A day with the Osaka e-Pass!
Save time and money on your trip
Osaka is full of fun places to visit! What’s your favorite?
Osaka Castle? Tennoji? Cruising Osaka Bay on the Santa Maria and visiting Shitennoji Temple are at the tippy top of the list! But wouldn’t it be great if you could visit all of Osaka’s most popular attractions?
Yes, yes it would. And that is why I’ll be introducing you to the Osaka e-Pass today. Let’s see what it can do.
■What is the Osaka e-Pass?
This one QR code will get you free admission to over 20 of Osaka’s best attractions like the Umeda Sky Building Observatory and the Aqualiner cruise boat.
The passes are offered in two types, the 1-day pass for ¥2,000 and the 2-day pass for ¥2,500. Of course the amount of savings you earn depends on the admission fees at each establishment. But if you visit a few different places, you will definitely save big!
And you won’t need to go through the hassle of buying tickets. Getting in with the pass is so quick and easy.
Have you ever heard of the Osaka Amazing Pass? That’s another tourist pass, which has a few similarities, and a few differences. Let’s take a closer look.
＞Osaka e-Pass website
There are some differences in the pricing, admission fees, and participating establishments, but the biggest difference is the transportation charges. The Osaka Amazing Pass allowed you to ride on the Osaka Metro and other train lines for free, but the Osaka e-Pass does not include a transportation pass.
And another thing, you can buy the e-Pass online. Please keep in mind that neither of the passes offer a discounted children’s price.
■How do you buy an Osaka e-Pass?
Because the pass is available online, you can buy it anytime from anywhere, even on your smartphone. Here are 3 sites where you can purchase the pass.
All of them process online payments and depending on which site you use, you will be able to make your purchase by credit card or other electronic payment services.
First, you choose which day you would like to use your pass. (The date may be changed after making your purchase.)
Then enter the number of passes you will purchase.
You will need to enter account details, your payment method, and contact information. It’s similar to what you would expect from any online purchase. It takes a few minutes, but it’s easy.
After you register your info, you will receive a notification of your purchase. And that’s it!
■Admission is buttery smooth...
Once you’ve come this far, you’re ready to go!
I decided to stop at the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living first. It seemed like the right place to start my journey in Osaka.
And so, all you have to do to get into the museum is display the ticket screen.
On the top right, there is a QR code, which you show at the reception. The staff uses a special machine to scan the code.
This is all you have to do!
It’s so easy!
Now, it’s time to take in the museum. The Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the city.
Currently, part of the museum is under construction so some of the displays are closed. However, it is scheduled to fully reopen by fall 2022.
It’s a bit of a shame that I can’t show you all the museum has to offer, but there is still a lot to see on the 8th floor. When you walk into the exhibition, a huge map of Osaka from 1924 sprawls beneath your feet.
It does feel a little strange to walk on top of a map of the city. Unusual and fun! And on the periphery, showcases display elaborate models of the town and buildings. I was really impressed with the model of the original Tsutenkaku Tower and the amusement park that surrounded it. I didn’t know that area used to have an amusement park!
There’s also a model of the famous tea room Sa-an
at Gyokurinin Temple. It is so incredibly detailed and surprisingly big too.
When the construction at the museum is complete, I hope to visit again. It should be finished by fall of 2022.
■Osaka’s iconic Tsutenkaku & cruising the Aquametropolis!
Next up, Tsutenkaku! (Since I saw the model at the museum, it seemed only fitting to go there next.)
Tsutenkaku is a symbol of the city from the past and present. It’s one of those must-see sightseeing spots.
The surrounding neighborhood, Shinsekai, is the heart of Osaka’s soul-food scene with rows of restaurants serving grilled organ meats (horumon
) and fried skewers (kushikatsu
Before you go up, you have to go down! The entrance to Tsutenkaku is actually located in the basement.
This is another establishment where admission is easy. You simply show your smartphone to the staff.
Then you take the elevator up to the observation deck 87.5 meters (287 feet) aboveground. When you step out, you’ll see Billiken. Go ahead and rub his feet for good luck! Well, actually pre-Covid you could touch his feet, now think of it as an “air rub” like playing air guitar.
Walk around the observation deck for views of all directions. It’s really close to Abeno Harukas, so peek out the southeast window for a nice photo of Japan’s tallest building.
I decided to pay extra to go on the outdoor observation deck TIP THE TSUTENKAKU. It isn’t included in the e-Pass, but I figured it was worth a few extra yen to climb out on the 92.5 meter (303 feet) tall see-through deck. It definitely was!
And here is Tsutenkaku’s rooftop garden.
Most people overlook it, but there is actually a garden on the 3rd floor of the tower.
Pop in for a look at the Japanese style garden when you’re here!
After a nice lunch in Shinsekai, I headed over to Osaka Castle Park.
The Aqualiner cruise boat departs from a small dock inside the park.
The Osaka Castle Pier is located on the north side of the castle, just beyond the cafes and restaurants at Jo Osaka Terrace.
Get your tickets from the reception desk by simply showing your QR code.
And that’s it. Now we’re ready to board!
The boat is beautiful inside. You’re so close to the water and the boat is completely covered with windows. Look out over the city and view famous landmarks like Osaka Castle and Osaka City Public Hall from the water. This is what it must be like for all the ducks!
And, the boat is climate-controlled, so it will be a comfortable cruise whenever you visit. This is a great way to explore Aquametropolis Osaka.
The pass will also get you admission to the Osaka Castle Museum and the Gozabune cruise around the castle moat. But I chose this longer river cruise today.
Oh, and there’s one more place I wanted to visit!
■Osaka’s kita area landmark and ninja training!
There’s one place that I’ve always wanted to go—the Ninja Information Center (on the 8th floor of Edion in Namba).
Approved by the one and only Japan Ninja Council before opening, this is the real deal.
I won’t go into too many details and spoil all the fun, but here is a glimpse of the ninja experiences waiting for you here.
Children and those young at heart will love solving mysteries and finding the scrolls hidden in the ninja house. There is a time-limit so you have to work fast!
And you can practice throwing ninja stars.
It’s harder than it looks🤨
I started the day with the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, moved on to Tsutenkaku and then cruised the city’s rivers on the Aqualiner before exploring the Ninja Information Center. That’s 4 so far, but how about one more?
I headed up to Umeda for a whirl on the HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel.
It’s another one of Osaka’s famous landmarks, and the bright red wheel visible from most parts of Umeda.
There’s nothing like riding a Ferris wheel right in the middle of a city.
You get great views of Osaka Station and the city skyscrapers. Plus, you can see as far as Mt. Ikoma off in the distance. The station was perfectly backlit by the sunset when I visited. It’s nice all day, but dusk is particularly beautiful.
■Saving ¥2,500 & a few more tips
Here is the course I took in detail with the amount I saved in parentheses.
●Depart from Umeda
↓(Higashi-Umeda Station to Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station via the Osaka Metro)
●Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (¥400)
↓(Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station to Ebisucho Station via the Osaka Metro)
↓(Shin-Imamiya Station to Ōsakajōkōen Station via the JR Osaka Loop Line)
↓(Osaka Business Park Station to Namba Station via the Osaka Metro)
●Ninja Information Center (¥ 1,000)
↓(Namba Station to Umeda Station via the Osaka Metro)
●HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel (¥600)
Combined the admission to these establishments would have totaled ¥4,500.
But with the one-day Osaka e-Pass for ¥2,000 I saved ¥2,500.
If you plan your trip well, you could visit even more places and save more.
The other thing I loved about the pass was being able to skip purchasing a ticket at each establishment. It was so easy to display my QR code and go right in.
There are a few things you’ll want to be aware of before you get your pass.
- The Osaka e-Pass is only valid until the closing time of each establishment on the day you use it. It is not a full 24 hours.
- The pass can only be used at each establishment once. No matter how much you enjoyed it, you won’t be able to ride twice or re-enter the same facility again.
- Transportation fees are not included in the pass. So you will have to pay train and bus fares separately.
For more detailed information, including business hours and closing days for each facility, please refer to the official Osaka e-Pass website
＞Osaka e-Pass website