Osaka Loop Line

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Osaka Loop Line
JR 323 momodani.jpg
A 323 series train on the Osaka Loop Line in December 2016
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 201 series EMU
323 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)
Number 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 loop line in Japan operated by the 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.


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.


Osaka Loop Line trains
JR Yumesaki Line through trains
Yamatoji Rapid, Regional Rapid
Kansai Airport Rapid, Kishūji Rapid, Direct Rapid
Kansai Airport
Kansai Airport

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, 201 series and 323 series are used.

Sakurajima Line trains[edit]

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, 201 series and 323 series EMUs are used.

Rapids of Kansai Main Line[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 289 series EMUs for Kuroshio.

Freight trains[edit]

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.

No. Station Distance (km) Transfers Location
JR-O11 Ōsaka 0.0 Tōkaidō Main Line (  A  JR Kyoto Line (JR-A47),  A  JR Kobe Line (JR-A47),  G  JR Takarazuka Line (JR-G47)),  H  JR Tōzai Line (JR-H44:Kitashinchi Station)
Osaka Municipal Subway: 2T-2.png Tanimachi Line (T20: Higashi-Umeda Station), 3Y-2.pngYotsubashi Line (Y11: Nishi-Umeda Station), 1M.png Midōsuji Line (M16: Umeda Station)
Hankyu: Number prefix Hankyu Kobe line.png Kōbe Line, Number prefix Hankyu Kyoto line.png Kyoto Line, Number prefix Hankyū Takarazuka line.png Takarazuka Line (HK-01:Umeda Station)
Number prefix Hanshin Railway.png Hanshin Main Line (HS 01:Umeda Station)
JR-O12 Fukushima 1.0  H  JR Tōzai Line (JR-H45:Shin-Fukushima Station)
Number prefix Hanshin Railway.png Hanshin Main Line (HS 02)
Number prefix Keihan lines.png Keihan Nakanoshima Line (KH54:Nakanoshima Station)
JR-O13 Noda 2.4 Osaka Municipal Subway: 5S.png Sennichimae Line (S12: Tamagawa Station)
JR-O14 Nishikujō 3.6  P  Sakurajima Line (JR Yumesaki Line) (JR-P14)
Number prefix Hanshin Railway.png Hanshin Namba Line (HS 45)
JR-O15 Bentenchō 5.2 Osaka Municipal Subway: 4C.png Chūō Line (C13) Minato
JR-O16 Taishō 7.0 Osaka Municipal Subway: 7N.png Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N11) Taishō
JR-O17 Ashiharabashi 8.2 Naniwa
JR-O18 Imamiya 8.8  Q  Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line) (JR-Q18)
JR-O19 Shin-Imamiya 10.0  Q  Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line) (JR-Q19)
Nankai (NK03): Nankai mainline symbol.svg Nankai Main Line, Nankai koya line symbol.svg Kōya Line
Osaka Municipal Subway: 1M.png Midōsuji Line (M22: Dōbutsuen-mae Station), 6K.png Sakaisuji Line (K19: Dōbutsuen-mae Station)
Number prefix Hankai Tramway line.png Hankai Line (HN52: Minami-Kasumichō Station)
JR-O01 Tennōji 11.0  Q  Kansai Main Line (Yamatoji Line) (JR-Q20),  R  Hanwa Line (JR-R20)
Osaka Municipal Subway: 1M.png Midōsuji Line (M23), 2T-2.png Tanimachi Line (T27)
Kintetsu:  F  Minami Osaka Line (F01: Osaka Abenobashi Station)
Number prefix Hankai Tramway line.png Hankai Uemachi Line (HN01: Tennoji-ekimae Station)
(Nankai Main Line Tennoji Branch - closed 1993)
JR-O02 Teradachō 12.0  
JR-O03 Momodani 13.2  
JR-O04 Tsuruhashi 14.0  A  Kintetsu Nara Line (A04),  D  Osaka Line (D04)
Osaka Municipal Subway: 5S.png Sennichimae Line (S19)
JR-O05 Tamatsukuri 14.9 Osaka Municipal Subway: 7N.png Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N19)
JR-O06 Morinomiya 15.8 Osaka Municipal Subway: 4C.png Chūō Line (C19), 7N.png Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N20) Chūō
JR-O07 Osakajō-kōen 16.7   Jōtō
JR-O08 Kyōbashi 17.5  H  Katamachi Line (Gakkentoshi Line) (JR-H41),  H  JR Tōzai Line (JR-H41)
Number prefix Keihan lines.png Keihan Main Line (KH03)
Osaka Municipal Subway: 7N.png Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line (N22)
JR-O09 Sakuranomiya 19.3   Miyakojima
JR-O10 Temma 20.1 Osaka Municipal Subway: 6K.png Sakaisuji Line (K12: Ōgimachi Station) Kita
JR-O11 Osaka 21.7  

Stopping patterns[edit]

  • 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[edit]


The first of a fleet of 21 new 323 series eight-car EMU trains were introduced from 24 December 2016, scheduled to entirely replace the fleet of 23 103 and 201 series trains by 2018.[3]

Yamatoji Rapid, Regional Rapid[edit]

Kansai Airport Rapid, Kishūji Rapid, Direct Rapid, B Rapid and Local[edit]

Limited express[edit]


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.[5] (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.[6][7]


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[edit]

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 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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


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

  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. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2016-01-09. 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. ^ Ueshin, Daisuke (25 December 2016). 大阪環状線新型車両323系、日中3編成で活躍 - JRゆめ咲線(桜島線)も初運行 [Three new Osaka Loop Line 323 series trains in service]. Mynavi News (in Japanese). Japan: Mynavi Corporation. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016. 
  4. ^ 大阪環状線の103系が10月3日をもって営業運転を終了 [Osaka Loop Line 103 series to end operations on 3 October]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 5 September 2017. Archived from the original on 5 September 2017. Retrieved 5 September 2017. 
  5. ^ West Japan Railway Company. "きっぷのルール" [Ticket Rules] (in Japanese). Retrieved October 17, 2015. 
  6. ^ West Japan Railway Company. "きっぷのルール (Rules for tickets)" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  7. ^ Section 69, West Japan Railway Company Terms and Conditions for Passenger Transport