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