Although it is packed with attractions, Nara is a small enough city that spending a day or two there is probably enough to see the most important sites. If you still have time, consider going to Osaka, since it is only 28 kilometers from Nara. Osaka is in fact nearer to Nara than even Kyoto.

You can easily go to Osaka from Nara as the two cities are well connected with public transport.

Here are the steps on how to get from Nara to Osaka:

  1. Take the train as it is the fastest and most convenient way.
  2. Choose between the two lines: The JR Line or the Kintetsu Railway.

Nara to Osaka: JR (the Japan Rail) Line

This line connects to all major transport hubs in Japan. This is your best choice if you already have the JR Pass, (which we recommend you get).

  1. Make your way to JR Nara Station – this is about a 15 to 20 minute walk to sites like Kofukuji Temple and Nara Park. Therefore, if you are sightseeing it’s convenient to reach the station.
  2. Look for the JR Kanjo-Yamatoji Line, which is an express train service.

3. Buy the right ticket if you don’t have the JR Pass. We recommend that you buy the Yamakoji Kaisoku Express ticket, which is the fastest JR train to Osaka. The travel time is about 40 minutes (you can use JR Pass).

4. Arrive at JR Osaka Station in Umeda District.

Nara to Osaka: Kintetsu Railways

This service is owned by the Kintetsu Corporation. Since the Kintetsu Line is faster, this may be a better choice if you didn’t happen to purchase a JR Pass.

  1. Make your way to Kintetsu Station in Nara. This station is only a few minutes’ walk from Nara Park.
  2. Look for the Kintetsu Nara Line (Y540).
  3. Buy your ticket. The Kintetsu machines are equipped with an English button. The journey takes about 40 minutes.
  4. Proceed to the designated platform and make sure to double check that you are on the express train.
  5. Get off at either the Kintetsu Osaka-Abenabashi Station or Kintetsu Namba Station, depending on which one is closer to your hotel. These stations are served by the Midosuji Subway Line.
    It is easy to find train information on the streets of Osaka

    It is easy to find train information on the streets of Osaka

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So there it is, a step-by-step guide on how to get from Nara to Osaka.

What Not to Miss in Osaka

Osaka may not be the prettiest tourist town in Japan, but this is where you will find more authentic Japanese urban street scenes. Osaka is a working city, and it does not pretend to be anything else. During our visit, we got a taste of its amazing nightlife and culinary tradition. Some places to check out include the Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) and the Minami District (visit it at night and you will be mesmerized).