Andrea Urbinati

How to Travel from Tokyo to Osaka

Di Andrea Urbinati

blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo
Embark on a virtual journey from Tokyo to Osaka. Whether it's a swift Shinkansen ride, a scenic local train journey, or a spontaneous road trip, discover the joy of the journey and the beauty of Japan through personal anecdotes and handy tips.
solo travel, trip resources, how to travel from tokyo to osaka


So… What is the best way to travel from Tokyo to Osaka?

If you are like me, your only goal is to see everything and get the most out of your Japanese experience…


There’s so much to take in; you wish you had a second stomach…or, in our case, a second life to live! From the ultra-modern, sky-scraping Tokyo cityscape to the cultural troves in Osaka, there’s a whirlwind of experiences to savor.

Now, the only trouble with having such a banquet of experiences at our fingertips is the two uninvited party poopers: time and money. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we could just teleport, like in one of those anime shows, right from Tokyo Tower to Osaka Castle, without worrying about pesky things like train schedules or plane tickets? 

So, let’s talk about getting from the buzzing Tokyo streets to the historic charm of Osaka, shall we? 

You may be wondering about the best ways to traverse this distance. 

To save some time, you can book your 7, 14, or 21-Day Japan Rail Pass by clicking here.

Do I sprint for a bullet train and feel like a lead actor in a high-speed chase movie? Do I get a bird’s eye view and fly? Or should I kick it old-school, hop on a bus, and enjoy the landscape roll by?

We’ll dissect them all, and don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with practical tips about snagging those rail pass deals, where to buy your tickets online, and navigating from Tokyo to the famous Osaka Station.

Stay tuned, fellow travelers, and let’s embark on this journey together!

And if you are thinking about what to do in Tokyo, I wrote an awesome list of the best activities you can’t miss! You can read it here.


beautiful castel in japan, , tokyo to osaka

The Allure of Tokyo and Osaka

Oh boy, let’s dive into the irresistible charms of Tokyo and Osaka – two monumental yet remarkably different facets of the Japanese experience

You can’t discuss getting from Osaka to Tokyo, or vice versa, without pausing to marvel at the sheer brilliance of both cities. 

It’s like trying to pick between sushi and ramen – an almost impossible task, I tell you!

Tokyo, it’s like stepping into the future.

Seriously, imagine walking through a sci-fi movie set, complete with dizzying skyscrapers and neon lights, all while holding onto centuries-old traditions. 

Watching a sea of people cross Shibuya’s famed scramble walk felt like witnessing a well-choreographed dance of humanity. A metropolis through and through, Tokyo is like that overachieving sibling that somehow excels at everything, making it a must on your Japanese itinerary.

Now, time to jump on the Shinkansen from Tokyo, then cruising on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, and there we are! We’ve arrived in Osaka.

Here, things are dialed down a notch from Tokyo’s frenetic pace, and I absolutely love it.

The city is like that laid-back friend who knows how to have a good time, filled with mouth-watering street food and friendly locals. A night spent laughing in a downtown izakaya, savoring takoyaki, and gulping down Asahi beer made me realize – Osaka has a character all its own.

Although Tokyo and Osaka are two of the most important cities in Japan, they are like day and night, literally. You can’t go wrong; they are both magical, and they will both find a spot in your heart and stay there forever.

So, let’s buckle up, dear readers, as we chart the way to travel between these two unforgettable cities.

Also, will you be traveling in the summer or during autumn? I wrote a couple of interesting posts about August in Japan and November in Japan, I think they will help you plan your trip!


green garned in japan

Bullet Train from Tokyo to Osaka

Bullet train time! Ready for one of the coolest rides you will ever have? You must take the bullet train, or the Shinkansen, as the locals call it, at least once in your lifetime. Hopping on one of these bad boys at Tokyo Station was like being part of a super slick, uber-efficient ballet. 

I mean, you’re just there, standing on the platform, and then, WHOOSH! In comes this sleek, futuristic-looking train right on the dot. Honestly, the punctuality could make a Swiss watchmaker blush!

Buying tickets could be intimidating, with all the different classes and fare types. You will get used to it pretty quickly, don’t worry.

The journey from Tokyo to Osaka set me back around 14,000 yen (97,04 $)for a reserved seat on the Nozomi, the fastest train on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. But let me tell you, it was worth every yen for the experience and convenience.

Traveling by bullet train has its clear advantages. 

You get to zoom past beautiful Japanese landscapes at speeds of up to 300km/h while lounging in a comfortable seat with ample legroom. And I have to say, it’s probably the best, most efficient way to travel between Tokyo and Osaka. It’s like teleporting without the whole ‘disassembling your molecules’ part!

However, it’s not all gold.

Sad part? It’s a bit expensive. Also, unlike a leisurely drive or bus ride, the bullet trains only afford a few spontaneous detour opportunities. 

But when you’re sitting there, watching the world whiz by as your train leaves precisely on schedule, I’d say it’s a trade-off worth considering. 

So, buckle up, friends, as we continue to explore the fascinating journey from Tokyo to Osaka!

if you are having some trouble booking your trains or flights, I wrote an article on the best Travel guide books for Japan! Click here if you want to read it!


beautiful bridge in japan, tokyo to osaka

Flying from Tokyo to Osaka

So, what if you’re a high flyer and would rather soar above the landscapes than zip through them? Flying from Tokyo to Osaka is another good option, and it has its nice advantages.

My flight journey began at Tokyo Narita Airport, a place so expansive it could pass off as a mini city! Will it be expensive? I snagged a good deal online and bought the tickets for around 10,000 yen(69,30 $). Not too shabby, right? Especially when you consider the distance from Tokyo to Osaka.

You trade the fast, land-locked bullet train for a bird’s eye view of Japan’s mesmerizing landscapes. Plus, the in-flight service – and snacks – add a dash of indulgence to your travel.

Even if the flight is just 90 minutes long, you will spend lots of time in the airport, waiting, security, etcetera… so if you are in a rush, you have to keep that in mind.

In terms of comfort, both modes of transport score pretty high. 

So, the big question is – should you take the train or fly? 

Ask yourself: What are you looking for?

If you want a quick, scenic, and uniquely Japanese experience, take the Shinkansen. But suppose you’re a fan of aerial views, in-flight service, and possibly getting to Osaka quicker. In that case, flying might be your ticket.

And if you traveling to Japan, you may want to look at the best activities to do in Japan. I wrote an exhaustive list of the best things to do in Japan in 2023. You can read it here!


beautiful view of a sakura tree in japan

Day Tripping from Tokyo to Osaka

Alright, folks, brace yourselves because now we’re delving into a different Tokyo to Osaka experience – the daring day trip

Is it really possible to travel to Osaka, fully live the city, and come back to Tokyo on the same day?” Well, technically, yes. But my personal advice would be not to do it.

I decided to give this ambitious plan a shot on a sunny Tuesday. Armed with nothing but my backpack, camera, and a spirit of adventure, I set off from Shinagawa Station on the first bullet train out.

Here’s the thing about day-tripping from Tokyo to Osaka: – its’ going to take you a 5-hour round trip on the Shinkansen. Yes, you heard that right. 

That’s 5 hours of your day spent sitting on the train, whizzing past landscapes that you’d love to explore if you had more time.

By the time I arrived in Osaka, I realized I needed more time If I wanted to see everything... And boy, was it a race against time! I had to prioritize what I really wanted to see, stick to a strict schedule, and, sadly, skip some of the city’s charming nooks and corners.

So, my take on this? Don’t do it. You will miss out on the best part about Japan, and I am talking about taking the time to appreciate what you see. Rush is your enemy when you are discovering Japan!!

If you’re pressed for time and cannot extend your stay, a day trip could give you a tantalizing taste of Osaka’s charm. Just be ready to run! The joy of travel lies in the journey as much as the destination, right?


japanese girl in town

Should You Visit Osaka or Kyoto First?

And now, for the age-old debate – should you visit Osaka or Kyoto first? I’ve often been asked this question, and I must say, it’s a bit like choosing your favorite child – practically impossible! Both cities offer their unique blend of culture, history, and delicious food (let’s not even get me started on the food, folks!)

This is what happened to me. I arrived from Tokyo Haneda at Shin-Osaka station, and my heart filled with anticipation. I chose to visit Osaka first for a simple reason – it was the perfect warm-up act for my Japanese escapade. Osaka was a great introduction to the Kansai region with its vibrant nightlife, iconic street food (I can still taste the takoyaki!), and easy-going locals.

Kyoto, on the other hand, was like stepping into everything I wanted on my trip to Japan. It took me back to an era where shoguns ruled, and geishas graced the cobblestone streets.

Kyoto’s cultural depth can be a little overwhelming, in a good way, of course. So, for me, easing into it post-Osaka seemed like a smoother transition.

The good news is that the travel time between the two cities is fine. I hopped on a train at JR Osaka station and, in less than an hour, was marveling at Kyoto’s golden temples. I didn’t even need a one-way ticket as my rail pass covered it.

In conclusion, whether you choose Osaka’s electrifying energy first or plunge straight into Kyoto’s serene cultural tapestry, you’re in for a treat. Your Japanese adventure, dear friends, will be memorable no matter where you start!

And if you feel like you need to communicate more with the locals, I wrote an article on the best phrases to get your Japanese a good start 😀 Click here to read the article!


japanese town and people

Fast and Creative Ways to Travel from Tokyo to Osaka

Are you feeling a little adventurous? 

Good! Because it’s time to explore some offbeat and creative ways to travel from Tokyo to Osaka. These alternatives may not be your typical Shinkansen or flight, but hey, where’s the fun in always sticking to the norm, right?

Now, brace yourself for a lesser-known secret. If you’re not in a rush and want to really sink your teeth into the local experience, consider taking a local train!

I embarked on this journey once, armed with my trusty JR Pass, from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka. It was a long ride… but I survived! I made several pit stops, relished bento boxes from station vendors, chatted with locals, and absorbed the beautiful countryside that you otherwise zoom past on the bullet train.

If the road is more your style, why not consider a highway bus?

These buses offer a comfortable ride and could take you from Tokyo to Osaka overnight while you catch up on some sleep. Just imagine you board the bus in Tokyo, and the next thing you know, you’re waking up to the vibrant energy of Osaka!

You could even hitch a ride for those with an adventurous spirit and a bit of extra time. 

Yes, hitchhiking! 

It’s a bit unconventional and requires a sense of adventure. 

Still, it’s a way to meet locals and experience Japan from a unique perspective. And if you need some tips when traveling to Japan, make sure to read my top tips if you are traveling to Japan.


japanese fish in a lake in tokyo


And there you have it, folks, our whirlwind guide to traveling from Tokyo to Osaka. From the swift elegance of the Shinkansen to the soaring heights of a plane journey, from a leisurely local train ride to an overnight bus journey, there are countless ways to traverse the captivating expanse between these two remarkable cities.

Remember, you have to treat the journey from Tokyo to Osaka as one of the best experiences you will have in Japan.

It’s an integral part of your Japan adventure. It is filled with breathtaking landscapes, unforgettable encounters, and myriad little experiences that make travel such a joy.

Also, if you have kids and you are visiting Japan, make sure to read my full guide on what to do in Tokyo with kids!

Whether you’re planning a detailed itinerary or taking a spontaneous leap into the unknown, each method of travel has its own charm. The bullet train offers efficiency and a distinctly Japanese experience. At the same time, a flight provides a higher vantage point and the thrill of an airplane journey. A day trip is a quick dip into Osaka’s vibrancy, and deciding between Osaka and Kyoto first is a delightful dilemma to have.

Embrace the journey, the unexpected pit stops, the sudden detours, the various flavors of ekiben (train bento boxes), and the joy of watching the landscape change from your window.


cool statue in japan

Share your ideas!

And now, dear reader, I think it’s your turn to pack your bags and travel! 

We’ve shared laughs, swapped stories, and journeyed together from Tokyo to Osaka, but I’m sure there’s so much more to learn. Have you ever embarked on this route? 

You may have a hidden gem of a station in Tokyo that you start your journeys from, or you’ve discovered the absolute cheapest way to get from Tokyo to Osaka.

Maybe you’re a night owl and have ridden the night bus across the cities, or perhaps you’ve managed to decode the complex local train network.

It would be amazing if you could share your experience here on my blog! Let’s get connected!

Safe travels and happy sharing, folks!

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About the author
blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo

Hi! I’m Andrea, a passionate freelance writer with a knack for captivating storytelling.

With a decade of marketing expertise and a genuine love for crafting compelling content, I bring your ideas to life!

Let me know if you need a writer for your blog!

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