Odds are, if you’re visiting Osaka, you’ll be passing through the massive built space that is Osaka-Umeda Station. Especially now that JR’s Ltd. Express Haruka service runs here direct from Kansai International.

Osaka-Umeda Station is one of those fascinating city-within-a-city Japanese train stations. It is also famously very easy to get lost here, despite plenty of multilingual signs. This vast, interconnected transport hub includes JR Osaka Station, Hankyu Umeda Station, and Hanshin Umeda Station plus three subway stations and the JR highway bus terminal. (The Willer Express Terminal, meanwhile, is just north of the station).

So whether you’re here to hit the shops, killing time before taking the night bus, or just trying to find a decent place to eat — here’s how to get around Osaka-Umeda Station.

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Read up on Umeda, one of Osaka’s most popular districts.

Navigating Osaka-Umeda Station

Osaka Station at night by Yodobashi Camera
Elevated promenades connect Osaka-Umeda Station with the new Links Umeda shopping center. | Photo by Getty Images

One reason this transport hub is so complicated is because there are many different lines, run by different operators, that require different station facilities. This makes it similar to notoriously complicated Tokyo train stations like Shinjuku and Ikebukuro.

JR Osaka Station serves JR lines, notably the lines (JR Kyoto, Kōbe, or Takurazuka) that connect this station and JR Shin-Osaka Station, for travelers coming via the Shinkansen. There’s also the Ltd. Express Haruka service to/from KIX and the JR Osaka Loop Line. The JR Highway Bus Terminal is on the north side of JR Osaka Station. The Willer Bus Terminal (at Umeda Sky Building) is also closest to JR Osaka Station.

Umeda Station, meanwhile, is the terminal/flagship station for both Hankyu and Hanshin railways, which operate lines around the Kansai metro area. Hankyu Umeda Station is east of JR Osaka Station while Hanshin Umeda Station is to the south. Osaka Metro’s Midōsuji Line also has an Umeda Station, while the Yotsubashi Line stops at Nishi-Umeda and the Tanigachi Line stops at Higashi-Umeda.

All of the different train stations have their own shops and restaurants, so there is no need to go from one to the other just for a coffee or a quick bite. That said, there are good reasons to go to all of them. After all, they’ve all been competing with each other for decades so no one is resting on their laurels here.

If you do venture out, one place to check out is Whity Umeda, also just known as Umechika. This is the basement mall that fills the underground space between the stations and beneath the tracks. The easiest access is from Hanshin Umeda Station (or from either Umeda or Higashi-Umeda on the subway). You can find your way here underground from Hankyu Umeda Station as well, via Hankyu Sanbangai — and a long walk.

JR Osaka Station

JR Osaka station at night
JR Osaka Station, center. | Photo by Getty Images

JR Osaka Station is part of a larger complex called Osaka Station City (similar to Tokyo Station City). There are two tall buildings, South Gate Bldg and North Gate Bldg, on either side of the station building, connected by bridges on the 3rd and 5th floors. There’s a clock tower in the center of the 5th floor concourse that’s a popular meeting spot.

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On the ground floor, JR Osaka Station’s Central Concourse also connects the station with the larger Osaka Station City complex. This is where you’ll find traveler services like information centers, ticket offices, and coin lockers. There are also some services on the 3rd floor bridge concourse.

Osaka Station City was completed in 2011 along with other station renovations.

Osaka Station City South Gate Bldg

Hotel Granvia and Osaka’s Nintendo Store
Ground floor Center Gate, Center South Gate

Osaka Station City’s South Gate Bldg has a Daimaru Department Store, which notably has Kansai’s only Nintendo Store. It also has Pokémon Center Osaka and a branch of DIY store Hands (formerly known as Tokyu Hands).

Hotel Granvia is on upper floors, and has direct station access.

North Gate Bldg

Tsutaya Books, fashionable shops, and a cinema
3rd floor Bridge Gate

There is more shopping in North Gate Bldg, in the form of two department stores, Lucua and Lucua 1100, as well a movie theater, Osaka Station City Cinema.

Lucua 1100 is the most fashionable of the department stores attached to JR Osaka Station, and includes sections curated by Isetan, Tokyo’s most fashion-forward department store; it also has the Umeda branch of Tsutaya Books. Lucua, meanwhile, has less expensive, but still trendy labels as well as branches of Loft, Muji, and Beams.

Lucua 1100 and Lucua are connected on the upper levels, which have restaurants and the cinema; and in the basement, which has casual restaurants and bars. North Gate Bldg can also be reached via the ground floor Central Concourse; take one of the escalators at the north end up to the second floor for access.

Eki Marche Osaka

Easy food options inside the JR station
Eki Marché Osaka Gate

Eki Marché Osaka, which underwent renovations in 2021, has around two dozen food vendors, including deli counters, cafes, dessert shops, bars, and casual restarants serving a variety of Japanese and international cuisines.

If you just want something to eat inside JR Osaka Station, this is your best bet. Eki Marché has its own dedicated ticket gates for access from the station. Coming from the street, look for it near the Sakurabashi Gate at the south end of the Central Concourse.

Hankyu Umeda Station

Hankyu Umeda Station is famous for being the first train station plus department store pairing in Japan, which set off a whole trend. Hankyu Department Store first opened in 1929; ever since, it has been among Kansai’s most fashionable places to shop.

A much more casual shopping and dining complex, Hankyu Sanban Gai, can be found in the lower floors of the station building.

Hankyu Umeda Station is east of JR Osaka Station. To reach Hankyu Umeda Station from JR Osaka Station, use the Midosuji North Gate exit.

Hankyu Sanbangai South

“Big Man” meet-up spot, Kinokuniya Books
Center Gate via the 2nd floor ticket gates

Hankyu Sanbangai South has Hankyu Umeda’s unofficial meet-up spot: “Big Man,” which refers to the big video screen on the wall of this ground floor plaza.

There’s also a big Kinokuniya Books here, which has some books and magazines in English. Next to Kinokuniya is a neat little strip of used booksellers that has some history to it.

This part of the station mall also has some useful shops like MUJIcom, which is like a Muji convenience store, and a drug store, plus a few quick places to get food. There’s an information center in the basement.

Hankyu Sanbangai North

Cheap food in the Hankyu train station basement
Chayamachi Gate via the 2nd floor ticket gates

The big draw here is Umeda Food Hall. This food court, in the second-level basement (B2), has a bunch of noodle shops plus casual restaurants serving okonomiyaki, tempura, Italian, Chinese, and more. It’s a great bet for a budget meal at the station.

Sanbangai Bus Terminal and Hankyu Bricks Museum are on the ground floor. There’s a branch of KiddyLand, the famous Harajuku toy store, in the first basement level.

Hankyu Department Store

Osaka’s top department store, free views from the Sky Lobby
Ground floor concourse via the escalators from the 3rd floor ticket gates

Not only is Hankyu Dept Store Japan’s largest department store (following rennovations in 2012), it also has Japan’s largest beauty department, which spreads over multiple floors. On the 7th floor, look for the Japanese Handicraft Salon; even if you’re not buying, there are some beautiful things to see here.

The basement levels house a gourmet food hall; the upper floors have some nice restaurants where you can get lunch deals for around ¥2,000. Look to the 9th floor atrium for special events and pop-ups. It’s also worth going up to the 15th floor Sky Lobby for free views over the city.

Tall modern buildings in Osaka's Umeda district
Hankyu Umeda Department Store, on the right. | Photo by Getty Images

If you’re looking for another convenient place to stay, Hotel New Hankyu Osaka can be reached from the ground floor concourse; it’s also directly connected to the Umeda metro station.

Hanshin Umeda Station

Hanshin Umeda Station is another train station plus department store situation. The whole building was recently redeveloped into Osaka Twin Towers South (while the Hankyu Dept. Store building is now called Osaka Twin Towers North).

If “Hanshin” sounds familiar for some reason it might be because of Osaka’s famous baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers, which are sponsored by Hanshin.

Hanshin Umeda Station is south of JR Osaka Station, so coming from the JR station use the Center South Gate.

Hanshin Department Store

Umeda’s best basement food hall
Basement level Department Store Gate

Hankyu and Hanshin are now one company so the two department stores have been arranged to complement each other. So while Hankyu Dept. Store has pricey brand names, Hanshin Dept. Store has more reasonably priced merchandise, mostly by Japanese brands. There’s a Hanshin Tigers merch store on the 8th floor.

Hanshin Department Store is also known for its excellent basement food selection, which includes bakeries, bentō shops, deli counters, patisseries and more.

One floor below, is the new (in 2022) Hanshin Bar Yokochō, which has around 20 stylish counter bars and restaurants that are open throughout the day until around 10 or 11 p.m. Expect crowds at this one; or check congestions levels first.

Osaka umeda at night
Office buildings in Umeda District, Osaka, Japan. | Photo by Getty Images

Whity Umeda

Whity Umeda is an underground mall that fills the basement level space between Hanshin Umeda Station, Osaka Metro Umeda Station, and Osaka Metro Higashi-Umeda Station. There’s also a long wing that extends north all the way to Hankyu Sanbangai, and another one to the east that was renovated in 2019.

Whity Umeda first opened in 1963, and has undergone a number of changes since. The most recent was the 2019 renovation to Izumi no Hiroba — the main meeting-up point in Whity Umeda — and the addition next to it of a bar area called Nomoka.

Otherwise you can find all kinds of cool stuff down here, including noodle shops and small izakaya but also beauty salons and fortune tellers. Plus useful things like convenience stores, Seven Bank ATMs, drug stores, and shoe repair counters.

We could go on, because once you’ve tapped into the Whity Umeda underground passage network, you can travel even further. For example, without having to see the sun, you can access Hep Navio, Hep Five, and ABC-Mart from the corridor connecting Whity Umeda to Hankyu Sanbangai. Or from the Izumi no Hiroba side, there’s direct access to
Ibis budget Osaka Umeda
and Hotel Dans Le Coeur Osaka Umeda.

Hotel Dans Le Coeur Osaka Umeda

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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Filed under: Travel

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