The Hankyu Takarazuka Line runs between Umeda Station in Osaka and Takarazuka Station in Hyogo Prefecture.
It is run by the private Hankyu Railway company and so it is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. The main destination of interest on this line is the hot spring town of Takarazuka, but there are some other tourist sites of note on the way.
Access to Hankyu Umeda Station
The Hankyu Takarazuka Main Line does not connect directly to Osaka Station, but to the nearby Hankyu Umeda Station. Hankyu Umeda Station is situated north east of Osaka Station and is connected to Osaka Station City by a raised walkway and by underground tunnels. At Hankyu Umeda Station Takarazuka Line trains depart from Platforms 4 and 5.
Juso Station is the last stop where you can transfer between the Takarazuka, Kobe and Kyoto lines.
Train fare: 150 yen
Train time: 3 minutes
Transfer here to the Osaka Monorail Main Line for Osaka Itami Airport.
Train fare: 220 yen
Train time: 13 minutes
Transfer here to the Hankyu Minoo Line for the city of Minoo. Minoo is famous for Katusoji Temple which is 1200 years old and for the magnificent Minoo Waterfall in Meiji-no-mori Mino Quasi-national Park.
Train fare: 220 yen
Train time: 16 minutes
Exit here for the Itsuo Art Museum. The museum houses the extensive Japanese art collection of Ichizo Kobayashi (1873-1957), the founder of the Hankyu Railway. Among the paintings, ceramics, crafts and statuary, there are fifteen designated Important Cultural Properties and twenty Important Art Objects.
Train fare: 270 yen
Train time: 19 minutes
Exit here for Nakayamadera Temple. This popular temple is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist saint of compassion, and people pray here for safe and easy childbirth. Behind the temple is a grove of a 1000 plum tress which come into bloom each February. Beyond that rises Mount Nakayama which is popular with hikers for its stunning views over Osaka Prefecture’s urban conurbation.
Train fare: 280 yen
Train time: 29 minutes
Takarazuka is most famous as the home of the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female musical theater group. The town’s other attractions include its hot springs, the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum, and the Tessai Museum which holds 1200 artworks by the renowned literati painter Tomioka Tessai.
Train fare: 280 yen
Train time: 35 minutes
As the Hankyu Railway is a private company it is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. However, a Hankyu Tourist Pass is available for 1 or 2-day travel. This might be worth your while if you are planning to use Hankyu Railways between Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.
Visitors from overseas can also get a Kansai Thru Pass (also called the Surutto Kansai Pass) for two or three days. This covers not only the Hankyu Railway but many of the private railways, buses and subway systems in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara and Shiga. This pass cannot be used on JR Railways however. Visit the Kansai Thru Pass website to find out more.
Local residents can get a PiTaPa Pass which also covers many of the private railways, buses and subway systems in the Kansai Region. These are available from the stations of participating companies, however you will need a Japanese bank account to get one.
Hankyu Trains, Maps and Timetables
The Hankyu Railway is served by a variety of train types. The main ones are the Local trains, the Semi-Express, the Express Service, and the Limited Express. The Local trains are the slowest because they stop at all stations, and the Limited Express trains provide the fastest service, but they may not stop at your station. You should be careful to get on the right train for your stop, or know where to make an appropriate transfer. Fortunately the official Hankyu website has a clear and simple English language PDF guide to all the train types on the Takarazuka Line. This includes a color-coded route map showing exactly which stations each train stops at.
You can also get a bilingual map of the complete Hankyu Railway network. On this map the Takarazuka Main Line and its branch lines are colored yellow.
There are also PDF timetables for trains running from Umeda to Takarazuka on weekdays, and on weekends and holidays. Return trip timetables from Takarazuka to Umeda are available for both weekdays, and weekends and holidays too. However, the quickest and easiest way to find a suitable train quickly is to use an English language online route finder like Jorudan or Hyperdia.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.