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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Osaka

Osaka Weather

32°C

Local time Osaka

Currency

¥

Travel to Osaka

Flying to Osaka

Japan's national airline is Japan Airlines; other airlines include All Nippon Airways, Jetstar Japan and Peach Aviation.

Flight times

From London - 13 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); New York - 18 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles - 12 hours 30 minutes; Toronto - 17 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 12 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Osaka is extremely well connected by expressways from the eastern and western regions of Honshu. Traffic drives on the left and the minimum driving age is 18 years old.

Speed limits vary considerably so pay attention to speed limit signs. Foreign drivers can use an international licence for up to one year and it is advisable to take out car insurance.

The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) (tel: +81 570 008 139; www.jaf.or.jp/e) provides an English-language ‘Rules of the Road' booklet and JAF Road Service offers 24-hour breakdown assistance for both members and non-members. In the case of an accident, you must inform the police (tel: 110).

Emergency breakdown services

JAF (tel: #8139, in Japan only).

Routes

The Sanyo and Chugoku Expressways both run from the west towards Osaka. The Meishin Expressway from Kyoto (and, ultimately, Tokyo and Nagoya) is to the northeast of the city. The Kinki, Hanwa and Nishimaihan Expressways come from the south.

Coaches

There are regular highway bus services running between Osaka and Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo to the east, and Hiroshima and Fukuoka to the west. The trip from Tokyo to Osaka by highway bus takes eight to nine hours. Both daytime and overnight buses are available.

JR Bus Kanto (tel: tel: +81 3 3844 1950; www.jrbuskanto.co.jp, in Japanese only) operates regular coach services between Osaka and Tokyo. JR Tokai (tel: +81 52 563 0489; www.jrtbinm.co.jp) runs coach services between Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and several other cities.

JR Chugoku (tel: +81 82 261 5489; www.chugoku-jrbus.co.jp) operates services from Hiroshima and Okayama to Osaka.

Willer Express (tel: +81 50 5805 0383; http://willerexpress.com/en) has direct coaches from Osaka to Sendai in northern Japan, as well as Hiroshima in the west and Nagasaki in the south.

Time to city

From Tokyo - 6 hours; Kyoto - 1 hour; Nagoya - 2 hours 15 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Osaka is well connected to national and regional rail networks.

The main hub for JR lines is Osaka Station in the city’s north. The shinkansen trains stop at Shin-Osaka Station, which is located one station north of Osaka Station on the JR line. Private rail lines run through the north and south of the city.

The JR Tokaido Shinkansen line connects Osaka with Tokyo, in the east, as well as Hiroshima in the west and Fukuoka in the south. The fastest of the Shinkansen trains, the nozomi, takes 155 minutes to reach Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo (note that the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on nozomi trains). With hikari trains, the journey takes 20 minutes more, and the kodama trains take about four hours.

Operators

West Japan Railway Company (www.westjr.co.jp/global/en) runs the Shinkansen services as well as local trains between Osaka and Kobe, Kyoto, Nara and Kansai Airport.

The Hankyu line (www.hankyu.co.jp/en) and Keihan line (www.keihan.co.jp/travel/en) also offer services to Kyoto and Kobe.

The Hanshin line (www.hanshin.co.jp/global/en) runs between Kobe and Namba, as well as Nara, while the Kintetsu line (www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english/index.html) runs to Kyoto, Nara and Nagoya.

Journey times

From Tokyo - 2 hours 35 minutes (with fastest Shinkansen); Nara - 1 hour; Kyoto - 30 minutes; Kobe - 25 minutes.

Travel by boat

Osaka is a major ferry port for both national and international services. The Osaka International Ferry Terminal is located at Nanko, which is west of the city centre.

Ferry operators

International ferries connect Osaka with Pusan in South Korea and Shanghai in China. National services connect Osaka with Okinawa, Kyushu and Shikoku.

Nearest port

Osaka.

Transfer

The Cosmosquare subway station on the Chuo subway line is a short walk from the International Ferry Terminal.

Transfer time

15 minutes.

Transfer distance

6km (3.7 miles).