Ferry service to connect Osaka Castle, USJ in spring 2023

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
Universal Studio Japan, left, and Osaka Castle.

OSAKA — Ferry services connecting Osaka Castle and Universal Studios Japan, both in Osaka City, will likely start operating as early as spring 2023 to enhance visitors’ convenience by linking the city’s popular tourist spots by boat.

Hotel New Otani Osaka, which is spearheading the plan, expects that the ferry service will be used by tourists visiting Japan after the COVID-19 crisis is brought under control, hoping to make the transportation service itself a new attraction as the city gears up for an expo slated for 2025.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, about 12 million people visited the castle and more than 14 million people visited the amusement park each year. Both are popular spots representing the city, but to get to USJ near Osaka Port from the castle in the central part of the city, it is necessary to use several trains or buses.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The straight-line distance between the castle and USJ is about 9 kilometers. The hotel, located near the castle, noted that visitors could easily access the two spots by ferry services via such conduits as the Neya, Tosabori and Dojima rivers in the city.

The Osaka prefectural government is building a ferry pier at Osaka Castle Park, to be completed in spring 2023, and the envisaged plan will use this pier to make it a regular operation.

The hotel and the prefectural government have reached agreement on the ferry services and will select an operator and finalize the detailed operation plan and route. There is a possibility that other hotels in the city, such as the Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka located along the rivers, will participate in the plan.

“Being on a ferry, people can relax and enjoy the view of the city on the way to USJ,” said a senior official of Hotel New Otani Osaka. “We want to add value to the transportation service to capture the demand of the wealthy, whom we target as our customers.”