Getting Around

Besides getting pocket wifi, learning how to mobilise and figure out how to move about Hirakata and Osaka will be the next biggest buzz. I hope by now you already know just how precise and accurate Japan’s public transportation system can be. Providing services for everything such as busses, subways, trains, and shinkansen’s. However, there are many alternatives to navigating the city and country, all with out using a car.

Mamachari • Bus • Train • ICOCA

Mamachari

The Mamachari – or bicycle. GO GET YOURS AS SOON AS YOU ARRIVE. This will be your main form of transportation. Regardless of if you’re only staying for one or two semester, this is a must have. Before you start worrying about having to spend hundreds on a new bike, rest assured there a plenty of used bike shops in Hirakata where you can pick up a fully refurbished, reliable bike for about ¥8000. I highly recommend the little bike shop located on the main road out side of the Main Gate to the East. The earlier you go, the greater selection there will be available. Another benefit of buying from there is the ability to return your bike when you’re done with it receiving about ¥600-¥800 back. Map provided below for the shop.

You can literally bike to just about everywhere in Hirakata; I’ve even biked all the way to Kyoto and back in one day! Having your own bike not only allows you to get to and from school in a fraction of the time but it also allows you much easier access to restaurants, Sentou’s (Onsen’s), Park, and a plethora of other grocery stores otherwise not easily accessible. Practically all stations have bike parking lots, including stores and combini’s. Every bike purchased from above will also included a built-in wheel lock, bell, and riding light for night.

Keihan Bus

Welcome to the Keihan Bus Line. With several conveniently located stops nearby all 4 seminar houses, the Keihan buses can get you to just about every area of Hirakata, though with some careful planning. Fortunately, there is a main route between the dorms, KGU, and Hirakata Station. This route costs approximately ¥315 if prices have remained the same. Note: some buses run on a numbered ticket system where you take a ticket when you board the bus and pay a determined amount matching the fare number at the front of the bus. Change is not given, so try to pay with the exact amount. There are bill breakers that can give you change for ¥1000 bills at the front of the bus by the driver.

Tips: 

  • To get to KGU from Hirakata Station, catch any bus leaving from North Bus Depot #3 or #4. Some buses from depot #3 are non-stop to KGU.

  • To go from Hirakata Station back to the seminar houses, take bus #12 bound for Katahoko (北片鉾) or #13 bound for Ogura-cho (小倉町) and get off at the bus stop closest to your seminar house.

Local Train

One of the most convenient intra/inter-city modes of transportation. The local train lines make it a breeze to get from Hirakata to Kyoto, Osaka, or many other surrounding cities. Things to be aware of, there are different lines that make different stops. Also known as the local train, sub, limited, and rapid. The difference between these lines are the number of stops they make. For example, the local line will make every stop on the way to its terminus whereas the rapid may only make about 1/10th of the stops along the way. You can easily switch between lines at stations with shared stops. The faster lines DO NOT cost any more so I highly recommend you learn to use them quickly as they will save you a lot of time. Visit www.hyperdia.com to help plan your routes ahead of time.

Tips:

  • Fare is calculated based on distance travelled. You can calculate your fare using the route maps at each station when buying your ticket, or, I highly recommend purchasing an ICOCA card (See Below).

  • Last trains (Midnight express), typically leave Osaka around 12:30~ish, it really depends on what station you will be catching the line back to Hirakata. See our page Karaoke Bars and going out for more info on this.

  • Makino station is much closer to the seminar houses than Hirakata station. You can park your bike there too for only ¥100

      Keihan Website – Here

ICOCA Card

This is the ICOCA card; this card functions as a tap-and-go pay system making life about a 100x easier when transiting, and speeds up time about 10x eliminating waiting in line at the ticket machines. With this card, your fare is automatically calculated and deducted from this card as you scan out at your destination. The card can be initially purchased from a card vending machine for ¥2000. ¥500 is held as a deposite for the card and is returned when or if you decide to return the card, and the other ¥1500 is immediately available to use for train fare. You can charge your card as your balance nears zero or at your destination if you don’t have enough.

Tips:

  • Conveniently saves time by eliminating the need for fare tickets

  • Automatically calculates your fare for you

  • Can be used on not only JR West lines but JR East as well

  • Can scan through your wallet, no need to remove each time

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