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.

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

  1. Hi takeshi san,

    We are planning to visit osaka kyoto on may. With this itinerary
    Day 1 arrived at KIX (10PM)
    Day 2 osaka
    Day 3-4 kyoto
    Day 5 nagoya
    Day 6 nara-kobe
    Day 7 osaka – KIX

    What pass is the best for this itinerary, and do kansai thru pass cover to nagoya?
    Notes : We will stay at osaka for whole trip

    Thanks in advance for your help

      1. Dear takeshi,

        If i use osaka kyoto sightseeing pass and kyoto bus day pass for transportation from osaka and kyoto is it worthed? Or better use kansai through pass?

        1. Hi Willy,

          You may use Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass and Kyoto bus day pass. But Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass covers only Keihan Railway. If you don’t stay near Keihan station, you have to take Osaka Metro subway. It’s not covered but Kansai thru pass does.

          In Kyoto, you can get most places by Kyoto city bus. But the traffic is heavy all times in Kyoto. You may take a long time to get the places in Kyoto by bus. If you have Kansai thru pass, you can take Kyoto city bus pass, Hankyu railway, Kyoto subway, Keifuku railway. It is much better.

          But as you probably think, the cost is way different. If you really want to save your cost, you can use Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass + Kyoto city bus pass. The choice is yours.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi takeshi san,

            Thank you for your information,however i still confuse because there are too many train in osaka. here is my itinerary in kyoto, do you suggest to get kansai thru pass or osaka kyoto sightseeing + bus pass. I will stay near imamiya station

            Day 1
            * Kiyomizudera
            *Yasaka shrine
            *Fushimi inari
            *Kinkakuji
            *Gion

            Day 2
            *Kyoto imperial palace
            *Kyoto gyoen national park
            *Nishiki market
            *Arashiyama
            *Gion
            *Kyoto station

            Day 3
            Kobe and himeji

            Thank you for your assistance

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