Translated by Shinji Takaramura
How To Travel To Osaka From Tokyo
Written by MATCHA
To reach Osaka from Tokyo, take the Shinkansen bullet train for convenience and comfort, the airplane for speed, and the highway bus if you're traveling on a budget. Read this guide to learn details such as time and costs, along with useful tips on each transportation method.
The Route to Osaka from Tokyo
Getting to Osaka from Tokyo is convenient, as travelers can ride the Shinkansen (bullet train), buses, or airplane to access this metropolis in western Japan. Transportation time, cost, and comfort varies by each method.
Below is a table displaying the time and cost of each transportation method from Tokyo to Osaka.
|Travel Method||Time Required||Price (one-way)|
|Shinkansen (bullet train)||2 hours, 33 minutes (riding the fastest train)||13,620 yen (unreserved seat)|
|Airplane||around 1.5 hours||5,000 to 10,000 yen|
|Bus||around 8 to 9 hours||6,000 to 10,000 yen|
Continue reading to find out more about how to access Osaka from Tokyo and the advantages and disadvantages of each transportation option.
1. Shinkansen: Convenient and Recommended for JR Pass-Holders
Ride the bullet train for convenience and if you hold a JR pass. Picture from How To Buy Shinkansen Tickets
The Shinkansen (bullet train) is a very convenient way to travel from Tokyo to Osaka. It offers a smooth and comfortable ride and a short travel time, compared to other methods. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can use most Shinkansen for free, including ones that travel from Tokyo to Osaka, so it is highly suggested to use this route.
To reach Osaka, board the Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo Station and get off at Shin-Osaka Station, the Shinkansen stop for Osaka. There are three types of Shinkansen you can ride: Nozomi, Hikari, or Kodama.
Nozomi is the fastest train, as the ride to Osaka takes about two and a half hours. Hikari takes about three hours, and Kodama takes about four. Use the Japan Rail Pass for free rides on the Hikari and Kodama.
Traveling one-way from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station (the Shinkansen stop for Osaka) costs 13,620 yen for a non-reserved seat, 14,450 yen for a reserved seat, and 19,230 yen for a green car seat.
Shin-Osaka Station is only one station away from JR Osaka Station, making the Shinkansen a convenient and comfortable choice for travel.
Shin-Osaka is also a fifteen-minute ride away on the subway from Shinsaibashi Station and Namba Station, both of which are close to Dotonbori, a sightseeing area known for its bright townscape, local food, and canal.
|Convenient, can see Mt. Fuji during the ride||Expensive to ride without the JR Pass|
Picture from Tailor-Made Holidays In Japan With Japan Rail Pass
If you haven't considered using the Japan Rail Pass, which enables travelers to ride JR trains and Shinkansen, please do so. It will save you money if you are visiting several cities in Japan.
Shinkansen and Sightseeing Discounts Between Tokyo-Osaka! JR Flex Rail Ticket
For those leaving from Tokyo, another suggested option is booking a roundtrip Shinkansen ticket with Veltra. The ticket includes a discounted price on a roundtrip between Tokyo and Osaka, useable within a 7-day period. It also comes with your choice of activity ticket for Osaka––select from free admission to Abeno Harukas, discounts for local Osaka food and drink, and other fun experiences in this fun Kansai city.
2. Airplane: The Fastest Way to Travel to Osaka
Flying from Tokyo to Osaka is a time-saving option. Picture from How To Stay Overnight In Haneda Airport's International Terminal
There are daily flights from Narita and Haneda airports that go to Kansai International and Itami airports, which serve the Osaka area. The departure and arrival will depend on the airline company and the flight. Flying is the fastest way to travel, as the flight takes about one hour and a half one-way.
One disadvantage to flying, however, is that airports, like Narita, are located further away from urban areas. For example, it takes around one hour to reach Narita Airport from Tokyo Station.
Low-cost carriers, like Peach and JetStar, offer tickets from 5,000 to 10,000 one-way depending on the time and day. Companies like Japan Airlines and ANA sell tickets from 12,000 yen and up.
Please keep in mind that fares vary according to airline and the season, so an early reservation is recommended.
|Fast and cost-efficient||Travel to and from airports takes time|
Find cheap flights from Tokyo to Osaka: Skyticket
How Much Does a Plane Ticket Cost to Osaka?
3. Highway Bus: The Cheapest Transportation Method
Highway buses are an inexpensive option. Picture from Japan Bus Pass: Unlimited Rides on High-Way Buses Around Japan!
Travelers wanting to save on transportation costs should use the highway bus. The bus fare may be low as 3,000 to 4,000 yen, although it depends on the season and the bus company. Average fares range from 6,000 to 10,000 yen.
Willer Express is a popular and reliable bus company where you can buy tickets online. Kosoku Bus is another helpful company to use.
The travel time is around eight to nine hours, but by using a night bus, which departs in the evening, passengers can sleep during the ride.
Visitors from abroad should take a look at Japan Bus Pass, a special ticket which allows the user to ride multiple highway buses and move around various cities.
|Cheap and time-efficient when using the night bus service||Seats can be uncomfortable for some travelers|
4. Local Trains: A Leisurely Way to Travel
Travel from Tokyo to Osaka via local trains. This is an option suitable for travelers who have extra time.
If you plan to visit local cities along the way to Osaka and to travel at a slower pace, the Seishun 18 Kippu, a discount ticket costing 11,850 yen, is highly recommended.
This budget ticket allows users to ride on non-reserved seats of JR local and rapid service trains all over Japan for five days, with the freedom to get on and off freely. Additional fare is necessary to ride the limited express.
With this pass, you can visit sightseeing spots such as Hakone or Nagoya on your way to Osaka. This ticket is recommended to those who want to enjoy the local scenery as they ride, or travel without planning in advance.
Please be aware that this ticket is sold only three times a year, and the term of validity is limited.
|Cheap and allows for local sightseeing||Travel is slow and tickets can only be used during specific seasons|
Access Osaka from Tokyo - Shinkansen for Comfort, Airplane for Speed, and Bus for Budget Travel
There are various ways to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, including Shinkansen, airplane, bus, and even local train. The Shinkansen provides a comfortable, scenic ride, airplanes are time-efficient, and buses are ideal for travelers trying to save money. Local trains are a great option for people who want to see lesser-known, local spots while traveling.
Use this article as a guide to find a transportation method that fits your itinerary, budget, and travel style, and enjoy the most of what these two major destinations in Japan have to offer.
Activities For Osaka
Original Japanese article written by: Ai Yoneda
*This article is a revised 2020 version of the original, published on December 3, 2015.