7 Days Itinerary in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe(Kansai region)

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.
(https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2009/jul/13/osaka-japan-best-food-city)
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!

Popular Tours in Osaka
Food tours in Osaka
▶ Private tours in Osaka

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.

1 Day trip to Kobe from Kyoto or Osaka

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!

▶ Kobe 1–Day Private Walking Tour

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.

 1 Day trip to Hiroshima from Kyoto / Osaka [Suggested Itinerary]

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!

Private tour in Hiroshima

[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!

▶ Kyoto FooDrink Tour

More unique and fun tours available in Kyoto & Osaka
Food tours in Kyoto & Osaka
Private tours in Kyoto & Osaka

[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:

▶ Private tour in Nara

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!

Cost

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.)

-Hotel fee
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

-Guide fee
8 hours tour for 40,000 yen for group x 5 days = 200,000 yen

-Transportation fee
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

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.

Tour of UNESCO world heritage Himeji Castle

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

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/

Unique Miho Museum Tour 

Amanohashidate

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/

Amanohashidate Bus tour from Osaka

Asuka Village

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.

If you have more interest, see the link below.
Cycling Trip to Asuka Village

Kanazawa

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

Private tour 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:
http://eng.shukubo.net/temple-lodging.html

Feel sacred atmospheres in Mt, Koya

Naoshima Island

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

Official Website (Benessse Art Site Naoshima)

Get 10 % off Naoshima Round trip Ticket

Shodoshima 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/

One day trip to Shodoshima island

Okayama is one of the start points visit to Naoshima Island  & Shodoshima Island !!
Worth to visiting places in Okayama.

Kinosaki Onsen

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/

●You may also like below articles.

5 things to do in Okayama where is easy to access from Naoshima

Cherry Blossom Forecast 2019 and the Best Sakura blooming spots in Japan[Recommended]

What to do in Kyoto at Night -Local Nightlife Spots

What to do on rainy day in Kyoto

List of Michelin starred restaurants in Kyoto 2018

6 Ways to Get Tickets for GHIBLI MUSEUM [Tips]

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10 Comments

  1. My wife and I will be traveling in Japan from nov 7 to dec 24. We will be in Tokyo 4 days then Kyoto for 7 days. We would be interested fromKyoto to take tour toNara,Osaka, Himeji, Okayama,Naoshima, Hiroshima, andMiajima. In that 8 day period we would then go back to Tokyo and take day trips for the rest of our tour. We will have rail passes for 21 days. Can you suggest a tour for the 8 days I have mentioned with prices tours and some meals perhaps.
    Thank you,
    Richard Schiller
    rschiller@pobox.com

    A

    • Thanks for your comment.
      Also, sorry for being late to reply.
      Your travel plan is wonderful.

      We sent email to your address.

      So, please check it if you still have an interest in our service.

      Thanks!!

  2. My girlfriend and I will be travelling to Japan on the 23rd September till 30th September. The main highlight of the trip is basically Osaka and Kyoto with all of its offerings. Probably 1 or 2 nights in Hiroshima to see the war museum would be ideal for me. My girlfriend love city life so going to outskirt or village would not be her sort of things. We are both foodies so it would be great if the itinerary revolves around places to eat. Also, do we need JR pass?

    Thank you.
    Eugene Rayan
    ljr.eugene@gmail.com

    • Hello Eugene Rayan-san,

      If you will visit only Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and outskirt near each city, you don’t need to get JR pass.

      If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us.

  3. Hi, My name is Roslan Ahmad from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

    Me and family (total 6 pax) planning to visit Osaka + Kyoto+ Nara. This is our first visit to Kansai area and wanted to explore the beauties. Can you suggest a plan trip inclusive recommended hotel to me? We intent to visit USJ as well (getting a ticket from Klook). Do we required to purchase JR Pass for 6 of us ( 4 adults and 2 kids). Please advice ya.
    * we also prefers to view the autumn leaves changing colors. we saw it in TV in some location in NARA.
    Our trip is in November 22 to November 29, 2019.

  4. Hi, am planning to spend about 7 days in Japan, thinking of having osaka as my base and then travelling out for day trips or maybe overnight (2 day 1 night trips). Right now, I am thinking of:
    – Osaka (1 day)
    – Nara day trip (1 day)
    – Kobe day trip (1 day)
    – Hiroshima/Miyajima day trip (1 day)
    – Kyoto overnight trip (2 days 1 night)
    – MAYBE a Kanazawa or Naoshima day trip (1 day)

    Having difficulty figuring out whats the best way of getting around, am considering the Kansai Thru pass, Amazing Osaka pass or the JR Kansai Area pass. What would you recommend? Also, do you have any suggestions for other day trip destinations that are pretty unique and maybe underrated? Would really appreciate your help!!

    • As for pass, it’s depend on how often you will take train!
      How about Hida or Koyasan where are already famous?
      I also recommend Teshima next to Naoshima.

  5. Hello, it’s my first time to Japan but instead of visiting Tokyo , I’m more interested in visiting the Kansai region first. I’m planning to get Kintetsu rail pass, as I plan to go Nagoya. Do you have any itinerary or suggestion for like Osaka + Kyoto + Nara/Kobe + Nagoya ? And maybe Mie/Ise in between.

  6. Hi we’ve family of 5 visiting Osaka and region for 5 days and then 2 children leaving for home with 3 person remaining to explore for 6 more days.
    Would you have any suggestions On itinerary? Many tks

    • Hello John-san,
      Thank you for your inquiry. Is it first time for you in Japan? Which area have you been to?
      It depends on where we could recommend it. If it’s the first time for you, definitely have to see around Tokyo. If it’s second or more, how about exploring middle part of Japan, Gifu area? (Kanazawa, Takayama and Shirakawago area)?
      Hope you could enjoy Japan fully!!

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