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Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

Singapore, Singapore
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Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

Hi, I’m planning a trip to Kyoto/Osaka. Very new and unfamiliar to that place hence appreciate if someone could advise and guide me on my itinerary.

Day 1 : Osaka to Kyoto (Check in Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi)

Purchase JR West Kansai 1 day pass ¥2,000

Train -> JR HARUKA Limited Express train (non-reserved tickets only)

To Visit: Nishiki Market and Pontocho (Kawaramachi Station)

Day 2 : Central Kyoto Nijo Castle (二条城, Nijōjō)

Day 1 of JR Pass 7 day pass 28,300 YEN

Day 3 : Central Kyoto, Honganji Temples, Shoseien Garden

Day 2 of JR Pass 7 day pass

Day 4 : Eastern Kyoto, Kiyomizudera Temple

Day 3 of JR Pass 7 day pass

Day 5 : Kyoto to Osaka (Check in Kinki Hotel)

Day 4 of JR Pass 7 day pass

To Visit: Umeda Sky Building - Aerial Garden Observatory/ Hamura Onsen / Pokemon Center (Daimaru Dept Store) / Shopping in Kita Area (Xlarge & X-girl @HEP FIVE) / Yodobashi aCamer Huge electronics superstore / Hankyu-Higashi Dori Arcade

Day 6 : Tempozan Harbor Village

Day 5 of JR Pass 7 day pass

To Visit: Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Dotombori Arcade, IMax Theater at Suntory Museum, Tempozan Market Place, Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Day 7 : Shinsaibashi Area

Day 6 of JR Pass 7 day pass

To Visit: Dotombori, Den Den Town, Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade


Day 7 of JR Pass 7 day pass

Osaka Castle, Shitennoji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Fushimi Inari Shrine

Day 9: Depart Osaka -> Kansai Airport

Airport Shuttle?

Hong Kong, China
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1. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

From KIX Airport to Kyoto, the new ICOCA-Haruka deal offers an even better value than a 1-day JR West Pass. You can get the roundtrip version unless you intend to use Nankai Rapit or Nankai Airport Line back to KIX.


Umeda Sky Building isn't really worth the time. I would spend the time shopping instead, or move some of the day 6 activities to day 5.

You might consider spending a day at Nara, a good day trip destination.

Finally, do not buy a JR Pass. It will be a total waste of money.

Cairns, Australia
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2. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

I agree with Sammyfloyd. Although I am not an expert on Japan I have travelled there a lot and the last time we spent a lot of time using Osaka as our base city. We did a day trip to Kobe, Kyoto and Nara from Osaka. That trip we did not buy a JR Pass as I checked the prices of the trips on the local trains and it did not come anywhere near the cost of the Rail Pass. Go to

www.hyperdia.com/en here you can check out the cost of your trips in yen

Also you can use the subway to some of the places you wanted to go to which is not covered by the rail pass.

I have been to Umeda Sky building and did find it interesting as far as you can see so much of Osaka from the roof. The escalator ride is interesting too, but if you are not good with heights etc I would suggest that it would be a waste of time and money for what you are getting.

I loved Osaka Castle for its history. We started out the day with the short train trip to Osaka castle then back to Umeda and did Sky Building, Hep Five ferris wheel and shops, Hanshin department store, Daimaru Umeda and other shops in and around Osaka station.

Tempozan area was great and I suggest you spend a good couple of hours in the aquarium taking in the relaxing views of the marine life swimming around you. Take your time, sit on the benches and just watch. We spent about 3 hours here last time. Then on to the markets to taste the Takoyaki from the little stalls there. When you purchase your ticket for the aquarium you can also get a ticket for the ferris wheel and save money by buying a ticket package. (dont do this if the winds are up as they will stop the ferris wheel if they think it is dangerous and you would then loose your money for this part) We spent the whole day here as we wanted to stay to see the evening christmas light display, but you could leave early afternoon and do something else for a few hours.

Fushimi Inari Shrine is a good half day if you want to walk the 4 km to the top and it is also closer to Kyoto than Osaka from memory.

Where is your hotel in Osaka?

Check out the Airport Limo Bus at


Hope this helps a little and let me know if I can help more


Kuala Lumpur
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3. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

Hi Sammyfloyd,

If my family of 4 travelling from KIX to Osaka (and also will be flying back from KIX), would a round trip ICOCA card work for us as well, in terms of costs saving when compared to normal fare & convenience? I read the Japan Guide that the ICOCA card also works as a prepaid card which can be topped up. If so, could we use it to travel around Osaka, to & back Kyoto and Nara. Any cost savings if we do that?

Many thanks,


Tokyo, Japan
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4. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

ICOCA Card is just a prepaid card around the Kansai Region that relieves you the pain of buying tickets each time, but as a Haruka package you'd save some money. However, for conditions of use, you should really carefully read the description of the official JR West page instead.

To AlwaysTravellingArd, there is no need to buy a standard JR Pass if you only intend to do short distance travel within Japan. Osaka-Kyoto-Nara is only about 50km apart from each other, forming one urban region. Use JR Pass is you are doing Osaka/Kyoto-Tokyo (515-550km) return plus another long distance journey (eg Kyoto-Hiroshima; Nagoya-Takayma).

My suggestions:

Day 1 : Osaka to Kyoto (Check in Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi)

Purchase JR West Haruka plus ICOCA

Train -> JR HARUKA Limited Express train

If you arrive late, you might have to stay in Osaka (Consider Namba, Il Cuore perhaps).

Nishiki Market closes early around 19:00. Visit Shinkyogoku arcade nearby if cloised. Pontocho and Gion would be alright for a night stroll.

Day 2 : Visit Kinkakuji, then Nijo Castle. After that, head to Arashiyama.

See Tenryuji, bamboo shrub, take a bus or taxi to Otagi Nembutsuji to see the 500 Rakan. You might also see Daikakuji with nice pond garden and interesting butsuzo as well. Or, go up the Iwatayama to see monkeys.

Day 3 : Central Kyoto, Honganji Temples, Shoseien Garden

Often dismissed as a minor destination by tourists, Higashi-Honganji is worth a look. The most popular full day course in Kyoto would be:

[*] Fushimi Inari- Tofukuji -Sanju-Sangendo -[*] Kiyomizu Temple -Kodaiji and [*] Sannei-zaka -Chion-In -Heian Shrine -[*] Nanzenji -Philosopher's Path - [*] Ginkakuji -Shimogamo Shrine -Kamigamo Shrine (must sees highlighted with [*]; would recommend the above in two days, halving the trip before/after Nanzenji. Kiyomizu is open at 06:00 in the morning; Fushimi Inari's Torii Gates are always "open"- go at night or morning when people aren't around).

Day 4 : Eastern Kyoto (see the northern/southern half of the above sites).

[*] Get a bus pass if you like. Use the combination of Metro/Bus/Keihan wisely.

Day 5 : Kyoto to Osaka (Check in Kinki Hotel)

Umeda Sky Building - Aerial Garden Observatory is okay but not that fab; WTC [Osaka Yumesaku Chosha] in Osaka Port Area I think is better. Can be combine with Tempozan and Kaiyukan Aquarium visit. Dotombori Arcade, Tempozan Market Place, Tempozan Ferris Wheel).

If I'm not mistaken, Suntory Museum closed a few years ago. IMAX-not sure.

If you want either Umeda Sky Build or WTC, go in the early evening. Osaka looks better at night.

Namba-Dotombori-Shinsaibashi (Minami) is a bit more interesting than KIta, IMHO.

Hamura Onsen, I think, is just an old sento. I recommend going to Spa World in Tennoji instead.

Pokemon Center (Daimaru Dept Store) / Shopping in Kita Area (Xlarge & X-girl @HEP FIVE) / Yodobashi Camera / Hankyu

I think these are fine. Add Hanshin Dep. basement's Ika Yaki- local popular snack.

Day 6: I think you'll do fine if you divide what's written above in two days. Tempozan won't need a separate day, though. Recommend seeing Osaka Castle grounds and also the Museum of Housing.

Day 7: Nara is a must as much as Kyoto is. From JR Osaka, take the Yamatoji Rapid in early morning to see Horyuji, the oldest surviving temple in Japan, then head on to Nara City to see Todaiji's Great Buddha, Kofukuji's pagoda, Nara Deer Park. Even if you've seen Kyoto's temples, Nara will likely amaze you for its old authenticity and beauty.

Day 8 : Final Osaka day- perhaps you could add Kyoto one more day to see Uji as well. Or, from Osaka, visit Arima Onsen or Shirahama Onsen. Or, Koyasan, or Yoshino. See Kobe for shopping. If you see Horyuji, then there is no need for Shitennoji (Shitennoji is a smaller version of Horyuji but without old buildings. It makes more sense to visit Fushimi Inari while in Kyoto).

I don't recommend Shin-Imamiya as a place for stay, although it might look cheap. Avoid the place. South of JR tracks along JR Shin Imamiya-Tennnoji (around Tennoji) is a rough neighborhood. Pickpockets, day laborers turned into homeless people, prostitution, drugs, yakuzas are problems in the area known as Nishinari. Cheap "hotels" "ryokans" "hostels" are temporary shelters for manual laborers in Southern Osaka.

Day 9: Depart Osaka -> Kansai Airport

Take the Nankai from Namba or JR train (Haruka from Tennoji; Kanku Rapid from JR Osaka). Otherwise, Limousine Bus.

I suggest you look at Kyoto, Nara, Osaka official tourism pages, as well as Japan-Guide and JNTO. You might get a good guidebook, too.

Edited: 10 September 2012, 22:37
Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

Hi OP,

I am also doing a similar trip in Nov. I think JR pass is not going to be worth since you are not doing long distance.

The JR west kansai Pass for the leg from KIX to kyoto definitely pays off, so stick with that.

You can consider doing a day trip to Nara instead, since you seem to have alot of time in Osaka already. Not sure which pass can you use for the 4 days in Kyoto, but I think the bus pass @ 500Y may be useful for visiting the main attractions.

For Osaka, since you will be doing the Aquarium, you can consider Osaka Kaiyu Pass, which cost 2300Y (bought from KIX) that covers entrance to the aquarium plus unlimted travel on Osaka subway. You could probably combine the aquarium with Umeda, Osaka castle, shitennoji temple on the subway on the same day.

Lemme know if you like to compare notes!

Bandung, Indonesia
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6. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

As Yobeekool had suggested, Uji was very worth to visit. I've done a half day visit to Uji on my Kansai trip last July. Start in the morning from Sanjo-Kyoto to Uji by Keihan line (switch a train at Chushojima), passing through a bridge over beautiful river then visit Byodoin Temple. I couldnt forget how stunning the smell of processed tea along the street to the temple gate. Nibbles with greentea flavour sold on stalls along the street was worth to try.

Back to Kyoto by JR line, made a stop at Rokujizo to have lunch and chill my children for about 2hrs in a big children indoor playground in a mall nearby to Rokujizo station then back on JR line again and made a stop at Fushimi Inari Station. Stroll inside the temple area until about 5-6pm and back to Kyoto by Keihan line to Sanjo Kyoto (my hotel was on Sanjo dori).

Singapore, Singapore
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7. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

Dear All

We are doing a 7 nights Osaka and intend to do the following day trips while stationing in Umeda (Hearton Nishi Umeda):

1) Kobe (mainly for Kobe beef, unless we can get fantastic Kobe beef in Osaka, anybody?);

2) Nara;

3) Kyoto;

the rest of the days we will stay in Osaka to view the Aquarium, take Tepozan and HEP5 Ferries wheels, find thrills in USJ etc., shop and eat all the way :)

Question: is the new ICOCA & HARUKA prepaid card best suited for our purpose?

Appreciate all your advice/s.

Kind regards

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8. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

For Uji - I read Byōdōin Pheonix is under renovating till early 2013

Tokyo, Japan
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9. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

Yes, it's under restoration (restoring to how it should originally look; renovation can't be done for historical treasures). However, you can still see a part of the temple and the treasure house, and Byodoin is not everything about Uji (although it is important). I'd rather satisfy myself by buying Chadango and other tea delicacies at Kyoto Station and spend more time in other places in Kyoto or Nara, but Uji is not a bad place to be if one is interested in tea and scenery.

Edited: 28 October 2012, 05:50
Manila, Philippines
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10. Re: Kyoto/Osaka Itinerary

Hi singaflower, may I just ask how was your trip to Osaka?

Where did you book your Hearton Nishiumeda rooms? Direct to the hotel or through a third party booking site?

We are currently planning out a 7day trip to Osaka and have been wanting to book in Hearton Nishiumeda. However we were told by the hotel's booking agent that there are no promos during our stay as was advertised in their website. We are planning a trip in early April.

We would like very much to stay in the Umeda area with strong preference for proximity to train, subway & bus stations (meaning 3-5minute walk from the station to the hotel) as we will be travelling with 4 children.

Aside from the usual sights in Osaka (Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium, Ferris Wheel, downtown Dotonburi, etc) we also plan on going to Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Namba, and Himeji.

Would appreciate any information you can share based on your experiences during your actual trip. Please give trip highlights and low points for our guidance.

Many thanks in advance.