Very cheap trip of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka from Narita to Kansai for less than 10,000 JPY (100 USD)

Dotonbori is located within a walking distance from Namba.

I will show you how to make one way trip from Narita to Kansai airport with the sightseeings in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka for less than 10,000 yen. You may not be able to imagine the value of 10,000 yen. I coverted 10,000 yen into the following currencies. (as of April 20th, 2020)

  • 93 USD
  • 148 AUD
  • 86 EUR
  • 133 SGD
  • 408 MYR
  • 659 CNY
  • 721 HKD
  • 114686 KRW
  • 2795 TWD
  • 132 CAD
  • 3029 THB
  • 4723 PHP

I just focused on the cost for the modes of transpotation for a budget traveler.

This sample itinerary includes the following:

Narita airport to Tokyo station by a bus
☑48 hours Tokyo subway pass
☑Tokyo to Kyoto overnight bus
☑Train fares for the sightseeing in Kyoto and Kyoto to Namba
☑Osaka subway pass
☑Train fare for Namba to Kansai airport

It does not include the accommodations, the meals and the admission fees. But I will tell you the attractions which you can enter without an admission. I also give you the tips for the cheap hotels and the foods. You will find a rough total cost of the trip.

Overview

In this website, I always talk about a train. But in this sample trip plan, I used the buses from Narita to Tokyo and from Tokyo to Kyoto. Because a bus is more cost -effective than a train.

The whole trip plan is the following:

Day 1Narita airport to Ueno
by the Keisei Railway Mainl Line Rapid Limited Express
Day 2Sightseeing in Tokyo by subways
Day 3Sightseeing in Tokyo by subways
Move to Kyoto by an overnight bus
Day 4Sightseeing in Kyoto by local trains
Move to Osaka by a local train and a subway
Day 5Sigthseeing in Osaka by subways
Day 6Osaka to Kansai airport by a local train

The exact total costs for these modes of transportation are 9,740 yen. The overnight bus fare is varied by a date and an availability. But it is not hard to find the lowest fare if you book in advance.

Day 1, Narita airport to Ueno (Tokyo)

Keisei Railway limited express train (C) すのらぴ / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

I picked Ueno for the place to stay in Tokyo. Because you can get to Ueno from Narita directly. There are many budget type hotels around Ueno. And Ueno is very accessible to other popular places in downtown Tokyo.

You will take the Keisei Railway Main Line Rapid Limited Express or Main Line Limited Express to get to Ueno. The fare is only 1,050 yen. The travel time is about 80 minutes.

Keisei Railway operate a few types of trains between Narita Airport and Ueno. The fastest train is “Skyliner.” This connects Narita and Ueno in 40 minutes. It is very fast but pricey. You have to pay 2,250 yen which is paying more than double. Please find more information about the types of the Keisei railway trains in the link below:

Keisei Railway official site (English)

If you arrive in Haneda, you can use Monorail and Yamanote line deal. You can get to Ueno from Haneda for 500 yen.

Tokyo Monorail official site (English)

Day 2, Sightseeing in Tokyo

Senso-ji temple in Asakusa

You will spend all day in Tokyo. Use Tokyo Subway Ticket 48 hours to go around the downtown Tokyo.

I picked up some tourist spots which you don’t need to pay an admission. And I made the following suggested itineary.

Itinerary

TimePlace and transporation
09:00Ueno station
Visit Ueno Park
10:00Ueno station
(Tokyo Metro Hibiya line)
10:12Tsukiji station
Visit Tsukiji Outer Market
12:00Tsukiji station
(Tokyo Metro Hibiya line)
12:10Akihabara station
Visit Akihabara
14:00Suehirocho station
(Tokyo Metro Ginza line)
14:10Asakusa station
Visit Asakusa and Senso-ji temple
18:00Asakusa station
(Tokyo Metro Ginza line)
18:10Ueno station
In the spring, you may spend the time in Ueno park which is one of most popular places to see the cherry blossom in downtown Tokyo.

Day 3, Sightseeing in Tokyo and catch an overnight bus for Kyoto

Shinjuku is the biggest downtown core in Tokyo.

This is the second day of staying in Tokyo. You will spend most of time to visit many places in Tokyo.

I picked up some more places which you don’t need to pay an admission. And I made the following suggested itineary.

Itinerary

TimePlace and transporation
09:00Ueno station
(Tokyo Metro Ginza line and Tozai line via Nihombashi)
09:15Otemachi station
Visit Impreail Palace
11:00Otemachi station
(Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line)
11:15Meiji-Jingumae station
Visit Harajuku and Meiji shrine
14:00Meiji-JIngumae station
(Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin line and Marunouchi line via Shinjuku-Sanchome)
14:10Shinjuku station
Play and shopping in Shinjuku until the bus depart for Kyoto
23:10Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (“Busta Shinjuku”)
(Overnight bus)
Many trips of overnight bus are available for Kyoto.

You will take an overnight bus to save your time and cost.

Shinjuku Express Bus Terminal is called “Busta Shinjuku.”

Day 4, Sightseeing in Kyoto and move to Osaka by a local train

Fushimi Inari is very accessible from Kyoto station.

After you arrive in Kyoto station by the overnight bus, you will have a breakfast around the station. And then start sightseeing in Kyoto.

I picked up some places which you don’t need to pay an admission. And I made the following suggested itineary.

Itinerary

TimePlace and transporation
06:30Kyoto station
Breakfast time
07:12Kyoto station
(JR Nara line)
07:17Inari station
Visit Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine
10:30Fushimi-Inari station
(Keihan Railway local train)
10:39Gion-Shijo station
Visit Gion and Nishiki Market
14:30Kyoto-Kawaramachi station
(Hankyu Railway via Katsura station)
14:49Arashiyama station
Visit Bamboo Forest, Togetsukyo bridge
17:30Arashiyama station
(Hankyu Railway via Katsura station)
18:24 / 18:30Osaka-Umeda station / Umeda station
(Osaka Metro Midosuji line)
18:39Namba station
Fushimi Inari is open for 24 hours and free of charge.

I picked up Namba to place statying overnight. Because it is most convenient place for both sightseeing and access to Kansai airport. Namba is also one of two biggest downtown core in Osaka.

Day 5, Sightseeing in Osaka

Shinsekai is Osaka's foody place.
Shinsekai is Osaka’s foody place.

You will use Osaka Metro 1-day pass. You can get most places in the downtown Osaka.

Osaka castle requires you to pay an admission but you can get 10% discount by Osaka Metro Pass.

Itinerary

TimePlace and transporation
09:00Namba station
(Osaka Metro Midosuji line and Chuo line via Hommachi)
09:15Tanimachi 4-chome station
Visit Osaka castle
11:30Tanimachi 4-chome station
(Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line)
11:40Higashi-Umeda station
Play and shopping in Umeda
17:00Umeda station
(Osaka Metro Midosuji line)
17:45Dobutsuenmae station
Dinner in Shinsekai area
20:00Dobutsuenmae station
(Osaka Metro Midosuji line)
20:05Namba station
The admission fee is 540 yen to enter Osaka castle. The original fee is 600 yen but you can get 10% discount by Osaka Metro Pass.

Day 6, Namba to Kansai airport

Dotonbori is one of most popular places in Osaka.

You can walk around Namba and Dotombori area if you have a time on the departure day.

You can take the Nankai Railway Rapid Express train to Kansai airport. It takes about 50 minutes to get to Kansai airport.

Travel cost

I tried to minimize the cost for the transportation.

TripCost
Keisei Railway Rapid Limited Express from Narita airport to Ueno1,050 yen
Tokyo Subway Ticket 48 hours1,200 yen
Overnight bus from Shinjuku to Kyoto4,000 yen or up
JR locla train from Kyoto to Inari150 yen
Keihan Railway local train from Fushimi-Inari to Gion-Shijo210 yen
Hankyu Railway local train from Kyoto-Kawaramachi to Arashiyama230 yen
Hankyu Railway local train from Arashiyama to Osaka-Umeda400 yen
Osaka Metro Midosuji line from Umeda to Namba230 yen
Osaka Metro 1-day Pass (Enjoy Eco Card)800 yen
Osaka castle admission fee540 yen
Nankai Railway Rapid Express from Namba to Kansai airport930 yen
Total cost9,740 yen

The total cost is 9,740 yen. But the fare for Overnight bus is varied. We sometmes can find a fare less than 4,000 yen. On the other hand, the fare is higher on weekend. And te last minutes booking is more expensive. It is same as the flight fare.

The basic overnight bus has a very ordinary seat, like the photo below.

express bus
2+2 seat layout is a basic of the ordinary express bus.

But if you add another 1,000 to 2,000 yen, you can get a better seat, like the photos below:

The seat layout is 1+1+1. Nobody invade your space.
Some express buses offer much better seat at higher price.

As I mentioned, this cost does not include any meals and accommodation except the overnight bus. I will give you some tips to save your cost.

Beef bowl fast food chain

There are many beef bowl fast food restaurants in Japan. They have not only beef bowl but also many other kinds of rice bowl. The price is starting from 400 yen.

Yoshinoya is one of major beef bowl restaurants chain. (C) Wpcpey / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
It is a regular size of beef bowl. You can get large size or extra large size if you want.

Stand up noodle stand in stations

This is very popular in Japan. You can find this type of the restaurant even on the platform in the major stations.

If you don’t have enough time, you can fill your stomach in 10 minutes.

DryPot / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
Kitsune Udon is a basic menu. Kitsune is a fried tofu.

Convenience store

The convenience store is also an affordable choice to eat. Some convenience stores have tables and chairs. You can eat there.

運転太郎 / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

The convenience stores offer various bento boxes. You can find many kinds less than 500 yen.

Corpse Reviver / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

The convenience stores offer a fresh brewed coffee and some kinds of cafe menu, such as Cafe Latte. The price is less than 200 yen. It is much cheaper than Starbucks. And the taste is good.

Capsule hotel

You may not have seen this type of hotels in your country. But this is very popular in Japan. Originally the capsule hotel is used by a business man who misses the last departure train. As you probably know. many Japanese businessmen work until very late night. They need a space to sleep. Therefore the size is minimum.

inunami / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
inunami / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

In these days, many foreign travelers try to use the capsule hotel to save a cost and want an experience.

The price is starting from aroun 3,000 yen per night. You cannot share the room with anybody. If you are a solo traveler, think about using this hotel.

Summary

I tried to put Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in the minimum days and the minimum costs. If you choose an affordable meals and accommodations, your total cost without a flight is less than 30,000 yen.

I don’t think that anybody can do this type of the trip. But if your budget is really tight but want to visit Japan, I believe this trip plan fits your trip.

I hope this sample gives you an idea to build your trip plan.

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