Osaka Municipal Subway’s Midosuji Line is an important rapid transit underground railway service running north-south in Osaka city. It runs for much of its course under Midosuji Avenue, central Osaka’s primary main street which runs between Umeda and Namba. The broadening of this avenue and the construction of the subway were both completed during an intense period of modernization in the 1930s.
Today many of central Osaka’s popular tourist locations are served by the Midosuji line, and many of its stations are also important transportation hubs. It is also an extremely busy line, the busiest subway line in Japan in fact, so you may want to avoid using it during the commuter rush hours between 8:00 am and 9:00 am in the morning and just after 5:00 pm in the evening.
The Midosuji Line has 20 stations between Esaka Station in the north and Nakamozu in the south. Here, listed from north to south, are the locations you are most likely to visit with transfer points included.
This is the first station on the Midosuji Line. It is also served by the Kita-Osaka Kyuko Railway, which effectively serves as a northern extension of the Midosuji Line, linking Esaka Station with Ryokuchi-koen, Momoyama-dai, and Senri-Chuo Stations.
Shin-Osaka Station is an important transportation hub in the Osaka metropolitan area. Here you can transfer to the JR Kyoto Line, which that part of the JR Tokaido Main Line that runs between Kyoto and Osaka. It is also the terminus of two high-speed shinkansen lines, the Tokaido Shinkansen line from Tokyo, and the Sanyo Shinkansen line from Fukuoka in Kyushu. You can download a bilingual map for Shin-Osaka Station at the JR West website.
Transfer here to nearby Minamikata Station for the Hankyu Kyoto Line.
Umeda Station serves the Umeda area, which is Osaka’s most popular shopping district. Here you can find the Hankyu, Daimaru, Hanshin and Isetan department stores. Other popular attractions and shopping areas in Umeda are the Umeda Sky Building, HEP Five, and Grand Front Osaka. You can find maps for the Umeda area at the Umeda Connect website and at the Osaka Info website.
Umeda Station is also an integral part of a major transportation hub in Osaka city. Four other stations are close by: Osaka Station, Higashi-Umeda Station, Nishi-Umeda Station and Kitashinchi Station. Effectively these five stations form one big station complex.
At Osaka-Umeda Station transfer to Hankyu lines for Kobe, Kyoto and Takarazuka and the Hanshin Main Line which also serves Kobe.
At Osaka Station transfer to the west bound JR Kobe Line for Kobe and Himeji, the JR Kyoto Line for Kyoto, and the JR Takarazuka Line for northern Kyoto Prefecture. There are also limited express services for Hokuriku, Nagano and Takayama.
At Higashi-Umeda Station transfer to the Subway Tanimachi Line which connects the cities of Moriguchi, Osaka and Yao.
At Nishi-Umeda Station transfer to the Subway Yotsubashi Line which runs between Umeda and Suminoekoen Station.
At Kitashinchi Station transfer to the JR Tozai Line which runs from Kyobashi Station, east-west through central Osaka and onward to Amagasaki Station in Hyogo Prefecture.
Yodoyabashi is the closest station to Osaka City Hall. Here you can transfer to the Keihan Main Line which connects Yodoyabashi with Sanjo Station in Kyoto. Aqua-Liner Osaka river cruise Yodoyabashi Pier is located near the station. You can download an English map of Yodoyabashi Station at the Keihan Railways website.
Transfer here to Osaka Municipal Subway’s Chuo Line and Yotsubashi Line.
Shinsaibashi is a popular shopping area in Osaka. It is famous for the Shinsaibashi-Suji, a covered shopping arcade which has many tailors, brand shops and boutiques selling clothing and jewelry of all kinds. Nearby is Amerika-Mura (also called Ame-mura) a local center of youth culture with stores selling second-hand clothes, records and imported goods. Use the official Shinsaibashi and America-mura websites to find out more about this area.
Transfer here to Osaka Municipal Subway’s Yotsubashi Line and Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line.
The Namba area is a major shopping and entertainment district in the Minami (or “South”) area of Osaka. Famous sites here include the Glico running man image and the Kani Doraku crab image by the Dotonbori canal. Attractions include the leafy Namba Parks shopping mall, the Shin-Kabukiza Theater, and Hozen-ji Temple. Close by Hozen-ji Temple is Hozen-ji Yokocho, a celebrated stone flagged alleyway full of bars, cafes and eateries. You can download a map of the entire Minami area (including Namba, Nipponbashi and Shinsaibashi) from the Osaka Info website.
Namba is served by four separate stations all within a very close radius: Osaka Municipal Subway’s Namba Station, JR Namba Station, Osaka Namba Station and Nankai Namba Station. Transfers are as follows:
At Osaka Municipal Subway’s Namba Station transfer to the Sennichimae Line and the Yotsubashi Line.
At JR Namba Station transfer to the JR Yamatoji Line which links Namba to Nara and Kyoto prefectures.
At Osaka Namba Station transfer to the Kintetsu Namba Line and the Hanshin Namba Line.
At Nankai Namba Station transfer to the Nankai Main Line and the Koya Line. The Nankai Main Line runs between Namba Station in Osaka and Wakayamashi Station in Wakayama City. The Koya Line links Osaka with the mountain temple retreat of Koya-san in Wakayama Prefecture.
Transfer here to Osaka Municipal Subway’s Yotsubashi Line.
Dobutsuen-mae literally means “facing the zoo” and appropriately this is a convenient stop for Tennoji Zoo. Also nearby are the Tsutenkaku Tower and Spa World.
Transfer here to Osaka Municipal Subway’s Sakaisuji Line.
There are two more stations close to Dobutsuen-mae Station: Shin-Imamiya Station and Shin-Imamiya-Ekimae Station. At Shin-Imamiya Station transfer to the Osaka Loop Line, the JR Yamatoji Line, and to Nankai Electric Railway’s Nankai Main Line and Koya Line. At Shin-Imamiya-Ekimae Station transfer to the tramway Hankai Line which links the cities of Osaka and Sakai.
The main attraction in the Tennoji area is Shitennoji Temple, which dates from 593 and is Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple. Tennoji Park, Tennoji Zoo and Osaka Municipal Museum of Fine Art are also nearby. You can download a map of the Tennoji area from the Osaka Info website.
Transfer here to the Osaka Loop Line, the JR Yamatoji Line, the JR Hanwa Line and Osaka Municipal Subway’s Tanimachi Line. The JR Hanwa Line links Osaka with Wakayama Prefecture. The Limited Express Haruka for Kansai International Airport also stops at Tennoji Station.
Transfer also to nearby Tennoji-Ekimae Station for the tramway Hankai Uemachi Line. Osaka Abenobashi Station is also nearby, and here you can transfer to the Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line which connects to Kashihara city in Nara Prefecture.
Exit here for Nagai Botanical Garden. Transfer here to the JR Hanwa Line.
This is the southernmost stop on the Midosuji Line. Transfer here to the Nankai Railway’s Koya Line and the Semboku Rapid Railway.
Timetables & Tickets
The first train departs from Esaka Station at 5:03 am and from Nakamozu Station at 5:07 am. The last train leaves Esaka Station at 23:57 pm and from Nakamozu Station at 23:23 pm. For all train times in between consult English language online route finders like Jorudan and Hyperdia.
For more detailed information about using the subway system in Osaka, check the Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau website. Here you can find information on discount tickets such as the Osaka Amazing Pass, the Osaka Kaiyu Ticket, or how to use prepaid IC cards. You can also download PDFs of a complete subway system map.
Other recommended multi-use discount passes are the Kansai Thru Pass, the Enjoy Eco Card and the Yokoso! Osaka Ticket. Check the links for details.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.