Today many cities across Japan have discount schemes. However few have the range, the variety or the value for money of the Osaka Amazing Pass.
So, join us today dear reader, as we look at this incredible offer in more detail, and give you some ideas as to how to best use it on your next visit to Osaka.
Table of Contents
What is the Osaka Amazing Pass?
The Osaka Amazing Pass allows either free or heavily discounted entry to dozens of attractions and events all across Osaka City. Users can save plenty of money on the transportation to and from these venues too.
In total, more than 40 venues offer free entry with the pass, and free transportation on the Osaka Metro subway network. Osaka City bus services are also included free of charge.
Some of the venues however, such as the Expo ’70 park actually lie outside Osaka’s city limits. As such, they aren’t served by the metro or the bus service. You will need to pay a little extra to get there using private rail lines or the Osaka Monorail.
However, the money you will save in entry fees more than makes up for this.
Types of Passes Available
The Osaka Amazing Pass actually comes in three varieties. The most common are the one day version and the two day version.
As one would expect, the two day version is more expensive, but offers additional benefits beyond that of the one-day option.
Recently a third variant, the Expo ’70 Commemorative Park Edition debuted to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the World Expo, which was held in Osaka in the summer and autumn of 1970.
How much do the Passes Cost?
The one day version of the Osaka Amazing Pass costs 2,800 yen. You can order online here.
The two day pass costs 3,600 yen. Most travelers would agree that, if you are going to be in Osaka for at least a couple of days, then the two day pass represents the best value. Just 800 yen extra for basically double the usage represents phenomenal value in my book. Order a two day pass here.
Then, finally there is the question of the newly minted Expo ’70 Commemorative Park Edition pass. This one day pass offers all the benefits of the standard one day Osaka Amazing Pass, with the added benefit of travel options extended to cover up to Bampaku Kinen Koen Station on the Midosuji Line. This is the station closest to the park. One of Osaka’s most famous, and indeed eclectic landmarks, the Tower of the Sun, is a short walk from the station into the park. You can buy an Expo ’70 Commemorative Edition pass here.
Where Can I Buy the Pass in Osaka?
For convenience and to save time, we strongly recommend ordering your passes online here. Once you do that, you can later collect your pass from one of three tourist information centers located around the city.
The tourist information centers can be found in JR Osaka Station (near the central ticket gate), Namba (on the 1st floor of Nankai Namba Station) or JR Shin Osaka Station (just outside the central gate).
However, if you choose not to pre-order your pass online then they can also be purchased in person from any stationmaster’s office at any stop on the Osaka Metro Subway Lines. This applies to the standard one or two day pass.
However, the Expo ’70 Commemorative Edition passes can only be purchased either from the three tourist information centers mentioned above, or from the tourist center at Kansai International Airport. The tourist center is in the terminal 1 main building.
Other locations where one can purchase Osaka Amazing Passes include various hotels in Umeda area, Osaka Castle area, Hommachi, Namba area, Tennoji area, Bay area, Universal Studios area and Sakai.
A complete breakdown of where to purchase each type of pass can be found here.
Where can I go for free?
For a full list of the venues that offer free entry with the Osaka Amazing Pass, please check this list.
Here are some notable highlights:
The Umeda Sky Building Kuchu-Teien Observatory (free entry until 6pm. Usual cost: 1500 yen)
The Umeda Sky Building is one of Osaka’s most iconic structures. Built in the 1990s, the building towers over most of the surrounding Umeda business and shopping district. From the observation deck, you can see as far away as the Osaka Bay to the south, and the hills of Wakayama Prefecture to the east. On a clear day, if you look northwest, one can see as far away as Kyoto prefecture.
The observatory is also open every day of the year, meaning that it is a venue you can enjoy regardless of when you visit Osaka.
The Umeda Sky Building is about 10 minutes on foot from Umeda Station on the Osaka Metro, or Osaka Station on the JR line.
The Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel (usual cost: 800 yen)
Standing at 112.5 meters, the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel is one of the tallest rides of this type in Japan. Indeed it is taller than most in Asia. From the highest point of the wheel, you can see panoramic views of the entirety of Osaka Bay, and across the river to the famous Universal Studios Japan theme park. The adjoining shopping center, Tempozan Market Place, offers a wide variety of lunch and shopping options after you’ve enjoyed the Ferris Wheel.
The Tempozan Ferris Wheel is a five minute walk from Osakako Station on the Osaka Metro, Chuo Line.
Legoland Discovery Center Osaka (usual cost: 2400 yen)
If you’re travelling with family, then here is something for the kids to enjoy. Just next door to the Tempozan Wheel, you will find the Legoland Discovery Center. Kids of all ages can marvel at the Lego displays and play with some of the latest models in the adjacent Lego gift shop.
Please note that adults cannot enter Legoland without kids, and unaccompanied children under 15 are also not allowed.
The Tsutenkaku Tower (usual cost 800 yen)
As far as Osaka landmarks go, there are few more iconic than the Tsutenkaku. This tower, built shortly after World War Two as a symbol of Osaka’s resilience in the face of adversity, has remained a popular attraction for both tourists and locals alike for more than 60 years.
The Tsutenkaku is a short walk from Ebisucho Station on the Osaka Metro, Midosuji Line.
Osaka Castle Museum (usual cost 600 yen)
It may be perhaps Osaka’s most iconic structure, but how much do you actually know about Osaka Castle?
Probably not as much as you would like to.
Well, Osaka Castle Museum is here to help. This museum, on the grounds of the castle itself, gives a detailed history both cultural and practical of the construction of the original castle. The museum also guides visitors through the evolution of Osaka Castle from a seat of power, to a cultural asset, to its role today as a symbol of the beauty and heritage of Osaka City.
With the Osaka Amazing Pass, you can also gain free entry to the Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Gardens, a place of great natural beauty and peace.
How About a Cruise?
In addition to allowing you to visit many of Osaka’s famous sites for no extra charge, the Osaka Amazing Pass also offers free entry (subject to seat availability) to a number of popular boat cruises.
The Santa Maria, which departs from the rear of the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, in Minato Ward, offers both a “day cruise” and a “twilight cruise”. Both cover the same route, around Osaka Bay, however, you can only use the Osaka Amazing Pass for one of them per purchase. Without the pass, the day cruise costs 1600 yen per person, the twilight cruise is 2100 yen.
Another popular Osaka cruise covered by the Osaka Amazing Pass is the Dotombori Jazz cruise.
Enjoy the sounds of a live band as you cruise up and down the famous Dotombori canal.
It is something of a custom in Osaka to give the boats a wave as they pass down the river, so feel free to wave back at the passers-by as you sail along.
The Osaka Amazing Pass doesn’t just grant free entry into certain venues around Osaka. For those who don’t mind spending a little more, you can also enjoy discounts on a number of facilities, services and products across the city by presenting your Osaka Amazing Pass.
At the time of writing there are around 30 participating locations. A full list can be found here, but in the meantime, let us look at a few highlights:
It may not have the profile and prestige of Osaka Castle, but Amagasaki Castle, just over the border into Hyogo Prefecture is well worth a visit. With your Osaka Amazing Pass, you can enjoy a discount of 20% on the usual 500 yen entry fee.
Osaka Expo City
On the site where the famous Expo ’70 took place 50 years ago, now stands Osaka Expo City. This massive shopping and entertainment complex boasts, among other things a state of the art 4D cinema, high-end, designer shopping outlets and plenty to keep the kids entertained too.
At Expo City, your Osaka Amazing Pass entitles you to a book of vouchers giving discounts and other bonuses at a range of stores and outlets across the complex. The exact vouchers offered change from time to time. Ask at the information desk once you reach Expo City for further details.
Spa World: Onsen from Around the World
After a day of trekking around Osaka, taking in as many sites as possible, nothing quite beats a good long soak in a hot bath. At Spa World, just outside Shin Imamiya Station on the JR Loop line, visitors can enjoy a variety of different baths, saunas and spa treatments.
This Onsen resort is set over multiple floors allowing for both gender-divided and mixed gender bathing (You’ll need to bring a bathing suit for the mixed area).
Themed on around the idea of the ancient bathhouses from the days of The Roman Empire, the faux Greco-Roman architecture belies a very modern and luxurious set up.
Entry to Spa World usually costs 1300 yen for adults and 1000 yen for kids.
With your pass, visitors can enjoy a 200 yen discount for adults and a 100 yen saving for kids.
SEGA Abeno Q’s Mall SEGA VR Area
If you’re an 80’s kid like me, you probably have fond memories of playing SEGA’s consoles back in the early 1990s. Today, SEGA’s business focusses mostly on game centers and interactive entertainment. This new Virtual Reality-driven experience near Tennoji Station is one such venture.
Visitors to the VR center can enjoy a 200 yen discount which equates to 10% off of the usual 2000 yen fee to play a VR experience.
Legoland Discovery Center
If you do decide to take up the previously mentioned offer of free entry into Legoland Discovery Center, then don’t forget that presenting your pass also entitles you to a 20% discount on the café and adjoining shop.
Bear in mind that you will need to enter Legoland itself to be able to access the café.
Osaka Sky Vista: City Bus Tour
Open-top bus tours taking in famous local landmarks have been a fixture of most major European cities for decades now. So, it’s no surprise that Osaka too decided to join this ongoing craze when they added the Osaka Sky Vista tour a few years ago.
This non-stop 1 hour tour of the city’s hotspots is not to be missed.
With the Osaka Amazing Pass, Adults can save 200 yen on the 1500 yen asking price. Kids can also enjoy a 100 yen discount, bringing the cost of their ticket down to 900 yen.
Some Additional Considerations
Of course, like all discount schemes there are limitations to the Osaka Amazing Pass, and it’s important to be aware of them before you go ahead and commit to buying.
First of all, the pass is valid from the time of the first train until the last train on the day of purchase (or the last train on the next day if it’s a two day pass.)
Two day passes must be used on consecutive days.
The exact nature of the discounts and free entry offers available with the pass varies periodically. Please check the official Osaka Amazing Pass English site for the latest information before you buy.
As always, availability to enter many facilities is dependent on the weather, crowds and current public safety issues such as natural disasters or viral outbreaks. The site mentioned above is also updated regularly with this kind of information when required.
Limited capacity events, such as boat cruises are on a first come, first served basis.
Even just for the benefits of train and bus travel alone, an avid sightseer could get plenty of value out of the Osaka Amazing Pass. However when you add to that the plethora of free and reduced entry offers included, and the huge diversity of activities to choose from, there is no excuse not to buy this.
So what are you waiting for? Order yours today and start planning your next trip to Osaka!