OSAKA FAQ`S

What is the main airport in Osaka?

The main airport servicing the city of Osaka, is Kansai International Airport, which all major international flights arrive and depart here. The airport is situated on a manmade island 31 miles south of the city center.

Osaka International Airport is also known as ITAMI, and was previously the main international airport in Osaka, but now only handles domestic flights since the opening of Kansai in 1994.

Kobe Airport sits on an artificial island off the coast of Kobe about 36 miles west of the city center in Osaka, handling only domestic flights the airport can also accommodate international charter flights.

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you have not booked a private transfer through us the following options are available at Kansai International Airport to transport you to your hotel: trains, taxis, buses and rental cars.

What types of transportation can I find at the airport?

The easiest way to get from the airport to Osaka is on the train, the train stations are located directly adjacent to the arrivals hall, just follow the signs and cross the walkway situated on the second floor.

Several train lines are available including the JR West Haruka (white with blue trim) limited express which is the fastest and easiest connection for passengers traveling to Tennoji (southeast of the city center) in around 30 minutes and costs approximately ¥1,760 and to Shin-Osaka (north of the city center) takes about 45 minutes and costs approximately ¥2,470. These trains run every 30 - 60 minutes. The Haruku 1 first train departs from the airport at 6:30 am, the last train departs at 10:16 pm. Haruku 2 first departure is at 7:10 am, the last departure is at 9:59 pm.

The JR Rapid Service (silver with a blue line) train runs on the same tracks as Haruka connecting to Tennoji in about 45 minutes costing approximately ¥1,030, connecting the Osaka Loop to Osaka Station (northern area, Kita district) in just over an hour, costing around ¥1,190. Trains depart every 20 minutes and can be crowded during rush hours. The first train departs KIX at 6:00 am and the last one is at 11:40 pm. Please note: Make sure to get on the front of the train (front four carriages) as this train separates and heads to two different destinations. The first train departs from the airport at 5:50 am and the last train leaves at 11:38 pm. Visit www.westjr.co.jp for more information.

The Nankai rapi:t trains (light blue with dark blue and orange lines) travel to Namba Station in central Osaka with a journey time of around 35 minutes stopping at several stations along the way and cost around ¥1,430 which includes a ¥510 reservation surcharge. Reservations are required. The Midosuju subway line is conveniently connected to Namba station with direct lines that run north-south to through the middle of Osaka.

Nankai Rapid Services trains run the same route as the rapi:t but with more frequent stops and often more crowded during rush hour. A journey can take around 45 minutes costing around ¥920.

Taxis from the airport into the city are really expensive, mainly due to the distance (31 miles/50 minutes) to downtown Osaka which can cost around ¥15,000 ($120USD). The rates can also be higher due to tolls along with surcharges for late night taxi services.

Buses are available at the airport, bus stops can be found on the first floor outside of the terminal 1 & 2 buildings where tickets are also available from the vending machines. There is very limited information available in English for buses in Osaka. There is an hourly bus that departs from the airport to Osaka Station and the last bus departs around 11:00 pm with a few late night options from the airport.

There is an Osaka airport limousine bus available from the airport to different locations in the city, a journey to Osaka Station takes about an hour and costs around ¥1,550 to Namba Station the journey takes around 45 minutes and costs about ¥1,050. Bus stops on outside Terminal 1 on the first floor. For more information visit www.okkbus.co.jp

Rental cars are available at the airport; the journey to Osaka takes about 90 minutes. A valid international driver`s license is required and the rental car counters are located in the Aeroplaza section, a 3-minute walk from Terminal 1 or a 7-minute ride on a shuttle from Terminal 2. Rental car companies available include Nissan Rent-A-Car, Toyota Rent-A-Car and Nippon Rent-A-Car which are all reliable companies.

What is the ICOCA Travel Card?

The ICOCA is a prepaid travel card good for use onboard all JR (Japan Rail) trains, subways, buses and some convenient stores. The card does not give discounts onboard the trains but saves you purchasing a ticket each time you travel on public transportation. Cards can be purchased at vending machines in the train stations for ¥2,000 which includes a ¥500 refundable deposit when you return the card.

A 1-day pass is available for unlimited travel on the subways and buses for ¥850. On the 20th of each month and every Friday, this card is discounted and can be purchased for ¥600 and offers discounts on certain attractions in the city.

The Osaka unlimited 1-day pass is available for sightseeing attractions and costs around ¥2,000 it provides entrance to 25 attractions in the city including the Floating Garden Observatory, Shitennoji Temple, Osaka Castle, The Museum of Oriental Ceramics and more. This card also provides unlimited travel on the subways, city buses and private railways in Osaka. A 2-day pass is available for ¥2,700, passes can be purchased at the Osaka Visitor`s Information Center at Osaka Municipal Transportation Access office located in Namba.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

The main train station in the city is Osaka Station which serves as the main gateway to the Kansai region, Umeda Station which is the main subway station is situated adjacent from the station as well as the bus terminal. Station City is the area around the station featuring plenty of entertainment and shopping. You can easily walk to areas surrounding the station and taxis can usually be found nearby.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

The city of Kyoto features a world-class public transportation system providing visitors with several options to make their way around the city. The system is extensive with fast and efficient service on the trains, subways, and buses featured in the city.

The subway is one of the most convenient ways to get around Osaka with lines running north-south and east-west all color coded with stations providing signs and information in English. There are seven lines servicing the city with the most important line for tourists being the red Midosuji Line that runs north-south through Osaka with stops at many major attractions. The subway runs from 5:00 am until midnight with fares starting around ¥200 and upwards based on the total distance traveled, ticket vending machines can be found inside the stations. Visit www.kotsu.city.osaka.jp for more information.

Trains in the city include local trains, limited express, express and special express with six companies total that run in and around the city.

JR (Japan Rail) is the main train network in the country and broken down into 6 companies based on regions. The Osaka Kanjo Line is on the JR Loop Line makes a loop around the center of the city passing through Osaka Station with fares starting around ¥120. Other destinations on the loop include Tennoji, Nishi-Kujo, and Shin-Osaka.

JR West runs a service in Osaka including surrounding areas such as Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe with other JR lines that offer journeys to places in the city like Kansai Airport and Universal Studios Japan. The JR Shinkansen bullet trains make a stop at the Shin-Osaka Station which is also on the Midosuji subway line.

The Nankai line departs from Namba station in downtown with the `main line` that runs to Kansai Airport, southern Osaka, Wakayama, and Mount Koyo.

The Hanshin line departs from Umeda to Kobe and Kyoto and connects Kobe to Namba. Hanshin Railways can be used to travel between Osaka and Kobe. It stops at Nishikujo Station and Umeda Station.

Taxis are available in the city but normally cost around ¥600 just to secure the taxi. They are very expensive and most drivers do not speak or understand English. A taxi is fine to take if you are going a short distance, be sure to have your destination written down in Japanese. You can hail a taxi from the street, but don`t be alarmed if they don`t stop. It is recommend call and order a taxi by phone or find a taxi outside the major stations and attractions in town.

Buses in the city only provide information in Japanese making it difficult to navigate the bus system in Osaka.

Is Osaka a walking city?

There are plenty of places and outdoor spaces to walk around in Osaka. The main station area around Osaka Station features a large selection of shopping malls and restaurants that are within walking distance from the station. The Umeda Sky Building is a 10-minute walk from here and the National Museum of Art and the National Science Museum are around a 20-minute walk away.

The Osaka Castle and Osaka and Osaka Park are the perfect places to enjoy a stroll, walk around the castle grounds with huge stone walls and moats then into the stunning gardens that surround the castle which is a popular place during the cherry blossom season. Stroll along the river banks and enjoy the views or take a cruise along the river.

Dotonbori is a famous neighborhood that runs along the Dotonbori Canal and a popular entertainment district in the evenings filled with restaurants, shops, bars and lots of neon lights and signs. Walk through the food market in Umeda and check out the sites and massive park located in Tennoji.

Can I ride a bike in Osaka?

The city is flat and the streets are well organized and signposted, making it a great city to ride a bike around and check out the sites. There are companies in the city offering bike rentals and cycle tours and bike sharing stations offered by HUBchari that can be found at stations around the city. There are no bike lanes in the city, so bicyclist share the sidewalk with pedestrians and bikes should be parked in designated area`s only. Osaka offers beautiful parks and promenades by the river that are perfect for a bike ride.

Is Osaka a dangerous city, is there anything I should be aware of?

Osaka is fairly safe, but like any other city crimes does happen and it is good to keep your wits about you and practice street smarts when out sightseeing. Pickpockets are not unusual, keep your belongings close to you at all times, be aware of your surroundings and don`t wander into unpopulated areas, especially late at night. The area of Kamagasaki (also known as Airinchiku) is one of Japan`s largest slums with many homeless people and a high crime rate and should be avoided by travelers.

What are some popular areas for shopping?

Shopping in Osaka is a must do! The headquarters and flagship stores for many of Japan`s leading department stores are situated in the city along with several unique shopping districts, miles of covered arcades, modern shopping malls and streets lined with boutiques. Shoppers are sure to find what they are looking for in the city known as a shopper`s dream.

Umeda and Namba are two of the most popular districts for shopping featuring many of the country`s main department stores and underground shopping areas. Shinsaibashi-suji is a covered shopping arcade that covers 1.61 miles, said to be the longest shopping in Japan. The area is filled with shops, stalls, and restaurants; it is one of the oldest and busiest destinations for shopping in the city.

The area surrounding Osaka Station features the Grand Fort Osaka with four department stores, a cinema and several dining and entertainment options. Close by is the HEP Five Entertainment Plaza features over 300 shops in a large complex with restaurants and the Ferris Wheel is in this area.

Markets can be found on popular streets in the city including Tenjinbashi-suji, Sennichimae Doguyasuji, and Nipponbashi Denden Town. And Rinku Town near Kansai Airport features an entire town dedicated to shopping with Premium Outlets, the Seacle mall and Aeon Mall.

What is the weather like?

Springtime in Japan is a spectacular time of year where visitors can witness the sensational famed `sakura` blooms of cherry blossom season (March and April) along with beautiful blooming flowers in the parks and gardens around the city. The city features several spots for `hanami` flower viewing with locations such as Osaka Castle featuring over 3,000 trees that are breathtaking in the day and even more spectacular at night when they are sparkling with lights.

Summers in Japan can be hot and humid with daily temperatures averaging around 77 degrees during the day and night. However, things tend to be cheaper and quieter this time of year as there are no festivals and a big draw in the summer is Japan`s favorite pastime, baseball. September should be avoided as it is typhoon season in Japan

Winter`s can be cold and near freezing with snow! It can also be one of the cheaper times to visit the city. Although the holiday season and New Year`s become a very busy time of the year with festivals and celebrations making it a popular time to visit.

What is the currency? Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency in Japan is the yen (¥). US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand and be prepared to exchange your dollars to yen (¥) upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and bank locations throughout the city, ATM`s are widespread. ATM`s are located at Post office`s all over the city, look for a symbol that indicates `International ATM Service` or `Authorized Foreign Exchange` (a green clover) and stickers indicating which cards are accepted.

For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Japan by clicking here Japan

What is the food like?

The city of Osaka is famous for its fine dining, known as the Nation`s Kitchen and the Food Capital of Japan which makes this city the ultimate destination for foodies. Over 100 Michelin starred restaurants can be found in Osaka featuring a wide variety of traditional cuisines and culinary trends that renowned food critics love! You won`t go hungry in the city filled with food.

Dining options include street vendors, authentic restaurants, food shops and cafes. There are basements filled with food vendors selling trays of pastries, prepared foods, sushi and bento boxes. Some of the best ingredients combined with great chefs and centuries of tradition come alive in the food served in the city with everything from oodles of noodles to Japanese curry, Takoyaki (bite sized pieces of octopus rolled in a ball with flour and spices to Okonomiyaki a must try pancake dish and Kushikatsu (meat and vegetables deep fried on a skewer).

What is the nightlife like?

The nightlife in Osaka is lively and available every night of the week. Featuring `gaijin` (foreigner) bars, pubs and clubs, these establishments are places where tourists can go to find English speaking Japanese and other traveling clientele. Namba and Umeda are two of the best spots to spend the evening where visitors will find plenty of dining and entertainment options, all of which tend to end before 1:00 am due to the fact that the trains and subways stop running. During the weekends the party tends to go all night, but the trains and subway still end between 1:00 - 5:00 am.

I don`t speak Japanese will there be many people who speak English?

Japanese is the language spoken in Osaka, but English is widely spoken throughout the country with announcements on public transportation frequently made in Japanese and English, most signs include Roman characters or an English explanation. Most Japanese people study English in junior high and high school so you are best seeking out younger people who may be able to help and translate for you. It is best to have your destinations written down in Japanese so you are able to show this to your taxi driver or people on the street. People are always willing to help whether they can speak English or not. We recommend you get a good English - Japanese guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1 - 10.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In the case of an emergency dial 110 for police, 119 for Ambulance and Fire.

For medical assistance you can visit

Osaka City University Hospital tel. 06 6645 2121

Osaka National Hospital tel. 06 6942 1331

Osaka Sumitomo Hospital tel. 06 6443 1261