- [Day 1] Welcome to Osaka!
- [Day 2] Explore Osaka, best city for street food!!
- [Day 3] Day trip to Kobe or Hiroshima from Osaka
- [Day 4] Move to Kyoto and 1 day highlight of East or West Kyoto
- [Day 5] 1 day highlight of West or East Kyoto
- [Day 6] Day trip to Nara or Mt. Kurama from Kyoto city
- [Day 7] Fly out from Osaka
- Other options for day trip from Kyoto or Osaka
- Other options for 2 days trip from Kyoto or Osaka
- Book a hotel in Japan
If it is the first time for you to travel in Japan, you may make a plan to visit and stay in Tokyo at first.
Since Tokyo is one of the biggest and most famous cities in the world, you may think it’s a must-visit place.
But if you are planning a long trip in Japan, we’d recommend you to explore other parts besides Tokyo as you could find many beautiful places and learn more traditional and deep Japanese culture in different areas in Japan. Especially, Kansai Region (Western Japan such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara) could be a top choice for travellers. Around Kyoto and Osaka, there are numbers of travel destinations where you can take one day trips.
For those who are planning to visit Western Japan, we would like to share a suggested 7 days itinerary in Kansai Region including Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe. So please check them out!
[Day 1] Welcome to Osaka!
Recently, KIX (Kansai International Airport) in Osaka has increased international flight service.
You could check the flight from the following link. (https://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/flight/kix_schedule)
Also, we recommend buying JR rail pass in advance to come to Japan! (7 days : 29,110 yen)
You can activate it at KIX, Osaka Station, Shin-Osaka Station, or Kyoto Station.
[Day 2] Explore Osaka, best city for street food!!
On the 2nd day, let’s explore Osaka city.
Osaka was featured as the world’s greatest food city on The Guardian newspaper.
Also, Osaka city is a place where kitschy culture and sophisticated culture are mixed.
Here, you could know the depth of Japanese culture.
Food is amazing and people are very friendly and open-minded.
Want to see around Osaka in one day efficiently? Or explore the deep local food culture? Then I’d highly recommend you to take a local guided tour to explore Osaka in depth! From local food tours to private tours, a wide variety of guided tours are available in Osaka today!
Best Highlights and Suggested Itinerary in Osaka:
Osaka Castle > Shinsekai Area > Kuromon Market > Dotonbori Area > Umeda Sky Building
If you want more details about Osaka Itinerary, check the link below:
Suggested Itinerary in Osaka
[Day 3] Day trip to Kobe or Hiroshima from Osaka
Kobe is 6th biggest city in Japan and one of the most attractive cities in Kansai Region.
The city is famous for a breathtaking night view, and it’s often called “The Million Dollar Night View”.
Kobe City is located between Seto Inland Sea and Rokko Mountain.
In addition, there are not only night view, but also a lot of worth-to-visit places and activities.
We recommend the itinerary on the following link at daytime, and enjoy the view after evening.
Since Kobe and Osaka is very close to each other and there is a direct train even after 11 pm,
you have plenty of time to enjoy the night view in Kobe City after excellent dinner (like Kobe Beef)!
To explore Kobe efficiently with limited time, how about taking a private one-day tour? With a local guide, you can visit the best highlights of the city in one day! Check out the link below for more detail about the popular one-day tour in Kobe!
Other recommended city for a day-trip from Osaka is Hiroshima City, one of the most popular destinations among the tourists in Japan.
There are two widely known World-Heritage Sites: Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island and the Peace Memorial Dome – known as the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima City.
It takes about one and half hour if you take a Bullet Train (Shinkansen) “Nozomi” or “Sakura” from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station.
You can check the suggested itinerary from the link below.
If you are visiting Hiroshima for limited time, yet don’t wanna miss the best bits of the city, how about taking a day-trip tour with a local guide? Not only visiting famous sightseeing spots, but you can also learn the deep history and culture of Hiroshima City with a local guide!
[Day 4] Move to Kyoto and 1 day highlight of East or West Kyoto
After checking out from your hotel in Osaka, you can take a train or subway to Kyoto (Approximately 30 min)!
After you left your luggage in your hotel, explore East or West Kyoto depends on the location of your hotel.
Best Highlights and Suggested Itinerary in East and West Kyoto:
East Kyoto: Kiyomizu temple > Ninenzaka & Sannenzaka > Yasaka shrine > Gion > Fushimi Inari Shrine
West Kyoto: Bamboo Forest > Tenryu-ji Temple > Togetsu-kyo Bridge > Ryoan-ji Temple > Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
See more details about exploring in Kyoto: 2 Days Kyoto Suggested Itinerary
[Day 5] 1 day highlight of West or East Kyoto
Kyoto used to be a capital city for 1,000 years, and is now Mecca of Japanese culture and tradition,
you should spend more than 2 days to explore Kyoto city if possible. (Honestly, 2 days are still not enough though)
Check more details about exploring in Kyoto: 2 Days Kyoto Suggested Itinerary
Want to explore the unique and distinctive food culture in Kyoto? “Kyoto FooDrink Tour” by Japan Wonder Travel is one of the most popular walking tours in Kyoto, offering guests authentic Kyoto’s food experience and the deep culture at the popular local market with a variety of snacks and dishes. See the link below for more details about the tour!
[Day 6] Day trip to Nara or Mt. Kurama from Kyoto city
If you prefer nature and history to city and modern life, you should go to Nara, ancient capital of Japan.
In fact, Nara is even older than Kyoto and there are unique traditions and culture as well as numbers of historical monuments.
For example, wild deer is sacred in Nara. Also, there are many World Heritage Sites.
From Kyoto Station, there is a direct train to Nara Station and it takes about 50 min by train.
If you want more details, check the link below:
Day trip to Nara from Kyoto Suggested Itinerary
If you prefer spending more than 1 day in Nara, there is also 2 days itinerary:
2 Days Suggested Itinerary in Nara
To learn the deep history and culture in Nara, it’s highly recommended to take a private guided tour! You can go through the best highlights of Nara including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one day with a local expert! Check the link below for more details:
Mt. Kurama is a spiritual mountain and good trekking spot from the centre of Kyoto city.
You can go there by bus or train and it takes about 70 min. from Gion Shijo Station.
During the trekking, you will go through so many temples and shrines.
After you arrive on top, there is a Onsen (Natural Hot Spring).
Also, if you prefer, you can head to Kibune area which is known for the beautiful river side view from the mountain.
[Day 7] Fly out from Osaka
Not only from Osaka, KIX is easy to visit from Kyoto Station.
There is a direct limited express train named “Haruka” to KIX and it takes about 70 min.
If you have time, climb Kyoto Tower and say “Good-bye” to Kyoto City before leaving.
Or spend time in Rinku Park beside KIX.
This is our suggested 7 days itinerary in Osaka and Kyoto to fully enjoy Kansai Region.
Actually, 7 days are still not enough to enjoy Kansai region. Since there are a lot of roots of Japanese culture, the more days you spend, the more you could know about Japan! Along with your visit, I’d also recommend you to take guided tours at each cities as we suggested!
The approximate expense is as follows including hotel, guide (almost everyday), public transportation and entrance fee. (NOT include: Food and drink, personal expenses, air ticket.)
3 stars : 12,000 yen x 6 nights x person
4 stars : 25,000 yen x 6 nights x person
5 stars : 40,000 yen x 6 nights x person
8 hours tour for 40,000 yen for group x 5 days = 200,000 yen
about 30,000 yen per person
*Depends on where you want to visit
*This is rough price. We will do our best to organize your itinerary and tours as you wish per request!
Other options for day trip from Kyoto or Osaka
The followings are the options if you have more days.
Himeji Castle is the first place which was registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The nick name is “White Heron Castle” due to the brilliant white walls.
The specialty of Himeji Castle is not only the beauty.
It was built as a fortress to protect Kyoto and Osaka from Samurai Warrior who comes from far west side of Japan.
That’s why you could find a lot of functions for war here.
From Kyoto or Osaka, you can take a JR train.
From Kyoto Station, we recommend take a bullet train (Shinkansen). It takes about 80 min.
From Osaka Station, it takes about 80 min by either local train or bullet train.
Official Website: http://www.himejicastle.jp/en/
Miho Museum is one of the most unique museum in Japan and it is located in Shiga prefecture (Next to Kyoto prefecture).
The feature is their wide-range collections and their concept “Promoting Beauty, Peace and Joy Through Art”.
The collection contains about 3,000 artworks from Japan and the ancient orient.
Also, the combination of their architecture and surrounding nature is breathtaking.
If you have an interest, see the link below.
Access from Kyoto: https://blog.japanwondertravel.com/how-to-get-to-miho-museum-from-kyoto-10874
Officail Website: http://www.miho.or.jp/en/
If you head to far north in Kyoto prefecture, there is a miracle spot created by magnificent nature .
Amanohashidate means the bridge to heaven and is known as three of the most scenic spots in Japan.
(Others are Matsushima which is very close to Sendai city and Miyajima in Hiroshima prefecture)
There are good seafood, white sand beach, pine‐covered seashore.
It takes App. 2 hours by JR limited express train “Hashidate” from Kyoto Station.
Official Website (Amanohashidate Tourism Association): http://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/
The birth place and first capital of Japan was Asuka.
That’s why there are a lot of enigmatic ruins and beautiful rice terrace.
The location is south from Nara city. You can visit there from Kyoto, Osaka or Nara as one day trip.
It is highly recommended if you like cycling because Asuka is very good place to go around by bicycle.
It’s not in Kansai region, but you can visit Kanazawa, the scenic city with the greatest Japanese garden.
From Kyoto Station, it takes about 2 hours to Kanazawa Station by JR Limited Express “Thunderbird”.
The most famous destination is Kenrokuen Garden, but there are a lot to visit.
Such as Traditional Samurai houses, fabulous seafood market, Castle, and prestigious museum.
The good thing for 1 day trip is most sites place in walking distance from Kanazawa Station.
Tours in Kanazawa
Other options for 2 days trip from Kyoto or Osaka
Mt. Koya (Koyasan)
If you have an interest in trekking as a pilgrimage, the best distination is Mt. Koya.
The sacred place of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism.
The access is not so simple and you need to have about 3 hours to go there from Osaka, but it is worth-to-visit place.
Due to the special experience by staying in temple lodging, we strongly recommend having at least one night.
You can get a taste of a monk’s lifestyle, eating monk’s cuisine (shojin-ryori) and attending the morning prayers.
You can make a reservation of temple lodging from the link below:
Naoshima Island is a very small island with 3,000 population, but now called ” The sanctuary of contemporary art.”
This small island is located in Seto Inland Sea known as Japanese Aegean.
The feature of Naoshima is the harmony of natural beauty, Tadao Ando’s architecture, and Site-specific arts.
Since most of the museums are based on the concept to feel and forget time, it is recommended to stay here.
If you have an interest to visit there and stay there, see the link below.
Access: Mainland to Naoshima Island
Shodoshima is also the island in Seto Inland sea.
It is well-known as the olive plantations, soy sauce production and Somen noodle.
There are amazing white sand beach, Olive Park, and local small village.
The most famous place is “Angel Road” which appears only twice a day due to the rise and fall of the tide.
If you like to be relax with beautiful landscape, you should come here.
Official Website (Shodoshima Travel Navi Information): http://shodoshima.or.jp/ml/
Okayama is one of the start points visit to Naoshima Island & Shodoshima Island !!
Worth to visiting places in Okayama.
If you really want to take very good Onsen, Kinosaki makes your dream come true.
This pleasant town, built along a willow-lined river, is one of the top onsen destinations in Japan.
There are 7 different Onsen you can enjoy. Each Onsen has each history and each hot spring quality.
It is fun to explore the town and find those Onsen after evening.
You can go there about 2 and half hour from Kyoto Station by JR train.
Official Website (Kinosaki Onsen) : http://www.kinosaki-spa.gr.jp/global/