skytree

Basic itinerary of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in 7 days

Chidorigafuchi near Imperial Palace in Tokyo is one of the best spots to see cherry blossom. (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTO
Chidorigafuchi near Imperial Palace in Tokyo is one of the best spots to see cherry blossom. (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTO

I made the sample itinerary of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo in 7 days a month ago. Now I would like to show you the reverse itinerary that start from Tokyo and end at Osaka in 7 days. There is no deal to cover whole part of trip unfortunately. 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 – Narita airport or Haneda airport to Tokyo

Ordinary class interior of Narita Express
Ordinary class interior of Narita Express. It takes you to Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Yokohama and many more stations.

Tokyo has two airports, Haneda and Narita.

Haneda airport is much closer to downtown Tokyo. You can take Keihin Kyuko railway to Shinagawa or Monorail to Hamamatsucho. Both stations are connected by JR Yamanote line with Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno and many other stations in Tokyo. And also many of Keihin Kyuko railway’s trains go through Toei Subway Asakusa line. You can get Shinbashi, Higashi-Ginza, Asakusa and Oshiage (Tokyo Skytree) directly without changing the trains. You may find more information about the access from Haneda to downtown Tokyo at the following link:

Narita airport is one hour away from Tokyo station. There are many ways to from Narita to downtown Tokyo, like Narita Express, Skyliner, Limousine bus and budget access bus. Please find more information about access from Narita at the link below:

Day 2 – Sightseeing in Tokyo

The view of Tokyo Skytree from near Asakusa. It is new icon of Tokyo. (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTO
The view of Tokyo Skytree from near Asakusa. It is new icon of Tokyo. (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTO

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.

How to access to the places surrounding 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. There is no deals available to access these areas. The regular fare ticket is okay to access to these places. You may use IC card, such as Suica, Pasmo instead of using a single fare ticket.

And also Yokohama and Kamakura are not in Tokyo and not covered by these Tokyo deals either. Please find the link below to get more information:

How to extend to stay in Tokyo

If you stay in Tokyo more, you may simply 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, there are some deals available. Please find more information at the links below:

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

Tokyo Wide Pass covers Izu, Yuzawa (Gala Yuzawa), Kusatsu Onsen and many more places too.

Day 3 – Transfer from Tokyo to Kyoto

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 ticket is your choice. If you take the Shinkansen (bullet train), base fare ticket and Shinkansen surcharge ticket are required. You can purchase these tickets in advance. You can purchase the Shinkansen seat ticket and a base fare ticket at any JR stations that have reservation window, a.k.a. “Midori no Madoguchi”.

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:

Please find the timetable of the Shinkansen in the link below:

JR Central official site – The Tokaido and the Sanyo Shinkansen timetable

If you leave Tokyo in early morning, you can spend half day for sightseeing in Kyoto. I recommend you to visit southern Kyoto, like Fushimi Inari. It’s just 5 minutes away from Kyoto station by Nara line local train and single fare is only 140 yen one way. If you want, you can visit even Nara:

If you need some more information about Kyoto station, please refer the link below:

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:

Day 5 – Transfer from Kyoto to Osaka

The best and the fastest way to get Osaka JR line Special Rapid train.

If you stay near JR station in both Kyoto and Osaka, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Shin-Osaka, this is the perfect choice. However there are two more ways between Kyoto and Osaka. Those are Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway. Hankyu Railway connects Kawaramachi (Gion area), Shijo-Karasuma, Shijo-Omiya, Arashiyama in Kyoto and Umeda in Osaka. Keihan Railway connects Sanjo, Gion-Shijo, Kiyomizu-Gojo in Kyoto and Kyobashi, Kitahama and Yodoyabashi in Osaka. Please find the train network in Osaka and Kyoto area in the link below:

Squeeze Nara or/and Kobe on the way to Osaka from Kyoto

If you just make a trip from JR Osaka to JR Kyoto, it takes 30 minutes by Special Rapid train. You can spend some more in Kyoto or get Osaka early and enjoy there. 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 visit Kobe too. But Kobe is located at other side if you move from Kyoto to Osaka. Please find more information about trip to Kobe at the following link:

Day 6 – 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.

There are several deals available in Osaka. Please find more information in the link below:

If you want to extend to stay in Osaka

You may add other deal or a regular ticket as you need. But you may visit other places, such as Kobe, Nara. In case of this, you may add another Kansai area deal, such as 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 inside/outside Osaka.

Day 7 – Osaka to Kansai Airport

There are several deals available to get Kansai airport. Please find the information in the link below:

That is all to explain about this sample itinerary.

In this post, I have explained Tokyo to Osaka in 7 days. If you have a plan to travel the reverse itinerary, Osaka to Tokyo in 7 days, please see the link below:

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

Enjoy your trip!

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

  1. Dear Takeshi,

    I will be travelling alone to Japan in early December and below is my itinerary for the trip:

    Day 1 – Tokyo. Arrive early. Free & easy day. Overnight Tokyo.
    Day 2 – Travel to Mt Fuji (signed up for day tour from Tokyo). Will be travelling to Hakone after the tour ends. Overnight Hakone.
    Day 3 – Hakone (sightseeing). 6pm depart Odawara – Kyoto.
    Day 4 – Kyoto (sightseeing). Overnight Kyoto.
    Day 5 – Kyoto (sightseeing). Overnight Kyoto.
    Day 6 – Kyoto – Osaka. Overnight Osaka.
    Day 7 – Osaka. Overnight Osaka.
    Day 8 – Depart Osaka early morning

    I have a few questions with regards to my trip:
    1) Can I purchase my Free Hakone pass (Odawara) from shinjuku station? And does the free pass include buses from Gotemba – Hakone area?
    2) Is it possible to make a trip to Nara in between Kyoto-Osaka?
    3) What pass should I get (Kansai thru pass/JR west kansai area pass)?
    4) Should I book the Shinkansen tickets in advance (Odawara – Kyoto)?
    5) Any reputable luggage delivery recommendations will be highly appreciated 😉

    Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Estee,

      1. You can buy Hakone Feee Pass in Shinjuku. And it is sold at several places in Hakone. Please see the link below:
      https://www.odakyu.jp/english/other/
      It covers Hakone-Gotemba bus too.

      2. Yes. Please find more info in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/how-to-access-to-nara-by-japan-rail-pass-if-you-dont-use-jr-pass-kintetsu-railway-is-more-convenient.html

      3. Kansai thru pass and Kansai area pass are too much for your trip. You need only city deal in Osaka and Kyoto. Please find more info in the links below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      4. Yes, you may. You can buy it at any major JR stations. In Tokyo, you can buy it at most of JR stations.

      5. Yamano transport is the biggest delivery company in Japan. But there are some more companies. It doesn’t matter which company you use. Most of them are very reliable in Japan.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    My family of 4 (2 adults and 2 child) will be coming to Tokyo-Osaka this December. Please advise and guide me the transport/ passes should I purchase to cover my trip.

    Day 1 – Arrive late stay nearby Haneda Airport
    Day 2 – Haneda to Tokyo (Disneyland)
    Day 3 – Haneda to Hakone (sightseeing) to Kyoto (night- stay area TBC)
    Day 4 – Kyoto (sightseeing) to Osaka (night- stay nearby Shin-Imamiya for 4 nights)
    Day 5 & 7 – Ōsaka (Kobe, Nara, USJ)
    Day 8 – Depart Osaka

    Is my plan too tight? Should I cancel my Hakone and leave more day at Osaka?

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