Osaka is hosting this year’s Ethereum Devcon and OFFDevcon, and we know that all you crypto-heads are waiting eagerly to attend it. However, getting around the city can be quite a challenge, especially since it is the third-largest city in Japan. The good news is that the city has excellent and efficient public transport facilities.
If the lines seem to blur, let us untangle them for you.
The railway is the best and cheapest way to travel across Osaka any day and operates from 5 am to 12 am. Also, Japan’s trains are always on time.
- Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe — these three cities forming the Osaka Metropolitan Area are interconnected through five train lines, as shown in the image below.
- The Osaka Loop Line, mostly operated by Japan Rail (JR) circles the city connecting with the subway system.
- There are a few privately-owned companies offering train service as well.
- Osaka Metro is divided into nine color-coded metro lines including the New Tram Line (All represented in yellow in the picture).
- The Midosuji Line running North-South and the Chuo Line running East-West connect most of Osaka.
- Subway ticket costs between ¥180-¥370.
- Metro is available every 7–8 minutes usually and 3–4 minutes during peak hours. Expect fewer trains on weekends.
- Devcon V is located near the Trade Center-Mae station and Dōtonbori (where a lot of OFFDevcon events will be) is a 30 minute ride away at Namba station.
There are places where train/metro service is unavailable and that’s where road transport is your only option.
Buses and trams
- Osaka City Bus service go almost everywhere and run on a regular basis.
- Highway busses and Willer Express are great ways to travel from Osaka.
- Bus tickets cost a flat ¥210 for adults. It’s best to use a prepaid card or pass.
- Note that there’s no good bus route map available in English.
- You can also opt for the hundred-year-old Tram service.
- Taxi service is available 24x7
- Great way to get anywhere anytime especially after midnight
- Expensive — ¥660 for the first two kilometres and then ¥80 per 296 meters.
- Cash and Credit card are accepted.
- Drivers are honest but hardly speak English, so it would be better if you show them the address beforehand.
- Ridesharing Apps: DiDi and JapanTaxi seem to be the only two ridesharing apps. Uber is yet to become operational.
Kansai Airport (KIX) is Osaka’s International airport, and Itami (ITM) is the domestic one.
- If you have a JR pass, then avail JR Haruka airport express train to Shin-Osaka/Tennoji and then use the subway/taxi.
- Without JR pass, you can either use JR Haruka/Icoca cards combination to reach Osaka or Nankai Rapi:t airport express train to Namba Station, and then subway/taxi.
- To reach Osaka from Itami, avail Osaka Airport Limousine bus or taxi.
- Peach airlines to reach Tokyo, it’s cheaper.
Types of Passes, Cards and How much they cost
Passes are handy and cost-effective compared to individual tickets.
Osaka Amazing Pass — It offers unlimited travel with free visit Osaka’s top 35 tourist attractions.
- 1 Day Pass: Unlimited travel on all Osaka Metro and City Bus (excluding a few routes), trains except for JR Lines. Cost: ¥2700.
- 2-Day Pass: Same unlimited benefits except for the private line service but only for two consecutive days. Cost: ¥3600.
Note: These are not for Nankai Line Kansai Airport Station. For that get the 1-day pass Nankai-Kansai Airport edition for ¥3,400.
Osaka Enjoy Card (Osaka one-day pass) — It offers unlimited 1-day rides on all Osaka Metro and bus (except IKEA and Japan Universal Studio bus ride). A cheap alternative to the Amazing pass if you don’t plan to visit tourist places. Cost: ¥800 on weekdays and ¥600 on weekends
Osaka Kaiyu Ticket — This 1-day pass allows you unlimited subway and bus trips across the city. You get to visit the Osaka Aquarium for free and over 30 top tourist attractions in Osaka at discounted rates. Cost: ¥2600.
Kansai Thru Pass — You can enjoy unlimited subways, trains (non-JR) and bus trips across the Kansai area for non-consecutive days. Cost: ¥4400 for two days and ¥5500 for three days.
JR West Kansai Pass — Another Kansai-only pass specifically for foreign tourists offering unlimited train and bus accessibility over a 2- to-4-day period. Cost: ¥2200-¥6600.
Prepaid Cards -
- ICOCA — It’s a JR West Line card for availing subways, private trains, and buses. Other Japan prepaid cards like Pasmo and Suica will also get the job done. Cost: ¥2000
- Multiple Ride Card and Rainbow Card — These prepaid cards, like the PiTaPa multi-function card, are available at the Osaka subways. It allows you to access the metro, buses, and tram service. Rainbow cards would cost you between ¥500-¥5000.
Where to get the passes and cards?
- You can purchase these passes in advance from all ticket offices of subway stations, most private rail lines, bus business offices, shops in Osaka.
- Look for ticket vending machines, Tourist Information Centers, and commuter pass sales counters.
- The Amazing pass is also available from Kansai International Airport Terminals 1 and 2 and some of the hotels.
- Online websites like Klook.com may offer these at discounted rates. They also sell SIM cards with 4G data for airport pickup.
Apps for Transport
There are a couple of apps available for transport in Osaka
- Best to use Google Map for all purposes.
- HyperDia is great for finding train timetables and routes.
- You can try Metro Osaka Subway for map and info and Osaka Rail Map for train.
If you don’t understand Japanese, don’t worry. All the stations, counters, and information centres have signboards and instructions in English. Also when purchasing tickets from vending machines just switch to English first.
In any case, if reading out station names like “Nishinakajima-Minamigata” seems hard, just stick to its station code (M14 in this case).
This story was based on a series of articles by Genny Marcoux who was very helpful guiding people through Devcon4 last year.
OFFDevcon Osaka (also sometimes referred to as Osaka Blockchain Week) is a community initiative and includes all events happening outside of Ethereum Devcon 5: events, workshops, hackathons, parties, meetups, and more. This year around 80 community events are expected to be organised between October 1 and October 15. Join the community here.