Nowadays travel agencies and tourist information offer various kinds of railway passes when you travel in Japan.
Actually there are too many types of passes, which just make you confused to choose a proper one for your trip.
Basically for a short distance trip in Kansai area (such as between Osaka and Kyoto or Nara), an IC prepaid card called ICOCA (SUICA as in Tokyo) is the best card, which is available for almost all the public transportation in main cities in Japan and saves your time to buy a ticket every time.
But in case you plan to travel in just Osaka city a lot within a couple of days with some discount, I recommend you take either of these subway passes in Osaka, “OSAKA AMAZING PASS” or “ENJOY ECO CARD“.
Forget about JR when you go sightseeing in the center of Osaka city, because subways can take you to almost all the tourist attractions (except for USJ and Sumiyoshi shrine) by subway and JR is likely to have worse access (sorry for JR pass users though).
OSAKA AMAZING PASS includes one day subway & city bus fare and free admission of more than 30 tourist attractions such as Osaka castle, Sky building, River cruises, museums and even onsen (hot spring) … !
The price of the pass is 2,500 yen for 1 day and 3,300 yen for 2 days.
The subway fare is between 180 yen and 320 yen, and most of the tourist attractions in Osaka charges you over 600 yen, so if you want to visit more than 3 tourist spots with payment in one day, this pass should offers a good deal for you.
Example of 1 day course :
8: 30 Shitennoji Temple (Central Temple 300 yen, Garden 300 yen)
10:00 Osaka Castle (600 yen)
12:30 Lunch in Tenjinbashisuji area
13:30 Osaka museum of Housing and Living (600 yen)
15:00 Naniwano yu hot spring (800 yen. Towels are charged if you don’t bring yours)
17:00 Umeda Sky building (1,500 yen) ** The pass is available until 6 pm at this site.**
18:30 Dinner in Dotombori
20: 30 Tombori River cruise (900 yen)
The total admission fee above is 5,000 yen, which is much over the fee of the pass, no matter where you stay in Osaka city. Even if you would like to spend 2 days for these attractions plus some others, it’s worth buying the pass.
If you think the schedule is too much, you can do that with 2 day pass, and you can explore even some more spots with the pass !
Oh you don’t think you’ll enter so many attractions but you want to save more money and see more things ??
(That’s not a bad idea because taking picture of the exteriors of those buildings is for free !!)
Then just get ENJOY ECO CARD, which is one day subway pass.
The price is 800 yen on weekdays and 600 yen on weekends.
As the subway fare is between 180 yen and 320 yen (and 240 yen on average), it’s worth getting the pass if you ride on subway more than 4 times (even 3 times on weekends). And the pass gives you a small discount of some tourist attractions as well (but don’t expect a big deal).
In conclusion, you should get
OSAKA AMAZING PASS : if you would like to enjoy a lot of tourist attractions with admission in Osaka within a couple of days.
Where to purchase : Station masters room at every subway station or tourist information centers such as at Osaka and Namba station.
ENJOY ECO CARD : if you just would like to visit a plenty of places without entering the attractions in one day.
Where to purchase : A ticket vending machine at every subway station
With the pass, let’s travel in Osaka more easily and pleasantly !!
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