Dotonbori(道頓堀) is most popular spot in downtown Osaka.

How to make the itinerary of Tokyo – Osaka one way trip

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

I have shown some simple itineraries which include Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

Basic itinerary of Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo in 7 days

Basic itinerary of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in 7 days

But many travelers want to stay in Tokyo and Osaka only and make day trips to surrounding area, like Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Yokohama.

If you intend to do this type of simple itinerary which include Tokyo and Osaka, you will combine several local deals and regular ticket.

In this post, I will explain about choosing the deals and tickets for this Tokyo-Osaka one way trip. I will mention two ways, Tokyo in/Osaka out and Osaka in/Tokyo out.

Narita airport to Tokyo or Haneda airport to Tokyo

There are many deals available for both airport arriving passengers. Many deals includes airport access fare and subway unlimited ride pass. But most of deals are available for only arriving passengers only. Please see the links below:

How to access from Haneda airport to downtown Tokyo

The list of deals for Tokyo to/from Narita airport

If you can choose Tokyo in / Osaka out or Osaka in / Tokyo out, I recommend you to arrive in Tokyo and depart from Tokyo. If you arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo, only single fare may be available.

Sightseeing in Tokyo

Tokyo subway covers most part of Tokyo. You can access to most of places in Tokyo by subway.

If you choose Narita or Haneda airport access + subway pass combo deal, you can use subway pass when you are in Tokyo. Otherwise you can add Tokyo Subway Ticket or JR local deal, “Tokyo Tokunai Pass”. But both pass covers downtown Tokyo which is basically inside Tokyo 23 wards. Some places in Tokyo is not in this area, such as Ghibli Museum, Showa Kinen Park. Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea is not in this area either. Actually this place is not in Tokyo by Chiba. Please see the link below to learn more about train network in Tokyo:

Guide to take trains in Tokyo. How to choose the best deal and the best route by train to get the major spots?

If you intend to have a day trip to Yokohama and/or Kamakura from Tokyo, please see the link below:

Yokohama and Kamakura access guide. Find the right deal and route from your place to stay

If you have a plan to visit Hakone or/and Lake Kawaguchi in Mt. Fuji area, you can find more information in the link below:

Fuji Hakone access guide by train and bus from both Tokyo and Osaka / Kyoto / Nagoya

Tokyo to Osaka

Platt Kodama is most affordable deal if you want to take Shinkansen (bullet train). However this deal covers only Kodama that is the slowest train on Shinkansen. If you want to take the fastest train single ticket is your choice. Please see the link below about Platt Kodama and comparison between Platt Kodama and single ticket.

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

Sightseeing in Osaka

Dotonbori is very popular place to eat and shop near Namba. ©Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau/©JNTO

There are many deals available. Please see the link below to find more information about the deals and train network in Osaka:

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Guide to take trains in Osaka. How to choose the best route by train to get the major spots?

Sightseeing to outside Osaka (Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Himeji, Wakayama and/or Koyasan

There are many deals available too. Please see the link below to find the detailed information about the deals:

How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area

Osaka to Kansai airport

You can choose one of the deals or tickets in the link below:

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

Most of deals are available for both airport to downtown Osaka and downtown Osaka to airport.

If you do from Osaka to Tokyo

As I mentioned above, the deal for Kansai airport to/from Osaka is available for both ways. But most of deals for airport to downtown Tokyo are available for incoming passengers only. You may not be able to use the deal for Tokyo to Narita airport or Haneda airport.

Arrival at Tokyo and departure from Osaka is easier to find the deal.

If you have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka

If your arrival airport and departure airports are same, such as Narita – Tokyo – Osaka – Narita, Kansai – Tokyo – Osaka – Kansai, you will have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka. In this case, JR pass 7 days is the best deal. Please see the link below to find the detailed information:

Japan Rail Pass user guide. How to use JR Pass to its maximum

You do not include whole part of your trip in 7 days. You can use 7 days covers period for Tokyo-Osaka round trip. The round trip fare for Tokyo to/from Osaka by Shinkansen is almost same as 7 days pass. You can take a local train in Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto. 7 days pass works for this type of trip.

30 thoughts on “How to make the itinerary of Tokyo – Osaka one way trip”

  1. Hi Takeshi San,

    We are planning for a trip to Tokyo – Osaka with 2 kids age 4 and 7.
    And we need your assistance in suggesting which JR pass & the metro/subway pass to get for Tokyo/Osaka should we get.

    12 Jan – Arrive Narita AM – Sightseeing – Asakusa (Hotel)
    13 Jan – Asakusa – Sight Seeing – Asakusa
    14 Jan – Asakusa – Gala Yuzawa – Asakusa
    15 Jan – Asakusa – Disney Sea – Asakusa
    16 Jan – Asakusa – Shin Osaka – Sight Seeing – Imamiyaebisu (Hotel)
    17 Jan – Imamiyaebisu – Universal City – Imamiyaebisu
    18 Jan – Imamiyaebisu – Kyoto/Nara – Imamiyaebisu
    19 Jan – Imaniyaebisu – Sight Seeing – Imamiyaebisu
    20 Jan – Imamiyaebisu – Kansai Airport

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Huda san,

      You can use Tokyo Wide Pass for the first 3 days.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-wide-pass-is-newer-version-of-kanto-area-pass-nikko-fuji-gala-yuzawa-and-odaiba-are-covered-by-this-pass.html

      This pass does not cover subway but you have to take it to get Asakusa. You need to pay for taking subway on top of Tokyo Wide Pass. Asakusa is 3 stations away from JR station, Ueno. Please see the link below to find the coverage of this pass in downtown Tokyo:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      You can get Gala by this pass.

      You may use Kansai area pass one day for Kyoto and Nara.
      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

      Imamiyaebisu is Nankai Railway’s station. Nankai is not covered by Kansai area pass. You have to pay for Nankai on top of Kansai area pass. It’s just one station away from the nearest station, Shin-Imamiya.

      For sightseeing in Osaka, please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      For the rest of trips, regular fare ticket is your choice.

      If you are overwhelmed to use too many deals, you may use JR pass 7 days for 14th to 20th.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      These above combinations are slightly cheaper than JR pass. But JR Pass has same coverage of Tokyo Wide Pass and Kansai area pass. And it covers Tokyo to Osaka. It does not cover subway either. But it is easier than using Tokyo wide pass, Kansai area pass and a few regular tickets.

      It’s up to you.

      At the end, child fare (half of adult fare) is applied to 7 years old. But it’s free of charge for 4 years old as long as one of your family member shares a seat with 4 years old child.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi
    I want to plan for 12 days trip in Japan.

    It can be from tokyo or osaka (pls advise which better)

    places that i want to visit.

    – tokyo
    – kamakura
    – enoshima
    – hakone
    – osaka
    – kobe
    – mt. Rokko
    – kyoto
    – nara

    Will buy 7 days JR pass for the trip.

    Can you help to guide especially how to move between osaka > tokyo-fuji-kobe/osaka/kyoto ?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Chen,

      You may take the flight whichever to Tokyo or to Osaka. But if you want to use JR pass, you have to arrive and depart at same airport. Because you cannot get the worth of JR Pass by one way trip. You must have round trip between Tokyo and Osaka. Otherwise you may follow the guide in the link above.

      Please see the link below to find the info about Fuji.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Konichiwa,Takeshi san!
    I going to japan from 8th march-13rd march.i will staying at osaka from 8th-10th,I need your advise about kansai pass and kansai thru pass,which one is more better and worthy for me to travelling around osaka,kyoto and nara..and for tokyo which pass will would be better to going around tokyo…looking forward your answer..

  4. Dear Mr Takeshi,

    I’ll be going to Shirakawago on 2nd Mar 2018 from Tokyo. I have booked a seat with Japan Bus Online.

    From Kanazawa Station to Shirakawago @ 9.40am & Shirakawago to Kanazawa Station @ 3.20pm

    My question is,
    I’ll be using my JRPass and taking the:-

    06:22 UENO
    [ Departure track No.19 ]
    SHINKANSEN KAGAYAKI 501
    08:46 KANAZAWA
    [ Arrival track No.14 ]

    Understand that, the JAPAN RAIL PASS is not valid for any seats, reserved or non-reserved, on “NOZOMI” and “MIZUHO” trains on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen lines. (The pass holders must take “HIKARI,” “SAKURA,” “KODAMA,” or “TSUBAME” trains.)

    Is that right for my journey timing and using the 7days JRPass?

    When coming back to Tokyo, I woud like to take the
    19:18 KANAZAWA
    [ Departure track No.11 ]
    SHINKANSEN KAGAYAKI 516
    21:50 UENO
    [ Arrival track No.22 ]

    Please correct me if I am wrong. Thank you for your prompt attention.

    Best Regards
    Jeanne

  5. Hi Mr Takeshi

    Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I’ll do a day trip from Tokyo to Kanazawa and Shirakawago then.

    Cheers!
    JL

  6. Hi Takeshi san,

    I need your advise on my itenary below. Is it very rush? Can you also advise what are the passes I can use? Can I use the JR pass for the entire trip?

    I will be at Japan from 5th Apr to 13 Apr (9 days)

    Day 1 to 3
    Touch down at Tokyo about 930am. Go to Osaka directly.
    Planning to go to Kyoto for day trip

    Day 4
    Go to tokyo from Osaka

    Day 5
    At Tokyo

    Day 6 – 8
    Stay at Hakone/Kawaguchiko
    Which pass do I need to travel between this 2 places?

    Day 9
    Disneyland
    Midnight flight back

    Lastly, in your opinion, should I switch my Disneyland trip before my hakone/kawaguchiko trip?

    Thank you!

      1. Hi Takeshi san,

        Thank you for your reply! I have make some amendment on my trip to fully utilise the JR Pass. If I plan like this is it better?

        Day 1 to 3 – Osaka
        Day 4 to 6 – Go to Fuji/Hakone from Osaka
        Day 6 to 9 – Tokyo

  7. Hello, Mr Takeshi

    I’ll be arriving and departing in Osaka, a 10 days trip.
    3 nights – Kyoto
    4 nights – Tokyo
    2 nights – Osaka

    (Each day, we’ll leave the hotel at 7am or take 7am transportation.)

    I’ll be purchasing the ICOCA & HARUKA and a 7days JR Pass. Starts of using will be on day 3 to day 9.
    Is my plan workable? Any comment about my itinerary and it is very rush? Please correct me if I’m wrong. Thank you.

    Day 1 – Arrive Osaka (land at 5.30pm) – Kyoto hotel

    Day 2 – Kyoto ( Arashiyama, Nijō Castle, Nikishi Market and walk around Gion area)

    Day 3 – Miyama (美山) OR Shirakawago (which is better?) (Day trip)
    (If, to go to Shirakawago, we’ll leave at 7am to Kanazawa and take Nohi bus.
    At 3pm, Shirakawago back to Kanazawa, visit for awhile, head back to Kyoto, con’t Gion.)

    Day 4 – Kyoto – Tokyo
    Fushimi Inari
    (Leave for Tokyo @ 12pm) & (Tour around Yamanote Line. Shinjuku, Harajuku & Shibuya)

    Day 5 – Tsukiji Market, Chiyoda City (Imperial Palace area), Akihabara, Asakusa

    Day 6 – Hakone (Day trip)

    Day 7 – Kamakura and Odaiba

    Day 8 – Tokyo – Osaka ( leave 7am)
    (Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, Namba & Shinsekai)

    Day 9 – Nara, Kobe (just to try the beef. Is it worth going?) & Osaka Castle

    Day 10 – Kuromon Ichiba Market. Leave 11am for Flight @ 3pm

    1. Hi JL,

      Your plan is really good. It’s not very rushed and can do very easily.
      For me, Shirakawago is better. It’s much bigger and many more places to see. But Miyama is nice place too. If you want closer place, Miyama will satisfy you.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Mr Takeshi,

        Thank you so much for your reply. I am very happy that my itinerary works and very glad to have stumbled upon your blog too. Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work.

        Best Regards
        JL

          1. Hello, Mr Takeshi

            I’ve made some changes in my itinerary. Please correct me if it’s not workable.

            I’ll be arriving and departing in Osaka, a 10 days trip.
            3 nights – Kyoto
            5 nights – Tokyo
            1 night – Osaka

            (Each day, we’ll leave the hotel at 7am or take 7am transportation.)

            I’ll be purchasing the ICOCA & HARUKA and a 7days JR Pass.
            Which day is best to start using JR Pass?
            Do I have to reserve the seats or it is best to reserve for using JR Pass?
            Should I buy any Kansai pass or just Icoca will do?

            Day 1 – Arrive Osaka (land at 5.30pm) – Kyoto hotel

            Day 2 – Kyoto ( Arashiyama, Nijō Castle, Fushimi Inari and walk around Gion area)

            Day 3 – Nara, Kobe

            Day 4 – Kyoto – Tokyo
            Nikishi Market
            (Leave for Tokyo @ 12pm) & (Tour around Yamanote Line. Shinjuku, Harajuku & Shibuya)

            Day 5 – Kanazawa & Shirakawago (Day trip)

            Day 6 – Hakone (Day trip)

            Day 7 – Kamakura and Odaiba

            Day 8 – Tsukiji Market, Chiyoda City (Imperial Palace area), Akihabara, Asakusa

            Day 9 – Tokyo – Osaka ( leave 7am)
            (Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori, Namba & Shinsekai)

            Day 10 – Kuromon Ichiba Market. Leave 11am for Flight @ 3pm

            I am not sure if Day 4, should I go to Kanazawa & Shirakawago on the way from Kyoto to Tokyo? Or a day trip from Tokyo?
            Thank you for your kind help.

            Best Regards
            JL

            1. Hi JL,

              You may use JR pass 7 days for day 3 to 9. You can use other deal or ticket for day 10.
              https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

              You can take either way to visit Kanazawa and Shirakawago. If you want to save your time, you may visit there on the way to Tokyo. If you want to make the trip easier, you can visit there as day trip from Tokyo. You don’t need to care about the luggage.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi! Kindly advise on how to make my travel most straightforward and economical.. There are 6 of us in the group – 3 adults, 3 youths aged 11,13,15. Not sure if they are eligible for child fares.

    I saw your 7 day Tokyo-Hakone-Kansai itenerary, but i dont understand how to buy the base fare..eg.odawara to kansai base fare.

    Day 1 late afternoon arrive in Haneda, Tokyo. Stay in Ikebukuro.
    Day 2 Harajuku, Shibuya, Samurai museum, Shunjuku, robot cafe.
    Day 3 Asakusa, Ueno, Akihabara
    Day 4 Tokyo station, Ginza, Roppongi
    Day 5 Disneyland
    Day 6 Hakone
    Day 7 Hakone, travel to Kyoto. Stay at Aranvert Hotel Kyoto.
    Day 8 SouthernHigashiyama (kiyomizu-dera temple to shoren-in temple/) and Downtown Kyoto/Fushimi Inari/Gion Shimbashi
    Day 9 Arashiyama/ Tenryu-ji temple/ Kinkakuji temple/ Pontocho Alley
    Day 10 Day trip to Kurama and Kibune
    Day 11 Travel to Osaka. Stay at Hotel Monterey Grasmere, Osaka. Dotonburi.
    Day 12 Osaka castle/Instant Ramen Museum.
    Day 13 Check out. Free time before travelling to KIX.
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Stella,

      Basically you can follow my sample itinerary of Tokyo-Hakone-Kyoto-Osaka. But I would like to modify a few things.

      Please see the link below to find some deals for Haneda access ticket + subway pass combo.
      http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/airport_bus/index.html

      You may use subway pass until day 4. Single ticket is okay to get Disneyland.

      You may use single ticket for taking Odakyu railway to Hakone and use Hakone Free Pass as I mentioned in the sample:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/sample-itinerary-of-tokyo-hakone-kyoto-and-osaka-classic-route-in-7-days.html

      Single ticket is your choice for access to Kyoto from Odawara. You can purchase this ticket in advance if you like. You can purchase it at the reservation window in most of JR station. You can purchase it at JR Ikebukuro station.

      You don’t need to use one base fare ticket to Osaka with stopover at Kyoto. Just use single ticket for Odawara to Kyoto.

      You can use bus pass or subway/bus pass. Your hotel is near subway station. Subway/bus pass (Kyoto sightseeing card) may be better option:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      But you may need to take JR or other trains. Kyoto sightseeing card does not cover other than bus and subway. You may need to add the fare:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      You may use Kansai area pass 3 days for the last 3 days:
      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

      Your hotel is near JR-Namba station in Osaka. You can take Limited Express Haruka from Kyoto to Tennoji. And then take a local train to JR-Namba. This is the easiest way. You also can take Haruka from Tennoji to Kansai airport. You can take JR local train in Osaka but you cannot access to Ramen museum.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      Child fare is applied to 11 years old child only. Adult fare is applied to other two. There is no students discount.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Takeshi san,

    Thank you so much for your answer! I’ve decided to stay in Tokyo first so we can get time to rest after the long flight. I’m so glad to have found your blog. Keep up the good work!

  10. Hello, Takeshi san!

    I’m going to Japan this October with my parents for one week. Our arrival and departure flights are both from Haneda Airport. We will be using the 7 days JR Pass since we want to go to Osaka and Kyoto too.

    I would like to know your opinion regarding my itinerary.
    Our plane will arrive around 4:30 pm. I was thinking to go straight to Osaka/Kyoto with Shinkansen, but that means we’re going to arrive in Osaka/Kyoto late at night. I’m a bit worried that my parents will be too tired (our flight takes 7 hours).

    My other option is to stay in Tokyo for three days before going to Osaka/Kyoto. Then we will head straight to Haneda Airport from Osaka/Kyoto on our last day. We have plenty of time since our flight is at midnight.

    Which option do you think is better?
    If we go straight to Osaka/Kyoto on our arrival day, is our chance to get seats in the shinkansen still high? Can we reserve a seat before we arrive in Japan?

    Looking forward for your answer 🙂

    1. Hi Indri san,

      If I were you, I stay in Tokyo first. But you can ask your parents. It’s totally up to you and your parents.

      You cannot book Shinkansen seat before you arrive in Japan. You will exchange your JR pass in Haneda and you also make a booking at same time when you exchange the pass. I don’t think it’s hard to book a seat together.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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