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Osaka Loop Line

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Title: Osaka Loop Line  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Tennōji Station, Sakurajima Line, Noda Station (JR West), Ōsaka Station, Bentenchō Station
Collection: 1067 Mm Gauge Railways in Japan, Railway Lines Opened in 1898, Railway Loop Lines
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Osaka Loop Line

  O   Osaka Loop Line
103 series (left) and 201 series EMUs
Native name 大阪環状線
Type Heavy rail
System Urban Network
Locale Osaka, Japan
Termini Osaka (loop)
Stations 19
Daily ridership 280,299 passengers per km per day (FY2014)[1]
Opened April 5, 1898 (first section)
April 25, 1961 (entire line)
Owner JR West
Operator(s) JR West
JR Freight
Depot(s) Morinomiya
Rolling stock 103 series EMU
201 series EMU
221 series EMU
223-0 series EMU
223-2500 series EMU
225-5000 series EMU
281 series EMU
283 series EMU
287 series EMU
381 series EMU
Line length 21.7 km (13.5 mi)
No. of tracks 3 (Fukushima — Nishikujo)
2 (other sections)
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification 1,500 V DC, overhead lines
Operating speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

The Osaka Loop Line (大阪環状線 Ōsaka kanjō-sen) is a railway line in Japan operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West). It encircles central Osaka.

Part of a second, proposed "outer" second loop line, the Osaka Higashi Line, from Hanaten to Kyuhoji was opened on March 15, 2008, and the line from Shigino to Shin-Ōsaka is planned to open in 2020. This entry covers the original central loop line.


  • Outline 1
  • Operation 2
    • Direction 2.1
    • Local 2.2
    • Sakurajima Line trains 2.3
    • Rapids of Kansai Main Line 2.4
    • Rapids of Hanwa Line 2.5
    • Limited express 2.6
    • Freight trains 2.7
  • Stations 3
    • Stopping patterns 3.1
  • Rolling stock 4
    • Local 4.1
    • Yamatoji Rapid, Regional Rapid 4.2
    • Kansai Airport Rapid, Kishūji Rapid, Direct Rapid, B Rapid and Local 4.3
    • Limited express 4.4
    • Freight 4.5
    • Former 4.6
      • Passenger 4.6.1
      • Freight 4.6.2
  • Fares 5
  • History 6
    • Jōtō Line 6.1
    • Nishinari Line 6.2
    • Kansai Main Line Freight Line 6.3
    • Purpose-built loop line section 6.4
    • Former connecting lines 6.5
  • See also 7
  • References 8


This loop line consists of two tracks around the heart of metropolitan Osaka. Most trains consist of 8 carriages, with distinctive orange colour with white JR graphics on the front, rear and sides. The train schedule varies, but on average, two trains leave Tennōji Station and Ōsaka Station every seven minutes, in opposite directions.


On this line, JR West operates several types of trains. The line serves as a link between Ōsaka Station in northern Osaka (actually the Umeda district), and Tennōji in southern central Osaka. Some Limited Express trains linking north and south of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto area use the line as a bypass between the Tōkaidō Main Line in the north and the Hanwa Line in the south. Traffic is heavier in the eastern half, Osaka - Kyōbashi - Tennōji, than in the western half via Nishi-Kujō.


The completely loop shaped Osaka Loop Line is unable to use the 'up' and 'down' train direction convention commonly applied in Japanese railways, e.g. trains traveling to Tokyo are usually 'up' trains and vice versa. Instead, the words "outer circle" (or outer loop) (外回り Soto mawari) and the "inner circle" (内回り Uchi mawari) are used to refer to the direction. The outer is clockwise, the inner counterclockwise.

If rules, such as the registration of the line at Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport apply,[2] the inner loop is down.


Local trains are operated all day. Some operate over the complete loop, while some serve the eastern half between Osaka and Tennōji via Kyōbashi.

Eight-car EMUs of 103 series and 201 series are used.

Sakurajima Line trains

Trains of the Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line) are now operated through to the loop line to/from Kyōbashi and Tennoji.

Eight-car 103 series and 201 series EMUs are used.

Rapids of Kansai Main Line

Through trains to the Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line) began operated in 1973. "Yamatoji Rapid" (大和路快速 Yamatoji Kaisoku) and "Regional Rapid" (区間快速 Kukan Kaisoku) trains originate at Tennōji on the loop, passing the loop as "inner" via Osaka, and after stopping at Tennōji after a complete circuit, exit the loop onto the Kansai Main Line and terminate at Kamo, Nara or Ōji. In the loop, Yamatoji Rapids pass some stations while Regional Rapids stop all.

For "Yamatoji Rapid", 6 or 8-car 221 series EMUs are used, while 8-car 103 series of light green livery and 6 or 8-car 221 series are for "Regional Rapid".

Rapids of Hanwa Line

Trains to the Hanwa Line, "Kansai Airport Rapid" (関空快速 Kankū Kaisoku) for Kansai Airport and Kishūji Rapid (紀州路快速 Kishūji Kaisoku) for Wakayama originate at either Tennoji or Kyobashi, and together with other types of rapid trains, operate on the inner loop via Osaka, pausing at Tennoji and then exiting from the loop. This pattern commenced in 1989, but increased significantly in 1994 on the opening of Kansai Airport.

8-car 223 series and 225 series EMUs in 4+4 formations are used for Kansai Airport and Kishūji rapids. 113 series 4-car units were used for rapids of Shin-Ōsaka - Kii-Tanabe in early morning and late night. They were withdrawn in 2010.

Limited express

Charged Limited Expresses such as Haruka for Kansai International Airport, and south bound Kuroshio on the Hanwa Line and Kisei Main Line (Kinokuni Line) heading for the scenic southern Wakayama Prefecture utilise the Osaka Loop Line to bypass the Tōkaidō Main Line and reach the Hanwa Line. On the loop, aside from Tennōji, limited numbers of trains stop only at Nishi-Kujō.

Between the Tōkaidō Main Line and the Osaka Loop Line, trains utilse the "Umeda freight line" which crosses immediately west of Ōsaka Station, not stopping at Osaka because no passenger facilities are installed on the freight line, until it merges the main line at Shin-Ōsaka. This route was introduced in 1989 on the completion of a bypass track from the Hanwa Line to platforms of the Kansai Main Line at Tennōji. Until then no through operations were possible from the Hanwa Line.

281 series EMUs are used for Haruka, 283 series EMUs, 287 series EMUs and 381 series EMUs for Kuroshio.

Freight trains

After the abandonment of the Naniwa freight terminal, freight trains on the line operate only between Fukushima and Nishikujō, from the "Umeda Freight Line" to Ajikawaguchi on the Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line).


Listed counterclockwise: All stations are in the city of Osaka, Osaka Prefecture.

Station Distance (km) Transfers Location
Ōsaka 0.0 Tōkaidō Main Line (JR Kyoto Line, JR Kobe Line, JR Takarazuka Line), JR Tōzai Line (Kitashinchi Station)
Osaka Municipal Subway: Tanimachi Line (T20: Higashi-Umeda Station), Yotsubashi Line (Y11: Nishi-Umeda Station), Midōsuji Line (M16: Umeda Station)
Hankyu: Kōbe Line, Kyoto Line, Takarazuka Line (Umeda Station)
Hanshin: Main Line (Umeda Station)
Fukushima 1.0 JR Tōzai Line (Shin-Fukushima Station)
Hanshin: Main Line
Keihan: Nakanoshima Line (Nakanoshima Station)
Noda 2.4 Osaka Municipal Subway: Sennichimae Line (S12: Tamagawa Station)
Nishikujō 3.6 Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line)
Hanshin: Hanshin Namba Line
Bentenchō 5.2 Osaka Municipal Subway: Chūō Line (C13) Minato
Taishō 7.0 Osaka Municipal Subway: Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N11) Taishō
Ashiharabashi 8.2 Naniwa
Imamiya 8.8 Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line)
Shin-Imamiya 10.0 Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line)
Nankai (NK03): Nankai Main Line, Kōya Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Midōsuji Line (M22: Dōbutsuen-mae Station), Sakaisuji Line (K19: Dōbutsuen-mae Station)
Hankai: Hankai Line (HN52: Minami-Kasumichō Station)
Tennōji 11.0 Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line), Hanwa Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Midōsuji Line (M23), Tanimachi Line (T27)
Kintetsu: Minami-Osaka Line (Osaka Abenobashi Station)
Hankai: Uemachi Line (HN01: Tennoji-ekimae Station)
Teradachō 12.0  
Momodani 13.2  
Tsuruhashi 14.0 Kintetsu: Nara Line, Osaka Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Sennichimae Line (S19)
Tamatsukuri 14.9 Osaka Municipal Subway: Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N19)
Morinomiya 15.8 Osaka Municipal Subway: Chūō Line (C19), Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N20) Chūō
Osakajō-kōen 16.7   Jōtō
Kyōbashi 17.5 Katamachi Line (Gakkentoshi Line), JR Tōzai Line
Keihan: Keihan Main Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N22)
Sakuranomiya 19.3   Miyakojima
Temma 20.1 Osaka Municipal Subway: Sakaisuji Line (K12: Ōgimachi Station) Kita
Osaka 21.7  

Stopping patterns

  • Loop: Osaka Loop Line local trains
  • Yumesaki: JR Yumesaki Line through local trains
  • Reg R: Regional Rapid Service (Yamatoji Line)
  • Yamatoji R: Yamatoji Rapid Service
  • Dir R: Direct Rapid Service (Outer track trains only)
  • BR: B Rapid Service (from the Hanwa Line for Shin-Osaka)
  • Kishuji R: Kishuji Rapid Service
  • Kansai Apt. R: Kansai Airport Rapid Service
  • R: Rapid Service (Hanwa Line)
  • S: Trains stop.
  • Outer: Outer track trains stop.
  • number: Track (Platform) numbers to arrive at and depart from.
  • | (both), ↑ (outer) : Trains pass.
Station Loop Yumesaki Reg R Yamatoji R Dir R BR
(for Shin-Osaka)
Kishuji R Kansai Apt. R R
(Hanwa Line)
Tennoji S
13, 14
Teradacho S S S S Outer S S S
Momodani S S S S Outer S S S
Tsuruhashi S S S S Outer S S S
Tamatsukuri S S S S Outer S S S
Morinomiya S S S S Outer S S S
Osakajokoen S S S S Outer S S S
Kyobashi S S S S Outer S S S
Sakuranomiya S S S S Outer S S S
Temma S S S S Outer S S S
Osaka S S S S Outer S S S
Fukushima S S S S Outer S S S
Noda S S S | Outer | | |
Nishikujo S S S S Outer Outer S S S
Bentencho S S S Outer Outer S S S
Taisho S S S Outer Outer S S S
Ashiharabashi S S | Outer | | |
Imamiya S S | Outer | | |
Shin-Imamiya S
1, 4
2, 3
3, 4
Tennoji S
11, 14
15, 18
15, 18
15, 18
Through to/from   JR Yumesaki Line Yamatoji Line Hanwa Line

Rolling stock


From fiscal 2016, a fleet of 21 323 series eight-car EMUs is scheduled to be introduced, entirely replacing the fleet of 23 103 and 201 series trains by 2018.[3]

Yamatoji Rapid, Regional Rapid

Kansai Airport Rapid, Kishūji Rapid, Direct Rapid, B Rapid and Local

Limited express


Locomotives seen hauling freight trains include the M250 series, EF65, EF66, EF81, EF210 and DE10.





A special discount rate is applied for travels within the Osaka Loop Line, the Sakurajima Line and the segment between JR Namba Station and Tennōji Station of the Kansai Main Line (collectively called the Osaka Loop Zone (大阪環状線内 Ōsaka Kanjōsen-nai)). The following table is the rate for adult single-ride tickets.[4] (Note: Fractions of one kilometre are rounded up to the nearest full kilometre.)

Kilometre Yen
1 – 3 120
4 – 6 160
7 – 10 170
11 – 15 190
16 – 20 260

For travel between a station within the zone and a station out of the zone or between two stations out of the zone, fares are calculated in accordance with a universal fare table and the discount rate as above is not applicable.

For the calculation of the fare for travel between two stations out of the zone that includes the segment between Ōsaka Station and Tennōji Station of the Osaka Loop Line, where two routes (10.7 km route via Temma and 11.0 km route via Fukushima) are practical, the shorter route is always used irrespective of the actual travel route.[5][6]


The Osaka Loop Line consists of four segments, namely:

Jōtō Line
Eastern half of present line, Osaka - Tennōji via Kyōbashi
Nishinari Line
The northwestern quarter, Osaka - Nishi-Kujō
Kansai Main Line freight line
Southwestern portion, Tennōji - Sakaigawa Junction
Purpose built section
The remainder to complete the loop, Nishi-Kujō - Sakaigawa Junction

Jōtō Line

The Osaka to Tennōji via Kyōbashi section (the eastern half of Osaka Loop Line) was opened by the Osaka Railway (大阪鉄道 Osaka Tetsudō) (which also opened the present Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line network) to link it to the Japanese Government Railway (JGR) network in 1895. The line was opened in 2 stages: Tennōji - Tamatsukuri (2 mi. 28 chain, ca. 3.8 km) on 28 May; and Tamatsukuri - Umeda (4 mi. 29 chain, ca. 7.0 km) on 17 October.

Earlier, in 1889, the company opened its main line from Kashiwara - Tennōji - Minatomachi (湊町, present JR Namba) which includes a short section of the Osaka Loop Line, being Tennōji - Imamiya; Imamiya station itself, located between Tennōji and Minatomachi, was opened in 1890.

The Osaka Railway merged with the Kansai Railway (関西鉄道 Kansai Tetsudō, also read as Kansei or Kwansai) in 1900, creating a single entity for the line from Tennōji Station to JGR Ōsaka Station. The Kansai Railway was acquired by the national government in 1907 under the 1906 Railway Nationalization Act. In 1909 the line was named the "Jōtō Line" (城東線 Jōtō sen).

In 1930, distrances were changed to metric, thus the distance changed from 6.6 mi (10.6 km). to 10.7 km. Electrification of the Jōtō Line was commissioned in 1933.

Nishinari Line

The Osaka to Nishi-Kujō section (the northwestern quarter of the line) was built by the Nishinari Railway (西成鉄道 Nishinari Tetsudō) to provide rail access to the Osaka Port. In 1898, the company opened the Osaka - Ajikawaguchi line, which was leased to JGR in 1904. In 1906 the company was nationalized under the act of the same year. In 1909, the line was named the "Nishinari Line" (西成線 Nishinari sen) which included the present-day Sakurajima Line.

The Nishinari Line was electrified in 1941.

Kansai Main Line Freight Line

The Tennōji to Sakaigawa Signal Box (between Taishō and Bentenchō, closed in 2006 when the branch to the port closed) section (south-western portion of the loop) was constructed for freight traffic by the JGR to the port area in 1928, connecting to a freight branch line of the Kansai Main Line, Imamiya - Naniwa (浪速) - Osaka-minato (大阪港, apart from the present Ōsakakō Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway Chūō Line) with a distance of 5.2 mi. (ca. 8.4 km). In 1930 with the change to metric measurement, it became 8.2 km. The former Osaka-Minato and Osaka-Tōkō stations were closed in 1984.

Purpose-built loop line section

To complete the Loop Line, new tracks were constructed between Nishi-Kujō and Sakaigawa Signal Box by the then Japanese National Railways. In 1961, this section opened and the new Osaka Loop Line was named for the entirety of the then Jōtō Line, Osaka - Nishi-Kujō section of the Nishinari Line (the rest, Nishi-Kujō - Sakurajima was named the Sakurajima Line) and the new Nishi-Kujō - Taishō - Tennōji section.

In 1964, operation as a complete Loop Line commenced with the opening of elevated double tracks around Nishi-Kujō. Until then the operation had been undertaken in the shape of a mirrored "6", Sakurajima - Nishi-Kujō - Osaka - Kyōbashi - Tennōji - Nishi-Kujō. The Tennōji - Shin-Imamiya section was quadrupled in 1968, to separate operations from the Kansai Main Line.

Former connecting lines

A load of soy sauce on the Noda human powered line
  • Noda Station: A 4 km 762 mm gauge human powered line operated between 1900 and 1926 to transport soy sauce between the Edogawa and this station.

See also


This article incorporates material from the corresponding article in the Japanese WorldHeritage

  1. ^ 区間別平均通過人員および旅客運輸収入(平成26年度) [Average passenger figures and revenue by line (Fiscal 2014)] (pdf) (in Japanese). Japan: West Japan Railway Company. 2015. p. 56. Retrieved 17 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (2001) Railway directory: FY Heisei 13th ed. (鉄道要覧平成13年度版 Tetsudō Yōran Heisei 13 nendo-ban), Tokyo: Tetsudō Tosho Kankōkai or Denkisha Kenkyūkai (鉄道図書刊行会 or 電気車研究会) ISBN 4-88548-099-X
  3. ^ "JR大阪環状線に新型車両「323系」デビューへ "3ドア車"で乗車位置を統一" [New JR West to introduce new 323 series trains on Osaka Loop Line - Standardizing with 3-door trains] (in Japanese). Japan: Tetsudo Shimbun. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  4. ^ West Japan Railway Company. "きっぷのルール" [Ticket Rules] (in Japanese). Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  5. ^ West Japan Railway Company. "きっぷのルール (Rules for tickets)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  6. ^ Section 69, West Japan Railway Company Terms and Conditions for Passenger Transport

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