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How to Travel to Osaka from Tokyo in 2023: Price Comparison
In order to reach Osaka from Tokyo you can take a bullet train, highway bus, airplane, train, or car. We compare travel times and fares, pros and cons, and offer discount ticket information. Find the option that best suits your travel plans!
From Tokyo to Osaka
Tokyo and Osaka―each with their own international airport―are large cities that serve as a base for sightseeing in Japan. There are also many visitors who like to include both cities in their sightseeing itinerary.
Tokyo and Osaka are about 500 kilometers apart from each other. There are many ways to travel from one city to the other including shinkansen, airplane, highway bus, and car.
Getting straight to the point, we recommend the shinkansen for travelers who prioritize speed and comfort, and the highway bus for those who want to travel economically. However, there are other modes of transportation, each with their own unique and attractive characteristics.
Table of Contents
1. Tokyo to Osaka: Modes of Transportation, Travel Times, and Fares
2. Shinkansen: Fast and Convenient!
3. Airplane: Inexpensive Fares Are Also Possible!
4. Highway Bus: Ideal for Economical Travel!
5. Local Train: Get on and off Whenever You Want To!
6. Car: Get Around Easily After Arriving In Osaka!
7. Frequently Asked Questions
Tokyo to Osaka: Modes of Transportation, Travel Times, and Fares
The chart below compares modes of transportation based on travel time and fares when traveling between Osaka and Tokyo. Please find the transportation method that best suits your own travel purposes after learning about their advantages and disadvantages!
|Transportation Method||Time||One-Way Fare|
|Bullet train||2 hours and 30 minutes (via Nozomi which is fastest)||14,920 yen (reserved seating)|
|Airplane||1 hour and 30 minutes||5,000 to 20,000 yen|
|Highway Bus||8-10 hours||2,000 to 10,000 yen|
|Regular Train||9 hours||8,910 yen|
|Car||6 hours to 7 hours||8,000 to 14,000 yen (Expressway Toll)|
Bullet Train (Shinkansen): Fast and Convenient!
Please also see: Shinkansen: How to Buy Bullet Train Tickets Photo by Pixta
The most convenient way to go from Tokyo to Osaka is by bullet train, or shinkansen. It offers a smooth and comfortable ride and is characterized by its short travel time compared to other kinds of transportation. Plus you also get stunning views of Mt. Fuji!
When going to Osaka by bullet train, first you'll get on at Tokyo Station and then disembark at Shin Osaka Station. It's just one station from Shin Osaka Station to Osaka Station. Also, with a 15-minute subway ride, you can get to Namba Station and also Shinsaibashi Station which is near the sightseeing spot of Dotonbori.
Fares According to Type of Shinkansen
The Tokyo-Osaka route is connected by the Tokaido Shinkansen which offers three types of bullet trains: Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama. Their respective station stops and travel times differ.
Nozomi is the fastest of the three and arrives at Shin Osaka Station in just two hours and 30 minutes. Hikari takes about three hours, and Kodama takes about four hours.
However, one-way fare from Tokyo to Osaka is the same for all three train types. For example, one-way reserved seating is 14,920 yen, unreserved seating is 13,870 yen, and Green Car seating is 19,590 yen (fares increase during peak season).
|Advantages of Shinkansen||Disadvantages of Shinkansen|
|Fast and Comfortable. Views of Mt. Fuji during your trip.||Can feel a bit overpriced in cases where the JR Pass is not accepted.|
How to Travel Inexpensively on the Shinkansen
Please also see: Japan Rail Pass Guide - How And Where To Buy, Merits, And Tips
With Puratto Kodama (Japanese), a service offered by JR Tokai Tours, you can buy a reserved seat on a Kodama regular car for a reasonable 10,900 yen (fare increases during peak season).
But please note that the deadline for purchasing this ticket is 22:00 the day before you board the train. Also, it comes with various restrictions: changes to the ticket's day of use, the car and section, and the seat position, are not allowed.
On the other hand, for international visitors planning a trip to the city that doesn't include the Tokyo-Osaka route, we recommend the convenient and flexible Japan Rail Pass. It's a great bargain that allows for unlimited rides on the shinkansen and other trains throughout Japan!
For details on the Japan Rail Pass coverage and fares please refer to Klook or the related article down below. Please note that the Japan Rail Pass can be used for the shinkansen but only on Hikari and Kodama trains.
Airplane: Inexpensive Fares Are Occasionally Available!
Travelers can also go from Tokyo to Osaka by airplane. In Tokyo there's Narita Airport and Haneda Airport, and in Osaka visitors can use either Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport. The travel time is about 90 minutes.
Main Service Routes and Airfare
The chart below lists the airline companies and their respective airfares (for mid-April 2023) as shown on the site Skyticket. As you can see, taking a low-cost carrier (LCC) such as Peach and Jetstar departing from Narita Airport and landing at Kansai International Airport, can be cheaper than taking the shinkansen.
|Departure / Arrival Airport||Airline Company||One-Way Airfare|
|Narita Airport → Kansai International Airport||Peach||5,440 yen and up|
|Jetstar||6,060 yen and up|
|Haneda Airport → Kansai International Airport||STARFLYER||11,110 yen and up|
|ANA||17,310 yen and up|
|Haneda Airport → Itami Airport||ANA||17,710 yen and up|
Travel Times to Central Osaka from Kansai Airport and Itami Airport
From either Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport, it takes about one hour to the heart of Osaka by train. With Tokyo as well, it takes roughly one hour by train from Narita Airport to central Tokyo.
Additionally, time is also required for boarding procedures, luggage check-in, and luggage retrieval at the destination point. If you only consider the airplane's travel time, then it's faster than the shinkansen. But unfortunately, this can't be said when you also include the time spent at the airport.
When considering the advantages of air travel, however, one can say that taking a low-cost carrier from Narita Airport to Kansai International Airport would be cheaper than the shinkansen.
|Advantages of Air Travel||Disadvantages of Air Travel|
|Can be sometimes cheaper than the bullet train||Takes time to get to the heart of Osaka from the airport|
Highway Bus: Ideal for Economical Travel!
Photo by Pixta
We recommend the highway bus for people who'd like to travel economically regardless of the time required. In general, the price ranges from about 6,000 to 10,000 yen, but there are instances where it only costs 2,000 to 4,000 yen depending on time of the year and the bus company.
Travel time is 8 to 10 hours, but if you take the overnight bus you can sleep on the way to your destination. This is a great way to maximize your available sightseeing time.
The Tokyo-Osaka highway bus has several departure and arrival points. In Tokyo's case many buses depart from Tokyo Station's Yaesu exit and the Kajibashi Parking Lot.
With Osaka there are many different arrival points. In addition to Osaka Station's JR Highway Bus Terminal, buses also arrive at Umeda Station, Namba Station and other destination points.
All these points are within the heart of Osaka, but if you'd like to arrive at your desired destination even faster, then we recommend researching to find out which arrival point is best for you.
|Advantages of Highway Bus||Disadvantages of Highway Bus|
|Cheaper than bullet train or airplane. Even cheaper on the overnight bus.||Long travel time. The seats can feel rather cramped.|
Local Train: Get on and off Whenever You Want To!
People who want to take their time and enjoy their travels also have the option of taking a local train. A Tokyo-Osaka local train costs 8,910 yen and takes 9 hours to arrive.
Those who don't want to go to Osaka directly but would rather stop along the way and explore regional cities, buying a Seishun 18 Kippu Ticket is a good idea. This handy ticket costs 12,050 yen (March 2023, adult and children pay the same fare).
With non-reserved seating in ordinary cars of JR local and rapid trains throughout Japan, passengers are allowed to embark and disembark the train freely. When riding limited express trains an extra charge applies.
However, you need to keep in mind that the ticket sales period and period of use are restricted to just three times a year: spring, summer, and winter. For example, in 2023 the sales period and period of use is as follows.
Ticket Sales Period & Period of Use
Spring and Fall: February 20, 2023 to March 31, 2023
Valid from: March 1 to April 10, 2023
Summer and Fall: July 1, 2023 to August 31, 2023
Valid from: July 20 to September 10, 2023
Winter and Fall: December 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023
Valid from: December 10, 2023 to January 10, 2024
On the way between Tokyo and Osaka you can stop in and visit sightseeing destinations such as Hakone and Nagoya. We recommend this for those who want to relax and enjoy the scenery from the train and those who'd like to travel freely with no set itinerary.
|Advantages of Local Train||Disadvantages of Local Train|
|Cheap. You can get off and explore small towns along the way.||Long travel time.|
Rental Car: Get Around Easily After Arriving in Osaka!
Photo by Pixta
Going from Tokyo to Osaka by car via expressway takes six to seven hours. The one-way highway toll is about 8,000 to 14,000 yen. You will also need to add in gasoline charges.
Considering the cost and time and also the fatigue factor, it's difficult to say that traveling by car is a good option. But actually it does offer a convenient point. When you arrive in Osaka it'll be easy to get around.
Rentin a Car Is Convenient for Touring the Kansai Area
While it is possible to access these places using public transport, a car is more convenient for people who'd like to travel efficiently and also stop into a shop or cafe along the way.
In Osaka there are many car rental agencies. Coming directly to Osaka from Tokyo by car is one option, but we also recommend renting a car when you arrive in Osaka.
MATCHA is currently offering international visitors a NIPPON Rent-A-Car 10％ OFF Coupon . Please take advantage of this great offer!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Are there times when shinkansen, airplane, and highway bus tickets are cheaper? Likewise, when do price increases occur?
However, during peak periods, ticket prices for the shinkansen, airplane, and highway bus all increase, and there are also instances when tickets get completely sold out. This includes Golden Week (about April 27-May 6), Obon (about August 10-19), and from about December 28-January 6 at the end of the year and into the new year.
Also, when traveling by car during these times of the year the expressways can become congested.
So when traveling during these periods it's a good idea to make your reservations early and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
Q2. Are there any differences between going from Osaka to Tokyo and going from Tokyo to Osaka?
A. No, they are fundamentally the same.
Q3. When touring the Osaka area are there any bargain passes?
A. The experience reservation site Klook sells the Osaka Amazing Pass. This pass is for international visitors and is a set that combines unlimited rides on the subway with admission tickets for major sightseeing spots.
Q4. Can One buy tickets for Osaka sightseeing spots ahead of time?
If you decide to buy a same-day ticket at one of Osaka's popular sightseeing spots you might be greeted by a long lineup. So it's better to pick up tickets before going to your destination.
Find the Mode of Transportation That Suits You Best!
So please find the method of transportation that best suits your itinerary, budget, and travel style, then fully enjoy your Tokyo and Osaka adventure!
Original writer of this article: Ai Yoneda
*This article is a 2023 revised edition of an article that was originally published on December 3, 2015.
The MATCHA editorial department. Our articles feature useful travel information for visitors to Japan, from how-to guides to recommended places to visit.