If you are traveling between Osaka and the rest of Japan, then the shinkansen or “bullet train” is the fastest and most comfortable way to travel. There are two shinkansen lines, which connect with Osaka. These are the Tokaido which runs from Tokyo in the east, and the Sanyo which runs from Fukuoka in the west. Both of these lines have their common terminus in Shin-Osaka station, so this station is a very important gateway for the Osaka metropolitan area.
In this article we will introduce:
- Shin-Osaka station layout.
- Transfers between shinkansen lines, regular lines and the subway line.
- How to find your platform.
- General station facilities.
Shin-Osaka Station Layout
Shin-Osaka Station is actually really well laid out, and it is easy to find your way around. The station is inside a four story building, but the most important floor is the 3rd floor. On the 3rd floor you will find the ticket gates for both the shinkansen and regular JR lines. Shinkansen platforms are on the floor above, and regular train platforms are on the floor below. However, to access all of these platforms you must first pass through the 3rd floor gates. You can find a PDF map of the station and its layout on the JR West website that should make this clear.
There are two sets of gates for the shinkansen lines: the main Central Entrance gates and the South Entrance gates.
For the regular JR lines there is just one entrance, the East Ticket Gate.
Within the ticket gates there are also transfer gates between the concourse for the regular lines and the shinkansen concourse.
There are three main ways to access Shin-Osaka Station: by the regular JR lines, by the shinkansen, and by the Midosuji Subway Line. Let’s look at how to transfer between these different lines.
Transfers Between Regular Train Lines & the Shinkansen Lines
If you arrive at the station on a regular JR train, you can access the shinkansen lines directly by using the transfer gates inside the station concourse. First you will need to go up from your arrival platform to the 3rd floor concourse. Just follow the blue shinkansen signs to find your way.
If you don’t have your shinkansen ticket yet, there are shinkansen ticket machines and a ticket office right beside the transfer gate.
For detailed information on buying shinkansen tickets, please see our article: Buying Shinkansen Tickets at Shin-Osaka Station.
If you arrive at the station by shinkansen, and wish to access the regular JR lines, go down from your arrival platform to the 3rd floor concourse, and access the JR lines directly using the same transfer gates.
Transfers to the Midosuji Subway Line
Ticket gates for the Midosuji Subway Line are on the 2nd floor of the station building. There are no direct transfers to the subway, so to access the subway you will need to exit the ticket gates. You can descend to the 2nd floor using stairs or escalators directly opposite the central shinkansen gates. When you get to the 2nd floor keep going in the same direction.
You will see black subway signs along the way, but the Midosuji Subway lines are basically at the far end of the 2nd floor and not hard to find.
Finding Your Platform
Inside the station concourse, tracks and platforms are all clearly numbered with signs in both English and Japanese showing the name of the line, the main destinations, and route maps showing all the stops.
Train departure times and tracks numbers are also clearly displayed and these alternate between Japanese and English.
Shin-Osaka Station is not really that big, and it is really well laid out, so it would be very hard to get lost. Even so, if you want to check your location there are bilingual maps on every floor of the station which can help you find your way.
If you are transferring directly between regular lines and shinkansen lines, but have a little time to wait, you don’t need to exit the ticket gates. You can find some shops, restaurants and waiting areas inside the station concourse. There are also restaurants outside the gates, on the 3rd floor and on the 2nd and 1st floors too. The biggest restaurant area is on the 1st floor and is called “Aji no Kouji” or “Flavor Lane”.
There are lockers on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors too. These come in three sizes and are priced at 300, 500, and 900 yen.
If you need to get some cash, you can use the Seven Bank ATM in the 7-Eleven Store by the 1st floor exit. 7-Eleven ATMs have English guidance and are easy to use. They accept Visa, Plus, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus, UnionPay, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club International.
There are more ATMs on the 2nd floor between the Starbucks coffee shop and the Libro bookstore. These are Japan Post ATMs and they are also easy to use having both audio and visual English guidance. These accept most major major international credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and JCB.
Inside the Kyoto Craft Mart store on the 2nd floor you can also find a foreign currency exchange machine.
Outside the 1st floor exit you can find taxis, city bus stops, a stop for limousine buses to Itami Airport, a car rental service, a bicycle rental service and a baggage room.
There is also an elevated taxi ramp that goes up to the 3rd floor, so you can catch a taxi from there too.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.