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Osaka Amazing Pass | Is it good value?

Osaka Amazing Pass collage of attractions

We often don’t find city passes or discount passes to be great deals for us because we’re slow travellers.  We like to have a good look around, spend some downtime in a local cafe or tea shop, take time out to eat and wander off on a few tangents along the way.  That said we did pick up the Osaka Amazing Pass on our first visit to the city and while it might not have been “amazing” value it turned out to be pretty darn good.  We’ll definitely pick up another one next time we’re in town as there are still plenty of Osaka attractions we want to see.

How the Osaka Amazing Pass Works

There are two versions of the pass, the one or two-day option.  A day counts as a calendar day, not a 24 hour period so you want to pick it up as early as possible or perhaps ahead of time if you can.  It doesn’t activate until you first use it so you can purchase it in advance.

The card can be used on a variety of local transport but it’s likely to be the subway you use most within the city.  As a foreigner I find the subway the easiest to navigate, it’s fast and there are so many stops you can always get one that’s close to where you need to go.

There are around 28 attractions that are fully covered by the pass, some are seasonal and other special additions are included for a limited time.  The ‘free’ things include Osaka Castle gardens and museum, the Umeda Sky Building, river and harbour cruises, museums, the zoo, botanical gardens, a natural onsen and more.  There are also other attractions, shops and restaurants that are included in the pass that provide discounts or free inclusions when you show the pass.

Not everything is open every day of the year.  Some facilities do have maintenance periods, seasonal hours and other reasons why they may be closed on a particular day.  You will get information on any closures when you buy your ticket or redeem your voucher and you can also check on the Osaka Amazing Pass website in the days leading up to your visit.

Osaka Amazing Pass

Price and where to buy the Osaka Pass

The current price is Y2,500 for a single day or Y3,300 for a two-day ticket purchased in Osaka.  Passes can be purchased at some station masters office in the subway and a number of information centre offices.  The first time we bought the pass was from the Osaka Visitors Information centre outside JR Osaka (Umeda) station because it was the station we arrived into and was very close to our hotel.  They spoke excellent English which is helpful and the purchase was a quick and simple process.  You can also get the tickets from the Visitors Centre at Namba or if you’re arriving from another city you can pick them up in Visitors Information Centres around Kansai such as Kyoto and Nara.  There are a few other places they show as sellers on the website but the ones I’ve mentioned are probably the easiest to access and some of the others only sell single-day tickets.

A new option that we are using for the next trip is buying the pass voucher in our own currency in advance and then exchanging it either at Kansai Airport or Namba station.  This is convenient, you can print the voucher or just show it on your phone, and it’s going to work out a little cheaper.  Check the online price for Osaka Amazing Pass.

Something to remember if you are buying the pass in Osaka is to take cash with you to purchase the tickets as credit cards weren’t accepted.  Although it is slowly changing, in Japan you regularly can’t use credit cards as we do in western countries so we quickly got used to carrying more cash than we do at home.  Japan is a safe place even in the large cities so we were quite comfortable with that although the usual precautions are sensible and most hotels will offer a room safe for your use.  It’s easy to get cash out of money machines with English prompts at Post Offices or 7-Eleven stores.  We also found that in addition to being convenient, there are usually some savings on fees when you get a larger amount out of an ATM machine in one transaction rather than making multiple withdrawals on a foreign card.

Our Osaka Amazing Pass itinerary

As I mentioned we are slow travellers so you might fit more into your day than we did.   Our starting and ending point was the Umeda subway station adjacent to our hotel.

 (1)    Osaka Museum of History

This probably isn’t an essential stop for everyone but it had some interesting exhibits and as the entry is included I think it’s worth a stop even if it’s just for the life scale replica of an Edo period street.

Entry fully covered by the pass:  Y600

Subway included to the museum:  Y240

(2)     Osaka Castle Museum

From the museum it was an easy walk to the castle park.  Although the main tower which houses the museum is a replica it’s well worth a look around.  I would have gone just to see the replica of Hideyoshi’s golden tea room alone but do spend a bit of time, have a wander through and take a look at the view from the top.  You can read more about our visit to Osaka Castle here.

Entry fully covered by the pass:  Y600

Osaka Castle

(3)    Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden

This garden is especially fabulous during the blossom viewing season with 600 trees in bloom but it has something to offer in all seasons of the year.  During the summer it’s the azaleas and the autumn leaves are also recommended.  We walked all the way around and I thought the views of the castle are the best from this garden.

Entry Y200 covered fully by the pass

(4)     Osaka Suijyo Bus (The Aqualiner)

It’s a short walk from the castle grounds to the pier to catch the Aqualiner once you find the right gate.  We did the one hour cruise from the Castle to Nakanoshima. This is an interesting experience for an entirely different perspective on the city.   We did find out why there’s no outer deck on the boat part way through the trip, some of the bridges were so low they hydraulically lowered the roof to fit safely under!  There was still plenty of room inside though and I didn’t find it claustrophobic as I’d thought I might.

Fee: Y1,700 covered fully by the pass

Subway included back to the hotel:  Y140

Aqualiner

(5)     Umeda Sky Building

This was definitely worth doing, we enjoy seeing cities from above and Osaka is a huge city sprawling out in every direction.  We timed it to be there late afternoon so we saw the full transition from daylight through to the city lights.

Entry fee included in the pass:  Y800

Umeda Sky Building

Did we get good value?

Yes, I think we did!

For our Y2,500 ticket we got Y4,280 of value.  So we saved 46% off the cost price of doing the activities without the pass.

This is probably at the lower end of savings visitors would experience.  In our case a couple of things impacted the activities we fitted into the day.  We had existing plans with a local colleague to catch up for dinner or we’d almost certainly have headed into Namba after the Umeda Sky Tower incurring return subway costs and taken the Tombori River Cruise after dinner. 

We also would have done the Hep Five Ferris Wheel on top of a nearby shopping centre which is normally open until 11 pm but unfortunately, we were there on a day it was closed for maintenance. Including those additional activities, we would have received Y6,160 value for our Y2,300 ticket.

Order your Osaka Amazing Pass e-ticket in your own local currency

** We purchased the Osaka Amazing Pass ourselves and were not paid to provide this review **

Headed to Osaka? Wondering if the Osaka Amazing Pass is worth getting? Lets take a look with 2 Aussie Travellers

Headed to Osaka? Wondering if the Osaka Amazing Pass is worth getting? Lets take a look with 2 Aussie Travellers

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Have you used, or do you plan to use the Osaka Amazing Pass?  Please share your experiences of the city in the comments below and if this post has helped with your trip planning or you think it might help others please share it. Thanks!

Essential Osaka Travel Information

77 Comments

  • Hi, I am planning to visit Osaka in March 2020 and will be landing at KIX. However, I have some confusions about the limitations of the pass and whether it will actually be helpful for my trip. I have booked an Airbnb at Tengachaya and I am planning to get the 2 days pass. But from my understanding, the pass does not allow travel on certain railways such as the Nankai railway from the airport and therefore i might have to purchase a separate train pass like the Pasmo card?
    I was hoping you could clear my doubts on this. Thank you!

    • The standard Osaka Amazing Pass is for sightseeing in the city rather than the wider prefecture so focuses on the subway and city bus to get around between the attractions. It doesn’t cover the airport train. Tengachaya is on the Sakaisuji subway Line.

  • Hi Toni

    Very interesting blog. We are planing to visit the area in Feb 2020, and i have a couple if questions for you if you can help

    1 – What do you use to find your way around. I normally use Here maps, or download the relevant google maps, to avoid using data whilst abroad, but in the case of Japan neither seem to be an option ?

    2 – I was thinking of visiting Okayama, for a day, posibly after Himeji but wondered if you had been and if you thought it worthwhile ?

    • Hi David, I believe you are right that you still can’t download Google Maps for Japan to use offline. There is some free WIFI around but we now travel with a WIFI router mainly for maps and translation. Google Maps online is useful as it gives directions with very detailed transport instructions including how many stops before you get off etc. You can manage without it, it just makes things very easy and we can get around more efficiently. You can pick up walking maps from most hotels and info desks at the train stations.

      We really like Okayama. The castle there isn’t on the scale of Himeji, especially if you are going on the same day but the adjacent Korakuen garden is recognised as one of the top 3 in Japan. We also went out to the Kurashiki Bikan historical quarter in Okayama a couple of months back (article should be up soon) and enjoyed that.

  • Hi There, thanks for a great review of Osaka Amazing pass. I like to check – what are the differences between 1-day and 2-day passes? Also, is Osaka Amazing pass sufficient, or did you still need to get a ICOCA card to standby?

    • Hi Elsie. We have IC cards that we keep topped up when we are in Japan but to do the activities we discuss here, or other activities within the central city with the Amazing Pass you wouldn’t need it, the covered transport will get you around between them efficiently. We often have the late-night flight out of Osaka and find it a good thing to do on that last day but in that case, we need to buy a separate ticket for the airport train as that isn’t included. The only difference between the one or two day pass is how long it runs for and it works on calendar days not 24 hour periods.

  • I’ve always had really good experiences with city passes – any time I can find one to try and get everything wrapped up in a good deal I’m all over it. Unless its a bunch of outdoor stuff – I have terrible luck with the weather and will sometimes not get my monies worth if its includes parks/zoos/outdoor items. thx for the write up!

  • Hi,

    Came across your blog while searching for more informations for our Osaka Trip. Love your blog.. very informative. However, after reading, I still abit puzzle. Wondering could you help me. For this trip, we are 5 adults and 2kids all first time to Osaka.

    We thinking to go USJ , Kyoto and Nara. We are wondering how to get to Kyoto and Nara from Osaka. We will like to spend 1 day each on Kyoto and Nara.

    Could you advise what pass and train ticket to buy.

    Thanks in Advance 🙂

    • There are several train companies that can be used for getting between Osaka and places like Nara and Kyoto, JR or Japan Rail is the best known but not always your best option. It will depend on where you are staying and where you want to get to, do you know if you will stay near Namba, Osaka Station or somewhere else? Because the subway and the multiple companies that are all useful at times in the area a train pass that ties you to one isn’t always helpful and can end up costing more. We use an IC card like ICOCA, PASMO or SUICA when in Osaka if we don’t have an Amazing Pass active, the Amazing Pass won’t be useful for the 3 days you mention here.

  • Hi, Great blog. Thanks
    Could you tell me if there are Amazing Passes or equivalent in other cities, such as Kyoto and Hiroshima
    Thanks again

    • I’ve not found the same thing in any of the other big cities, there are transport passes that have a few discounts but haven’t found that they give the same value for us. There are some smaller towns and cities where the passes although mostly transport can be good value such as Hakone, Kamakura/Enoshima, Nikko etc

    • The Kansai Thru Pass lets you ride on all the public transit in the Kansai area with the exception of JR trains. This includes Hankyu, Kankai and Kintetsu trains as well as subways and city buses in Osaka, Kyoto, Wakayama and Kobe.
      I don’t think it has any freebies attached, but there are a number of discounts you can get by showing the pass.
      When I used it in 2017 it had both two day (4,000 yen) and three day (5,200 yen) passes and the passes could be used non-sequentially, so you can use the first day on Monday and the next day on Thursday. Very flexible. The Osaka Amazing Pass had to be used on sequential days so when I used the first day I had to use it again the next day or lose it.
      On the other hand, while the Osaka Amazing Pass was only good on Osaka city buses and subways it had the free admission, so I saved more than the cost of the ticket just on sightseeing and the subways were, in essence, a free bonus.
      In all, my vacation used 4 different rail passes. The Osaka Amazing Pass, Kansai Thru Pass, Kintetsu 5 day pass (from Asuka to Nara and out to Ise) and of course a JR West Hiroshima-Wide pass. That one was five days unlimited travel through the region for little more than the cost of one round trip on the Shinkansen.

      • Thanks Claude the KTP can be another good one for some itineraries. Japan has a variety of great passes available including the Japan Rail Pass which we use regularly on our trips. What I think is special about the Osaka Amazing Pass is that it includes not just transport and discounts but a good range of free activities that many visitors to the city, especially for the first time, will want to see. With some transport passes I can end up feeling I wasted them a bit if I only want to do a few short rides within the city.

  • hi, great that you are answering all the comments that come in to you. i am planninf to come to japan in april for three weeks and how owuld you help me to plan out the trip, except hokkido and okinawa.

  • Hi,
    I was just wondering if you can help me decide whether to buy osaka amazing pass and then buy individual ticket or Kansai thru pass for the first part (day 1-5) in Kansai area of my trip as below:
    day 1 : arrive in osaka in the morning and then city tour
    day 2 : USJ
    day 3 : osaka to nara (nara tour)
    day 4 : nara to kyoto (kyoto tour)
    day 5 : kyoto to Tokyo (disney/mt. fuji)
    day 6 : tokyo (disney/mt.fuji)
    day 7 : mt. fuji
    day 8 : return home
    as from kyoto to tokyo if i want to take a shinkansen would it be cheaper to take a pass or just individual ticket?
    thank you

    • Hi Sugi, when you say city tours do you mean you are on an organised tour in the city or that you are exploring the city yourselves? It will make a difference to how worthwhile any pass is.

      The Kansai thru pass is for 2 or 3 days and doesn’t cover JR trains so how cost effective it would be would depends on what you plan to do and your travel style. Taking day 3 as an example, if you are likely to go to the city and explore it mostly on foot as most will do in Nara then the JR train from Osaka is only Y800 so probably not worth the pass especially as you seem to be only going one way and staying the night, not returning?

      The Osaka Amazing Pass may be useful for you on the day exploring there as it is transport and many popular activities are included. You’d need to consider how much of the day you have available to use it and which activities you are likely to fit in to decide whether to buy it.

  • I have just used the one-day pass and found it good value, but would like to offer some advice on where to buy it.
    We were staying with my son in Juso (on the Hankyu line), but found that we could not buy the pass at the station Information Counter there (despite the web site saying you could). We were told to go to Umeda to buy it (a 150 yen fare away – if we didn’t have my Japanese speaking son with us we would have paid this fare even though it is included in the pass, but he argued the point and we were given a ‘free’ paper ticket to travel to Umeda).
    The Amazing Pass was available at the Hankyu Umeda information counter, but only with a Japanese language information sheet, so we were sent from there to the Hankyu Tourist Center where we were finally able to purchase the pass.
    Do not to rely on purchasing the pass at a location that does not routinely deal with english speaking tourists (even though the location may be listed as a place to buy it on the official web site!). I had been at Umeda station on both of the previous days and (in hindsight) should have bought it then (you can buy it in advance and it only becomes active the first time you use it).
    I should emphasize that despite our frustrations with the Hankyu staff at Juso they are always very polite and I am sure they do their best to be helpful (as are all the railway staff we have encountered on the stations around Osaka).

    • Thanks for sharing your experience David. Osaka station or Umeda are good options to purchase it, or we will use Klook which offers collection options that are convenient for many travellers. As you mention, you can buy it in advance, it doesn’t activate until the day of your first use.

  • Hi,
    Your blog is informative. i wonder whether you know this osaka amazing pass can be used to go to Universal studio too ? since it said valid for Osaka Subway, Trains except JR Lines, and Osaka City Bus. thanks.

  • Greetings! Great useful blog.
    Is it better to buy the pass online via Klook or better to buy there? I’m aware that KIX KTIC advertise they sell many passes. Do they charge more for the passes/ their services? If KIX KTIC sell most passes then it sounds quite convenient in one place. Unless they charge more or if there are long lines. Osaka sounds great. There’s just so much to do and all the passes can be a bit overwhelming. But from your blog it sounds like the amazing pass is the way to go.. at least for two days 🙂

    • Hi Donovan, we are based in Australia and the prices on Klook for us are slightly cheaper than buying in country and you pay in local currency so if it’s just a collection I’m happy to do that at the airport on the way through to the train. Otherwise, as we have done on other trips I would skip the Airport information centre and buy it in the city at Osaka station.

  • I love your post! Thank you so much for the information!
    Just a quick question, do you have to show your passport to buy the pass? For example can I just buy a bunch of them and then give them away to other Japanese friends traveling with me? (the reason is, for example, the JR Japan Rail pass can only be purchased by a foreigner)
    Looking forward to your reply!

    • Hi Mark, you are right about the JR pass, it is very specific in identifying the individual who purchases and uses it as being on a tourist visa in Japan but the Osaka Amazing Pass didn’t require that. The inclusions are all tourist type activities so the appeal will be mostly for visitors in Osaka but they may be from other parts of Japan too not just overseas. When we collected our tickets we were asked where we were from for their statistics but that was all.

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