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:

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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.

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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!

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

  1. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Thanks for your posts, I read a few of them however I am still not sure what would be the best deal based on my itinerary. Could you please help me? Thanks

    Day 1 Tokyo to Osaka (planning to take single ticket JR)
    Day 2 Osaka day trip to Nara
    Day 3 Osaka day trip to Kyoto (Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari, Gion)
    Day 4 USJ
    Day 5 Explore Osaka (dotonburi, kuromon ichiba market, etc.)
    Day 6 Osaka to kansai airport

    Thanks in advance

  2. Hi!

    Can you please advise what train to get for the following itinerary?

    Day 1: Arrival in Osaka from Kansai Airport
    Day 2: Daytrip to Kyoto: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
    Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
    Ginkaku-ji Temple
    Path of Philosophy
    Fushimi-Inari-Taishi Shrine
    Miyako Odori in Shunjuza Theatre
    (any additional suggestions?)

    Day 3: USJ

    Day 4: Osaka tour
    Osaka Castle
    Kita District
    Hozenji Temple
    Used Sky Building
    Back to airport

    Many thanks!


  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I’m travelling to Osaka for 9 days with my family (child is 5 yr old) in late March and plan to cover Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima and Himeji, as below. Do you think it’s possible or too packed especially for Kyoto – should I go there for 2 day trip? What is the most suitable travel pass for this itinerary please?

    Day 1
    Arrive Osaka (KIX) at 5pm and take airport bus to OCAT; hotel is near Namba station. Free and easy at shinsaibashi, dotonburi area.

    Day 2
    Travel from Osaka to Himeji to visit Himeji Castle and zoo nearby

    Day 3
    Travel from Osaka to Kyoto – Fushimi-Inari taisha, bamboo forest, kiyomizu-dera

    Day 4
    Travel from Osaka to Hiroshima to visit peace memorial park, take ferry to Miyajima

    Day 5
    Travel from Osaka to Nara

    Day 6
    Universal Studios Japan

    Day 7 & 8
    Free & easy within Osaka and visit cup noodles museum, sea acquarium and shop around

    Day 9
    Depart from hotel to Osaka (KIX)

    Thanks for your advise in advance!

    1. Hi Angie,

      You may use Kansai Hiroshima area pass from day 2 to 6.

      You just need to add bus/train fare to Kiyomizu-dera temple. Other part of trip are covered from day 2 to 6 by this pass.

      You can add other deal for day 7 and 8. Please see the link below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Will be travelling to Osaka / Kyoto in April’s .
        Day 1: KIX airport 9.30 pm direct transfer to Kyoto ( if there any train recommend) stay in capsule cabin Kyoto for 3 night
        Day 2-4, Kyoto and visit those Sakura place
        Day 4- transfer back to Osaka
        Day 5- Osaka
        Day 6 – kobe
        Day 7-9 – Osaka
        Would need you help , is there possible we can catch the last train from KIX to Kyoto , if yes what train recommended ?
        Is the above itinerary are the most budgeted way on the transportation ?

        Thanks for your advice and assistance


        1. Hi KS,

          I recommend you to take limousine bus because the last direct train to Kyoto depart at 22:10. You cannot catch it. But you still can catch limousine bus to Kyoto. Please see the link below:

          You basically just follow my sample in the post above. But in the post above, I recommend ICOCA and Haruka. You cannot get Haruka because of late arrival. You can add Kansai one pass (same as ICOCA) at Kyoto station next day.


          Takeshi /

  4. Hi Takeshi San,

    Can you provide recommendation for best pass to use:

    Day 1 Kix to Osaka Namba. Hotel is in Shinshabasi. I was thinking I’ll get the Nankai Rapi:T. Arriving around 9pm.
    Day 2 stay in Osaka to check out Dotonbori and other attractions
    Day 3 Osaka to Nara to see the deer, kokofuji and todaiji
    From Nara, go to kobe. See harbor lanD, mosaic, Mt roko and eat kobe beef.
    Day 4 c/out Osaka, check in at Kyoto near Nishiki Market. Then see fushimi Inari, kiyomizedera, and gion
    Day 5 go to kinkakuji then arashimaya bamboo Grove, monkey park
    Day 6: check out kyoto then go back to osaka .
    Day 7: flight out of osaka

    Thank you for your patience and kind assistance!

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I am planning to travel to Japan mainly between Kyoto & Osaka for 7D6N. I will be staying in Kyoto for my entire stay and travelling back & forth to Osaka. Below are some questions I would like to ask or confirm

    I intend to purchase the ICOCA + Haruka at Kansai Airort and travel to Kyoto upon my arrival. For my return trip from Kyoto to Kansai, is it mandatory to purchase Haruka 1-way ticket at 1,600yen or I can use ICOCA (if there are balance)?

    a) It is mandatory to purchase the Kansai thru pass as I will be spending in Kyoto mostly?
    b) Is Kyoto sightseeing 2-days pass enough to cover places like Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizudera, Kinkakuji, Arashiyama, Gion, Nijo, & etc

    For Osaka, I will be visiting the castle, Dotonbori, Shinbaishi, Shinsekai, Shitennoji Temple & etc (except for Kaiyukan & USJ)

    Was thinking about making a day trip to Nara as well. For now, that’s all I wanted to ask and your assistance is deeply appreciated!

    Best Regards,
    Alvin Lee

    1. Hi Alvin san,

      1. I recommend you to use return trip ICOCA and Haruka for KIX-Kyoto. If you have some fund in ICOCA, you can use it for access to KIX. However base fare is more than 1,600 yen. If you use ICOCA, you need to pay more. It’s not economical.

      2 and 3. Kansai thru pass is recommended to get Osaka and Nara. It’s not a good idea to use it in Kyoto. You may use all day bus pass at 500 yen and use ICOCA when you need to take subway and train.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thank you for the info. In that case, I will get the Haruka discount ticket from Kyoto to KIX on my departure date. Besides, the Kyoto all-day bus pass only valid for 1 day and it would be necessary for me to purchase at least 4 of it right as I will spending at least 4 days in Kyoto and 2 days in Osaka.

        Thank you.

        Best Regards,

          1. Hi Takeshi-san,

            Thank you very much for your help. Hopefully it is not as hot in Kyoto and Osaka as what people said this coming July since Malaysia’s weather is roughly the same too.


            Best Regards,

  6. Hi Takeshi san,
    I am planning the itinerary for a family trip of 4 (all adults) to Japan from US between July 1 -10.
    Could you help me regarding to the itinerary and what JR pass to get?
    We are arrival at NRT 7/1 around 4:00 pm and depart at KIX 7/10 around 6:00 pm
    We like natural and enjoy Japanese food. We will like to experience some Onsen/Ryokans
    Day 1: Arrival at NRT, staying at Tokyo
    Day 2: Tokyo
    Day 3: Tokyo > Lake Kawaguchi (Fuji Hakone Pass)
    Day 4: Lake Kawaguchi > Hakone (Fuji Hakone Pass)
    Day 5: Hakone > Takayama/Hida
    Day 6: Takayama/Hida> Shirakawa-go (day trip by bus) > Kanazawa
    Day 7: Kanazawa > Kyoto (late train)
    Day 8: Kyoto
    Day 9: Kyoto
    Day 10: Kyoto > KIX

    1) From NRT to Tokyo, if we go to Lake Kawaguchi first, we will stay in Shinjuku area, but if we go to Hakone first, we will stay in Shinagawa area, is it right?

    2) Fuji Hakone Pass for Day 3-5; we could switch between Lake Kawaguchi and Hakone, which area should we go first.
    3) Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass for day 5-9 but don’t know how to get to Takayama/Hida from Hakone/Lake Kawaguchi, The Pass only good from Nagoya.
    4) Day 10 we could get the single ticket from Kyoto to KIX; or we should use the Pass for day 6-10 and buy single ticket at Day 5
    Hope to hear your advice. Thanks in advance!


    1. Hi Chu san,

      I don’t recommend you to use JR pass. You may use the following pass/tickets.

      For day 1 and 2

      For day 3 and 4
      Fuji Hakone Pass from Shinjuku. Please switch Hakone and Lake Kawaguchi. Visit Hakone first.

      For day 5
      Lake Kawaguchi to Takayama express bus

      For day 6 to 10
      Takayama Hokuriku area pass

      For day 8 and 9
      Bus pass or subway/bus pass. Takayama Hokuriku area pass does not cover any local transportation in Kyoto. But you can get Kansai airport from Kyoto by this pass.


      Takeshi /

  7. Hi Takeshi san,

    I am planning to go Osaka next week.
    This is my itinerary and the transport that I have chosen. May I have your opinion and suggestion please?
    Thank you.

    Day 1 – Plane land at KIX 9.35pm, Hotel at Shinsaibashi
    Day 2 – Explore Shitennoji, Tsutenkaku, Shinsekai area
    Day 3 – Namba, America Mura
    Day 4 – Tenjinbashisuji
    Day 5 – Minoo park, Ikeda castle
    Day 6 – Head to Kyoto, Hotel at Kyoto Shimogyo-ku, Visit Nanzenji, Keage, Otesuji
    Day 7 – Kyoto Nishiki, Nijo, Kinkakuji
    Day 8 – Day trip to Biwako, Hikone Castle
    Day 9 – Kyoto Higashiyama, Gion, head back to stay at Osaka
    Day 10 – From Osaka day trip to Uji
    Day 11 – Explore Osaka
    Day 12 – Hotel at Shinsaibashi to KIX

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Vin san,

      Your trip plan looks good. You are ready to go.

      You may use Kansai one pass when you are in Osaka and Kyoto instead of using regular ticket.

      But the following dates, you may use the deals.

      Day 1 and day 12 Nankai and subway deal

      Day 6, 9 and 10 Kansai thru pass 3 days

      Day 8 Kansai area pass 1 day

      You may use other deal in Osaka if you like.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi san,

        Thank you for your comment.
        I was thinking of using Surutto Kansai for Day 5, 9 and 10 instead. What do you think?
        Any reason you recommend Nankai and Subway deal for day 1 and 12 instead of Rapi:t?


  8. Hi Takeshi San,

    Thank you for your advise on Japan tour.
    I will be travelling with my mother who is 85 years old, and I think Japan has too many people who take the train everyday. Is it advisable that my mother will travel along with us using train pass?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Shirley san,

      It’s hard to say. It depends on how busy your trip is. If you care about your mother’s status, taxi or hiring car may be better solution.
      It’s very expensive but I have no idea about the cost.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi. We are in Japan right now and haven’t really gotten into any places yet but USJ. This trip is very sudden so it has not been well planned and to be honest, we really don’t have an itinerary. Our flight back home would be on Monday already.

        What is your best suggestion (in terms of itinerary) for this very short and unplanned trip?

        The places that I would like to visit are the following:


        It is really not necessary to include everything. I just want to know what places on the list can we still go to with just a few days remaining.

        Thank you very much 🙂

        1. Hi Pam,

          You have two choices.

          1. Kansai thru pass

          All places where you want to visit are covered. But it’s a bit pricy.

          2. Osaka Amazing Pass or Osaka Kaiyu ticket

          Amazing pass covers Osaka subway and many attractions (not Kaiyukan). Kaiyu ticket covers Osaka subway and Kaiyukan admission. But both passes do not cover Kobe, Nara and Ramen museum. You need to pay single fare.

          If you want to have flexibility, Kansai thru pass is the best choice.


          Takeshi /

  9. Hello Takeshi-san,

    I will be travelling to Osaka and Kyoto from 15th Nov (early morning) and leaving Japan on 23rd Nov.

    15/11 – arrive in Kansai Airport at 5.40am (probably staying in Namba). Osaka Castle, Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Dontonbori Shopping, Ebisu Bridge
    16/11 – Universal Studio Japan, Dontonbori Shopping at night if not too tired
    17/11 – Himeji Castle (AM), Kobe (PM)
    18/11 – Nara (half day) probably squeeze in Uji (would that be possible?)
    19/11 – Kyoto
    20/11 – Kyoto
    21/11 – Kyoto
    22/11 – Kyoto
    23/11 – Departing at Kansai Airport

    Which is the best pass to use? Would it better or does it make a difference if we stay last night in Osaka before heading to the airport on 23rd? Could you kindly give some suggestions to my itinerary.

    Many thanks!


      1. Hi Takeshi san

        I’m sorry but I did not see any reply on my inquiry… Would appreciate if you could resend again.

        Many thanks

  10. Hi Takeshi, this is my 1st time to Japan. Planning to travel to Osaka & Kyoto for 5 days. Which hotel should you recommend to stay in Osaka as we are muslim family and wish for halal food.

    Thank you

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