Basic itinerary of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in 7 days

skytree7 to 9 days
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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.

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Day 1 – Narita airport or Haneda airport to Tokyo

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

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. 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.

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.

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!

Comments

  1. Francis says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will be arriving Tokyo, Haneda Airport at 10.30pm on 25th March and I will be staying at Shinjuku area.

    I will be leaving from Osaka,Kansai Airport on 2nd April.

    My planned itinerary are as belows:

    Day 1 – Haneda – Shinjuku
    Day 2 – Shibuya, Harajuku, Shijuku, Meiji Shrine,
    Day 3 – Mount Fuji – Tokyo Tower – Odaiba
    Day 4 – Disneyland
    Day 5 – Akihabara, Ginza, Ueno Park, Imperial Palace, Tsukiji Market
    Day 6 – Tokyo to Kyoto
    Day 7 – Kyoto
    Day 8 – Kyoto to Osaka
    Day 9 – Osaka – Kansai Airport

    Can you let me know what kind of rail or local passes will work best for us?

    Appreciate your kind help.

    Thank you.

  2. Trifiva says:

    HI takeshi san
    I’ll be travelling to Japan on April 20th till 28th. And I’m planning to go to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, but my flight coming and going is from narita. And I really want to see sakura blossom.
    And I would like to visit the most favourite and touristic areas on that places.
    My question.. Can I see the sakura blossom in Tokyo during that period?
    If I’m buying Japan rail pass , can I use only this
    Pass for all the public transport during my stay in theses 3cities.
    Is it worth it to visit hakone with my short period of visit?
    Can you write an ideal iternary for my short visit?

    Arigato…
    Trifiva

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    Just wondering, should I book Shinkansen in advance from Tokyo to Kyoto ? We are group of 4 and will be going to Kyoto from Tokyo on 03 March 2017.

    Can we buy Shinkansen ticket on that day in Tokyo station?

    Regards,

    Dina

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

      Hi Dina,

      You can purchase a ticket either on the day of travel or in advance. You can purchase it at any major JR stations. In downtown Tokyo, most of JR stations have reservation window. When you have a time in Tokyo, just stop by there and purchase it.

      It’s totally up to you but I recommend you to reserve in advance.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Aisya says:

    Hi.i will be arriving in Haneda airport on 1st april around 2150pm and depart from haneda airport on 8th but since i plan to go tokyo, osaka,kyoto and motegi any idea which place i should go first and should i take JR pass single ticket or 7days pass to travel to all those places

  5. emz says:

    Hi,

    Kindly help me ive been having a hard time with our japan tour this coming march 2017 manila-natita then kansai-manila. do we need to puchase JR pass? we are going kyoto-osak-nara then tokyo.

    Kindly advise me on this thank tou so much in advance.

    Regards,
    emz

  6. Kevin says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will arrive Haneda and stay in Tokyo for few days. We will then go to Osaka for 2 days before visiting Kyoto as one day trip. I will then fly from Osaka (Kobe) airport to Haneda.

    Should I only get one way Shinkansen ticket and buy Kansas area pass to visit around Osaka and Kyoto? I hope this is cheaper as JR Pass seems to be more expensive?

  7. Katie Yim says:

    We plan to spend 10 days/9 night in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Fly to Tokyo and spend 3 nights, visit various places in Tokyo. Then take the train to Kyoto and spend 4 nights. Visit various places in Kyoto and take a day trip to Nara. After Kyoto, take a train to Osaka and spend 2 nights to explore Osaka before taking the flight from Kansai airport.
    Can you let me know what kind of rail or local passes will work best for us.

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

      Hi Katie,

      Actually your plan is almost same as the itinerary above. Just extend the part of Tokyo and Kyoto in the sample itinerary above.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. ujin says:

    Hi pls. me Iam arriving in Kansai airport and also departing at kansai airport will be staying for 9 days wanted to go in tokyo what should I do, Iam with family 2 adults & 2 child 6yrs old and 11 yrs old pls. thanks.. also the cheapest way and fast way thanks.. if can only thanks.

  9. itsonlyasuggestion
    Luci says:

    Hi Takashi,

    First of all, thank you for sharing all these useful tips. Our seven-day itinerary is very similar to this and is as follows:

    Day 1 and 2 – Tokyo (from Narita)
    Day 3 – depart from Tokyo to visit Hakone with overnight stay at Ito
    Day 4 – Depart Ito and stay overnight at Kyoto
    Day 5 – Day visit to Nara then go directly to Osaka
    Day 6 and 7 – Osaka then Kansai

    The single base fare route you proposed (Tokyo – Kyoto – Nara – Tennoji – Kansai airport) seems the most appropriate. I assume we would have to purchase separate fares from Shinjuku-Oawara-Hakone, Hakone-Ito and back, as well as Odawara to Kyoto.

    I have two questions though:

    1) When purchasing the single base fare ticket, do we have to specify this exact route to the ticket seller?

    2) Can we stopover at Tennoji and purchase a separate ticket to JR Namba (which is near where we will stay) and then still use the Tokyo-Kansai ticket to go to Kansai Airport (again from Tennoji)?

    Thank you again.

    Luci

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

      Hi Luci,

      The following itinerary is more similar to your plan.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/sample-itinerary-of-tokyo-hakone-kyoto-and-osaka-classic-route-in-7-days.html

      But you will drop by Ito. So you will arrange different way to purchasing a ticket.

      First, you can take Odakyu railway to get Hakone from Shinjuku. This is not JR. So just purchase a ticket to Hakone simply. If you visit many places in Hakone, you may purchase Hakone Free Pass 2 days at Odawara. Even 2 days pass may be cheaper than single fare if you visit whole part of Hakone. At this point, it’s hard to compare single fare and pass. You have to make the detailed itinerary and find our which point in Hakone you will visit. And then you can compare single fare and pass.

      For the trip to Kyoto from Odawara via Ito, you can purchase two single ticket, Odawara to Ito and Ito to Kyoto. You don’t need to follow very complicated single ticket rule. Total fare is not much different.

      I don’t include Kyoto-Nara-Tennoji-KIX segment in single ticket. Because I recommend you to use Kansai thru pass for day 5 and day 7.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      If you use this pass, you can get Nara from Kyoto by Kintetsu railway. If you don’t stay near Kyoto station, you can take subway or city bus by this pass to get Kyoto station. Kintetsu Kyoto station is exactly same place as JR.

      Kintetsu Nara station is located at the best place in Nara. It’s much closer to most of popular places in Nara than JR station.
      After visiting Nara, you can also take Kintetsu railway to get Namba directly. You don’t need to change the train at Tennoji.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-access-to-nara-by-japan-rail-pass-if-you-dont-use-jr-pass-kintetsu-railway-is-more-convenient.html

      Kansai thru pass also covers subway in Osaka. So after arriving Namba, you can take subway in Osaka as much as you want to visit other places. That is another reason why I recommend this pass.

      On day 7, if you have time, you can use this pass to take subway in Osaka for the last minutes shopping or sightseeing. You may take Nankai railway from Namba to KIX directly. Nankai railway operate direct limited express “Rapi:t” to KIX. But if you take this, you need to pay extra, 510 yen. But there are many rapid train to KIX and it’s direct service too.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. mying
    Ying says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will be arriving in Narita Airport on 18th Jan. I am planning to fly out from Kansai Airport (yet to purchase the ticket).

    How many days should I stay so that I can take advantage of the single ticket since I wont be buying any JR Pass.

    Is that fine?

    Day 1- Narita – Tokyo
    Day 2-Tokyo
    Day 3- Tokyo-Hakone
    Day 4 – Tokyo-Kyoto
    Day 5-Kyoto
    Day 6-Kyoto
    Day 7 – Kyoto-Osaka
    Day 8 – Osaka-Kobe-Himeji
    Day 9 – Osaka -Kansai Airport (or should I add another day for Osaka)

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