The following article is a guide to buying JR West rail tickets at Osaka Station and also a guide to buying tickets at the 3 municipal subway stations near Osaka Station. For both JR West trains and for subway lines, we recommend using automatic ticket machines. These automatic ticket machines are very easy to use and will save you from waiting in a line at a ticket office.
Buying Tickets for JR Lines
You can find automatic ticket machines near all the JR ticket gates at Osaka Station. They are very easy to use.
First check your how much your fare is. There are fare charts above the ticket machines that show the rail lines and the major locations in English. The station that you are currently at is highlighted in red.
Very often you can find a fare table alongside the ticket machines that has popular destinations listed alphabetically in English.
To use a ticket machine, first locate the English button. After pressing this button all the instructions will appear in English.
From the options on the screen choose “Purchase Ticket”
Then choose your fare.
Insert your fare into the machine. If you are paying with bills rather than coins check the label above the bill slot. Many machines take a variety of denominations, but some only take 1000 yen bills.
Now take your ticket and remember to collect any change.
You can now proceed through the ticket gates which are automatic. Put your ticket into the slot, walk through the gate and don’t forget to collect your ticket on the other side.
When you arrive at your final destination you will pass through the gates in the same way, but the automatic machine will keep your ticket. If you have not paid the correct fare, an alarm will sound and you then have two options. You can pay the extra fare at a manned ticket gate, or use a fare adjustment machine. You can find fare adjustment machines beside the ticket gate exits at all stations on JR, subway, and private rail lines.
Buying ICOCA cards
Ticket machines that have the ICOCA sign can also be used to buy ICOCA cards. These rechargeable IC smart cards are very convenient as they can be used for JR lines, subways, most private rail lines and also for shopping. You can use the same machines to recharge your cards.
Buying tickets for Osaka Municipal Subway lines
There are three subway stations close by Osaka Station. These are Umeda Station for the Midosuji Line, Higashi-Umeda Station for the Tanimachi Line, and Nishi-Umeda Station for the Yotsubashi Line. The subway automatic ticket machines are easy to use and can be found near the subway ticket gates.
The procedure is much the same as for buying JR tickets. You can usually check your fare at a fare table beside the machines. Fares are set at five different zone rates which range between 180 yen to 370 yen for adults, and between 90 yen to 190 yen for children aged from 6 – 11 years. Infants aged 5 or younger can travel for free.
This is a close up view of a typical ticket machine’s keyboard. Note the English guidance button on the bottom left. All ticket machines have this English guidance button. Once you press it, all of the onscreen instructions appear in English.
For a single adult ticket simply pay some money into the machine and then press the fare button. You can pay with coins or bills, but check which denominations of bills the machine can take, as this varies with different machines.
After inserting your money, buttons will light up with fare options. Simply press the button that corresponds with your fare.
If you are buying a ticket for a child you should press the child ticket button before choosing your fare. This is located to left of the machine’s screen.
If you have put enough money into the machine, you can also buy more than one ticket at a time. Find the buttons on the screen which are labelled 1枚, 2枚, and 3枚 .
If at any point you make a mistake in this process you can always press the red “CANCEL” button and then start again. There is also a “CALL ATTENDANT” button if you need assistance. These buttons are beside the fare buttons.
After pressing the fare button, you can collect your ticket and any change from the bottom of the machine.
You can then proceed through the automatic ticket gates. Put your ticket into the slot, walk through and collect your ticket on the other side.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.