Basic itinerary of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo in 7 days

7 to 9 days
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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.

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Day 1 – Kansai airport to Osaka

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.

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.

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:

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.

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:

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:

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.

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:

Day 5 – Kyoto to Tokyo

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:

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

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:

Single fare is actually the best choice for access to outside Tokyo

Many popular 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 simply add subway pass, 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 have to get other passes. Please find more information at the links below:

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

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:

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:

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

I hope this post helped you to build your trip plan.

Comments

  1. Kim Reyes says:

    Hi Takeshi San.
    My family and I will be traveling to Japan this coming Feb 17 to Feb 26, 2020. We will land at Narita Airport from Manila and we will fly back to Manila at Kansai International Airport.
    Is JR pass recommended? Based on the articles that I read, JR pass is highly recommended if the trip includes a roundtrip like from Tokyo going to Kyoto/Osaka then back to Tokyo. We plan to stay 3 days in Tokyo then the rest will be in Kyoto / Osaka areas. I would also appreciate it if you have a blog for an itinerary with a similar route as I mentioned. Thank you.

  2. sylvianguyen2013
    Sylvia Nguyen says:

    I wanted to check but it doesn’t appear that the JR Pass would be good value for the following itinerary:
    1. Fly into Osaka, stay for 3 days
    2. Train from Osaka to Kyoto, stay for 6 days
    3. Train from Kyoto to Tokyo, stay for 7 days.
    4. Flight out from Tokyo

    It doesn’t look like I can use the JR Pass to get around Osaka or Kyoto very much. I could use it for trains between Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo plus when I’m in Tokyo.

  3. Liz says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    I’ll be travelling to japan from 20th to 28th September 2019.

    Question : Heard is a typhoon season, is that so?

    My drafted itinerary as below:
    Day 1- arrived narita airport then stay a night at Tokyo.
    Day 2-6 – travel from Tokyo to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara.
    Last stop – travel from Kyoto to Tokyo. Spent a day travelling around Tokyo.
    Then travel back to Narita airport.

    Question : will it be better if I purchase Jr Pass? Does it covers round trip to and from Narita airport? And also all areas in main city Tokyo and kansai region?

  4. Soleil says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    I am lost with finding the most efficient way to go from Kyoto to Hakone/Fuji area with the JR pass and the Hakone Pass, please advise.
    Also, I would like to stay in the Hakone/Fuji area for 1 night, which is the best area where I can easily access to the Hakone Ropeway, Fuji Mount, Lake and/or the Chureito pagoda? Please help. Thank you so much.

  5. DJ – Sydney
    DJ says:

    Hello Takeshi,

    Can you please confirm if JR Pass would be the best to cover my 7 day trip? If not, any recommendations?

    Jan 2 – Arrive in Kansai Airport at 5am, day tour, overnight in Osaka
    Jan 3- Travel to Kyoto in am, day tour, 2 night stay in Kyoto
    Jan 5- day tour to Shirakawago village, then travel to Tokyo, three night stay in Tokyo
    Jan 6-7 – Mt Fuji, Harajuku, Atami, Nagoya
    Jan 8 – shopping till noon, then head to Narita for 7pm flight.

    Thanks heaps!

  6. sk says:

    Dear Takeshi
    could I check what is the timing of the last train for the day,
    leaving from Arashiyama station for Hankyu Grand building?
    I read somewhere the last train from Arashiyama station is as early as 5pm. Is this true for last train leaving Arashiyama station to Hankyu Grand building ?

    Thank you!

  7. SK says:

    Dear Takeshi

    Need your advice on the most economical ways to travel between cities involving metro and train rides.
    Thank you in advance!

    A) Does the Osaka Metro day pass or Hankyu day pass cover all metro and train rides for the journey and itinerary for Day 4 & 5 below? Or so I need to buy metro tickets or Hankyu train ticket separately or buy both to be more economical?

    Day 4
    Morning: hotel in Osaka shinsaibashi to Minoo Park.
    Afternoon: lunch and shopping at Hankyu Grand Building area.
    Shopping at Umeda shopping district.
    Evening: German Christmas market
    Umeda Sky building.
    Illumination at Osaka hikari Renaissance.

    Day5
    Morning & afternoon: Day trip to Nara Park and area
    5pm: return to Namba area for shopping at Osaka Takashimaya and Namba district .

    B) What Osaka pass would be good to cover the journeys and itinerary for day 6&7?

    Day 6 & 7
    Transfer from Osaka shinsaibashi to village Kyoto for 2 nights.
    Itinerary for 2 days include:
    – Arashiyama
    – Nishiki market
    – Gion district
    – Kyoto tower
    – Kyoto imperial palace
    – Philosopher’s walk

    C) For Day 8 below, we will be taking the Shinkansen from Kyoto station to Shinagawa station, then transfer to rides to Shinjuku. Will this entire journey be covered under any pass? What pass will be good to cover the itinerary in areas of Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ryogoku?

    Day 8
    Transfer from village Kyoto hotel to Tokyo Shinjuku/Harajuku area/Meiji-jingnu/Shibuya area before checking in at hotel in Ryogoku.

    Thank you so much for your advice.

  8. Hi Takeshi San,
    Good day to you. I will visit to Tokyo-Nagoya-Yokohama-Tokyo on 7th Dec 2018.
    I am wondering should buy 7 days JR pass for 4adults and 2 kids for our trip?

    Day 1- Narita to Shinagawa
    Day 2- Shinagawa to Nagoya
    Day 3-4 Nagoya
    Day 5- Nagoya to Shin Yokohama
    Day 6- Shin Yokohama to Tokyo
    Day 7-13 Tokyo

    Do you suggest us to get a 7 days JR pass?
    Thanks so much for your help.

    Loo

  9. Jace Wang says:

    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!

  10. Cindy Chu says:

    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!

    Cindy

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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