Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Osaka.

Osaka is the third-largest city in Japan and is known as the culinary center of the country. Spending time exploring this city should be on your list while you are in Japan. Compared to its neighbor – Kyoto, Osaka is a more vibrant and down-to-earth city, a friendlier version of Tokyo. If you are planning a short vacation from Tokyo to Osaka then this blog is definitely for you. Keep scrolling down to find out Ways to travel from Tokyo to Osaka.

Ways To Travel From Tokyo To Osaka

1. By Shinkansen (Bullet train)

Before moving to details of traveling by shinkansen, we want to share with you some travel tips while commuting by bullet train. If you are interested in taking several domestic trips, you should buy a Japan Rail Pass. This ticket provides you unlimited bullet train rides for 7, 14 or 21 days. On the contrary, only doing Tokyo to Osaka route, a one-way bullet train ticket may be more economical.

It’s not exaggerating to say that traveling by shinkansen is the quickest and the most comfortable way of travel. The fastest type of shinkansen is Nozomy which usually takes 2 hours and a haft. However, Japan Rail Pass is not available for this type of train and a regular one-way ticket costs you around ¥14,650 (during peak season). The second-fastest type of train is Hikary with the duration of traveling is approximately 3 hours. For this type of bullet train, you can use your Japan Rail Pass. Ranking last on the list is Kodama, the oldest on the fleet. In case you are a last-minute rider or a super discount-seeker, you had better avoid it if you don’t want to spend four hours exhausting yourself on that journey.

There are 3 types of bullet train travelling from Tokyo to Osaka: Nozomi, Hikary and Kodama

From Tokyo, you can catch Shinkansen at Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station. All shinkansen stop at both station but we highly recommend Tokyo Station cause it’s the first stop so you can easily get a seat. In Osaka, you will get off at Shin-Osaka station, from there, you can get on Midosuji subway which stops in downtown Osaka. For any visitors planning to visit Japan during peak season, you should reserve a seat in advance. You can make a reservation in any JR ticket window, up to one month in advance of your trip. Take notice that you can’t reserve a seat overseas.

Tokyo to Osaka

Tokyo Station is always the first stop so you can easily get a seat.

You can take a look at shinkansen timetable (English language) here or shinkansen timetable and route search (English language) here.

2. By Airplane

Tokyo to Osaka

Taking into the sky is also an alternative for visitors.

Another option to travel from Tokyo to Osaka is to get on a plane. Although there are many cheap flights available between Tokyo and Osaka, a one-way ticket usually costs from ¥3000 to ¥12 000 – I know it’s a real bargain compared to shinkansen, the costs of airport transfer add up the total expense. For a 1.5-hour flight, you have to transfer to either Haneda or Narita Airport, as well as from Kansai International Airport into Osaka. So let’s imagine how bored and tired it is waiting at the transferred airport for hours, if you can handle it then this option is for you. One tip for you is that you are advised to check flights information two months in advance to get the best price.

Below are the ticket prices for a flight from Tokyo to Japan for the next 30 days:

Airfares from Tokyo to Osaka over the next 30 days
Airline Lowest fare Average lowest fare
JAL 9,050 yen 11,300 yen
ANA 9,050 yen 11,300 yen
Starflyer 11,420 yen 12,300 yen
Peach 6,540 yen 8,700 yen
Jetstar 5,950 yen 9,000 yen

          SEE MORE:

3. By Highway Bus

If you don’t mind long-ish bus trips, you can take an over-night highway bus from Tokyo to Osaka. A one-way ticket for an 8-hour drive set you back between ¥2000 – ¥10000, depending on what levels of comfort you are after. There are both day and night buses up to your schedule, but most visitors are into night buses, which set off during midnight in Tokyo, take a sleep and you will find yourself in Osaka at the crack of dawn. Among various bus operator, we recommend you to try Kosoku bus or Willer Express for reasonably-priced tickets with up-to-demand quality. There are only female-only buses to provide the complete safety for solo female travelers. These buses leave from major station in Tokyo, some have toilets and some don’t but all of them stop regularly for loo and smoke breaks.

One minus point of traveling by highway bus is that it’s hard to find detailed English information of timetable and route. Some of few sites which provide English website are Willer or Japan Bus Online, where you can make online purchase and reservation.

Tokyo to Osaka

If you don’t mind long-ish bus trips, you can take an over-night highway bus from Tokyo to Osaka.

4. By Regular Train

Tokyo to Osaka

Travelling in a conventional train is not a problem anymore…

Tokyo to Osaka

…only if you have Seishun 18 ticket.

If you are a train-travel lover (in a conventional way), the Seishun 18 ticket is a shoestring alternative. Seishun 18 ticket is only available three times a year (summer, winter and spring – coinciding with university holidays). Remember Seishun is not the name of a train but a ticket. Having this ticket, you will travel from Tokyo to Osaka in a (very) slow ride, which can take you from 9 hours to a whole day for a distance of 500km, using nothing but local and rapid JR trains.

But Seishun 18 tickets offer you more than a full-day trip transfer from train to train. For ¥11 850, you will get five ( both consecutive or non-consecutive is ok) days of travel on any local JR trains as well as rapid JR trains that don’t require seat reservations. That means ¥2370 per day of travel. If you travel with a group of friends, you can share your ticket with your friends. For example, a group of five people will only need to buy one Seishun 18 ticket and each of them will have a full day of travel by any JR trains for only ¥2370.

You should expect for a long journey with at least 7 transfers, so you should use the rail route planning site Hyperdia or Jorudan to plot your trip. What if you cannot get a Seishun 18 ticket? A regular JR ticket from Tokyo to Osaka is about ¥8750 one way, making pretty much everything else more economical.

5. By Car

You can totally rent a car and drive from Tokyo to Osaka, but the highway tolls and speed limits make this less-than-fun journey. So let’s reconsider this option. Driving between Tokyo and Osaka via the Tomei and Meishin Expressways takes about six hours without breaks and traffic jams. The expressway toll is around 13,500 yen one way.

To end this article, here is a summary of the means of transportation from Tokyo to Osaka. The key factors lie in your budget and timing it right.

Transport: Bullet train Flights Buses Regular trains
Price: ¥10,500– ¥14,650, cheaper with discount packageS From about ¥4,500, plus transfers ¥2,000–¥10,000, ¥2,370 with the Seisun 18 Pass, otherwise about ¥8,750
Time: 2.5 – 4 hours 4 – 5 hours (incl. transfers) 6 – 10 hours +- 9 hours (possibly much longer)

In conclusion, it’s not hard to point out that shinkansen is the quickest and the most comfortable way to travel from Tokyo to Osaka, particularly if you have a Japan Rail Pass. The most economical option is obviously Seishun 18 tickets but only if you timing it right or else it would be so time-consuming. Highway bus and plane are also a fair choice if you are not into train travel. So hope that through our blog, you did find the most suitable mean of transportation for your trip from Tokyo to Osaka.


About Yuu Sato

Yuu Sato has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.


Leave a Reply