Best Of, City Guides, Japan, Osaka

Osaka Itinerary: How to plan your trip to the Kansai region

comments 51

Osaka is one of the largest metropolitan cities in Japan, second only to Tokyo. It’s a popular tourist destination due to its strategic location, which allows you to make multiple-day trips to interesting cities, like Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe.

I’ve visited this area three times now, and if you need help planning your itinerary to these cities, then I’ve got the perfect blog post for you! Read on 😉

At the Osaka Castle

Fast track your arrival in Japan

You can make your arrival in Japan easier by completing your immigration and customs procedures before your arrival via Visit Japan Web. Read how to do that here

How many days should I spend in Osaka?

I recommend at least 5 days to see the must-see of the Kansai region, namely Osaka and Kyoto. But it would be better if you could stay for at least 8 days, which will allow you to visit all the best highlights of Kansai: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji, and Hiroshima.

At Osaka Castle Park
The park at Osaka Castle

When is the best time to visit Osaka / Kansai region?

Much like the rest of Japan, you can aim to visit during the Sakura season or during the Autumn foliage season. Click on the respective blog posts for predicted times as they change every year. Keep in mind these seasons would be peak tourism time, so it will be very crowded, but beautiful!

Try to avoid the hurricane or typhoon season from August – September. Also avoid Golden Week in the first week of May, which is Japan’s biggest holiday and will drive a lot of domestic tourism.

Yellow Ginko Trees along Osaka Shinsaibashi station
Yellow Ginko Trees along Osaka Shinsaibashi station

How do I get to Osaka?

There are two popular ways to get to Osaka:

1. By Shinkansen (Bullet Train)

If you’re coming from Tokyo, most people get to Osaka by train from Tokyo via Shinkansen, Japan’s famous ultra-fast bullet train. You can then get off at Osaka Station, where you will have plenty of convenient local trains to switch to.

If you haven’t bought an Unlimited JR Pass, then I would recommend it since the Tokyo – Osaka train is included with the JR Pass. Buying the Shinkansen ticket separately would already cost almost as much as the JR pass, so it’s definitely worth it.

The price of Unlimited JR Pass has increased by 70% since 1 Oct 2023. Even though you’ll see many recommendations for buying a JR Pass to save some costs, it could be outdated. Since the price hike, it has become harder to justify the cost of the JR Pass, however regional passes like the JR West Kansai Pass might still be worth it. I am working on updating my blog post to reflect this change.

2. By Airplane + Haruka line

The closest international airport to Osaka is the Kansai International Airport (KIX). If you are flying and landing in KIX and will be staying in Osaka, I recommend taking Haruka line by Japan Rail to get to the city.

This line takes you straight from KIX to the city, stopping at major stations Tennoji and Shin-Osaka before going on to Kyoto. But if you have the unlimited JR Pass, this journey is already included so you do not need to purchase it separately. From there, you can resume with local trains using an IC card.

If you are staying at a hotel in Osaka, you might be interested in the luggage delivery services from Kansai International airport. Luggage delivery is common in Japan and reliable. It lets you travel without having to carry your heavy luggages!

Which rail pass should I get for visiting Osaka?

The best way to get around Osaka and the rest of the Kansai area is to use the extensive Japanese train system! The cost of train tickets could add up if you’re planning on visiting multiple cities in Osaka. Thankfully, there are a few rail passes you can consider to help with the costs!

1. JR Pass for Bullet Train

JR Pass is a train pass that basically gives you unlimited rides on JR trains for the duration of the pass validity. This includes the Shinkansen bullet trains, which make it easy to travel through different cities in Japan. However, it doesn’t mean that you always need a JR Pass every time you go to Japan.

If you are flying straight to Osaka and only planning to visit Kyoto and Nara, you won’t need a JR pass since you can easily visit these places via the local trains – consider getting the Kintetsu Rail Pass instead.

The price of Unlimited JR Pass has increased by 70% since 1 Oct 2023. Even though you’ll see many recommendations for buying a JR Pass to save some costs, it could be outdated. Since the price hike, it has become harder to justify the cost of the JR Pass, however regional passes like the JR West Kansai Pass might still be worth it. I am working on updating my blog post to reflect this change.

For going to Kyoto from Osaka, taking local trains is cheaper than taking the Shinkansen with JR Pass, it just takes slightly longer. However, the difference isn’t that much – it’s only 15 mins by JR train vs. 30 mins by local train.

But if you are going to more cities than just Kyoto and Osaka, you should consider getting a JR Pass. The JR pass you need to get depends on the cities you want to visit and how long you are planning to travel around. So I recommend setting your itinerary first and seeing which JR Pass suits your itinerary.

Here are your JR Pass options for exploring Osaka and Kansai

Normally, you need to buy JR Pass from outside of Japan and have them mailed to your address, but with Klook you can pick them up at the airport!

What is Klook? Klook is the leading travel and experiences booking website in Asia. And yes, they are legit! I personally always book my activities through them whenever I am traveling. See my review of Klook here.

2. Kintetsu Rail Pass

If you’re mainly interested in going to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara, then the Kintetsu Rail Pass is perfect for you. They have 1, 2, and 5-day Kintetsu Rail Pass which will save you some money.

Please note that Kintetsu Rail Pass does not include limited express trains. If you ask me though, the limited express train is not worth the price for just a few minutes faster, so just use the Kintetsu Rail Pass and board the regular express trains.

Buy Kintetsu Rail pass online which can be redeemed at the train station

Where to stay in Osaka

In Osaka, it’s best to stay close to a major train station – anywhere near Shin-Osaka, Namba, Tennoji and Osaka-Umeda stations is a great option.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Zentis Osaka in Umeda ($$) – Located within a few minutes walk to Osaka Station. They have studio apartments as well as family rooms for those who want bigger accommodations.
  • InterContinental Osaka ($$$) – Also located within a few minutes walk from Osaka station, this hotel is very convenient with many amenities nearby
  • Hotel Noum Osaka ($$) – A cute modern hotel located one station away from Osaka-Umeda station.
  • Umedaholic ($$) – Small hotel near Osaka-Umeda station and close to the city center.
  • Guesthouse Ten-roku ($) – Female-only dorm, perfect for solo travelers who are looking to save on accommodations.

Osaka Itinerary for first-timers

Below I have provided two types of itineraries depending on what type of traveler you are. Some people prefer to squeeze in as much as they can, while others prefer to travel a bit slower.

Itinerary 1: For fast travelers who want to do everything and visit multiple cities (7-9 days)

  • Day 1: Arrive in Osaka and explore the city (stay overnight in Osaka)
  • Day 2: Take the train to Kyoto (stay overnight in Kyoto / Osaka)
  • Day 3: Explore Kyoto (stay overnight in Osaka)
  • Day 4: Day trip to Nara (stay overnight in Osaka)
  • Day 5: Kobe
  • Day 6: Himeji
  • Day 7: Hiroshima
  • Day 8: Take the train back to Osaka and fly out

The itinerary above assumes you have at least 8 days in Kansai. But if you have fewer days, you can easily tailor this itinerary by omitting some cities. Out of all the cities I listed above, Osaka and Kyoto are definitely the two must-visit places. For other cities, you can choose whether you want to visit them on the same trip or leave it for later, so you have an excuse to come back 🙂

The advantage of this itinerary is of course you get to see a lot more than just the usual Osaka / Kyoto / Nara. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that you’ll need to get a JR Pass, which will cost more. On top of that, you need to be strategic about how to use the JR pass since they are only valid for 5 days maximum. See the “Do I need a JR Pass” section for more information. You’ll also need to move around quite a bit with this itinerary, which might be tiring for some people.

Itinerary 2: Slower and shorter itinerary, but still visit all the must-sees in Kansai (at least 5 days)

Another option is to stay put in Osaka, which makes for a more chilled-out itinerary, but you can still get out of Osaka on these day trips:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Osaka, explore the city
  • Day 2: Go to Kyoto
  • Day 3: Go back to Kyoto again
  • Day 4: Visit Nara or Kobe, or day trip to Akame 48
  • Day 5: Explore Osaka and fly out

The advantage of this itinerary is likely you don’t need to get a JR Pass. All of the destinations above are reachable by local train. You also don’t need to move around much in terms of accommodation – you can choose to stay in Osaka for the entirety of this itinerary. Osaka is a big city so you won’t run out of things to do – I’ve written extensively about Osaka here if you need inspiration!

Below I have outlined each city and what you can expect to see, so you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth visiting or not.

Tips for traveling in Kansai

  • If you are visiting Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe, I recommend making Osaka your base instead of staying overnight in those cities. Accommodation options are better (cheaper) in Osaka, there is more to do at night, and the train back takes only 15-30 minutes.
  • But if you really want to stay in Kyoto, you can do so for one night. Choose to stay at a Ryokan for that authentic Japanese experience. Please read my Kyoto guide for places to stay.
  • If you are getting a rail pass, make sure it will be valid for all of the days that you are traveling between cities, and make sure you also account for the day when you are going back to Osaka.
  • If you are staying at a hotel in Osaka, you might be interested in the luggage delivery services from Kansai International airport. Luggage delivery is common in Japan and reliable. It lets you travel without having to carry your heavy luggages!
  • Flying out late but having to check out early from your accommodation? You can leave your luggage in a coin locker! Coin lockers are available everywhere in major stations. They are quite spacious and cheap to rent. I was able to fit my 45L backpack into a tiny 300 yen one at the bottom. There is English instruction on the machine. Be sure to come early if you are going from a popular station though. I tried to do this in Kyoto station around noon but could not find any unoccupied locker. In the end, I gave up and had to lug my backpack around all day.
Coin lockers at JR station

Getting into Osaka from the Kansai Airport

If you don’t have a JR pass, or if you want to delay the validity of your JR pass, you can consider getting the Haruka Airport Express train ticket. This gives you the best price for the express train to town.

Make sure to check ahead if your accommodation is closer to Tennoji or Shin-Osaka as there is a slight fare difference. Tennoji is closer to the airport and it’s a little cheaper.

Haruka ticket

What to do in the Kansai region

1. Osaka

As I’ve said before, Osaka is one of the largest Japanese metropolitan cities, not just in Kansai but in the entire of Japan. I believe they are the second largest city after Tokyo. As with other big cities, you’ll find it very accessible and well-connected, which is why it’s a good idea to base yourself in Osaka while visiting nearby cities like Kyoto, Nara, or even Kobe.

I’ve written extensively about Osaka here, so please check out that blog post if you want to get an idea of what you can do, see and eat in Osaka. I’ve also included general tips on exploring the city and where to stay in Osaka.

Dotonbori in Osaka

2. Kyoto (2 days)

Kyoto needs no introduction – it is definitely a must-visit when you’re in Osaka. The city is an easy 30 minutes on the rapid local train or 15 minutes on the Shinkansen from Osaka. When visiting Kyoto, I would still recommend staying in Osaka because accommodations are cheaper.

Further Reading: I’ve written a dedicated blog post for Kyoto here: Kyoto Travel Guide, so please check that post on all my recommendations for Kyoto.

Yasaka Pagoda in Higashiyama District in Kyoto
Yasaka Pagoda in Kyoto

3. Nara (1 day / Day trip)

Nara is another popular trip to take from Osaka due to its proximity – only 30-45 minutes by local train. The city is quite small, but they have many temples and shrines to visit. They also have a huge park where you can walk and interact with the free-roaming wild Sika deer population in Nara.

Further Reading: I’ve written a dedicated blog post for Nara here: Nara Travel Guide, so please check that post for everything I know about visiting Nara!

Nara Itinerary
Playing with Sika deer in Nara

4. Akame 48 Waterfalls (1 day / Day trip)

Akame 48
Akame 48 Waterfalls

Akame 48 Waterfall is about an hour out of Osaka by train. It’s a short, easy trail following the main river which forms many small waterfalls. Though it’s probably good to visit all year round, I highly recommend visiting during the Momijigari season, which tends to be mid to end of November.

Further Reading: You can read my post about visiting Akame 48!

5. Kobe (1 day)

Kobe is yet another city that you can easily visit from Osaka. It’s only 30 minutes away from Osaka by train. Kobe is well-known for… well, the delicious Kobe beef. Aside from the beef, Kobe is known for the Chinatown area, the Kobe ropeway, and the Nunobiki waterfall. I think one day will be enough for Kobe.

6. Himeji (1 day)

Himeji is mostly known for the Himeji castle, which is famous for its brilliant white color. Most Japanese castles have white walls and dark roofs, but the Himeji castle’s roofs are light gray, which helps to give it that clean minimalistic all-white look.

This castle is on the way to Hiroshima, so it’s a good stop if you’re heading that way!

7. Hiroshima (1-2 days)

Hiroshima should be a name familiar to those who studied world history in school… which should be all of us. Yes, it is one of the sites of the infamous atomic bomb. At Hiroshima, you can learn about the history of what happened during the world war and how badly it affected the residents. I have to warn you that it could get pretty bleak – not for the faint of heart especially if you’re American, regardless of what your political stance is.

However, aside from its grim past, Hiroshima is also famous for quite a few interesting things: don’t miss out on Miyajima, a shrine that is half submerged in water during high tide. You can visit the shrine during sunset for optimal views. Hiroshima is also famous for Okonomiyaki, so make sure to have some while you’re in the city.

That’s all I have on the Osaka itinerary! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. I usually answer pretty fast and to the best of my knowledge.

Until next time folks!

Links in this post may generate small commissions that keep this website running for free, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Filed under: Best Of, City Guides, Japan, Osaka

Written by Melissa

Hi there! 👋🏻 I'm the "Girl" in Girl Eat World. I love eating, traveling and sharing my travel experiences in this blog. During the day, I work as a designer in tech. More about me →


  1. Dear Melissa,

    I am happy to find your travel blog. I will be on a 13 days itinerary from Osaka to Kyoto to Nara to Kobe to Himeji to Hiroshima, being Osaka as my base. Which rail pass should I get?


  2. Hi Melissa

    I will be going to Kansai area for the first time and flying domestic from Haneda. I couldn’t exactly find baggage allowance info for domestic flights though I’ve booked them together with my international flight from SG. If you have experience on this could you share if you have any idea if the international flight baggage allowance would apply to the domestic leg too? I’ve tried calling JAL domestic airport but couldn’t get through for some reason. I might have to opt for luggage delivery from TYO to OSA couple of days in advance prior to reaching OSA as I will usually bring 2 big luggage along.

    • Melissa says

      Hey Jen, i just flew JAL domestically and they only allow 23kg per luggage. I am not sure what would happen if the flights are booked under one booking though. Hope you are able to get through to JAL.

  3. Jeremy says

    Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for this great write up! I will be flying into Osaka, but departing from NRT/Tokyo. I think I would probably be following the 7-9 day sample itinerary you provided. Would it make the most sense then to just get the JR unlimited pass since none of the local passes would cover the shinkansen to Tokyo?


    • Melissa says

      Hey Jeremy, to get the shinkansen covered for Tokyo, you would need unlimited JR pass. Unfortunately they have raised the price for that and it is no longer worth while to get the pass. I can only recommend getting the JR west pass to cover your travels within Kansai.

      you can try using this calculator to see if it’s worth it

  4. Liew Hun Shiong says

    Dear Melissa,

    My family (wife + 2 teenagers + myself) visited Osaka / Kyoto / Nara / Mie from 10 – 19 December 2023.
    And it was was a very pleasant experience.
    Yes, some of the entrance fees have since gone up (from the last time you were there) but that is to be expected.
    Transport was a breeze as the trains / buses were easy to navigate.

    We want to thank you for sharing your experience.

    PS: And I will leave a note at Kaitlin’s site to thank her for the heads up re: Akame 48 Waterfalls Shuttle Bus. LOL

    • Melissa says

      I am glad to hear you had a good time! Thanks for taking the time to come back and write this comment.

  5. Trace says

    Hi Melissa,

    Wow your blog is so informative.
    It will be our 1st trip to Japan, and we are planning 6D 5N trip around Osaka-Kyoto-Nara/Hiroshima/Himeji (can’t decide which of these 3). However, would like advice from you on the following:
    1. Which is the best airport we should land at where we can travel to Osaka city center easier – would it be KIX?
    2. Should we stay entire 5 nights in Osaka and travel to/from Kyoto and Nara/Hiroshima/Himeji on day trips?
    3. Which should we choose – Nara or Hiroshima or Himeji? Looking at more attractions to visit, with lesser travelling time.
    4. What’s the difference between Haruka line by JR with JR West Kansai Pass and JR Kansai Wide Pass and which should we get for our entire trip? Especially from airport to Osaka and to other places and back to airport? Should we also get IC?
    5. Would you know roughly how much we would be spending on food in a day?
    Looks like quite a lot of questions.
    Thank you in advance.

  6. Hi, it will be my first time in Japan next month. So far the only thing I have planned out is “insert blank here” and so I am now looking while trying to study for my finals hahahaha…. I will by landing on Jan 6 in osaka but need to fly out of tokyo. So I guess the only thing I have book is my flight ticket. Your 8 days in the Kansai region, are you saying to book the hotel in Osaka and just take the train to those other locations? If that is the case, what is a good time to be heading out and heading back? Also the rest of the time after those 8 days will be in Tokyo (any recommendations there?) Basically only thing I have planned out is Jan 6 I will be in Osaka for 8 days (Oct 13/14) then take a train to tokyo until Jan 19 (so about 5 days). Do you have any places I should stop by on my way to tokyo? I will be travelling solo.

  7. Siew hong Yap says

    Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for your blog. It has great information.
    I am planing a 24 day trip to Japan sept next year and I would like to have time to spend in a place instead of rushing around. Also I am a senior and I know Japan needs a lot of walking.
    Hope you can advise on my itinery and should I just get the kansai pass for the kansai area and which other pass should I get pls.
    Arrive Osaka and spend 4 nights with day trips to. Kobe and hemeji and spending the rest in Osaka.
    Then train to Nara for will I spend one or two nights pls.
    If I spend one night then I hope to go to akame 48 and spend one night there.
    Nextis 4 nights in kyoto.
    Kanazawa 3 nights will go to shirawago on way to takayama

    Takayama 3 nights.
    Hakone 3 nights
    Lake kawaguichi 3 nights
    Tokyo 3 nights
    Fly out of Tokyo.

    I know I can see a lot more places like Hiroshima but I want to leave that out for the next trip as there is a lot to do in Hiroshima and surrounding area.
    Hope you can help
    Thank you

    • Melissa says

      Hello, your itinerary looks great! My only advise would be 4 nights in Kyoto might be too long. But its really up to you and what you like to see, so maybe it is okay.

  8. Hi Mel,
    I am really glad to have found your blog, it’s really very informative. I’m traveling to Kansai this coming Sunday. However, I am really confuse about the many passes available. If my itinerary is as follow, what would you advise
    1. Day 1: Arriving Kansai in late afternoon, and intend to travel to Kyoto straight. I guess it would be night time by then.
    2. Day 2: Exploring Kyoto, staying overnight
    3. Day 3: Day trip to Nara, from Kyoto
    4. Day 4: Exploring Kyoto in the morning, before going off to Osaka
    5. Day 4: arriving Osaka late afternoon
    6. Day 5: Day trip to Kobe, from Osaka
    7. Day 6: explore Osaka
    8. Day 7: morning check out and proceed to airport
    Base on the above itinerary, what kind of pass I should be getting, it’s really confusing.
    Many thanks.


    • Melissa says

      Hey fellow Mel, I think the only pass that covers Kyoto, Nara and Kobe is the JR West Kansai pass. However, if I were you, I would just take the local train to travel between Kyoto and Osaka. It sounds like you only need to activate the pass from Day 3 to go to Nara, so the 4 day pass would work well for you.

  9. Hi Melissa. Your blog is tremendously great and helpful. I have never been to Osaka or even any part of Japan and intend to go in 2024 during peak fall which I hv no idea the dates for peak fall. I was thinking of flying straight to Kansai airport and take a train to Kyoto. Spend 2/3 days in Kyoto. Then travel back to Osaka to spend 3/4 days there and hv a day trip to Nara from Osaka. Does this sound ok or I’m being ridiculous. Thanks in advancr

  10. Shirley Tan says

    Hi Melissa

    Thank you for the detail sharing on Osaka & Kyoto. I will be travelling to Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara and may be to Akame 48 as well from 11-22 Sep 23. As this is my 1st time to Japan, appreciate if you could advise me on the following –

    1) Do you have any detail sharing on Kobe & Nara?
    2) In your opinion, it is a good time to spend a day to Akame 48 in Sept? Is it worth the time to include in my itinerary since is not during Momijigan ?
    3) Which Kansai pass (JR West Kansai Pass or 5 days JR Kansai Wide Pass) will you recommend for the places I intend to go?
    4) Can a tourist allow to have multiple Kansai pass be it JR West Kansai Pass or JR Kansai Wide Pass in the same period while in Japan, in my case from 11-22 Sep 2023 but I will only activate either of the pass from different day? For example, can I have 2 sets of 5 days JR Kansai Wide Pass, will activate 1st pass on 11 Sep and 2nd pass on 16 Sep? Or have 1 set of 4 days JR West Kansai Pass and 1 set of 5 days JR Kansai Wide Pass?

    Really appreciate your time and if you could advise on my 1st ever Japan trip.

    Thank you.

    • Melissa says

      Hi Shirley
      1) I have visited but haven’t written a blog post about it. I think both are good as day trips from Osaka, but I would not stay over night
      2) I think Akame 48 is still great if you’re looking for an easy nature walk. It probably won’t be as beautiful as during Momijigari, but still a nice relaxing walk
      3) These passes both work for your intended places, but I think for Akame 48 it’s better to take the express train which is not covered by JR. So just get the cheapest one and try to group your Nara and Kobe visit together so that they fall within the pass validity (go to Kobe and Nara on consecutive days)
      4) I have not done this, but I think it should not be an issue as there is no limit to how many JR pass you can buy

      • Shirley Tan says

        Thank you, Melissa

        Any recommendations places of interest (must go) in Kobe and Nara?

        • Melissa says

          Nara is a pretty small area – Todaiji temple and feeding the Shika deer is a must.
          For Kobe, I really enjoyed the Cable Car and Mount Rokko area!

  11. Colin Tham says

    Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for the excellent information. I will be travelling to Osaka in late August. There are two flight options for me. Option 1 is fly to Narita purchase the 14 days JR pass and travel to Osaka. Option 2 is to fly to Osaka directly. Option 1 with the JR pass is $100 more than option 2. I will base in Osaka for my 10 days since I have free accommodation. I intent to visit Nara(1 day) Kobe (2 days) and Kyoto (4 days) I intend to spend 3 days in Osaka. Would you recommend option 1 or 2 for my flight. I was thinking that with the JR pass I can use it to travel between the cities. Then I can buy the local past for the city commute. Or I should fly to Osaka and buy the Kansai pass for regional travel. Is 4 days in Kyoto too long? What is your suggestion for the itinerary for 10 days. I am not visiting Tokyo , since I did visit Tokyo prior.
    Is the Osaka amazing pass worth buying?

    • Melissa says

      Hey Colin, I definitely would just fly straight to Osaka and use the regional JR passes, it is usually cheaper overall and saves a lot of travel time. Unless of course, you intend to visit Tokyo during your stay.

  12. Dexter Rivaldo Gonzales says

    Hi Ms. Melissa,

    Thanks for the information that you provide, very useful.

    We will travel this August, 6 adult and 4 minor. We are looking for a cheap transient house. Is it advisable to hire a van for our 8-day stay there? Do you recommend hiring the services of a tour guide? Where can we have a better foreign money exchange?

    Thanks and God bless.


  13. Lisa says

    Lots of love from Germany! Im planning on going to Japan for around 3 Weeks in July. I’ve been therw many years ago in 2006 with my mom and brother and this year i will go with my boyfriend. Its really difficult to decide how long to stay. We have lots of free time, due to university breaks. But staying too long will be too expensive. Its really great that u recommended the amount of times spend in each place! I’ll definitely recommend your blog to my friends and read a lot more here myself.

  14. Very valuable information you shared here Melissa! My wife and I visited Tokyo in Autumn and planning to visit Kansai during cherry blossoms!

  15. Hi Melissa,

    I’m going to Osaka, Kyoto & Nara for 10 days in spring, I’ve read up a lot about the commute in Kansai but I’m still very lost… I’m just going around these three places but I’m not sure if I should get the ICOCA, JR pass, or the Kansai Travel Pass?

    Thank you!

  16. Doreen says

    Hi Melissa, we are planning to visit Kansai around mid April 2023. Am thinking of the following:
    Day 1 – Arrive at night at Kansai airport. Overnight in Osaka
    Day 2 – Osaka
    Day 3 – Osaka
    Day 4 – Osaka to Kyoto (overnight in Kyoto)
    Day 5 – Kyoto
    Day 6 – Kyoto to Nara deer park & Todaij temple, then Nara back to Osaka
    Day 7 – Osaka to Kobe Mt Rokko, waterfall, herb garden, then Kobe back to Osaka
    Day 8 – depart Kansai airport

    Kindly advise:
    1. Should we get the 2days Osaka Amazing Pass? (Is it consecutive days basis?)
    2. Which type/s of train pass should we get?
    3. Which is the best train option for day 4, 6 & 7?
    4. Is half a day sufficient in Kobe if we only visit Mt Rokko area?

  17. Stephanie Luah says

    Hi Melissa,

    Like to ask for your advice on the train pass.
    I will be staying in Osaka for 7days, if i only plan to go Kyoto, Nara, Kobe
    Which is the most economical train pass to get
    Thank you in advance

  18. Dayanrie says

    Hi Melissa!

    We’re planning to visit Osaka and Kyoto this spring of 2023. Probably a 2 nights and 3 days itinerary. Plan to go to universal studio the first day and 2nd day is a day trip to kyoto. Would you recommend a hotel in osaka that also makes us easier to go to USJ and the nearest stations? Also, what place in Kyoto would you recommend for a day trip? To see Sakura. Your reply is much appreciated! Thank you!

  19. Bernice says

    Hi, I’ve booked a 12 days trip to Japan – both days fly in and out all full days. I’m wondering whether to do both Osaka and Tokyo or just Osaka alone. What do you suggest?

  20. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for sharing the information.
    I will be arriving Kansai Airport and spending my 10days in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Akame and maybe Himeji. Which JR pass should I get. JR west pass or JR wide area pass? A bit confusing on the Japan trains route. Or should I just go by the day pass?

    • Melissa says

      Hey Kien,

      The main difference between the JR Kansai Wide pass and the JR west kansai pass is that the west pass does not include shinkansen (bullet train) aside of the airport express.

      JR west kansai pass could be enough for you if you dont mind the slightly longer travel time (For example Himeji is 30 mins from Osaka on bullet train vs 1.5 hours on local train).

      Another thing to consider for whether you want to take the day pass or not depends on your plan. If you’re planning to move around in consecutive days, it might be cheaper to get the 4 day pass.

      I personally think it’s only worth it for the Himeji portion of your itinerary, since the local trains to Kyoto/Nara/Kobe is pretty cheap on its own.

      Thanks for asking this question! you have inspired me to add more details on which JR pass to get on my post 🙂

  21. Marie Colquhoun says

    Hi, really useful thanks. We want to visit the Hokudanshinsai Memorial Park in Awaji. Will I be able to do this on public transport from Kobe? Thanks

    • Melissa says

      It’s possible to take the local train from Kobe to Maiko station, and then you’ll have to resume via a bus from Maiko station to Hokudanshinsai Memorial Park

  22. Karthik says

    Hi Melissa,
    I was going through your itinerary and found it to be quite useful for planning a trip. I wanted your suggestion if I am planning to incorporate Mt. Koya into this trip. Should I keep 2 days for Mt. Koya? Can I club any other site during my visit to Mt Koya?

  23. Gill says

    Any adv on how I can spend 16 nights in Japan, arriving abd departing from Kansai airport?
    In the Kansai region, which city do I make my base for 6-8 day, of which one night in Hiroshima and two nights in Kyoto?
    We also plan to visit and stay in Tokyo for 6-7 days, what places to visits?
    Late night in Osaka before departing from Kansai.
    Question, do we complete our Tokyo trip 1st for 6-7 day and than spend the 8 days in Kansai region?
    Also adv, which are the most suitable different train passes ( for 3 adults) to get for our16 days stay and which train pass to buy and when to start using to safe cost?
    I understand the JR train pass will be good for us for 7days when going and coming back from Tokyo

    • Melissa says

      Hey Gill, I would base myself in Osaka for Kansai. Hiroshima might be a bit far (1.5 hours by train) but Kyoto will be very close especially if you have a JR pass.

      Whether you want to do Tokyo first or not, it’s up to you but definitely group the Tokyo trips together as it takes 3 hours by train to go from Osaka to Tokyo. You could explore Kansai first upon landing, then go to Tokyo, or you could go to Tokyo straight.

      Since you’re going to Tokyo, the only suitable JR Pass option is the unlimited JR pass as it covers the regions you want to go to. You can use JR pass for some local trains too as long as they are run by JR rail. You don’t really need JR pass during your time in Tokyo, but you would need it for the train going from Osaka to Tokyo, so I would see the difference of the cost of Single ticket vs JR pass.

  24. What area of Osaka should I stay, planning day trips to Kyoto, Nara, etc.

  25. Hi Melissa,

    Where do you recommend to stay in Osaka with young children? Easily accessible to their train station and food. Thank you!

  26. Surya says

    Thansk for sharing tips, After this pandemic I’m planning to go on vacation to Japan

  27. Marilyn Philogene says

    Hi, great blog.
    It helps so much.
    I will be traveling to : hadena to Shibuya to hakone to osaka to kyoto.

    I know I need the IC card ( suisa)
    Do i need the jr pass too?
    I don’t mind if it takes longer by trains than the JR.
    Thank u for your input

    • Melissa Hie says

      Hey marilyn, SUICA card is only good for local trains. I would still take the JR Pass for the trains from Tokyo to Odawara (you need to go to this station to reach Hakone, then take odakyu line) and Odawara to Osaka / Kyoto. The cost of trains from these destinations would already cover the cost of JR Pass.

      • Marilyn philogene says

        Thank u . That helps a lot.
        Can u tell me if i shoukd take the local train or the jr rail from the airport to shibuya?
        Are they both heading that way?
        Thank u

  28. Make sure not to miss the Toei Kyoto Studio Park. Here in the Philippines, super sentai shows, animés and several other Japanese shows like Takeshi’s Castle are very popular here. Two of my favorite movies related to Japan are the Seven Samurai and The Last Samurai. You can enjoy a wonderful exhibit of those in Toei Kyoto Studio Park.

    I also remember how we almost missed our tour to the Golden Pavillion because it closes at 5PM.
    Among all the countries that we visited, our tour in Japan is our favorite. It’s followed by our tour in India. 🙂

    • Maria Teresa Rossana Lacsamana says

      Hi Melissa you’re blog is so useful for 1sttimers going around Japan specifically in. Osaka. Tho we we’re there last mid 2019 we depend our itinerary to our daughter who is techi enough to use her fone looking for our daily DIY tour. Now my problem is my husband who’s going back this coming June together with his 2 siblngs who are in their prime age(.meaning all the 3 are seniors).Iam worried that it will hard for them to get around without help from tour guide.They will be staying there for a week. Maybe can you(with your kind permission) help us design their tour in these beautiful place. I tried checking their local tour guides but their rates are too much expensive hahaha BTW you might think of my daughter who accompanied us before we can no longer bring her since she got married and have a kid and work to get busied with.
      I hope I get a useful tip from you before these people get to touch down Osaka. Godspeed and TIA ❤️

  29. KC Choong says

    Great information. Interesting and valuable read.
    Any information on Okinawa or other parts of Japan that you had been.

    • Doreen says

      Hi Melissa,

      Happend to read your blog and is of great information. I am planning for a trip to Osaka with my son (only 2 of us) and is also my first visit to Japan. Has been looking for info but is like bits and pieces everywhere which made me more confused, yr blog is quite informative.

      Can I seek your advise if I have 9D8N in osaka, is it better for me to stay in osaka throughout or stay a few days in Kyoto and explore other cities.

      And which is a must to visit? We will go USJ so 1 day gone. Trying to plan my itinerary so that I can book hotel as soon as possible.

      Thank you

      • Melissa says

        Hi Doreen, Most things to do in Kansai is easily reachable from Osaka, so staying in Osaka is not a bad thing. I think for 9 days you can explore to stay at other cities, since you have a lot of time, but it is not a requirement. I would recommend staying maybe 1-2 nights in Kyoto for a change of scenery. My must visit for first timers are definitely Kyoto and Nara. You can also visit Himeji for the white castle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *