With my urge not to purchase a JR Pass for my entire 2-week stay in Japan, I needed a painstaking research. A survey on all ways of navigating the country the cheapest way possible. This is how I encountered the Osaka Amazing Pass, a bargain for most attractions available within the Osaka Prefecture. The pass covers most of Osaka’s must-attractions and activities apart from the unlimited subway and bus rides.
The pass is available in either 1-day or 2-day versions. The cheaper option is priced at JPY2,500 while the other at JPY3,300. I purchased my pass online via Klook, and just picked the pass up at Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) a day before my intended use.
For smoother transitions from one attraction to another, Osaka subways, the new tram, and city buses are part of the unlimited ride of the pass. The transportation network for the one-day pass is larger because it includes the private railways. The pass, however, doesn’t include the JR lines so avoid all JR stations during your stay.
The subway feature is just a bonus for the users of the Osaka Amazing Pass. The main privilege is the more than 35 attractions and sites you can enter for free. Apart from this advantage, around 25 facilities and 67 shops offer discounts and perks. The following are several attractions that accept free admission using the amazing pass. These were also the attractions that I’ve availed on my stay.
SAMPLE 2-DAY ITINERARY WITH OSAKA AMAZING PASS
Shintennoji Temple (Regular Admission: JPY300)
One of the oldest temples in Japan, Shitennoji Temple still resembles the exact architecture when it was first built in the 6th century despite being rebuilt numerous times. The temple was used as a hub to introduce Buddhism in the country. You can enter the temple on the west via an impressive Gokuraku-mon gate for free but needs JPY300 for the inner precinct. The courtyard, having the main hall and five-tiered pagoda, is surrounded by a corridor.
Nearest MRT Station: Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station
Keitakuen Garden (Regular Admission: JPY150)
Stone throw away from the temple is a tranquil place for a walk. People living in a city dominated by sky-rise buildings need a garden to be with nature once in a while. Keitakuen Garden fulfills this necessity with its dense and uncluttered surroundings.
Nearest MRT Station: Tennoji Station
Tennoji Zoo (Regular Admission: JPY500)
I’m not fond of visiting zoos because I hate the idea of capturing and confining animals from the wild for display. During my walk to Tsutenkaku Tower, I saw the big sign of the Tennoji Zoo. Knowing that it’s part of the pass, I entered to check what animals are enclosed. They have different sections for animals like leopard, giraffe, zebra, crane, flamingo, koala, penguins, and nocturnal animals. Most visitors were families with kids that made me realized that zoos also let these kids see animals in flesh instead of relying on pictures on their textbooks.
Nearest MRT Station: Dobutsuen-mae Station Exit No.1
Tsutenkaku Tower (Regular Admission: JPY500)
One of the viewpoints in Osaka is Tsutenkaku Tower in the middle of busy Shinsekai District. The busy streets of the district are bordered with uncountable restaurants bragging their best sellers. Colorful and massive restaurant signage blocks the view of the tower. Soaring at a height of 103 meters, the tower was built in 1912. The tower’s main observatory offers a panoramic view of Naniwa and Tennoji Wards. A wooden statue of Billiken, known as “The God of Things As They Ought to Be”, can be found inside the tower’s observatory.
Nearest MRT Station: Ebisucho Station
Osaka Castle and Museum (Regular Admission: JPY600)
Entering the Osaka Castle Park is free yet going inside the tower and museum requires an admission fee. The awe-inspiring structure is already impressive from the outside but entering the tower-museum provides a deeper understanding of the history of the Osaka Castle and Osaka in general. Follow all narrations on Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s early life, the time he started constructing Osaka Castle, up to his death in 1598.
Nearest MRT Station: Tanimachi 4-chrome Station
Wild River Joypolis (Regular Admission: JPY600)
Part of Umeda Joypolis operated by SEGA, this adventure ride will virtually bring you to a wild river complete with visual and sound effects. The car can accommodate 12 people in a single ride to the river. The adventurers will join the guide in her search of a treasure. However, a thief will steal the treasure that will provide an exciting and thrill ride down the virtual river. This is perfect for kids but also a hit for adults.
Nearest MRT Station: Umeda Station
HEP Five Ferris Wheel (Regular Admission: JPY500)
HEP (Hankyu Entertainment Park) Five is a shopping center accessible from Umeda Station. Apart from the trendy and fashion shops from the ground to the sixth floor and amusement zones, another prominent attraction of the shopping complex is a Ferris Wheel. The bright red giant wheel is located on the mall’s roof top. Fifty-two gondolas bring guests up to a height of 106 meters above the ground on a 15-minute ride. The view offers an unobstructed view of Osaka, especially in Kita-ku ward.
Nearest MRT Station: Umeda Station
Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory (Regular Admission: JPY1000)
One of the best spots to enjoy the view of Osaka from above is the Floating Garden Observatory on top of Umeda Sky Building. The garden connects the topmost floors of the two towers and from below, you can perceive a hole with lines that are actually bridges and escalators. The outdoor rooftop is open from 9:30AM to 10:30PM daily, all year round. Best time to visit the sky observatory is around sunset for the spectacle of colors before the sun hides from the horizon.
Nearest MRT Station: Umeda Station
Tempozan Ferris Wheel (Regular Admission: JPY800)
If your ride from the HEP Five Ferris Wheel fell too short, then continue the excitement at Tempozan Ferris Wheel. The 369-foot wheel provides a 17-minute ride offering breathtaking views of Osaka Bay, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, and Rokko Mountains. You can select between two types of gondola: regular or clear-glass bottom. I picked the more exciting version that somehow scared me to move during the ride.
Nearest MRT Station: Osakako Station
Cosmo Tower (Regular Admission: JPY700)
Another iconic infrastructure in Osaka is the Osaka Prefecture Government Sakashima Building, or commonly known as Cosmo Tower. Accessing the observatory through the non-stop see through elevator is just an 80-second ride. The building is the second tallest skyscraper in the prefecture, next to Abeno Harukas.
Nearest MRT Station: Trade Center-mae Station
Other interesting attractions and activities I weren’t able to try but still offer free admission using the pass are Tombori River Cruise (JPY900), Osaka Museum of Housing and Living (JPY600), Osaka Science Museum (JPY400), Osaka Museum of History (JPY600), Cruise Ship Santa Maria Day Cruise (JPY1600), and Legoland Discovery Center Osaka (JPY2300). For the complete list of attractions and activities, check Osaka Amazing Pass here.
IS OSAKA AMAZING PASS WORTH IT?
Let’s try to compute and see if the pass is really worth it. Consider the sample itinerary above and computing all the admission fees for these attractions will accumulate to a whopping JPY5,650. And that still doesn’t include your unlimited subway and bus rides. If you have more time to spare in Osaka during the 2-day validity of the pass and determined to avail everything, total admission fees can go around JPY25,000. That’s really a huge saving by only paying JPY3,300 for the 2-day Osaka Amazing Pass, getting 8X more than what you’ve paid for.
Osaka, Japan is more than Universal Studios Japan theme park. History is still preserved within temples and palaces. Towers and Ferris wheels are great sites for panoramic and stunning views of the city. Osaka Amazing Pass is a great marketing strategy in promoting these destinations to tourists with the great savings they can avail. And if you’re traveling as a family, especially those with kids, the pass will make your stay in Osaka a perfect family getaway. BOOK YOUR OSAKA AMAZING PASS AHEAD FROM KLOOK TRAVEL, click here for more details.