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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Osaka

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Local time Osaka

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Getting around Osaka

Public transport

The subway and train networks in Osaka are excellent. The Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau (tel: +81 6 6582 1400; www.kotsu.city.osaka.lg.jp/foreign/english) operates the city's subway lines, providing the fastest and easiest way to get around Osaka.

Japan Railways West (www.westjr.co.jp/global/en) operates a dense train network in the Osaka region, including a loop line around the city connecting with major terminals. Hankai Railway (tel: +81 6 6671 5170; www.hankai.co.jp) operates a streetcar on the Hankai Tramway Uemachi Line from Tennoji to Sumiyoshikoen or Abikomichi in the south of Osaka.

One-day passes for the subway, city buses and tram are available from www.osaka-info.jp/en/plan/practical_information/travel_passes. The Enjoy Ecocard offers one day of unlimited travel on the subways and city buses, plus discounts to tourist sites. The Osaka Amazing Pass for foreign visitors offers a one-day pass including travel on subways and trains and admission to 28 sites; the two-day pass also offers admission to the same sights but travel on subways only.

The prepaid Rainbow Card is convenient for use on the subway, private rail lines, city buses and tram. The fare is deducted when exiting ticket gates and there is no set time limit for use.

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful on the streets of Osaka, and generally offer a good, reliable service. Most taxi drivers don’t speak much English, so it’s a good idea to have the details of your destination written down in Japanese. Tipping is not expected.

To pre-book a taxi call Aozora Kotsu (tel: +81 6 6793 8180), Osaka Kojin Taxi Rengokai (tel: +81 6 6771 1437) or Toho Taxi Co Ltd (tel: +81 6 6659 2523).

Driving

Traffic is busy and parking can be expensive, so it's easier to make use of Osaka's excellent public transport.

Car hire

All foreign visitors need an international driver’s licence in order to hire a car in Osaka. There are numerous car hire companies operating in Osaka, including Hertz (www.hertz.com), Toyota Rent-A-Car (tel: +81 3 5954 8020; https://rent.toyota.co.jp/eng/index.aspx) and Nippon Rent-A-Car (tel: +81 3 6859 6234; www.nipponrentacar.co.jp).

JR Eki Rent A Car (www.ekiren.co.jp) offers car hire and train fare package deals. Look for the travel centres in every JR station.

Bicycle hire

Cycling in Osaka is a great way to enjoy some of the inner city’s pleasant waterways and parks. Cycling on the footpath is permitted and main roads often have specially designated cycling lanes.

Bicycle hire is available from several hotels and hostels in Osaka, as well as Umeda Dormitory Rentacycle, 1-6-13 Aoyagi Building, Oyodonaka, Kita-ku (tel: +81 6 6451 2009; www.ne.jp/asahi/umeda/dormitory) and Uemachi Rental Bicycle, 6-17-43 Tanimachi, Chuo-ku (tel: +81 70 5664 8184; www.uemachi.net/chari.html).

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Hotel Unizo Yodoyabashi

Hotel Unizo Yodoyabashi is a cheap yet elegant business-type hotel close to Osaka's museum district. The rooms are exceptionally clean and comfortable with spacious bathrooms and large-screen TVs. There's also an in-house spa and Japanese and Italian restaurants.

Toyoko Inn Shin-Osaka Chuo-guchi Honkan

Part of the excellent-value business hotel chain, this Toyoko Inn is just five minutes from the Shinkansen station and makes a solid choice for a cheap hotel in Osaka. The Toyoko Inn has good facilities such as free Wi-Fi, coin-operated laundry facilities, and a free breakfast buffet.

Hilton Osaka Hotel

With its excellent location just outside JR Osaka Station, the Hilton Osaka offers convenience as well as luxury to its guests. There are four restaurants serving a variety of international cuisines, including Windows on the World, which boasts great views of the city from the 35th floor and live music every evening. The hotel has a business centre, a beauty salon, swimming pool and fitness room.

Imperial Hotel Osaka

This opulent hotel is in a pleasant location overlooking the Okawa River in the north of Osaka, and is just as luxurious as its famous Tokyo cousin. Purified air is pumped into the rooms, the service is extremely attentive and there's also a golf driving range. The Imperial Hotel's elegant in-house restaurants serve French, Chinese and a range of Japanese cuisines, including teppanyaki and sushi.

Hotel Nikko Osaka

Hotel Nikko Osaka is a top-class hotel in Osaka, close to the main nightlife and shopping arcades of the Minami area. The spacious rooms are supremely comfortable and decorated in a sleek, modern style, with the upper floors offering views of Mt Ikoma. There's a good range of restaurants, including three offering breakfast. There's also a business centre in the hotel.

Swissôtel Nankai Osaka

Swissôtel Nankai Osaka is located in the heart of Namba, above the Nankai train station, which makes it extremely convenient for direct access to Kansai International Airport. The rooms are modestly decorated and have great views over southern Osaka. There are also seven restaurants, bars, a gym, spa and indoor swimming pool.