Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO
Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO

I have received inquiries about the trip to Kansai area many times. So I make a basic itinerary that includes Kansai area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara only. This is 7 days itinerary. But you can shorten or extend as you can.

Now I would like to tell you the best route and most economical deals about this trip.

Day 1 – Kansai airport (KIX) to Kyoto

Central exit of Kyoto station. (C) JP Rail
Central exit of Kyoto station. (C) JP Rail

ICOCA and Haruka round trip ticket at 4060 yen.
Stay at hotel around JR Kyoto station

If you arrive in Kyoto early, you can visit Fushimi Inari or Uji. Especially Fushimi Inari is only 5 minutes away from Kyoto station. That is very accessible and very popular spot. You can use ICOCA to get there

Kyoto – Inari 140 yen / 5 mins by local
Inari – Uji 240 yen / 25 mins by local
Kyoto – Uji 240 yen / 20 mins by Rapid, 30 mins by local

In this itinerary, I include the trip to Fushimi Inari shrine.

Round trip to Inari 280 yen.
ICOCA remaining 1220 yen.

You may use one way ICOCA and Haruka if you stay near subway or non JR stations in Osaka.

Day 2 – Sightseeing in Kyoto

Togetsukyo bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto. ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO
Togetsukyo bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto. ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Visit Nijo castle, Kinkaku-ji temple (Golden Pavilion) and Arashiyama
Use Kyoto City Sightseeing Card 2 days pass at 2000 yen.

Day 3 – Sightseeing in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of Must See spot in Kyoto. ©Sue Ann Simon/©JNTO
Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of Must See spot in Kyoto. ©Sue Ann Simon/©JNTO

Visit temples and shrines in Gion and Higashiyama area, such as Yasaka shrine, Kiyomizu-dera temple, Gion-Shijo area, Ginkaku-ji temple,
You can use Kyoto City Sightseeing Card 2 days again.

*You may be able to use All Day Bus Pass at 500 yen per day. You can save 1000 yen for day 2 and 3. But subway is much faster to visit attractions than bus. Especially in peak season, traffic is very heavy in Kyoto. Subway is more accurate and smooth. Please see the post, Guide to take trains in Kyoto. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots? to get the details about rail system in Kyoto.

Day 4 – Trip to Nara and transfer to Namba, Osaka

Todai-ji temple in Nara  	©Nara Prefecture/©JNTO
Todai-ji temple in Nara ©Nara Prefecture/©JNTO

Visit Nara on the way to Namba, Osaka from Kyoto.

Kyoto to Nara 710 yen
Nara to JR-Namba 560 yen
Total 1230 yen

You have to pay 10 yen to exit station because you have only 1220 yen in your ICOCA. There is a fare adjustment vending machine near ticket gate. You can slot your ICOCA and add 10 yen, you will receive a ticket to exit station. You will receive empty ICOCA. If you return this empty ICOCA, you will receive 500 yen deposit.

If you intend to come back to Japan or keep it as souvenir, you can keep it if you are okay with giving up 500 yen deposit.

Day 5 – Trip to Kobe and Himeji from Osaka

There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO
There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO

Day trip to Kobe and World Heritage Himeji castle.
Use JR Kansai Area Pass one day at 2060 yen.

You can purchase this pass at JR-Namba station. There is other trains to Kobe and Himeji, like Hanshin railway. But JR is the fastest to get Himeji. Please see the post, How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka to get the details.

If you intend to visit Kobe only, single fare by Hanshi Railway to Sannomiya is 410 yen for one way. This is the cheapest option.

Day 6 – Sightseeing in Osaka

Dotonbori is very popular place to eat and shop near Namba. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO
Dotonbori is very popular place to eat and shop near Namba. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

Visit attractions in Osaka.
You have two choices, Enjoy Eco Card (subway pass) at 800 yen or Osaka Amazing Pass at 2300 yen.

If you intend to visit many attractions in one day, Osaka Amazing Pass gives you a great value.

If you visit Universal Studio Japan, you will spend all day there and single fare, 180 yen one way for JR-Namba to Universal city, is the cheapest.

But if you intend to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka Kaiyu Ticket is recommended.

Trip to Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium by Osaka Kaiyu Ticket

Day 7 – Namba, Osaka to Kansai airport (KIX)

You have Haruka ticket that is included in ICOCA and Haruka deal. You cannot take Limited Express Haruka at JR-Namba. But you can use Haruka ticket to get local train to Tennoji from JR-Namba. And then you can transfer to Limited Express Haruka at Tennoji.

If you purchase one way ICOCA and Haruka to Kyoto, you can use Nankai railway deal, Rapi:t Tokuwari Ticket.
Nankai railway Rapi:t Tokuwari

You also can take direct ordinary Nankai railway train. Single fare is only 920 yen.

If you have lots of time before departure, you may think about Enjoy ECO Card or Osaka Amazing Pass before you leave.

This sample itinerary is 7 days. But you can shorten to 5 days. If your flight depart late, you can visit the attractions in Osaka on departure day. You also can skip one of 2 days in Kyoto. Of course I recommend you to stay in Kyoto longer. But it is not impossible.

Total fares

ICOCA and Haruka round trip ticket 4060 yen
Kyoto City Sightseeing Card 2 days 2000 yen
Additional charge 10 yen
Refund for returning ICOCA -500 yen
Kansai Area Pass one day 2060 yen
Enjoy Eco Card 800 yen (or Amazing Pass 2300 yen)

Total fares 8430 yen

The fares and schedule are based on August, 2014. But you can use this amount for your estimation of your trip.

660 thoughts on “Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary”

  1. Dear Takeshi

    As I am still confused as to which passes to get to maximise savings despite your so detailed infoŕmation already, hope you dont mind to advise me which passes, transport mode and places of intersted i should go first in order not to waste too much time based on my itineary below.

    I will be going Kyoto and Osaka from 23 nov – 4 dec.

    Day 1 – Arrive KIX at 9.20pm via SQ and to transfer to Kyoto Station directly. I know with my time of arrival high chance im not able to catch the last Haruka train. So i have to take the bus to Kyoto Station, am i right?

    Day 2 to 4 – Kyoto
    Some of my must visits include
    a) Arashimaya
    b) Nishiki Market
    c) Eikando Zenrin-ji
    d) Kiyomizudera
    e) Maruyama Park
    f) Gion
    g) Tofukuji Temple
    h) Fushimi Inari Taisha
    i) Sagano
    (would you be able to advise which places i should plan to visit on same day to maximise the use of passes)

    Will be staying near Shin-Osaka for 7 nights. Yet to decide which attractions to visit in Osaka except Day 7 to USJ. Would like to go Kobe and Miyajima for day tour, which day should i plan?
    Day 5 – Kyoto Station to Shin Osaka
    – how do i get to Shin Osaka with luggage?
    Day 6 – Osaka
    Day 7 – USJ (must go USJ this day)
    Day 8 – Osaka
    Day 9 – Day trip to Kobe?
    Day 10 – Osaka
    Day 11 – Osaka
    Day 12 – Shin-Osaka to KIX
    (Flight is 11am need to be at airport latest by 8.30am)
    What is the best transport to take?

    Would appreciate your advise on the above, Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Lin,

      You may take limousine bus as you think from KIX to Kyoto.

      In Kyoto, you can divide three group.
      1. Arashiyama and Sagano
      2. Fushimi Inari and Tofukuji
      3. other places (Kyomizudera-Maruyama-Gion-Eikando-Nishiki or versa)

      I don’t think you need any paases for 1 and 2. You may use bus pass for 3.

      After day 5, you have to decide that you will visit Miyajima or not. Miyajima and Kobe are completely different place. The direction is same but it takes 3 hours to get Miyajima by Shinkansen, local train and ferry. Kobe is very closed to Osaka. It takes less than 30 minutes by rapid commute train from Shin-Osaka.

      If you go to Miyajima, you need Kansai Hiroshima area pass.

      You can use it for day 5 to 9.

      If you don’t go there, basically single ticket (Kyoto to Shin-Osaka and round trip to Kobe) and local deals in Osaka are okay.

      You can use Kansai one pass instead of single fare.

      You can use Haruka discount ticket for Shin-Osaka to KIX.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thanks Takeshi for such prompt reply.

        Ok we will consider again if going to Miyajima.

        What does the Kansai one pass best for?

        Finally if we are not to Miyajima but only Kobe, what is the best way to go to Shin Osaka from Kyoto Station?


        1. Hi Lin,

          Please see the link below to find the train network info among Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

          Kansai one pass is one of IC card. You don’t need to buy a ticket one by one because you can enter and exit station by tapping this card at the machine ticket gate. Kansai one pass offers discount at many attractions too. When you need to use single ticket, you can use this card.

          At this point, you haven’t decided to go to Miyajima or not. I cannot say which trip you can use this card for.


          Takeshi /

          1. Dear Takeshi

            Sorry for the late reply as I am discussing with my friends on our final to visit places,

            We decided to visit from Osaka, 1 day tour to Kobe and another day tour to Hiroshima & Miyajima (most probably day 9 and day 10)

            Could you advise again based on my final itinerary, what passes should I get?

            May I check again from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka, which transport is the cheapest for us to take since we are not able to get the cheaper return tickets of Haruka express train?

            Thank you for your patience.

          2. Hi Lin,

            You may use Kansai Hiroshima area pass for trip to Kobe and Hiroshima. You may use it for the last 5 days or you can start using it when you leave Kyoto. If you start using at Kyoto, you can take Haruka to Shin-Osaka. In this case, you need to add for another Haruka discount ticket for the last day to KIX.

            If you use it for the last 5 days, you don’t need to add Haruka discount ticket for the last day. But in this case, you need to add single fare to take a regular train. It costs around 600 yen.

            For other part of your trip, I have already replied to you in the first reply. Please refer it.


            Takeshi /

  2. Dear Takeshi,

    Thank you for your very informative website! My wife and I will visit Osaka-Nara-Kyoto in a few weeks’ time. Below is our itinerary and we would like to have your input on the itinerary and travel passes.

    Sep 23 (Saturday) – arrive in KIX at 9:30AM. Head to Nara using Nara Access Ticket (one-way). Put our bags in Kintetsu-Nara Station. Rent bicycles near the station and visit Isuien Garden, Todaiji, go up to Wakakusayama, back to Naramachi, and back to Kintetsu-Nara. Then we will take the train to Kintetsu-Nippombashi. We will stay near Kuromon market.

    Sep 24 (Sunday) – visit Kuromon market (what time do the shops usually open on Sunday morning?) and head to Aquarium after lunch and return to Kuromon market after dinner. We plan to use the Osaka Kaiyu Ticket.

    Sep 25 (Monday) – Travel to Kibune, have lunch there, hike to Kurama, use Kurama onsen, and travel to Gion-Shijo in Kyoto where we will stay for the next few days.

    Sep 26 (Tuesday) – Travel to Arasyhiyama and spend the whole day there. We plan to cycle and visit the Bamboo Forest (get to the bamboo forest before 8am), Tenryuji, Saga Toriimoto Preserved Street, Togetsukyo Bride, Monkey Park. Back to Gion-Shijo for dinner.

    Sep 27 (Wednesday) – Walk to Kiyomizu dera Temple by 8am. After that, rent bicycles and travel north along the Philosopher’s Path to Ginkakuji. Cycle to Nishiki market (if it’s not too far), then return the bicycles. Travel on public transport to Fushimi Inari and hike up the trail for sunset view. Then travel back to Gion-Shijo.

    Sep 28 (Thursday) – We are torn between two options: Travel to Kinkakuji, rent bicycles and visit places between Kinkakuji and Hirosawa pond, or travel to Himeji. We prefer Himeji, if time allows. Our flight leaves from KIX at 10PM.

    What do you think of this itinerary? Is it doable? I hope that it is not too tiring. What travel passes would you recommend?



    1. Hi Dave,

      Your trip plan is good. I have nothing to say about it.
      You don’t need any passes for Sep 25 to 27. You don’t have many chances to take trains and buses. Single ticket is okay. You may use Kansai one pass instead.

      If you go to Himeji, you may use Kansai area pass one day.

      Otherwise you may use Haruka discount ticket for Kyoto to KIX.


      Takeshi /

  3. Dear Takesihi,
    Greetings from Philippines! It is our first time to visit Japan this coming October. I happened to passed by this page and feeling grateful/hopeful of your positive responses to your readers. I too would like to request your kind assistance in providing suggestions/comments/recommendations on our itinerary for 7days. Below is our plan:
    Day 1 – Arrival from Kansai International airport at 12NN and proceed to hotel located at Osaka. We have an open schedule in the afternoon for sightseeing in Kobe.
    Day 2 – Eastern Kyoto (full-day). Return back to hotel at Osaka.
    Day 3 – Western+Northern Kyoto. Return back to hotel at Osaka.
    Day 4 – Visit to Nara for half-day tour, if can be squeezed in half-day PM tour to Central Kyoto
    Day 5 – Whole day Osaka tour
    Day 6 – Universal Studios Japan (USJ)
    Day 7- Open schedule, probably morning tour around Osaka since our flight back will be at 8PM

    Thank you in advance. Hoping you can provide us advice and also suggestions on best way to commute to and from around the city given the above itinerary.


    1. Hi Caroline,

      First of all, please refer the link below:

      So basically your primary choice is Kansai thru pass. You can use 1×2 days and 1×3 days. You can use these for day 1 to 4 and 7.

      For day 5, you may find the deal in the link beow:

      Single ticket is okay for day 6.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. Very much appreciated.
        Sir, how about if we opt to commute by bus in some areas? What is much cheaper? Thank you.

        1. Hi Caroline,

          If you travel for a long distance such as Osaka to Tokyo, the bus is cheaper. But in your trip, you will have short distance trips only. There is no options to move by bus among the cities. Actually Kansai thru pass is much cheaper than actual costs.


          Takeshi /

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    Firstly, thank you for the information you have provided for all readers having difficulties navigating. I greatly appreciate your effort in helping people here.
    My family is going to Japan this 7th September and would like you to take a look at our travel plan and seek your advice and guidance on transportation and such.

    Day 1: Arrive at Kansai Airport in the afternoon going straight to Osaka and staying in a hotel in Namba.

    Day 2: From Osaka, we will be going to Kobe and returning to Osaka later on as we plan to base our hotel here in Namba.

    Day 3: From Osaka, we will be going to Nara and again returning to Osaka later.

    Day 4: From Osaka, we will travel to Kyoto and stay in Kyoto for 2 days. We will stay in a hotel at Kyoto Station.

    Day 6: From Kyoto, we will travel back to Osaka and stay in Namba for 2 days.

    Day 8: We will travel from Osaka to Kansai Airport in the afternoon for departure home.

    Also, can you recommend some attractions in Osaka and Kyoto that’s really worth seeing? We are having a hard time choosing because there are so many.

    Thanks again Takeshi, hope to hear from you soon!


    1. Hi John,

      Please see the link below to find the deal for KIX-Namba.

      For sightseeing in Osaka, there are several deals but you need to make sure where you go first:

      I recommend you to use Kansai thru pass for day 3, 4 and 6.

      For trip to Kobe, Hanshin tourist pass is most affordable:

      For day 5 in Kyoto, please see the link below:

      It’s hard to say which attraction I recommend. As you said, it’s many and everybody has different taste. I only can recommend you very popular spots only:
      Kyoto – Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama, Kyomizudera-temple to Gion by walk
      Osaka – Kaiyukan aquarium, Dotonbori


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thanks for helping us navigate through cities in our itinerary. Will take note of your advice. Have a nice day ahead! 🙂


  5. Hi Takeshi,

    First of all, thank you for providing such a detailed website for overwhelmed tourists such as myself, I can not express in words how useful and amazing your various posts have helped me in planning my upcoming trip.

    That said, I’m still a bit confused as to what would be the best option for me in Kyoto and Osaka over 7 days. My itinerary is as follows-

    I will be in Tokyo for business for a week From Aug 28 to Sep 4, after which I have planned on the following.

    Sep 4-7 – Arrival in Kyoto from Tokyo [Start 7-day JR Pass]
    Sep 7-10 – Osaka
    Sep 10 – Return to Narita [End 7-day JR Pass]

    My sightseeing is largely based on your recommendations in this post, and hope it leaves me more time to explore the areas on my own with no specific plans. I am staying close to JR Kyoto and JR Namba stations, respectively.

    I will also be visiting Hiroshima and Miyajima (JR Pass) as a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka, as recommended by you in your other post with information about the road trip.

    My question is that considering that I will have a valid JR Pass for the duration of my trip to Kyoto and Osaka, would you strongly recommend buy additional travel/rail passes for the Kansai region, or will I be able to manage more or less efficiently with just the JR Pass, and buying single tickets whenever required? From what I understand- JR Pass is valid for all trains/buses that start with ‘JR’, except the commuter trains as shown on the JR Pass information page.

    Also, any local insights and recommendations for local food experiences would be much appreciated.


    1. Hi Dhruv,

      You may need to add local deals in Osaka and Kyoto because subway is not covered by JR pass. But JR pass covers some places in these cities. It depends on which place you will visit. Please see the links below to find the coverage of JR Pass in these cities:

      In my thought, Kyoto city bus is enough beside JR pass in Kyoto. Actually bus pass covers most of places in Kyoto. But traffic is heavy in Kyoto. Try to take trains as much as you can. If you need to take non JR trains and subways, just pay as you go.

      In Osaka, JR pass covers more than Kyoto. You may not need to add any other passes. Just pay as you go when you need to take subway.

      I recommend you to see Japan Guide. It’s most useful site for visiting Japan.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you so much once again for your help. Sounds like both places should be ok with a pay as you go ticket for non JR trains. I don’t mind a nice walk to get to the final spot so any sights within a 20-30 minute walk from a JR station will be fine.

        I have bookmarked your posts to refer to them while I’m on the road.

        Thanks again,

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    Need your advice whether my itinerary make sense or not and also what train pass to get …..

    I am planning the trip this Oct,

    Day 1 (24 Oct) – arrived at Osaka
    Day 2 (25 Oct) – USJ
    Day 3 (26 Oct) – Kyoto
    Day 4 (27 Oct) – Nagoya
    Day 5 (28 Oct) – Shiragawago – back to osaka
    Day 6 (29 Oct) – Osaka
    Day 7 (30 Oct) – Home

    Do you think is a good timing to view autumn leaves at this period at shiragawago, is it too early ?

    Thank-you for your reading.

    1. Hi Macoytoh,

      You may use Takayama Hokuriku area pass for the first 5 days.

      However this pass does not cover Kyoto-Nagoya direct route. You need to add single fare or Platt Kodama.

      You also add city deal, such as bus pass in Kyoto. Because you can get Kyoto from Osaka by this pass but after arriving in Kyoto, this pass does not cover anything.

      You can take Wide View Hida to get Takayama, take Nohi bus to Shirakawago and go to Kanazawa, and then take limited express Thunderbird to get Osaka. All trips are covered by this pass.

      For day 6 and 7, please see the link below:


      Takeshi /

  7. Hi takeshi
    I am planning to visit japan this november end and i really want to see shirakawa go during the stay.
    Let me know if my plan below is recommended (i am open for feed back) and let me know the economist transportation during the stay. I will bring my 5 years old son on this trip.

    Day 1 – 25 nov touch down in KIX and keep luggage at our hotel in shin osaka and proceed plan go direct to Kanazawa
    Day 2 – 26 nov plan visit shirakawa go, takayama and nagoya and back to osaka for stay
    Day 3 – 27 nov USJ
    Day 4 – free time and back to kix for fly home

    Thank takeshi and hope to hearing again from you


    1. Hi Yeni,

      It seems to be tight but not impossible. Your planning is okay but I don’t think you have a time to see Nagoya. You need 2 hours at Shirakawago and 3 hours in Takayama at least in my thought. Please see the link below to find the timetable for bus to Shirakawago.

      Even if you take the earliest bus from Kanazawa, you will be Takayama around noon. You will leave Takayama around 15:00. It takes 2 hours 15 minutes to Nagoya from Takayama. And then it takes one hour to get back to Shin-Osaka. So you have to give up either Takayama or Nagoya. Especially you have a small kid. You need an extra time.

      Takayama Hokuriku area pass is your choice. But you need to pay single fare fare for Nagoya to Shin-Osaka. If you have a chance in Shin-Osaka on day 1, you can purchase Platt Kodama to save your cost. You need to purchase this by day before trip date. So you cannot purchase it at Nagoya.

      Takayama Hokuriku area pass covers from KIX to Kanazawa via Shin-Osaka by limited express Haruka and Thunderbird, bus for Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Takayama, limited express Wide View Hida from Takayama to Nagoya, trip to USJ from Shin-Osaka by local train, and Shin-Osaka to KIX by express train Haruka.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        many thanks on your advise, really helps us and we appreciate on this.
        follow up on our plan in Japan, may you advise us for my son with age 5 years and 5 month old, is he needed to purchase all trains ticket (bus/JR train) ? or is it free?

        appreciate on your advise

        cheers -Yeni

        1. Hi Yeni,

          If you share your seat or other adult passenger with your son, the ticket is not required for your son. But if you want to give a seat for him, you need to purchase a child rate ticket for him.


          Takeshi /

          1. ohayou takeshi san

            Thank your for advise. We have bought hokuriku tourist pass for our trip next month. For nohi bus from kanazawa to shirakawa go, and shirakawa go to takayama, and jr hida from takayama back to nagoya, how we can do book the seat arrangement, can you help to share if you have this info. Can we book it now or should we book this upon we arrived at kansai airport in jr office?

            Also we will stay one night at fukuoka, sendai, and 2 nights each at sapporo and tokyo. Do you have any advise best transport i and my 5 years son to buy for city sight seeing.

            Thank you and hope to hearing again from you

            Cheers yeni

          2. Hi Yeni san,

            You can book a seat for Nohi bus before you arrive in Japan but you need to make a call. Please see the link below:

            But you cannot book a seat for train before you arrive in Japan.

            You may use city deal, like subway pass in each cities. It’s free of charge for 5 year old.


            Takeshi /

  8. Hi Takeshi,

    This is my 2nd time going to Japan, and this time it’s Kansai area! I wouldn’t feel complete without your input on my plan so here it is:

    Day 1: Arrive at Kansai Airport and go straight to Kyoto
    Day 2: Kyoto
    Day 3: Kyoto + Nara
    Day 4: Kobe + Himeji
    Day 5 to 7: Osaka (USJ on day 7)
    Day 8: Depart from Kansai Airport

    So basically, my transportation plan is to use:
    Day 1 to 4: Kansai Area Pass (use single ticket for area not covered by Kansai Area Pass or Ekirin Kun free bicycle rental!)
    Day 5 to 6: Osaka Amazing Pass
    Day 7: Single ticket to USJ
    Day 8: ???

    For the last day, I’m still researching on the cheapest and efficient way to go to Kansai Airport from Osaka. Maybe you can give some input on this.

    What do you think of my plan? Is there anything you would suggest better?

    Thank you for taking your time reading this Takeshi. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Have a nice day,

    1. Hi Dinhae,

      I agree with your plan. Your choice of deals are right. You may add Kansai one pass instead of using single fare ticket. It also offers you the discount at many attractions in Kansai area.

      For day 8, you may choose the deal or the ticket in the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Kansai One Pass seems nice, it’s an IC card like ICOCA but with discount bonus, I can save some time with this as I don’t need to queue for ticket.

        Thank you for the helpful suggestion, Takeshi. I will look into it.

        Have a nice day,

  9. Hi Takeshi,

    Good day to you, thank you for your blog posts, they are informative and an amazing amount of work you put in. We will be in Japan for a week and I would appreciate some guidance.

    We arrive and depart from Haneda airport. The plan is to stay in Kyoto for 5 nights and then Tokyo for 2 nights. We plan to use Kyoto as a base and take day trips to Nara, Osaka, possibly Kobe and Himeiji. Do you recommend a JR 7 day pass or the Kansai Area pass? Our last 2 nights of the trip we plan to move to Tokyo since we have an early flight back home.
    I appreciate your suggestions, thanks!


    1. Hi Yuki,

      JR pass is recommended. As long as you use the pass for round trip between Tokyo and Kyoto, it’s almost paid off. And you can use it for trip to Osaka, Nara, Kobe and Himeji. It does not cover subway, non JR trains and city bus. But it’s still very useful. Please see the links to find the coverage of JR pass in Tokyo and Kansai area.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you Takeshi! I will get the 7 Day JR Pass. To cover the non JR transport I will need to figure out if it is better to get Kansai Thru pass or the Hankyu Tourist pass. I appreciate if you have further advice or suggestions. Thank you!

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            We’re back from our Japan trip and had a wonderful time! Thank you for all your tips and information you have shared through blog posts and answering questions, you have been so helpful. Your sample itinerary was great! We roughly followed the first three days although we didn’t cover as much because it was so hot and humid in Kyoto these past 2 weeks. We spent lots of time exploring streets/ cute shops/ interesting foods, all of which are plentiful in Kyoto (and Nara). We did make it to Nara for a day trip. Tokyo was dedicated to pure shopping this time. The JR Pass was so convenient to use. Everything else we used ICOCA. I think we walked too much but we loved it! We definitely will return next year.

            P.S The IC cards are so cute I love my ICOCA -definitely keeping it for next (and all future) trips to Japan!


          2. Hi Yuki,

            I’m very happy to hear that you had very good time in Japan. Hope you will go back there and spend more days, more places and more new experience!
            Your ICOCA is valid for 10 years since the last day of your usage. If you go back to Japan and use ICOCA, it will be reset. You will get 10 year from next usage. So basically as long as you go back to Japan every 10 years and use it, it’s valid forever.


            Takeshi /

  10. Hi,
    Good evening. Read through your blog and still in confusion which pass should I buy. Will be in Osaka this Sept 15th n leaving on 23rd. Had yet to come out with the itinerary but to seek.your advice if I should only stay in Osaka n move around places in day trips? Which is the places which highly recommended?
    Hoping to hear from you.

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  • Please do not ask me to make your itinerary. Because I am not your personal travel agent. I am very happy to check your itinerary. But please try to make the plan by yourself. In this website, there are lots of resources to make your plan.
  • Please do not ask me about the access to your hotel. You can google your hotel and find it at hotel website or google map easily.
  • I cannot recommend any hotels other than which I have stayed. Basically I cannot talk about hotels in this site. The number of hotels are too many to talk about by my experience.
  • If you want to ask me which pass suits your plan, please tell me your detailed itinerary and location to stay. I cannot choose any deals without the detailed itinerary because I have to compare the total single fare and deals.
  • Please do not ask me to reply to your inquiry by email. In this website, I would like to share all information with any readers. I do not communicate with you directly.

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