Public transportation within Osaka is mostly by rail, particularly subway and JR West Loop Line, which circles the city as the name suggests. Except for one line (the Hankai line), streetcars are out of use, but an urban network of subways, trains and buses makes it easier for everyone to travel inside Osaka.  

 As for train companies, there are big sixes in Osaka. Nankai Railways and JR West carry passengers into / from KIX (Kansai International Airport). The former covers southern Osaka and has a gateway to Mt. Koya in Kii Peninsula, Wakayama Prefecture; the latter, which was once a national railroad company, covers a far wider  area than all the other rival companies combined in Kansai. Kintetsu is the second largest railroad company, running from Osaka to Kyoto to Nara to Nagoya. Nankai is the third. Hankyu is the fourth largest, covering places from Osaka to Kyoto and from Osaka to Kobe. Then comes Keihan, which is a combination of acronyms of Kyoto and Osaka, that is, "kei" for Kyoto and "han" for Osaka. Yes, it runs from Osaka to Kyoto. The smallest, though the best-known for a series of recent take-over bids, of the big sixes is Hanshin Railways, which carries passengers between Osaka and Kobe..  

 Leave taxi service out of the picture unless you have money to burn. If you do need one, however, there are plenty of taxis available. It is to be noted, though, that some of them offer a great discount for a long-distance ride during the night. If the fare is Y17000, which is just about the amount you pay for a ride from KIX to Central Osaka, they charge you Y13500. The amount exceeding Y10000 can be 50% off the meter! But it seems that drivers in those companies never show up at KIX; unless, of course, they take their passengers there.  

 The Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau will be of great help when you want to purchase subway tickets and navigating its sub-terranean system. The site also offers tour bus tickets.  Buses serve between big cities in almost all of Japan for daily and even overnight travel.

 As a means of cheap transportation from home to the nearest railroad station, lots of people, it seems, use their bicycles. The problem is a large portion of the bikers did not care a hang about the place to park. Yes, unlike car drivers, they could enjoy a ticket-free status. As it is, things have been pretty tough for those unlawful bikers these days. City officials have begun to hunt for "improperly parked" bikes, and, when they find one, they have no qualms about confiscating it. Sometimes, a small truck laden with bicycles is seen going through the street.  

Osaka Unlimited Pass 

This pass is for use on the Osaka trains/buses. It also gives discounts to restaurants and local atractions:


ICOCA pre-paid IC card: good on JR & private trains, subways & buses

One easy way to get around Kansai (on almost all JR and private trains, subways, & buses) is to buy a pre-paid ICOCA card (pronounced E-Coca). There's no discount involved, but the benefit is not having to buy a ticket each time, and they can be used anywhere on most public transportation.

You can buy these IC chip cards at any JR station including KIX (there's a 500-yen deposit that's returned with the card), and then charge them up with a few thousand yen, so that you can then just glide through the wickets without having to buy a ticket each step.

They can even be used at some convenience stores, in addition to JR AND private trains, subways, & buses throughout Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara. Any leftover money can be refunded at any JR station, minus a 220-yen handling fee.