Umeda is Osaka’s main business, commercial, and transportation hub. By day, it’s a busy shopping area, known for high-end department stores and high-rise malls. At night, Umeda — and especially the east side — is abustle with thrill seekers and office workers letting off steam.
JR Osaka Station and several other key train stations are here, which means you’ll probably pass through Umeda at some point.
What’s new in Umeda?
The most exciting news for Umeda is that JR’s Ltd. Express Haruka airport service from KIX now stops at JR Osaka Station, following the completion of an additional platform in spring 2023.
Previously, the service only stopped at Tennōji and Shin-Osaka (before continuing on to Kyoto). The journey from Kansai International Airport to Umeda now takes under an hour, with no need to transfer, and costs ¥2,740, which is also slightly cheaper than the fare to Shin-Osaka.
Pro-tip: So long as you have a foreign passport, you can usually purchase Haruka tickets online at a greatly reduced price (¥1,600 last time we checked).
The new platform is part of the larger redevelopment of an unused cargo yard northwest of JR Osaka Station — the Umekita 2nd Project. It’s all set to be completed in 2027, but the best part, Umekita Park, will open in 2024 (just in time for Osaka Expo 2025).
At over 10 acres, it will be a sizeable green space, and also promises to make it easier to reach Umeda principle attraction, Umeda Sky Building.
Where is Umeda?
Umeda is part of Osaka’s north side, commonly referred to as Kita (which just means “north”). It’s the area including and around the massive rail hub that includes JR Osaka Station, Hanshin Umeda Station, Hankyu Umeda Station, and several Osaka Metro stations.
While you might be familiar with JR (Japan Rail), private operator Hanshin and Hankyu run lines that are useful for traveling around the Kansai metro area. The subway, meanwhile, is the best way to get around Osaka.
What is Umeda like?
Umeda is mostly high-rise office blocks, commercial spaces, and hotels. During the day, it gets pretty busy, between the commuters and the shoppers. At night, Umeda gives way to salary workers crowding its numerous entertainment venues.
A large part of Umeda is taken up by the ever-growing Osaka-Umeda train station complex. The various stations are interconnected by underground passages/malls; above ground, pedestrian walkways connect the stations to more malls.
Around the station, different parts of Umeda have different attractions. Some areas worth checking out include:
The newly developed area north of JR Osaka Station; includes the mall, Osaka Grand Front; the Intercontinental Hotel; plus the soon to be completed Umekita Park.
A popular shopping district east of Hankyu Umeda Station, with boutiques and affordable brands, like Uniqlo, Zara, and ABC Mart; there’s also a Loft department store. The inner streets are nice to wander around, and there are restaurants, cafes, izakaya, and karaoke, too.
This arcade is Umeda’s most popular izakaya, bar, and night entertainment spot. The entrance is just off from Hankyu Men’s department store, or via the Whity underground arcade.
Kansai’s biggest LGTBQ+ enclave, near Higashidōri and with lots of small bars and clubs.
Is Umeda a good place to stay?
With its major, central train station Umeda is naturally a good place to stay. There is a good selection of hotels, from economical to 5-star, many of which are fairly new (or newly renovated) thanks to all the development going on around the station.
There isn’t however, a whole lot going on in the budget category, save for some capsule/dorm situations in Doyama. For hostels and guesthouses, look to neighboring Fukushima.
In general, prices are a bit higher in Umeda than elsewhere. You can find cheaper options if you head south of the river.
Where to stay in Umeda
For ultimate convenience, the Hotel Granvia is in one of the skyscrapers attached to JR Osaka Station — meaning you don’t have to travel much further than the ticket gates. Hotel New Hankyu Osaka is another easy choice: the entrance is right in front of Hankyu Umeda Station (and there’s direct access to Umeda’s subway station).
The InterContinental, meanwhile, is part of the Grand Front Osaka complex, just north of JR Osaka Station. We also like the new (in 2019) Hankyu Respire, which is part of Links Umeda.
Prices tend to be cheaper the further you get from the station area. There are some good options on the east side of Umeda, like Hotel Kansai, within easy walking distance of Higashi-Umeda subway station, and Eins Inn, more contemporary, but also further away.
In Doyama, Capsule Inn Osaka is a men-only capsule hotel while Guest House 888 is a hostel dormitory for women only. Over in Fukushima, check out Guest House U-en or Osaka Guest House Hive.
For more recommendations, see our Ultimate Osaka Accommodation Guide.
What to see and do in Umeda
The best things to do in Umeda are shopping, and dining out. The biggest attraction in Umeda is the Umeda Sky Building, which has a rooftop observatory for panoramic views over the city.
Also worth checking out is the Hankyu Brick Museum, which has awesome Lego displays for kids and a Lego store. Nearby, there’s the big red Hep Five Ferris Wheel.
Shopping in Umeda
Umeda has several malls and department stores, and many have direct access from the train stations. In fact, you can accomplish a lot without even leaving the station complex — perfect for last-minute shopping.
The best high-end brand shopping is at the department stores (Hankyu, Hanshin, and Daimaru) and at Herbis Plaza. Daimaru has a Nintendo Store and a Pokémon Center. Hankyu and Hanshin still have the best food sections. For trendy fashions, look to Lucua, a department store attached to the JR Station, and around the Hep 5 area.
North of JR Osaka Station, you can reach the shopping complex, Osaka Grand Front, via pedestrian walkways. There’s a big Yodobashi Camera here too, in the new (as of 2019) Links Umeda complex, which also has a Uniqlo, ABC Mart, and Daiso as well as drug stores, convenience stores, and a supermarket.
Where and what to eat in Umeda
With its endless dining choices and central location, the area is a favorite meet-up-point for friends. There are options to suit all tastes and budgets.
All of the shopping centers have restaurant halls or food courts. These tend to be open from around 11 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m., though some spots may be open later. Try Osaka Grand Front or Lucua for trendy/classy options. Links Umeda has casual restaurants plus some fun izakaya-type places.
There are plenty of boisterous izakayas in the arcade Higashidōri. For a unique feel of bygone Osaka, check out Sonezaki Ohatsutenjin-dōri, another covered arcade with izakaya as well as casual yakitori and drinking spots.
What is there to do at night in Umeda?
For dining late into the night, Higashidōri and Doyama are your best bets. The Blarney Stone, just off the arcade is a long time popular expat spot.
Umeda has several cinemas, including Osaka Station City Cinema, located in the north tower block of the JR station and with easy access to Lucua’s dining floors. East of Hankyu Umeda Station (near Hep 5 and Hankyu Men’s), there are two Toho Cinemas.
For live music there’s a Billboard Live at Herbis Plaza Ent. For more indie stuff and local bands, check out Umeda Club Quattro, linked to the famous Club Quattro in Shibuya. A more local live house venue is Umeda Trad House in Doyama.
For dancing, check out Club Piccadilly Umeda and also Owl Osaka near the Hep 5 shopping center.
In Doyama, Club Explosion is a long-timer and, in the Dai-Ni Shoei Building, you could try Grand Slam and Pump Up Bar. You can pick up flyers at these places for other locales.
Getting to Umeda
Umeda is Osaka’s central rail hub, and includes: JR Osaka Station, Hankyu Umeda Station, and Hanshin Umeda Station, plus several Osaka Metro lines (including the Midosuji Line) and numerous bus lines.
For the Shinkansen, however, you have to go to Shin-Osaka Station. Regional buses run from both JR Osaka and Hankyu Umeda stations.
Getting to Umeda from Kansai International Airport
Now that JR’s Ltd. Express Haruka airport service stops at JR Osaka Station, it’s quicker and more convenient to get to Umeda from Kansai International.
The Kansai Airport Limousine is a handy alternative, stopping at Herbis Plaza or Hilton Hotel in Nishi-Umeda, Hotel Hankyu Chayamachi, and Hotel New Hankyu.
For full details, see our article on getting to Osaka from Kansai International Airport.
What about Osaka Itami Airport?
Itami is a domestic airport with flights to/from Tokyo and other major cities in Japan; however, there is no direct train line between Itami and Umeda. You can use a combination of the Osaka Monorail and Hankyu Takarazuka Line (transfering at Hotarugaike Station), which takes about 20 minutes (¥430) to/from Hankyu Umeda Station. Or the Airport Limousine, which runs to/from JR Osaka Station in 30 minutes (¥650).
Umeda train stations and lines
JR and private operators Hankyu and Hanshin operate train services around Kansai, connecting Umeda with Kyoto, Kōbe, and Takarazuka.
JR Osaka Station
- JR Osaka Loop Line for points around Osaka, like Tennōji, etc.
- JR Kyoto Line for Shin-Osaka, Kyoto Station, etc.
- JR Kōbe Line for Sannomiya, Motomachi, Kōbe Station (all in Kōbe), etc.
- JR Ltd. Express services for Kansai International Airport, Kinosaki Onsen, Kanazawa, and Fukui
Hankyu Umeda Station
- Hankyu Kyoto Line for Kawaramachi, Arashiyama (both in Kyoto), etc.
- Hankyu Takarazuka Line for Takarazuka, Minoo, etc.
- Hankyu Kōbe Line for Kōbe-Sannomiya, etc.
Hanshin Umeda Station
- Hanshin Main Line for Koshien, Kōbe-Sannomiya, Akashi, etc.
Osaka Metro stations in Umeda
The subway is the best way for traveling from Umeda to other parts of Osaka, including Namba.
- Umeda Station: Midōsuji Line for Shin-Osaka (northbound) and Yodoyabashi, Shinsaibashi, Namba, etc (southbound)
- Nishi-Umeda Station: Yotsubashi Line for Honmachi, Namba, etc.
- Higashi-Umeda Station: Tanimachi Line for Tenmabashi, Tanimachi 4-chōme, etc.
Highway bus terminals in Umeda
Both of the main highway bus terminals for Osaka are here in Umeda: JR Expressway Bus Terminal can be found on the north side of JR Osaka Station. The Willer Express terminal is at Umeda Sky Building.
Getting around Umeda
Umeda is walkable, though navigating the giant Osaka-Umeda station complex can be challenging. Getting the right station exit is really important; otherwise you could find yourself a long and confusing walk from where you want to be.