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 / JNTO
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 / JNTO

I have made the sample itinerary that is Kyoto and Osaka stay for 5 to 7 days before.
Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary

In this itinerary, staying in Kyoto is first and then move to Osaka. But I have received many inquiries that is staying in Osaka first and then move to Kyoto. Those itineraries are very similar but when we choose the deals, it is different.

In this post, I will show you Osaka and Kyoto 5 days sample itinerary. But I will also tell you how to extend this itinerary and how to add other spots. And of course, I will show you how to choose the deals.

Day 1 – Kansai airport to Osaka

Limited Express Haruka at Kansai Airport station
Limited Express Haruka at Kansai Airport station

There are many deals to get Osaka from Kansai airport. You can find the deals at the link below:

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

I show many photos in Kansai airport at the link below. You will find the location of stations, bus stops and other facilities.

Kansai airport transportation guide. Find info about station, ticket, airport bus and high speed ferry

If you arrive at Kansai airport in early morning and intend to explore in Osaka after arrival, Yokoso Osaka Ticket may be available in your country. This deal includes airport access to Namba by Nankai Railway’s limited express train “Rapi:t” and unlimited trip of Osaka subway. You may find the information about this deal at the link above too.

If you cannot use Yokoso Osaka ticket but you want a deal to sightsee in Osaka, please see the link below to find the deals.
How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

If you arrive in late night, like after 22:00, you cannot purchase any deals because the windows are closed at 23:00. Train runs until 23:30. But you might not take even the last train to Osaka if custom and immigration are busy. There are some midnight bus service to Osaka. But the destination is very limited. Please find more information about late arrival in Kansai airport at the link below:

How to access to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe from late arrival flight at Kansai Airport-KIX

Day 2 – Sightseeing in Osaka

Umeda Sky Building is very popular in these days. (C) JNTO
Umeda Sky Building is very popular in these days. (C) JNTO

The basic choice is Osaka Visitors ticket or Enjoy Eco Card which is one day subway unlimited ride pass. You may get most of places in downtown Osaka by this pass.

If you want to visit many attractions, Osaka Amazing Pass gives you the great savings. It includes 28 attraction’s admission and unlimited subway ride. Please see the following link to get the details about this pass.

If you intend to visit Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, Osaka Kaiyu Ticket is recommended. If you stay in Osaka but you may take not only subway but also other trains, like JR, Hankyu railway, Kintetsu railway, Keihan railway, Nankai railway, you may use Kansai one pass.

You can find the information about these deals in the link below:

How to choose the best train pass for sightseeing in Osaka

If you want to extend to stay in Osaka

You may add another Eco Card or Amazing Pass. But you may visit other places, such as Kobe, Nara. In case of this, you may add another Kansai area deal, like 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 outside Osaka.

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.

Day 3 – Transfer to Kyoto from Osaka

Three railways, JR, Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway run between Osaka and Kyoto. You have to find the location to stay in both Kyoto and Osaka. And then you may find which train is the best for your transfer from Osaka to Kyoto. You may find the route map at the link below:

How to transfer among Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara and Wakayama. Compare Japan Railway and private railways.

If you use ICOCA and Haruka, you may have some fund left in your ICOCA. You can use it for this transfer.

If you intend to make a day trip to Nara, Kobe or other places around Kansai area when you are in Osaka, you will use Kansai Thru Pass for these trips and trip to Kyoto on this day. You will make some trips in either Osaka or Kyoto. Kansai Thru Pass covers subway and bus in both Osaka and Kyoto. And it covers Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway. This pass gives you transfer from Osaka to Kyoto and sightseeing in both cities.

Squeeze Nara or Kobe on the way to Kyoto from Osaka

If you just make a trip from JR Osaka to JR Kyoto, it takes 30 minutes. If you take other railway, you spend a little more minutes. But it never be more than one hour. You may enjoy some more in Osaka or Kyoto. 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 find the access to Nara from Osaka and Kyoto at the link below:

How to access to Nara by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use JR Pass, Kintetsu Railway is more convenient.

Kintetsu Rail Pass one day is recommended for trip to Nara.

Kintetsu Rail Pass (Kintetsu Railway official site)

You may visit Kobe too. But Kobe is located at other side if you move from Osaka to Kyoto. Please find more information about trip to Kobe at the following link:

How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka

Hankyu Tourist Pass covers Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. This is most affordable one day pass that covers these three cities.

Hankyu Tourist Pass (Hankyu Railway official site)

If you are okay with very tight schedule and want to visit as many as you want, you can do Kobe and Nara in one day. In this case, Kintetsu Rail Pass that I mentioned above and Hanshin Tourist Pass are recommended. Hanshin Tourist Pass covers Umeda, Namba and Kobe. Hanshin Railway connects with Kintetsu Railway at Osaka-Namba station. Many of both Hanshin and Kintetsu trains run each other. Some trains go directly from Kobe-Sannomiya to Nara. This is the easiest route to get Nara from Kobe. If you have these two passes, you can take this direct train.

And also if you intend to use Kansai Thru Pass when you are in Osaka, you can use Kansai Thru Pass for this day too.

Day 4 – Sightseeing in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera temple is ne of most famous spots in Kyoto.
Kiyomizu-dera temple is ne of most famous spots in Kyoto. (C) Sue Ann Simon / JNTO

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:

Inside Kyoto – Special Kyoto Bus, Train and Subway Passes

If you want to extend to stay in Kyoto

You may add another All Day Bus Pass or purchasing Kyoto City Sightseeing Card 2 days. But you may visit other places, such as Kobe, Nara. In case of this, you may add another Kansai area deal, like 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 outside Osaka.

How to build the itinerary and choose the deals for Osaka stay 5 to 7 days.

Day 5 – Kyoto to Kansai airport

If you use ICOCA and Haruka on arrival day, you can use Haruka discount ticket from Kyoto to Kansai airport at 1,600 yen. Please see the link below to find more information:

[blogcard url=”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”]

This deal is only available for the passenger who has ICOCA or Kansai one pass. You cannot get this deal without these IC card. If you do not have ICOCA or Kansai one pass, you can use Kansai area pass.

[blogcard url=”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”]

It is cheaper than base fare ticket and limited express surcharge with non reserved seat on Haruka.

You also can take Limousine bus service. It is a direct service from Kyoto to Kansai airport too. Please see the link below:

Limousine bus between Kansai airport and Kyoto

I hope this sample itinerary helps you to build your trip plan!

132 thoughts on “Visit Osaka and Kyoto for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary”

  1. Hi takeshi san

    Hope you are well.
    Need your sugestion.
    I will visit japan 5 days 4 night to and from narita airport.
    I want to visit kanazawa shirakawa go and kyoto before back to narita
    Is there any advise you can share and places recommendation, i love nature and temples

    Hearing from you

    Cheers yeni

      1. Thank you takeshi san for advise
        Really appreciate this.
        What would be the economic transportation that you can suggest during my trip,
        Appreciate on your suggestion

        Cheers

          1. Thank you takeshi san for the advise

            I also see there is a hokuriku tourist pass?
            What is it and is it doable with my trip?
            Can you help advise

            Cheers yeni

          2. Hi Yeni san,

            I think you meant Hokuriku arch pass.
            https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-osaka-hokuriku-arch-pass-user-guide-clarify-valid-trains-coverage-area-and-compare-single-fare-and-pass.html

            This is not recommended even though it’s cheaper than JR Pass. Because this pass does not cover Kyoto to Tokyo direct route. JR pass does. If you use Hokuriku arch pass, you have to spend at least 5 hours from Kyoto to Tokyo with changing trains at Kanazawa. If you use JR pass, you can get back to Tokyo directly in 3 hours.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    Hope all well with you. I wanted to post this message by replying the last message i sent you but unsuccessful (https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7to9-days/sample-itinerary-of-tokyo-hakone-kyoto-and-osaka-classic-route-in-7-days.html). I twisted my itinerary as below. Can you please assist to advise if i can stay to the pass you suggested or to buy additional pass or to buy JR? Many thanks.
    Day 1: Reach Kansei Airport at 920am. Will stay at Osaka and hotel near Nippombashi Subway Station (160 meters) and Osaka Namba Train Station (520 meters). Osaka –Shitennoji Temple, Shinsekai, Dotonbori, Hozenji Temple and Shinsaibashi.
    Day 2: Osaka -Will go Osaka Castle, KuromonIchiba Market, Sumiyoshi Taisha and Umeda Sky Building and Shinsaibashi.
    Day 3: Head out to Kyoto in morning. Hotel in Kyoto is near to Shijo Subway Station (190 meters) and Karasuma Train Station (210 meters). Kyoto –Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社),Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺),Nishiki Market(錦市場), Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社) and Gion District (祇園)
    Day 4: Kyoto –Kinkaku-ji temple (金閣寺),Nijō Castle (二条城),Arashiyama(嵐山)
    Day 5: Day trip in NARA – Todai-ji Temple (東大寺), Sika Deer in Nara Park, Kofuku-ji Temple (興福寺), Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine (春日大社) and Higashimuki Shopping Street (東向き商店街)
    Day 6: Kyoto –. Head to Hakone. Stay near to Ohiradai Train Station (230meters). Hakone- Owakudani, Togendai port, Hakone Sekisho, Hakone Shrine and lake Ashi.
    Day 7: Hakone- Open Air Museum, Gotemba outlet.
    Day 8: Head to Tokyo. Stay near to Nakano Sakaue Subway Station (810 meters)
    Day 9: Tokyo sightseeing
    Day 10: Tokyo sightseeing
    Day 11: Tokyo to Haneda airport. Night flight at 11pm.

    1. Hi Elly,

      You can use same deals as I suggested in the previous reply.

      P.S. Your message is not shown until I approve it. I have received your post in other post which you have tried.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I am going to Kyoto-Osaka for a 5D4N trip.

    intending to stay in Kyoto for 2D1N and then travel to Osaka (and squeeze Nara in for day trip if possible) for the rest of the trip.

    Probably landing in Kansai airport in the morning, about 9am?

    I really have no idea about Japan and pretty confused.
    Any suggestion if I should get any rail passes or something..?

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