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View of Himeij Castle, Osaka
 

Practical info Osaka, Japan

Getting around the city

Visitors to Osaka will find it incredibly easy to get around, as the city boasts a highly developed public transportation system that spans the entire area and is particularly accommodating for foreigners. A lot of the travel information in Osaka, such as signs, maps, and noticeboards, is presented in English, which can make the difference between reaching one's destination quickly and hours of bewildered wandering. Osaka's extensive subway network provides easy access around the city with its discernible colour-coded lines. The Osaka metro is generally open from 5am until around midnight, and many of the lines have English as well as Japanese announcements for each approaching destination. Visitors in Osaka can also use over-ground trains to get around the city. The JR Osaka Loop Line circles the main city districts and can be useful for getting across Osaka while avoiding the crowded central areas. The rail comprises 19 stations, 12 of which connect to other lines. A further transport option for travellers in Osaka is the city's dense network of public buses. While inevitably being susceptible to heavy traffic, buses do allow visitors to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city as they travel. Ferries are also a fun and scenic way for visitors to travel along the coast of Osaka Bay, stopping at several popular tourist attractions. Most residents in Osaka get around by bicycle, as the city is flat and easily navigable. There are numerous places throughout the city where visitors can rent a bicycle, however it may be easier and cheaper to simply buy a second hand bike for the duration of one's time in the city. This can be done either online or at a bike shop. Prospective cyclists should note that they are technically required to register their bike with the local police.

Time

GMT +9.

Electricity

Electrical current is 100 volts, 60Hz in the west (Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hiroshima); 100 volts, 50Hz in eastern Japan (Tokyo, Sapporo, Yokohoma). Flat two- and three-pin plugs are used.

Currency

The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY). Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and stores, but most Japanese operate with cash. Money can be exchanged in banks, post offices and currency exchange bureaux. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. The best foreign currency to take to exchange are US dollars. ATMs are common but do not accept all credit and debit cards; only the international ATMs in post offices, airports and some major stores will accept foreign cards.

Communication

The international access code for Japan is +81. The outgoing code depends on what network is used to dial out on (e.g. 001 for KDD) followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0011 for the United States). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)3 for Tokyo and (0)82 for Hiroshima. Local calls can be made from any public phone, but only some allow international calls. Telephone cards are sold at kiosks and from vending machines. The local mobile phone operators use technology that is not always compatible with international networks, but 3G has roaming agreements with most international networks, and local handsets can be hired from the airport and various other locations. Internet cafes are widely available. Wifi is freely available in most hotels and larger restaurants.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 110 (Police); 119 (Ambulance/Fire)

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

Climate

Osaka Kansai International Airport

www.kansai-airport.or.jp

Getting to the city

Kansai Airport Transportation Enterprise and other bus operators offer scheduled express bus services, called "Airport Limousines", for Kansai International Airport. The Haruka express train connects the airport to Tennoji, Shin-Osaka, and Kyoto Station. Other trains are available to Kyobashi Station and Namba Station, from which various connections can be made. There are also high-speed ferry services from Kansai to Kobe Airport.

Car rental

Rental cars are available at the airport from Nippon, Nissan, Toyota, Orix, and Times Car Rental.

Airport taxi's

Taxis are available and it is possible to book shuttles and taxis (either single or shared) from several operators at the airport, however these must be booked well in advance.

Transfer between terminals

The terminals are approximately two and a half miles (4km) apart, and are connected by a free shuttle service.

Facilities

Airport facilities include an airport hotel, banks and ATMs, currency exchange, baggage storage and delivery, coin lockers, porters, mobile phone and wifi router rentals, children's play areas and baby rooms, a post office, medical and dental facilities, meeting points, battery charging ports, a pet hotel, prayer room, police services, airport lounges, showers, relaxation areas, smoking rooms, conference facilities, tourist information desks, and a variety of shopping and dining options.

Parking

Parking is free for the first 30 minutes, then charged from ¥100 per 15 minutes up to six hours, after which a flat fee of ¥2,570 is charged for the first 24 hours. From the second day, a daily rate of ¥1,540 applies.

Internet

Free wifi is available via the "FreeWiFi@KIX" network. There are also a number of paid internet terminals throughout the airport.

Airports nearby