Sample itinerary of staying in Osaka, Kyoto and Osaka 8 days

Torii gates in Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto

I have made two sample itineraries of Osaka and Kyoto before. The first one is staying in Kyoto and them moving to Osaka.

 Rail travel in Japan complete guide - JPRa... 
Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary
Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTOI have received inquiries about the trip to Kansai area many times. So I make a basic itinerary that includes Kansai area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara only. This is 7 days itinerary. But you c...

Another one is staying in Osaka first and then moving to Kyoto.

 Rail travel in Japan complete guide - JPRa... 
Visit Osaka and Kyoto for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary
Shinsho-Gokuraku-ji temple in Kyoto. This temple is as known as Shinnyodo and it is getting popular to see fall foliage lately. (C) Yasufumi Nishi / JNTOI have made the sample itinerary that is Kyoto and Osaka stay for 5 to 7 days before.Visit Ky...

But I have received some inquiries about Osaka to Kyoto, and go back to Osaka again. I would like to show you this type of itinerary and think about most effective deal.

Day 1, Kansai to Namba, Osaka

There are many choices for Kansai airport to Osaka. Before choosing a deal or a ticket, you have to decide where you stay. Roughly speaking, these following three choices are most common:

  • Nankai Railway regular ticket
    For staying near Namba, Shin-Imamiya or other stations on Nankai Railway between Kansai airport and Namba
  • ICOCA and Haruka
    For staying near Tennoji, Shin-Osaka or other JR stations in downtown Osaka
  • Nankai Railway and subway combo ticket (a.k.a. Kanku Chikatoku Ticket)
    For staying near Osaka subway stations other than Namba, Tennoji and Dobutsuenmae (Shin-Imamiya)

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

 Rail travel in Japan complete guide - JPRa...
How to choose the deals for access to/from Kansai Airport
Kansai Airport arrival level at ground floorIf you arrive in Kansai airport, most of you go to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe or maybe Nara, Wakayama. There are many deals that you can choose. You maybe confused and overwhelmed to pick up. In this post, I w...

Sample itinerary
In this sample, I picked Namba as the place to stay. Regular fare ticket is most affordable choice.
Kansai airport (Nankai Railway Rapid train) Namba

Day 2, sightseeing in Osaka

Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTO

These three deals are very common:

  • Osaka Amazing Pass
    If you intend to visit three or more attractions on the list of this pass
  • Osaka Kaiyu Ticket
    If you want to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium
  • Osaka subway deal (Osaka Visitors Ticket or Osaka Eco Card)
    For staying near Osaka subway stations other than Namba, Tennoji and Dobutsuenmae (Shin-Imamiya)

If you spend whole day in Universal Studio Japan, no deal is required. Just pay regular fare as you go. You may find the detailed information about the deal of Osaka in the link below:

 Rail travel in Japan complete guide - JPRa... 
How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka
Osaka castle, icon of Osaka (C) Osaka Government Tourism Bureau / JNTOThere are many deals for sightseeing in Osaka. I would like to show you the deals for the tourist who stays in Osaka and want to visit the places in Osaka. I believe you will f...

Sample itinerary
Using Osaka Amazing Pass
Namba (Subway Midousuji line / 10 mimutes) Tennoji
– 1 hours at Shitenoji temple (covered by Osaka Amazing Pass)
Tennoji (Subway Tanimachi line / 10 minutes) Tanimachi-4chome
– 2 hours at Osaka Castle (covered by Osaka Amazing Pass)
Tanimachi-4chome (Subway Chuo line / 15 minutes) Osakako
– LEGOLAND Discovery Center Osaka (covered by Osaka Amazing Pass)
– Tenpozan Giant Ferris Wheel (covered by Osaka Amazing Pass)
– Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium (discount by Osaka Amazing Pass)
* Total 4 hours for these three above attractions.
Osakako (Subway Chuo line / 10 minutes) Hommachi (Subway Midousuji line / 5 minutes) Umeda
– Umeda Sky Building (covered by Osaka Amazing Pass until 18:00)
* If your schedule is tight, pick up one or two facilities of LEGOLAND, Tenpozan Giant Ferris Wheel and/or Kaiyukan. 4 hours may be too short for these three places, especially if you travel with seniors and/or small children. You have to keep in mind that after 18:00, Osaka Amazing Pass does not cover Umeda Sky Building at all.
Umeda (Subway Midousuji line / 15 minutes) Namba

Day 3, Namba, Osaka to Kyoto, and sightseeing in Kyoto after arrival

Togetsukyo bridge in Arashiyama, Kyoto. ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

You may use one day of Kansai Thru Pass 3 days. Kansai Thru Pass is most useful pass to go around Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama and Koyasan.

This pass covers subway, city bus and most of major privates railway lines, such as Hankyu Railway, Keihan Railway, Kintetsu Railway. You can take subway and one of these railways to get Kyoto by Kansai thru pass. After arrival in Kyoto, you can use Kansai thru pass to take trains, subways and city bus lines to visit many places in Kyoto.

Sample itinerary
Namba (Kintetsu Railway / 30 mins) Yamato-Saidaiji (Kintetsu Railway / 40 mins) Kyoto
– Check in hotel and drop off baggage
Kyoto (Subway Karasuma line / 5 mins) Karasuma-Oike (Subway Tozai line / 10 mins) Uzumasa-Tenjingawa / Randen-Tenjingawa (Randen Arashiyama line / 15 mins) Arashiyama
– Half day at Arashiyama
Arashiyama (Randen Arashiyama line / 10 mins) Katabiranotsuji (Randen Kitano line / 10 mins) Kitano-Hakubaicho (Kyoto city bus / 5 mins) Kinkakuji-michi
– 2 hours at Kinkaku-ji temple (Golden pavilion)
Kinkakuji-michi (Kyoto city bus / 10 mins) Kitaoji (Subway Karasuma line / 15 mins) Kyoto

You will take various trains and buses but all trips are covered by Kansai Thru Pass.

Day 4, Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera temple is ne of most famous spots in Kyoto.

On this day, you do not make any trips by subway. You may have only Kyoto city bus pass. It costs only 600 yen for one day bus unlimited ride. Do not use Kansai Thru Pass on this day. That is not a good idea to use the pass for a few short rips.

Kyoto city bus one day pass

Sample itinerary
Kyoto station (Kyoto city bus / 10 mins) Inaritaisha-mae
– 2 hours at Fushimi-Inari shrine
Fushimi-Inari (Keihan Railway / 10 mins) Gion-Shijo
* Regular fare ticket payment is required to take Keihan Railway.
– 3 hours at Gion / Nishiki Market with lunch time
Gion (Kyoto city bus / 20 mins) Ginakakuji-mae
– 1 hour at Ginkaku-ji temple
Ginkakuji-mae (Kyoto city bus / 25 mins) Kiyomizu-michi (walk 15 mins) Kiyomizu-dera temple
– 2 hours at Kiyomizu-dera temple
Kiyomizu-dera temple (walk 15 mins) Kiyomizu-michi (Kyoto city bus / 20 mins) Kyoto station

I also recommend to walk from Gion to Kiyomizu-dera temple. There are lots of temples, such as Yasaka shrine, Kodai-ji temple, Hokan-ji temple (a.k.a. Yasaka Pagoda). And also there are lots of shops along this route. But Kiyomizu-dera temple usually close at 18:00. It is open until 21:00 only during special night event. You have to be Kiyomizu-dera temple by 17:00 at latest in most of seasons. If you walk from Gion, I recommend to skip Ginkaku-ji temple or shrink your time in Gion and/or Fushimi-Inari to make 2 hours.

Day 5, Kyoto to Nara to Namba, Osaka

Todaiji is one of the popular spot in Nara. ©Nara Prefecture/©JNTO

You take almost same route as day 3. On day 3, you change the trains at Yamato-Saidaiji. This station is actually a few stations away from Nara. There are lots of coin lockers in Kintetsu Railway Nara station. You can store your luggage and walk in Nara.

You use second day of Kansai Thru Pass 3 days.

Sample itinerary
Kyoto ((Kintetsu Railway / 45 mins) Kintetsu Nara
– 5 hours to visit tourists spots in Nara, such as Todai-ji temple (Big Buddha), Kasuga Taisha shrine, Nara Park (Deer Park) and have a lunch time.
Kintetsu Nara (Kintetsu Railway / 40 mins) Osaka-Namba

You may add some small trips in Osaka and/or Kyoto before/after trip to Nara. The above trip schedule is less than 7 hours. You can add some more. Please remember that Kansai Thru Pass covers subway and city bus in both Osaka and Kyoto. Try to maximize using this pass.

Day 6, Trip to Kobe and Himeji

There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO

On this day, Kansai area pass one day is your choice. Kansai Area Pass covers only JR trains. Kansai Thru Pass covers other than JR trains. Do not mix up these two passes. JR train is faster to Himeji than non JR trains.

 Rail travel in Japan complete guide - JPRa... 
How to use JR West Kansai Area Pass. Compare pass and single fare.
Limited Express Haruka from KIX is covered by this pass.The post, How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area is one of most popular one in this site. Since I published this post, I have received many ...

Do not use Kansai Thru Pass and save the last one day for trip to Mt. Koya on next day.

Sample itinerary
Using Kansai Area Pass
JR-Namba (local or rapid / 5 mins) Shin-Imamiya or Imamiya (local or rapid / 15 mins) Osaka (Special Rapid / 1 hour) Himeji
– 3 hours at Himeji to visit Himeji castle
Himeji (Special Rapid / 40 mins) Kobe
– Stay in Kobe for the rest of day
Kobe or Sannomiya (Special Rapid / 20 mins) Osaka (local or rapid / 15 mins) Shin-Imamiya or Imamiya (local or rapid / 5 mins) JR-Namba

Shinkansen is the fastest way to get Himeji but Kansai Area Pass does not cover Shinkansen. Special Rapid is the best way to get there.

You may find the information about Kobe and Himeji in the links below:

Day 7, Trip to Koyasan

Approach to Okunoin temple in Mt. Koya

On day 7, you make a day trip to Koyasan (Mt. Koya). You may use the last day of Kansai Thru Pass 3 days. This pass covers Nankai Railway and Cable Car to Koyasan and bus on Mt. Koya. All trips are covered fully unless you take Limited Express train between Namba and Gokurakubashi.

I had a day trip to Mt. Koya from Namba in October, 2017. You may use my trip report to build your itinerary.

Day 8, Osaka, Namba to Kansai

You may use a regular fare ticket to get Kansai airport from Namba.

In this sample itinerary, the places to stay overnight are Namba and Kyoto station area. But you may use other locations if you like. Basically you can same deals other than Kansai airport to/from Osaka. As I explained in day 1, there are many deals available. Single ticket is the best option for Kansai airport to/from Namba. But if you stay other area, you may use one of many deals.

I hope this sample gives you an idea to build your trip plan!

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