Housed within the bright, modern shopping complex of Osaka Station City, Osaka Station is the biggest and busiest station in Western Japan. Closely connected to six neighboring satellite stations, it sits at the heart of a vital and vibrant transportation network that has helped to make the surrounding Umeda district Osaka’s preeminent center of business enterprise and opportunity.
Our article Osaka Station Map – Finding Your Way explains the general layout of the railway station itself and how to find your train. In this article we will introduce those facilities and services which are of most benefit to travelers and which make Osaka Station City a popular center of recreation and entertainment.
The station itself occupies the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors in the center of Osaka Station City. Bookending the station at its north and south entrances are two towering buildings: the North Gate Building and South Gate Building. In these buildings are department stores, restaurants, and other leisure and entertainment facilities. The two buildings are linked at ground level by the station concourses and there are also two bridges that run between the buildings at the 3rd floor and 5th floor levels. From these bridges you can watch the trains coming and going on the rail tracks below. Arching over these bridges and protecting the platforms below from the elements is a spectacular domed roof of glass and steel.
First Floor Station Facilities
The 1st floor Central Concourse of Osaka Station has a number of facilities that are particularly useful for travelers.
Train & Tourist Information
This office at the northern end of the Central Concourse has staff who can communicate in English, and have some printed information in Korean and Chinese. Here you can make inquiries about rail travel, pick up tourist information, or buy discount travel passes such as the Osaka Amazing Pass, the Kansai Thru Pass, or the Osaka Kaiyu Ticket for Osaka Aquarium. Free wi-fi is available here and visitors can also use a personal computer here if they ask the staff.
Open: 8.00 – 20.00
Foreign Currency Exchange
The TiS Osaka branch of Travelex Japan is a foreign currency exchange shop located inside Nippon Travel Agency. Nippon Travel Agency is located across from the Train & Tourist Information Office on the east side of the Central Concourse.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10.30 – 19.30, Saturday: 10.30 – 19.00, Sunday: 10.30 – 18.30
The Central Ticket Office
Lost and Found at Osaka Station
The station’s Lost and Found office is located very close to the Train & Tourist Information office above.
Open: 8.00 – 20.00
Third Floor Bridge Facilities
The North-South Bridge Concourse on the 3rd floor of the station building also has some facilities of particular use for tourists.
Osaka Station City Information
This information booth at the north end of the Bridge Concourse has staff who speak English and Chinese. The information available here is mainly about the shopping, dining and recreational facilities in Osaka Station City. You can also report lost or found articles here or ask for an audio guide tour of Osaka Station City. The audio guides are available in English, Korean, and Chinese and cost just 500 yen.
Open: 10.00 – 20.00
Tourist Service Center
At the south end of the Bridge Concourse is another information booth with some extra services. Here there is both a luggage delivery service and a 7-Bank ATM that accepts most major foreign bank cards. Both this booth and the Osaka Station City Information booth above have multilingual touch screens with guidance maps and information about both Osaka Station City and the surrounding area.
Open: 8.00 – 20.00
The North Gate Building
At 28 stories high, the North Gate Building is the taller of the two buildings that make up Osaka Station City. This building contains the Lucua and Isetan department stores, as well as a cinema, a fitness club, many offices, and several high-rise garden plazas with glorious city views.
This open space on the 2nd floor and eastern side of the North Gate Building is an extension of the walkway that runs between Osaka Station City and Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station. Its chief point of interest is a large clock monument, called the “Carillon Clock,” rather ostentatiously decorated with bells that chime the hours. There is also a café here with outside terrace seating and a rather pricey menu of drinks and light meals.
Open: 4.30 – 1.00 the following day
This open space on the 10th floor of the North Gate Building features a traditional Japanese style garden with a lantern, pine tree, arranged rocks and moss. Inside the 10th floor is the Lucua Dining restaurant floor, so this is a nice peaceful spot to come out to after a meal. “Yawaragi-no-niwa” actually means “peaceful garden” and many people do take a moment here to enjoy a breath of fresh air here and the view over the city.
Open: 7.00 – 23.00
“Kaze-no-hiroba” means “garden of the wind” and this is a long, breezy garden plaza on the 11th floor with great views and plentiful seating. This garden is notable for its colorful and fragrant flowers, and for a small water feature which small children seem to find particularly entrancing. This plaza is immediately above the Yawaragi-no-niwa below and accessible from it by an outside staircase.
Open: 7.00 – 24.00
Osaka Station City Cinema
This is a top class cinema on the 11th floor of the North Gate Building with 12 screens, digital projection, and 2,564 seats. The cinema is proud of its barrier-free facilities which can accommodate wheelchair users, parents with small children, and the elderly.
Open: 9.00 – 23.00
Konami Sports Club
This fitness gym is very well equipped with exercise machines of all kinds, plentiful studio space, bathing facilities, a sauna, and a beauty salon. The Konami Sports Club is on the 12th and 13th floors of the North Gate Building, but is accessed from the 11th floor.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 9.00 – 23.00, Saturday: 10.00 – 22.30, Sunday: 10.00 – 22.00
This “heavenly plantation” is a small rooftop farm on the North Gate Building’s 14th floor. Various local traditional vegetables as well as herbs and fruits are cultivated here and there is also a small vineyard. Through the seasons members of the public are invited to take part in the cultivation process with seed planting, tending, and harvesting events. It is a small but significant attempt to bring agricultural experience into the heart of the city.
Open: 7.00 – 21.00
On the 5th floor of Osaka Station City there is a bridge that runs between the North Gate and South Gate buildings. It is decorated with two very large clocks, one gold, and one silver, and the plaza’s name “Toki” is written with the characters for “time” and “space.” There is a café and bar here called Caffe Bar Del Sole at which you can get spaghetti, pizza, calzone, lasagna and risotto and a wide range of soft drinks and stronger beverages. Above the plaza spans the steel and glass domed roof of the station, and below it you have a splendid view of the train tracks and platforms.
Open: 8.00 – 23.30
The South Gate Building
The South Gate Building is mostly taken up with the Daimaru department store, and the Hotel Granvia. Dining facilities in Daimaru are on the 16th floor, and the Hotel Granvia’s dining floor (which is accessible to the public as well as hotel guests) is on the 19th floor. It does also have one public plaza which is listed below.
This is a south facing plaza and so it is named the “plaza of the sun”. It occupies a series of terraces on the 15th, 16th, and 17th floors and is decorated with flowering shrubs and trees. It has plenty of seating, a café area, and during the summer is used as a beer garden.
Open: 10.00 – 23.00
The Bus Terminal
The Bus Terminal for Osaka Station is located on the north side of the building just outside the 1st floor. You can catch both Highway Express Buses and City Buses here.
The Taxi rank for Osaka Station City is located outside the Sakurabashi Gate on the station building’s south west corner.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.