Take our user survey here!
Photo:
Live

Best Train Lines for Living in Kansai: The Hanshin Main Line

Check out some popular neighborhoods and attractions easily accessible on the Hanshin Main line.

By 5 min read

We don’t all want to live in Tokyo! That’s why we have The Best Train Lines for Living in Kansai.

The Hanshin Electric railway is a popular train service in southern Kansai. The broader railway has lines from Himeji in the west to Nara in the east, connecting three prefectures and offering a cheap and efficient alternative to Japanese rail. However, if you want to stay close to Kobe or Osaka, you’ll use the Hanshine Main line almost exclusively.

Here are a few notable neighborhoods on the Hanshin Main line if you’re looking to house hunt or if you’re looking for day trip locations between Kobe and Osaka.

Overview

Photo:
The Hanshin 5700 series EMU.

The Hanshin Main line (阪神電気鉄道株式会社, Hanshin Denki-tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) is a major railway line that connects Kobe to Osaka. The track is owned by the Hankyu Hanshin Toho Group. Besides operating train lines, the company owns many upscale department stores in southern Kansai.

The Main line services 39 stations with local, express, regional express and special express trains. Its major stations are Kobe-Sannomiya, Osaka-Umeda, Koshien and Nishinomiya. Many residential districts exist between these, particularly once the train leaves Kobe.

The Commute

Photo:
Osaka-Umeda Station

The Hanshin Main line runs from Motomachi to Osaka-Umeda, opens at 4:50 in the morning, and closes at midnight. During rush hour and days when there’s a baseball game at koshien, congestion can become so severe that salarymen will fight over spaces.

However, trains come so frequently that if you’re unable to fit, you’ll be able to catch another within 3-5 minutes. The standard rapid service runs from one terminus to another every 40 minutes and costs ¥360 for a one-way ticket. Making it a very economical and efficient train, even during rush hour.

Popular Neighborhoods

Photo:
The Shukugawa River in Nishinomiya.

The Hanshin main line services unique day trip locations and many cities between Kobe and Osaka. Here are a few stations where you can expect passengers to disembark in great numbers.

Nishinomiya

Nishinomiya is a popular smaller city and weekend destination for local tourists. Named after its principal shrine, Nishinomiya is an extremely popular spot for New Year-related holidays. The shrine hosts hatsumode (first shrine visit) ceremonies for a whole week after New Year and, on Jan. 10, stages a 230-meter race, with hundreds of participants, on the shrine grounds to gain favor from the shrine’s patron god. Besides its shrine, the area is known as a crossroads for foreigners and locals due to its foreign-owned bars and restaurants where both groups congregate.

Koshien

Photo:
Hanshin Koshien Stadium

Any resident of southern Kansai is familiar with Koshien for one vital reason: it’s the home of the Hanshin Tigers, Kansai’s top baseball team. Beware of congestion on gameday as locals from all over the Keihanshin area have been known to fight for a place on the train.

It’s also the home of Japan’s biggest televised high school baseball competition. Every prefecture’s best teams come to Koshien, allowing local residents to witness the debut of Japan’s next generation of pro baseball players. You’ll inevitably wind up making your way here if you’re a sports fan.

Mikage, Sumiyoshi and Uozaki

Photo:
Yunosuke Izumi is the only wooden sake brewery in Nadagogo.

These three stations together make up the principal access points for Nadagogo, the five nihonshu (type of sake) producing villages of Nada. Famous since the Edo period for its extremely productive sake breweries, Nada has relied on run-off spring water from nearby Mount Rokko for hundreds of years.

Its sake is so famous it has been recorded that during the Edo period, one shogun’s court would only drink sake from Nadagogo. The area between these three stations, easily walkable, is filled with many breweries that each offer free tastings and tours, making it easily one of the most edifying nihonshu districts in all of Japan.

Best Three Stations for Living in on the Hanshin Line

Photo:
Want some pandas as your neighbors?

Nishinada

Three stops east of Kobe Sannomiya is Nishinada. It has the advantage of being a quiet, safe neighborhood whilst still only five minutes away from the central area of Kobe. Nishi-Nada is where people who enjoy Kobe’s Sannomiya area but don’t enjoy its high rent will move.

The area is more targeted at young families, so if you’re looking for loud izakaya, you might have trouble. However, that does mean there are many affordable dining venues compared to  Sannomiya’s packed greasy spoons and expensive barbecue restaurants.

Average Apartment Price:

  • 1K: ¥40,000
  • 1LDK: ¥ 80,000

Local Attractions:

  • Kobe Oji Zoo: A zoo and park popular with Kobe locals and famous for its pandas.
  • Sawanotsuru Museum: Over 170 years old, this brewery has been converted into an open museum to pass on the methods of sake creation. It’s the starting point for the walking tour of Nada’s sake district.

Imazu

Photo:
Nishinomiya Shrine’s stone lantern.

Equidistant between Nishinomiya and Koshien, Imazu is a far more affordable alternative to living by either of these stations. A popular living area for university students, Imazu is filled with many cheap bars. The area is also known as a popular picnic destination due to its nearby beach and expansive parks.

Average Apartment Price:

  • 1DK:  ¥50,000

Local Attractions:

  • Nishinomiya Shrine: One of the largest shrines in the Keihanshin region, its dedication to Ebisu, one of the Gods of fortune and wealth, makes it extremely popular.
  • Nishinomiya Garden: A large and well-kept shopping center, you can enjoy light Japanese snacks or rich desserts while engaging in retail therapy. However, it is slightly upmarket, so mind your budget.

Amagasaki

Photo:
Amagasaki Castle

Amagasaki is easily the most conveniently placed satellite city of Osaka. It’s minutes away from Umeda on rapid trains and is a transport hub both for the Hanshin and the JR train lines.

Amagasaki has all the shopping amenities needed for moving in, including a Costco, nearby Ikea and Nitori and has no shortage of dining options. Its greatest advantage is its close proximity to Osaka. Catching the last train becomes less of an issue when you’re only a train stop away.

Average Apartment Price:

  • 1K: ¥60,000
  • 1LDK: ¥85,000

Local Attractions:

  • Amagasaki Castle: Whilst not as well maintained as other castles, this castle was once the base of Oda Nobunaga during one of his campaigns, making it and its museum an interesting stop for any history enthusiast.
  • Nishimuko Park: Next to the broad Muko river, this park comes alive every spring with dozens of cherry blossom trees, making it an ideal location for a quiet flower picnic, away from the crowds of Osaka and Kyoto

Do you live in the Hanshin region? Have we missed any key neighborhoods? Let us know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA - Privacy Policy - Terms of Service

Related

Live

How to Get a Driver’s License in Japan

Tips on the process and English-speaking driving schools.

By 5 min read 2

Live

Is June the Worst Month in Japan?

What month is filled with rain, high humidity and plenty of bloodsuckers? Welcome to June in Japan.

By 5 min read

Learn

Making Reservations in Japanese

Failsafe ways to book accommodations, tickets and dinners out in Japan.

By 5 min read