Immerse Yourself in Art and History: Unveiling Tokyo's Museum at the Imperial Palace - Treasures of the Imperial Family at Sannomaru Shozokan

How to Travel to Osaka from Tokyo in 2024: Price Comparison

This service includes sponsored advertisements.
article thumbnail image

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!

Latest update :

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.

From Tokyo to Osaka

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. Other Travel Tips

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)

Book a hotel room in Osaka on Booking.com

Bullet Train (Shinkansen): Fast and Convenient!

to Osaka from Tokyo

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

to Osaka from Tokyo

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. If you plan to visit several cities and regions in Japan, the JR Pass can be very convenient.

For details on the Japan Rail Pass coverage and fares please refer to Klook or the related article down below.

Airplane: Inexpensive Fares Are Occasionally Available!

from tokyo to osaka

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 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!

to osaka from tokyo

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!

train

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 (adults 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.

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!

rental car

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.

Renting a Car Is Convenient for Touring the Kansai Area

The Kansai Region, which includes Osaka, has many attractive sightseeing areas including Kyoto and Nara as well as Hyogo Prefecture's Arima Hot Springs.

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!

Click here for a NIPPON Rent-A-Car 10% OFF Coupon!

Other Travel Tips

Are there times when shinkansen, airplane, and highway bus tickets are cheaper? Likewise, when do price increases occur?

A. Low-Cost Carriers (LCC) such as Jetstar and Peach occasionally offer sales. For details please refer to their respective homepages.

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.

Are there any differences between going from Osaka to Tokyo and going from Tokyo to Osaka?

A. No, they are fundamentally the same.

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.

Can One buy tickets for Osaka sightseeing spots ahead of time?

A. On the experience reservation site Klook you can buy tickets ahead of time for popular sightseeing spots such as Universal Studios Japan (USJ) and Tsutenkaku .

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.

FAQ

How much is the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka?

The cost of taking the bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Osaka varies based on factors such as the type of service, seating class, and reservation choice. Approximate ticket prices for the fastest services like Nozomi or Mizuho range from 13,000 to 15,000 yen for standard class seats, depending on reservation options. Slightly slower services such as Hikari or Sakura typically offer tickets for around 12,000 to 13,000 yen for standard class seats. Ticket prices can fluctuate, so travelers are advised to consult the official websites of JR Central or JR West for the most up-to-date information on fares, availability, and any special discounts when planning their Shinkansen journey from Tokyo to Osaka.

What is the best way to go from Tokyo to Osaka?

Traveling from Tokyo to Osaka offers various transportation options, each with its own benefits. The Shinkansen, or bullet train, provides a fast and efficient journey in approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, ideal for those seeking speed and convenience, albeit at a higher cost. Domestic flights offer a quicker alternative, while overnight buses provide budget-friendly travel with longer travel times. Highway buses and driving allow for flexibility and exploration but may be more time-consuming. Considering factors like time, budget, comfort, and personal preferences will help you select the best mode of transportation for your journey between Tokyo and Osaka, whether prioritizing speed, convenience, or cost-effectiveness for this popular route in Japan.

How much is a bus ticket from Tokyo to Osaka?

The cost of a bus ticket from Tokyo to Osaka can vary depending on the bus operator, the type of service, the time of booking, and the amenities provided. On average, a one-way bus ticket from Tokyo to Osaka typically ranges from around 4,000 to 10,000 yen, with prices fluctuating based on factors such as the type of seating (standard or premium), the duration of the journey, and the level of service offered.
For example, budget bus operators often offer more affordable fares starting from around 4,000 to 6,000 yen, while deluxe or premium services with additional comfort amenities may cost closer to 8,000 to 10,000 yen for a single trip. It's recommended to check the websites of bus companies like Willer Express, JR Bus, or other bus operators for the most up-to-date ticket prices, schedules, and available discounts when planning your bus journey from Tokyo to Osaka.

How often does the bullet train run from Tokyo to Osaka?

The Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train, provides frequent and high-speed services connecting Tokyo and Osaka with remarkable efficiency and reliability. Both the Nozomi and Hikari Shinkansen services run regularly throughout the day, offering travelers a wide range of options for departure times and travel flexibility. With trains departing approximately every 10-20 minutes during peak hours, passengers have ample opportunities to choose from a comprehensive schedule that extends from early morning until late evening, ensuring convenient travel times throughout the day. While reservations are recommended, the consistent frequency of Shinkansen services on this route allows for smooth and hassle-free journeys, making the bullet train a popular and convenient mode of transportation for travelers commuting between Tokyo and Osaka within a travel time of approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.

Is the bullet train in Japan worth it?

The Shinkansen, Japan's bullet train, is highly valued for its exceptional speed, efficiency, and reliability, making it a preferred mode of transportation for travelers. Known for reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h, the Shinkansen swiftly connects major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, providing a convenient and direct means of travel. Passengers enjoy the comfort of spacious seating, onboard amenities, and a punctual service that contributes to a seamless journey. With a robust network spanning Japan's diverse regions, the Shinkansen offers a hassle-free way to explore the country's landscapes while minimizing travel time and environmental impact, making it a worthwhile and popular choice for domestic and international travelers seeking an efficient and enjoyable travel experience in Japan.

Is a day trip to Osaka enough?

While a day trip from Tokyo to Osaka is feasible, the considerable travel time on the Shinkansen, approximately 2.5 to 3 hours each way, means a significant portion of the day will be spent in transit. Prioritizing key attractions like Dotonbori, Osaka Castle, or Shinsekai can make the most of your limited time in Osaka. However, the fast-paced nature of a day trip may restrict the depth of exploration, offering more of a glimpse into Osaka's culture and landmarks rather than a comprehensive experience. For a leisurely and immersive stay, considering overnight accommodations or a longer visit allows for a richer exploration of Osaka's diverse neighborhoods and culinary delights. Tailoring the trip to match personal preferences, tolerance for travel, and desired experiences will help determine if a day trip is enough to capture the essence of Osaka or if a more extended stay is preferable for a comprehensive exploration of the city.

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!

Book a hotel room in Osaka on Booking.com

Written by

The MATCHA editorial department. Our articles feature useful travel information for visitors to Japan, from how-to guides to recommended places to visit.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.