runs from Osaka Station
, along the northern coast of Osaka Bay
. It is one of Japan
's oldest train lines: the Osaka-Kobe portion was completed by the Sanyo Railway
, and later brought under the umbrella of Japan National Railways
. When JR
was privatized and split up in 1987
, the West Japan Railway
took over the Kobe Line.
JR has some stiff competition in this market: the Hanshin and Hankyu railway companies also ply the Osaka-Kobe corridor, with terminals adjacent to JR's, and the Sanyo Railway provides service from Kobe to Himeji. Although the private railways are cheaper than JR, their trains are considerably slower and usually much less comfortable. The Type 223 shin-kaisoku, or "Special Rapid Service," completes the trip from Osaka to Sannomiya in just nineteen minutes, reaching a top speed of 120 kph (about 75 mph): these trains run every ten minutes during rush hour, and every fifteen minutes during the day.
Up to Nishi-Akashi, the Kobe Line is functionally part of a longer line that includes the Kyoto Line and Biwako Line: most rapid trains east of Akashi go to Kyoto or even Maibara before turning around. Beyond Nishi-Akashi, many trains continue through to points on the Sanyo Line.
The Hamakaze and Super Hakuto limited express trains are also seen shooting up and down the line from time to time.
Station Distance Transfers
(from Kyoto Line)
Osaka Station Midosuji Line, Yotsubashi Line, Tanimachi Line,
Hanshin, Hankyu, Osaka Loop Line, Tozai Line
Amagasaki 7.7 Takarazuka Line, Tozai Line
Sumiyoshi 23.7 Rokko Liner
Sannomiya 30.6 Seishin Line, Yamate Line, Kaigan Line,
Kobe Kosoku Railway, Port Liner, Hanshin, Hankyu
Motomachi 31.4 Kobe Kosoku Railway, Hanshin
Kobe 33.1 Kaigan Line
Hyogo 34.9 Wadamisaki Line
Shin-Nagata 37.2 Seishin Line, Yamate Line, Kaigan Line
Akashi 52.5 Sanyo Railway
Nishi-Akashi 55.9 Shinkansen
Kakogawa 72.2 Kakogawa Line
Himeji 87.9 Shinkansen, Bantan Line, Kishin Line, Ako Line
(to Sanyo Line)