. If you'd like to use it, first head to the information desk on the 3rd floor of the North Gate Building for a simple but required application.
Recommended Spots in the Station Area
Around JR Osaka Station, there are plenty of facilities, including well-established department stores, luxury hotels, and shopping malls aimed at young people. If you're planning a full tourist's visit of the area, you can check out our article on 10 Sightseeing Spots Around Osaka Station, but if you just have a bit of extra time to spend, here are a few recommended spots to consider:
・Yodobashi Camera Umeda
Yodobashi Camera Umeda, a home appliance store, is right in front of JR Osaka Station, but since there's no crosswalk between the station and the building, you can't reach it above ground without taking a long way around. If you're going from JR Osaka Station, it's easier to access it via the Midosuji north exit and use the connecting underground route.
Inside the Eki Marche area inside the station, the Eki Donki is also recommended. They have a variety of products, from cosmetics to foodstuffs to appliances! There's duty-free items and Osaka souvenirs aimed at foreign tourists. It's right by the Sakurabashi ticket gates, so it's great to stop by before or after you ride a train.
・Grand Front Osaka
The Umeda area, especially around JR Osaka Station, has become filled with new buildings in recent years. The Grand Front Osaka, directly connected to the station, is a landmark that represents the area along with Osaka Station City. There are 226 stores and restaurants inside this huge shopping building. To access it from Osaka Station, you can use the connecting deck on the 2nd floor of the North Gate Building or the connecting hallway on the B1 floor.
Also, the South Gate Building is home to a Daimaru department store, and near HEP FIVE, the building famous for the Ferris wheel, there's a UNIQLO. In the shopping mall beneath JR Osaka Station there's a drugstore called Matsumoto Kiyoshi. There are plenty of shops popular with foreign tourists so please enjoy taking a walk and discovering new stores to check out.
Delicious Local Cuisine! Places to Eat
Exit from the Midosuji south exit of the station, and Shin-Umeda Shokudogai is across the crosswalk heading towards the Hankyu department store. There are about 100 shops inside the building, as it's a retro food building. There are plenty of different types of restaurants here, from the Matsuba Souhonten offering kushikatsu, Takoume specializing in oden, Hanadako selling takoyaki, as well as ethnic food like Thai restaurants and restaurants selling local sake. It's known for the many cozy restaurants.
East of the Umeda Hankyu building is the Hankyu Higashi-dori shopping arcade, which is a business and gourmet area representative of the Kita area of Osaka. Other than restaurants, you can also find amusement places like karaoke booths and game centers. There are restaurants like Mifune, where you can grill your own okonomiyaki on the hibachi grill in front of you, and the original conveyor belt sushi restaurant Genroku Sushi. There's also chain izakaya bars and trendy dining bars, so it's an area flourishing with different kinds of places.
・Soraniwa Dining (32nd Floor)
If you want to enjoy a nice evening meal, the dining floor of the Hankyu Grand Building (east of the Hankyu department store), Soraniwa Dining, is a lovely choice. Since the building is a skyscraper, you can enjoy a delicious meal while gazing out at the beautiful Osaka night view. There is a varied line-up of restaurants here, including the Grand Hakurakuten managed by the hotel and the Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant Wa +ITALIAN MITSUKE.
There are plenty of shopping buildings and department stores with restaurant floors around the station, so there's so much choice that you won't know where to try. These restaurants are also entirely on the eastern Umeda side, but on the west, there's the Dai 1-4 buildings where all the local businessmen have lunch, so why not check it out during the day?
Accommodations: From Cheap Lodging to High-Class Hotels
There are plenty of options around JR Osaka Station, including luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton Osaka as well as relatively affordable hotels like the Gran Via Osaka and the Shin-Hankyu Hotel. There are various types of facilities to choose from, so please select the place that fits your goals and budget.
・Intercontinental Hotel Osaka
Since you've come all the way to Japan, why not have an elegant stay in a high-grade hotel? The Grand Front Osaka is directly connected to JR Osaka Station, and in it is the Intercontinental Hotel Osaka, a hotel that offers world-class services. The concept is contemporary luxury. It's a modern, elegant design, but it also is a space where you can feel the warmth and calmness unique to Japan.
・Other Upscale Hotels
The shuttle buses to hotels slightly far away, like the Imperial Hotel, the Rihga Royal Hotel, the Weston, etc., can all be taken from the bus stop near the Sakurabashi exit of JR Osaka Station. Once you exit the Sakurabashi ticket gates, you take a right and keep going. Take a right without crossing the crosswalk, and it will be near the Eki Marche Osaka entrance.
・Drop Inn Osaka
If you want to meet other travelers on your trip, a guesthouse might be perfect for you. 10 minutes south of Umeda Sky Building is Drop Inn Osaka, a facility where you can enjoy communicating with other lodgers. Each bed in the dormitory room has its own outlet, lamp, futon, pillow, and curtain, and lockers for your valuables are free. Each room is Japanese-style with tatami flooring, so you can enjoy Japanese aesthetics during your stay.
・Capsule Inn Osaka
They're mostly men-only, but there's also capsule hotels available. Capsule hotels are a type of accommodation unique to Japan where you stay in a small box-like area with a simple bed. Since the services are minimum, the rates are cheap, so it's great for people that want to spend all their money on entertainment rather than lodging. Capsule Inn Osaka is 5 minutes away from JR Osaka Station in the Hankyu Higashi-dori Shoutengai. It's the world's first capsule hotel. Check-in is available 24 hours a day, so you can easily stay at any time.
It's very hard to easily navigate a place you're not used to, so hopefully this information will help you get used to the area before you visit or during your visit. Keep this article in mind so you can have an easier, more fun trip through Osaka.
If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you'd really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.