Visit Osaka and Kyoto for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

Shinsho-Gokuraku-ji temple in Kyoto. This temple is as known as Shinnyodo and it is getting popular to see fall foliage lately. (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTO
Shinsho-Gokuraku-ji temple in Kyoto. This temple is as known as Shinnyodo and it is getting popular to see fall foliage lately. (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTO

I have made the sample itinerary that is Kyoto and Osaka stay for 5 to 7 days before.
Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

In this itinerary, staying in Kyoto is first and then move to Osaka. But I have received many inquiries that is staying in Osaka first and then move to Kyoto. Those itineraries are very similar but when we choose the deals, it is different.

In this post, I will show you Osaka and Kyoto 5 days sample itinerary. But I will also tell you how to extend this itinerary and how to add other spots. And of course, I will show you how to choose the deals.

Day 1 – Kansai airport to Osaka

Limited Express Haruka at Kansai Airport station
Limited Express Haruka at Kansai Airport station

There are many deals to get Osaka from Kansai airport. You can find the deals at the link below:

How to choose the deals for access to/from Kansai Airport

I show many photos in Kansai airport at the link below. You will find the location of stations, bus stops and other facilities.

Kansai airport transportation guide. Find info about station, ticket, airport bus and high speed ferry

If you arrive at Kansai airport in early morning and intend to explore in Osaka after arrival, Yokoso Osaka Ticket may be available in your country. This deal includes airport access to Namba by Nankai Railway’s limited express train “Rapi:t” and unlimited trip of Osaka subway. You may find the information about this deal at the link above too.

If you cannot use Yokoso Osaka ticket but you want a deal to sightsee in Osaka, please see the link below to find the deals.
How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

If you arrive in late night, like after 22:00, you cannot purchase any deals because the windows are closed at 23:00. Train runs until 23:30. But you might not take even the last train to Osaka if custom and immigration are busy. There are some midnight bus service to Osaka. But the destination is very limited. Please find more information about late arrival in Kansai airport at the link below:

How to access to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe from late arrival flight at Kansai Airport-KIX

Day 2 – Sightseeing in Osaka

Umeda Sky Building is very popular in these days. (C) JNTO
Umeda Sky Building is very popular in these days. (C) JNTO

The basic choice is Osaka Visitors ticket or Enjoy Eco Card which is one day subway unlimited ride pass. You may get most of places in downtown Osaka by this pass.

If you want to visit many attractions, Osaka Amazing Pass gives you the great savings. It includes 28 attraction’s admission and unlimited subway ride. Please see the following link to get the details about this pass.

If you intend to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka Kaiyu Ticket is recommended. If you stay in Osaka but you may take not only subway but also other trains, like JR, Hankyu railway, Kintetsu railway, Keihan railway, Nankai railway, you may use Kansai one pass.

You can find the information about these deals in the link below:

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

If you want to extend to stay in Osaka

You may add another Eco Card or Amazing Pass. But you may visit other places, such as Kobe, Nara. In case of this, you may add another Kansai area deal, like Kansai Thru Pass or Kansai Area Pass.

The following link shows you the itinerary of stay in Osaka only. But you may get some idea about choosing deal for trip to outside Osaka.

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.

Day 3 – Transfer to Kyoto from Osaka

Three railways, JR, Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway run between Osaka and Kyoto. You have to find the location to stay in both Kyoto and Osaka. And then you may find which train is the best for your transfer from Osaka to Kyoto. You may find the route map at the link below:

How to transfer among Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama. Compare Japan Railway and private railways.

If you use ICOCA and Haruka, you may have some fund left in your ICOCA. You can use it for this transfer.

If you intend to make a day trip to Nara, Kobe or other places around Kansai area when you are in Osaka, you will use Kansai Thru Pass for these trips and trip to Kyoto on this day. You will make some trips in either Osaka or Kyoto. Kansai Thru Pass covers subway and bus in both Osaka and Kyoto. And it covers Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway. This pass gives you transfer from Osaka to Kyoto and sightseeing in both cities.

Squeeze Nara or Kobe on the way to Kyoto from Osaka

If you just make a trip from JR Osaka to JR Kyoto, it takes 30 minutes. If you take other railway, you spend a little more minutes. But it never be more than one hour. You may enjoy some more in Osaka or Kyoto. But you may visit other places, such as Nara or Kobe. Nara is easier to squeeze because both Kyoto and Osaka are very accessible to Nara. You may find the access to Nara from Osaka and Kyoto at the link below:

How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient.

Kintetsu Rail Pass one day is recommended for trip to Nara.

Kintetsu Rail Pass (Kintetsu Railway official site)

You may visit Kobe too. But Kobe is located at other side if you move from Osaka to Kyoto. Please find more information about trip to Kobe at the following link:

How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka

Hankyu Tourist Pass covers Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. This is most affordable one day pass that covers these three cities.

Hankyu Tourist Pass (Hankyu Railway official site)

If you are okay with very tight schedule and want to visit as many as you want, you can do Kobe and Nara in one day. In this case, Kintetsu Rail Pass that I mentioned above and Hanshin Tourist Pass are recommended. Hanshin Tourist Pass covers Umeda, Namba and Kobe. Hanshin Railway connects with Kintetsu Railway at Osaka-Namba station. Many of both Hanshin and Kintetsu trains run each other. Some trains go directly from Kobe-Sannomiya to Nara. This is the easiest route to get Nara from Kobe. If you have these two passes, you can take this direct train.

And also if you intend to use Kansai Thru Pass when you are in Osaka, you can use Kansai Thru Pass for this day too.

Day 4 – Sightseeing in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera temple is ne of most famous spots in Kyoto.
Kiyomizu-dera temple is ne of most famous spots in Kyoto. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO

When you visit temples and shrines in Kyoto, you have to take city bus and/or subway. Kyoto City Sightseeing Card or All Day Bus Pass is your choice. You may find more information at the link below:

Inside Kyoto – Special Kyoto Bus, Train and Subway Passes

If you want to extend to stay in Kyoto

You may add another All Day Bus Pass or purchasing Kyoto City Sightseeing Card 2 days. But you may visit other places, such as Kobe, Nara. In case of this, you may add another Kansai area deal, like Kansai Thru Pass or Kansai Area Pass.

The following link shows you the itinerary of stay in Osaka only. But you may get some idea about choosing deal for trip to outside Osaka.

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.

Day 5 – Kyoto to Kansai airport

You can use Haruka discount ticket from Kyoto to Kansai airport at 1,600 yen. Please see the link below to find more information:

ICOCA and Harka, and Haruka discount ticket

This deal is cheaper than base fare ticket and limited express surcharge with non reserved seat on Haruka.

104 thoughts on “Visit Osaka and Kyoto for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary”

  1. Hi Takeshi san,

    I am planning to go Osaka next week.
    This is my itinerary and the transport that I have chosen. May I have your opinion and suggestion please?
    Thank you.

    Day 1 – Plane land at KIX 9.35pm, Hotel at Shinsaibashi
    Day 2 – Explore Shitennoji, Tsutenkaku, Shinsekai area
    Day 3 – Namba, America Mura
    Day 4 – Tenjinbashisuji
    Day 5 – Minoo park, Ikeda castle
    Day 6 – Head to Kyoto, Hotel at Kyoto Shimogyo-ku, Visit Nanzenji, Keage, Otesuji
    Day 7 – Kyoto Nishiki, Nijo, Kinkakuji
    Day 8 – Day trip to Biwako, Hikone Castle
    Day 9 – Kyoto Higashiyama, Gion, head back to stay at Osaka
    Day 10 – From Osaka day trip to Uji
    Day 11 – Explore Osaka
    Day 12 – Hotel at Shinsaibashi to KIX

    Thank you.
    Regards,
    Vin

    1. Hi Vin san,

      Your trip plan looks good. You are ready to go.

      You may use Kansai one pass when you are in Osaka and Kyoto instead of using regular ticket.
      http://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      But the following dates, you may use the deals.

      Day 1 and day 12 Nankai and subway deal
      http://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/chikatoku.html

      Day 6, 9 and 10 Kansai thru pass 3 days
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      Day 8 Kansai area pass 1 day
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/how-to-use-jr-west-kansai-area-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      You may use other deal in Osaka if you like.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi san,

        Thank you for your comment.
        I was thinking of using Surutto Kansai for Day 5, 9 and 10 instead. What do you think?
        Any reason you recommend Nankai and Subway deal for day 1 and 12 instead of Rapi:t?

        Regards,
        Vin

  2. Hi Takeshi San,

    Thank you for your advise on Japan tour.
    I will be travelling with my mother who is 85 years old, and I think Japan has too many people who take the train everyday. Is it advisable that my mother will travel along with us using train pass?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Shirley san,

      It’s hard to say. It depends on how busy your trip is. If you care about your mother’s status, taxi or hiring car may be better solution.
      It’s very expensive but I have no idea about the cost.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi. We are in Japan right now and haven’t really gotten into any places yet but USJ. This trip is very sudden so it has not been well planned and to be honest, we really don’t have an itinerary. Our flight back home would be on Monday already.

        What is your best suggestion (in terms of itinerary) for this very short and unplanned trip?

        The places that I would like to visit are the following:

        OSAKA CASTLE
        OSAKA AQUARIUM KAIYUKAN
        OSAKA TENNOJI ZOO
        TEMPOZAN HARBOUR VILLAGE
        RAMEN MUSEUM
        DOTONBORI
        SQUEEZE NARA/KOBE ON THE WAY TO KYOTO

        It is really not necessary to include everything. I just want to know what places on the list can we still go to with just a few days remaining.

        Thank you very much 🙂

        1. Hi Pam,

          You have two choices.

          1. Kansai thru pass
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

          All places where you want to visit are covered. But it’s a bit pricy.

          2. Osaka Amazing Pass or Osaka Kaiyu ticket
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

          Amazing pass covers Osaka subway and many attractions (not Kaiyukan). Kaiyu ticket covers Osaka subway and Kaiyukan admission. But both passes do not cover Kobe, Nara and Ramen museum. You need to pay single fare.

          If you want to have flexibility, Kansai thru pass is the best choice.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hello Takeshi-san,

    I will be travelling to Osaka and Kyoto from 15th Nov (early morning) and leaving Japan on 23rd Nov.

    15/11 – arrive in Kansai Airport at 5.40am (probably staying in Namba). Osaka Castle, Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Dontonbori Shopping, Ebisu Bridge
    16/11 – Universal Studio Japan, Dontonbori Shopping at night if not too tired
    17/11 – Himeji Castle (AM), Kobe (PM)
    18/11 – Nara (half day) probably squeeze in Uji (would that be possible?)
    19/11 – Kyoto
    20/11 – Kyoto
    21/11 – Kyoto
    22/11 – Kyoto
    23/11 – Departing at Kansai Airport

    Which is the best pass to use? Would it better or does it make a difference if we stay last night in Osaka before heading to the airport on 23rd? Could you kindly give some suggestions to my itinerary.

    Many thanks!

    CL

      1. Hi Takeshi san

        I’m sorry but I did not see any reply on my inquiry… Would appreciate if you could resend again.

        Many thanks
        Christina

  4. Hi Takeshi, this is my 1st time to Japan. Planning to travel to Osaka & Kyoto for 5 days. Which hotel should you recommend to stay in Osaka as we are muslim family and wish for halal food.

    Thank you
    Julia

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