Basic itinerary of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo in 7 days

The scene of Gion Festival in Kyoto. It is one of the biggest summer festivals in Japan.
The scene of Gion Festival in Kyoto. It is one of the biggest summer festivals in Japan.

I have received many inquiries about the deal for one way trip from Osaka to Tokyo with stopover at Kyoto. Unfortunately there is no deal to cover whole part of trip. But you can combine some local deals and single ticket.

In this post, I show you the basic 7 days itinerary and the deals that suit this itinerary. But you can extend the duration as many as you want. I also show you how to change or add days in this itinerary too.

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 use one of those deals. But you have to find the location to stay before choosing deal. If you stay near subway station, Kanku Chikatoku Ticket or Rapi:t Tokuwari Ticket is recommended. If you stay near JR station, ICOCA and Haruka is recommended. Please find more information about the deals from Kansai airport to Osaka at the link below:

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

And also 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 is recommended. This deal includes airport access to Namba by Nankai Railway and unlimited trip of Osaka subway. You may find the information about this deal at the link above too.

ICOCA and Haruka includes 1500 yen preload e-money in ICOCA beside airport access ticket. You may use this e-money to ride subway. ICOCA can be used for any trains in major cities, not only Osaka but also Kyoto and even Tokyo. If you stay near JR station and make some trips by subway in Osaka, you can use ICOCA.

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

Dotonbori is located near the biggest downtown core of Osaka, Namba.
Dotonbori is located near the biggest downtown core of Osaka, Namba.

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

Enjoy Eco Card (Osaka subway official site)

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:

Osaka Amazing Pass

But if you use ICOCA and Haruka, you may use ICOCA e-money to take subway, JR trains and other trains. Especially if you want to visit the places outside downtown Osaka, such as Minoo, Momofuku Ramen Museum, subway pass does not cover these places. You need to pay single fare or using ICOCA.

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.

Using long distance base fare ticket to Tokyo

If your ICOCA is empty and need to purchase a single ticket to Kyoto, you may use one base fare ticket to Tokyo with stopover at Kyoto. Please see the link below to find the rule and condition of JR base fare ticket.

For non JR pass travellers. Guide to use JR single ticket, basic rules, validity and stopover

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.

Day 4 – Sightseeing in Kyoto

Fall foliage in Kiyomizu-dera temple. It is one of Must-See spots in Kyoto.
Fall foliage in Kiyomizu-dera temple. It is one of Must-See spots in Kyoto.

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

Day 5 – Kyoto to Tokyo

Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. Shinkansen stops at Maibara, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Shin-Kobe, Nishiakashi and Himeji in Kansai area.
Shinkansen is the high speed train service in Japan. It connects Tokyo and Kyoto in 2.5 hours.

There is no deals to cover this segment. Single fare and Shinkansen supplement charge is your choice.

If you have already started using the long distance base fare ticket at Osaka, you do not need to purchase a ticket at Kyoto.

If you use ICOCA on day 3 or purchase non JR lines single fare ticket to get Kyoto, you need to purchase single ticket for Tokyo. But if you purchase single base fare ticket and Shinkansen supplement ticket with reserved seat, you can purchase it in advance. You can purchase it even when you arrive in Kansai airport if you want. But if you want to take non reserved seat car, you cannot purchase it in advance. You have to purchase it on the spot.

You may use Platt Kodama for Tokyo to Kyoto instead. You can add single fare ticket for Kyoto to Osaka and other deal for Osaka to Kansai. This way is better if single fare ticket is too complicated for you. Please see the link below to find the detailed information about Platt Kodama:

Platt Kodama, one way deal among Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka by Shinkansen

I recommend you to use reserved seat car. Because many of non reserved seat are occupied when train leave at Shin-Osaka. Especially if you travel with someone, it is hard to find the seats side by side very often. The difference between non reserved seat and reserved seat is only 500 yen. I think it is worth paying extra 500 yen to secure your seat.

Day 6 – Sightseeing in Tokyo

Cinderella's castle is the icon of Disneyland.
Tokyo Disneyland is actually not located in Tokyo. It is located in Chiba prefecture. That is a reason why Tokyo subway does not go there.

Tokyo Metro/Subway deal is most popular. JR Tokunai Pass is also available. Subway covers most of spots in Tokyo but subway lines are so many and very hard to find the fastest route. JR train network is very simple. But you cannot get many places in Tokyo by JR trains, such as Asakusa, Tsukiji. Please see the links below to find more information of these deals.

Compare many discount tickets and passes for sightseeing Tokyo. How to choose the right tickets?
Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokyo Tokunai Pass), good choice for sightseeing in Tokyo.

Single fare is actually best choice for access to outside Tokyo

Many “Big Name” attractions are located outside downtown Tokyo. For example, Tokyo Disney Resort, Ghibli Museum, Sanrio Puroland and many more places are located outside coverage area of both subway pass and Tokunai pass. Single fare is okay for access to these places. And also Yokohama is not in Tokyo and not covered by these Tokyo deals either. Single fare is okay for Yokohama too.

How to extend to stay in Tokyo

If you stay in Tokyo more, you may simple add subway fare, Tokunai Pass or single fare as you need. But if you want to travel to other places in Kanto area, like Nikko, Fuji, Hakone, you may need to get other passes. Please find more information at the links below:

Fuji Hakone access guide by train and bus from both Tokyo and Osaka / Kyoto / Nagoya.
How to access to Nikko from Tokyo. There are three ways from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Asakusa.

If you travel both Fuji/Hakone and Nikko, Kanto Area Pass is a good choice.

JR East Kanto Area Pass. Perfect choice for tourist who want to go to Fuji, Izu, Nikko from Tokyo.

Day 7 – Tokyo to Narita Airport or Haneda Airport

Haneda airport is very close to downtown Tokyo. You can take Keihin Kyuko railway from Shinagawa or Monorail from Hamamatsucho. Both stations are connected by JR Yamanote line with Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno and many other stations in Tokyo. Single fare is okay for access to Haneda. You may find some more information about access to Haneda at the following link:

How to access from Haneda airport to downtown Tokyo

Narita airport is one hour away from downtown Tokyo. There are many ways to get Narita from downtown Tokyo, like Narita Express, Skyliner, Limousine bus and budget access bus. But the deal is very limited. They welcome incoming traveller but not outgoing travellers. Please find more information about access to Narita at the link below:

The list of deals for access to downtown Tokyo from Narita airport

I have many more sample itineraries. Please check the category, Sample Itinerary.

173 thoughts on “Basic itinerary of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo in 7 days”

  1. Hello Takeshi San
    I need help to plan for the most economical way of travel from Osaka to Shibuya.
    Will arrive at Osaka airport on Sunday, 29th April at 7.30am
    Catch to Airport Express or Rapitor to Namba Nankai station as we wil be staying in Motomachi.
    Will do a day trip to Kobe and Nara before heading to Kyoto on the 2nd May.
    The Kintetsu Line requires less walking to the Deer park.
    Can we take this line to kyoto too after Nara?
    Staying in Kyoto till 4th May, Friday.
    Would like to visit Nagoya on the way to Shinagawa, transferring to Shibuya where we will stay until 8th, May before heading off from Haneda airport.
    Will the Shinkensan from kyoto allows a few hours stop over in Nagoya before continuing to Tokyo?
    Was also considering taking the JR day bus Kyoto to Nagoya to save money.
    Is it practical?
    Will Shinkensan ticket from shin Osaka to Shinegawa allow a stop over in Kyoto and Nagoya?
    Your advise is much appreciated.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jace san,

      You can take Kintetsu railway from Nara to Kyoto. And Kintetsu railway trains go through Hanshin railway line to Kobe-Sannomiya via Namba. So when you go to Nara from Kobe, you can catch Kintetsu railway train. Some of them go to Nara directly.

      Regarding Shinkansen ticket, you can use only base fare ticket for Kyoto to Shinagawa via Nagoya. When you take Shinkansen, you will have two tickets which are Shinkansen surcharge ticket and base fare ticket. You can use one base fare ticket. But you need to have two Shinkansen surcharge tickets, Kyoto to Nagoya and Nagoya to Shinagawa. Please learn more in the link below:

      You can take an express bus but trip time is longer. It takes less than one hour by Shinkansen and it takes at least 2.5 hours by bus. So you have to choose time or cost. Roughly bus fare is less than half by Shinkansen.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hello Takeshi San
        Thank you very much for your prompt and detailed reply.
        The links ypu’ve included are helpful.
        May I ask, if I take the shinkensan to Tokyo from Nagoya, will this allow a stop over at Mt Fuji?
        Otherwise, should I just catch the Highway bus back to Shijuku from Mt Fuji 5th station?
        How much time would I have to compromise over cost?
        Are there buses at the Shinkensan stop to Mt Fuji 5th station ?
        Should I take other train options back to Tokyo?
        Thank you again for your help.

        1. Hi Jace san,

          If you drop by Fuji on the way to Tokyo, you can get off Shinkansen at Mishima and then take an express bus. Please see the link below:

          After Fuji, take an express bus to Shinjuku. It doesn’t make any senses to go back to Mishima. It’s just wasting time.


          Takeshi /

  2. Hi Takeshi San,

    My family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teenagers) will be visiting Japan in August this year. We are flying into Toyko Haneda and leaving from Narita.

    Below is our itinerary:
    Day 1 Toyko Haneda (Arrive Sat at 3:35 pm)
    HND -> Osaka
    stay in Osaka for 5 nights (stay near Namba)

    Day 2 Osaka sightseeing

    Day 3 Day trip to Kyoto or Nara

    Day 4 Day trip to Kyoto or Nara

    Day 5 Osaka sightseeing

    Day 6 Osaka -> Hakone
    Sightseeing in Hakone/Mount Fuji area
    stay in Hakone for 1 night

    Day 7 Sightseeing in Hakone/Mount Fuji area
    Hakone -> Tokyo in the evening
    stay in Tokyo for 5 nights

    Day 8 Tokyo sightseeing
    Day 9 Tokyo sightseeing
    Day 10 Tokyo sightseeing
    Day 11 Tokyo sightseeing
    Day 12 Tokyo Narita T1 (Depart Wednesday at 4:50 pm)

    ANA has super value one way ticket from HND to ITM for around 8,000 yen, which is cheaper than one way shinkansen. But we would like to at least try one trip of shinkansen for experience. Do you suggest us to get a 7 day JR pass instead of flying?

    Thanks so much for your help!


    1. Hi Cindy san,

      If you take a flight from Haneda to Itami, you cannot use JR pass. Osaka to Tokyo one way fare by Shinkansen is around 14,000 yen. It’s almost half of 7 days JR pass. So if you use a flight, you have to use a regular fare ticket.

      Flight fare is 6000 yen cheaper. But you have to add ITM to Osaka limousine bus fare, Kansai thru pass 2 days for Nara and/or Kyoto, other deal in Osaka. JR pass does not cover all but you can get Kyoto and Nara. You can take JR local train in downtown Osaka. 6000 yen difference will be almost paid off. In rough calculation, total fare is not much different. You can take either way. Probably JR pass is easier to handle.


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you Takeshi San!

        I have read about your long distance stopover tip.
        My question is: Can I take Shinkansen from Osaka to Tokyo, stopover at Odawara for 1 day? If possible, how do I buy this ticket?
        I am thinking of going to Hakone from Odawara with the Fuji Hakone pass.

        Thanks, Cindy

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