Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO
Yasaka shrine in Kyoto Higashiyama area. ©JNTO

I 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 can shorten or extend as you can.

Now I would like to tell you the best route and most economical deals about this trip.

Day 1 – Kansai airport (KIX) to Kyoto

Central exit of Kyoto station. (C) JP Rail
Central exit of Kyoto station. (C) JP Rail

Kansai One Pass and Haruka one way trip to Kyoto at 4,600 yen.
Overnight around JR Kyoto station

If you arrive in Kyoto early, you can visit somewhere around Kyoto station. Fushimi Inari is only 5 minutes away from Kyoto station. Kyoto Tower is just located in front of Kyoto station. You can use Kansai One Pass to get there.

Day 2 and 3 – Sightseeing in Kyoto

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

There are several deals available. I recommend you to use both Kansai One Pass and Kyoto City Bus Pass. Kansai One Pass covers city bus too but Kansai One Pass does not give you unlimited travel. It offers only convenience. On the other hand, Kyoto City Bus Pass is sold at 600 yen for one day. You can take a bus as many as you want. You can get the worth of it by only 3 rides. You can use Kansai One Pass only for taking a train and/or a subway.

Kyoto City Bus and Subway Pass (Kyoto Sightseeing Card) is also available. But this does not cover other railways, such as JR, Hankyu, Keihan railways. You will take various trains in Kyoto. Please see the link below to find the train route in Kyoto:

Kyoto train guide

You can get anywhere in downtown Kyoto by bus. It is possible to visit all places only by city bus. However city bus is always crowded and the traffic in Kyoto has been very heavy in these days. I recommend you to take a train or a subway as much as you can.

Kansai One Pass and Bus Pass are the best combination for sightseeing in Kyoto, in my opinion.

Day 4 – Trip to Nara and transfer to Osaka

Todai-ji temple in Nara  	©Nara Prefecture/©JNTO
Todai-ji temple in Nara ©Nara Prefecture/©JNTO

Visit Nara on the way to Namba, Osaka from Kyoto.

You can take either Kintetsu Railway or JR to get Nara. Both trains depart from Kyoto station. But Kintetsu railway’s Nara station is better location. It is 1 km closer to most of tourist spots in Nara than JR Nara station.

After Nara, you can take either JR or Kintetsu to get Osaka. Please see the link below to find the route to Nara:

Nara access guide

Day 5 – Trip to Kobe and Himeji from Osaka

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

You may use JR Kansai Area Pass one day at 2,200 yen if you book it online in advance. If you buy it online, you have to exchange the pass at Shin-Osaka, Osaka, Kyoto or Kansai airport.

JR West Pass official site

You can purchase this pass at many major stations in downtown Osaka but the price is a bit higher. There is other trains to Kobe and Himeji, like Hanshin railway. But JR is the fastest to get Himeji. Please see the post, How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka to get the details.

Day 6 – Sightseeing in Osaka

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

There are lots of deals available in Osaka. Please see the link below to find the deal:

How to choose the pass for sightseeing in Osaka

Day 7 – Osaka to Kansai airport (KIX)

If you want to take Haruka again, you can purchase Haruka discount ticket. This discount ticket is available for overseas tourist who has ICOCA or Kansai One Pass only.

ICOCA and Haruka, Kansai One Pass and Haruka

Otherwise you can choose other deal in the link below:

How to choose the deal for trip to/from KIX

I hope this sample helps you to build your trip plan.

683 thoughts on “Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary”

  1. Hi takeshi san,

    We wish to plan dec 2019 to go osaka n kyoto n kobe for 10days.
    Anywhere to meet the snow at which area?
    Using which rail is more easy for us with a kid 7years old.

  2. kobanwa takeshi san

    i need your suggestion
    I have purchase 7 days JR pass
    i will landed in Osaka and departs from Narita
    I will have 9 full days in total and need your suggestion how i can max my pass to visit the following areas : Nara, Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima, Takayama, Shirakawa go, Nagano, Tokyo
    my wish is too see the snow , i did not have it in my country 🙂

    thank you in advance fro your kind advise hearing from you soon

  3. Hi Takeshi san , if I would like to visit
    daiitokuji temple in Osaka, can I use the Kansai Hiroshima Area pass ? And how long will it take?

        1. Hi Pauline,

          I don’t know this temple but you have to take a local bus from JR Kumeda station. You can get Kumeda station by the pass but you have to pay for the bus. I don’t have any info about the bus to this temple.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi san, thanks . As I am confused over Kansai Hiroshima Area pass, does it mean that all the JR lines are included ?
            E.g from Osaka station to Mozu station?

            And I will be also be buying Kaisan One pass n Haruka, how much will this ticket cost ? I will be taking from KIX to Kyoto.
            I do understand that one pass is a stored value ticket where by I have to store 2000 yen , how about the cost from KIX to Kyoto. Thanks for yr clarification.

            Pauline

            1. Hi Pauline san,

              Kansai Hiroshima area pass covers all JR lines in the coverage area except Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka, Kyoto and Maibara. You can get Mozu because it’s on JR line.

              Please see the link below to find the price of Kansai one pass and Haruka.
              http://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/icoca-haruka/

              Kansai one pass is sold at 3,000 yen as the link above said.

              If you buy Kansai one pass and Haruka, Haruka portion is covered by this deal. You don’t need to use Kansai one pass for this ride.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Takeshi san, I am back from my vac in Japan and thanks for yr advise on the Japan rail. Your info are really helpful to me to select the right pass .

        Regards
        Pauline

  4. Hi Takeshi san,
    can I assume all the JRailway is covered by the Kansai Hiroshima Area pass and Haruka / Ioca pass?

    The reason I ask is the hotel i stay in Kyoto s near Tanbaguchi station and would like to know does the Kansai Hiroshima Area pass cover to Tanbaguchi station.
    Does this pass also include the local bus in Kyoto?

    Thks

    1. Hi Pauline san,

      Kansai Hiroshima area pass covers only JR trains. It covers only one bus line which is operated by JR Nishinihon Bus in Kyoto but this is not Kyoto city bus.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-use-japan-rail-pass-in-kyoto.html

      So you have to use Kansai one pass or purchasing Kyoto city bus pass for one day at 600 yen.

      In your trip, you can use Kansai Hiroshima area pass to get Fushimi, Arashiyama, Uji, Nara, Kyoto to Osaka, Hiroshima/Miyajima, Himeji. I don’t understand Monjoo Park. I have never heard it. You can get Himeji castle by walk from Himeji station:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/himeji-station-guide-how-to-get-himeji-castle-from-the-station.html

      Please try to leave your comment at one page. You may miss my reply if you leave your comment at multiple page.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi , I refer to Minoo Park (箕面公園, sorry for the typo error.
        Does the Kaisan Hiroshima pass cover this area?
        Regards

  5. Hi Takeshi san,

    I am planning to buy the Kansai Hirsohima Area pass , not sure should i used for this itenary :

    Day 1:
    Fushimi Inari-Taisha 伏見稲荷大社
    Kiyomizudera Temple
    Yaska Shine
    Gion
    Nishiki market

    Day 2:
    Arashiyama
    Uji

    Day 3
    Kyoto to Osaka and try to Nara

    Day 4
    Hiroshima + Mijiyama

    Day 5
    Monjoo Park
    Himji Castle

    when I read through the website , it seems that the pass does not cover the 2 places that I would like to cover on day 5 , appreciate yr confirmation .

    or should I use the pass in Kyoto for travel to Ryojanji Temple and
    Kinkakuji Temple?

    Appreciate yr advise.
    Regards

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    Recently my flight change from kix to Narita due to typhoon and I’m flying in few day

    My itinerary as below;
    Day 1 Narita – Kyoto
    Day 2 Kyoto
    Day 3 Kyoto – Namba
    Day 4 Kyoto – Nara – Osaka namba
    Day 5 Osaka namba – Kobe – Osaka namba
    Day 6 Osaka
    Day 7 Osaka kaiyukan
    Day 8 Osaka – mix

    Can you advice which pass can I use ?

    Thx

  7. Hi Takeshi San,
    I would appreciate some feedback about our upcoming trip to Kyoto. We have to attend a meeting at the convention centre everyday and would require to take a subway for this from Gion area, which is where we are staying. In between meetings we would also like to visit the popular local tourist destinations as well as Osaka, Kobe and Hiroshima, time permitting. We are flying into Tokyo and departing from Tokyo as well and will be taking the Shinkansen to get to Kyoto. We were thinking of purchasing the JR rail pass as well as Kansai thru pass. I am aware that the Kansai thru pass is valid for only 3 days and I may have to purchase a second one. One of my reasons for purchasing these passes is for convenience. As we have a very tight schedule and would like to cram as much activities as possible, we have prioritized the convenience of the pass over financial considerations. Am I correct in thinking so? Do these passes allow me to visit the areas highlighted without having to purchase separate tickets? I am aware of reserved and unreserved seats. Would I be able to cover all trains/subways/buses within this region with these passes or in spite of them, end up having to purchase separate tickets? Should this be the case, I shall not go for the Kansai Thru Pass and opt for individual tickets. Your feedback would be much appreciated. Regards.

    1. Hi Joe san,

      As you will have JR Pass, I don’t think Kansai thru pass is required. JR pass does not cover subway, city bus and non JR railways, such as Keihan railway, Hankyu railway, Kintetsu railway. But you can move among these places by JR pass. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-transfer-among-kyoto-osaka-and-kobe-compare-japan-railway-and-private-lines.html

      I recommend you to use JR pass as much as you can. And when you need the train or bus which is not covered by JR Pass, you may purchase a regular fare. Or you can use IC card, such as Kansai one pass.
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi San,
    I am planning a trip end of June 5D4N in Osaka and Kyoto. Regarding the transportation, may I check with you if I understand is correct?

    DAY 1: KIX. Purchase ICOCA and Haruka. Take HARUKA to Kyoto.

    DAY 2: Go to Inari using ICOCA via Jrail. Then go from Inari to Arashiyama using ICOCA via Jrail. Go from Arashiyama to Kyoto using ICOCA via Jrail. (Or should all the above be using KYOTO 2 DAYS PASS AT 2000YEN?)

    DAY 3: Go to Nishiki and Kiyomizu San Choe, all using ICOCA via Jrail. (Or is it the KYOTO 2 DAYS PASS AT 2000YEN again?)

    DAY 4: Go from KYOTO to SHIN OSAKA via HARUKA. Go from SHIN OSAKA to OSAKA using ICOCA via Jrail.

    Day 5: Go from OSAKA to SHIN OSAKA using ICOCA via Jrail. Go from SHIN OSAKA to KIX using HARUKA.

    Many thanks in advance for your help.
    Best regards
    Kah Ai

    1. Hi Kar Ai san,

      You can use ICOCA and Haruka. But you may add Kansai one pass instead of ICOCA. This is basically same as ICOCA and you can purchase this package at same price as ICOCA and Haruka. But Kansai one pass offers discount at many attractions.
      https://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1

      You may use Kansai one pass for day 2. But you may add all day bus pass for day 3. You cannot get Nishiki and Kiyomizu by train. You should take a bus. You can use Kansai one pass to take a bus. But all day bus pass is 500 yen for one day unlimited ride. You can get the worth by only three rides of bus.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      You cannot take Haruka from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka by Kansai one pass. ICOCA and Haruka gives you ride on Haruka from/to airport only. If you take Haruka from Kyoto to Shin-Osaka, you have to add limited express surcharge. Special rapid train is covered by Kansai one pass fully but this is a sort of commute train.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/rapid-service/special-rapid-service.html

      You can take Haruka if you add Haruka discount ticket. You don’t need to use Kansai one pass.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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