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Tokyo City

“T

okyo may have more cash, and Kyoto more culture. Whereas Nara may have more history and Kobe more fashion, but Osaka has a huge heart.”

 

This quote summarizes and highlights the symbolism of cities in Japan. Each municipality of Japan represents its uniqueness and makes it a must-visit destination. To begin the journey, you need to clarify why you want to visit Japan to ensure your trip will serve you well.

The answer may be that you want to witness lively Tokyo, sentimental Kyoto, or the nocturnal Osaka. It also might be all of them!

That is why the Osaka and Kyoto are always on top for places to visit in Japan.

 

In this article, you will know all the tips and tricks to prepare for your adventurous journey. 

It is a must-read article and gives you an exciting overview day trips from Osaka and Kyoto that no one should miss.

Tokyo places to visit

HIPPO Hostel & Cafe Bar

Low budget Osaka

Welcome to HIPPO Hostel & Cafe Bar! We’re located in 2~5 min from Tsuruhashi station which is so Osaka Local and interesting area, and it’s just 5 min to Namba, Nipponbashi and Tennoji.

 

There are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Inside the guest house also has family rooms.

Once you see our cool rooms and a cafe bar you fall in love for sure;) Super friendly staff are waiting for you coming! Cheers!!

Zentis Osaka

Osaka Stay medium budget

Zentis Osaka has a restaurant, fitness centre, a bar and shared lounge in Osaka. Boasting a garden, the hotel is close to several noted attractions, around 200 m from Dojima Avanza Entrance Porch, 200 m from Dojima Yakushido and 500 m from Kitanosaurus.

The property features city views, a terrace, a 24-hour front desk, and free WiFi is available throughout the property.

All units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. Complete with a private bathroom fitted with a bidet and a hairdryer, the rooms at Zentis Osaka have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and certain rooms are equipped with a seating area. At the accommodation rooms come with bed linen and towels.

 

Zentis Osaka offers a continental or à la carte breakfast.

Popular points of interest near the hotel include Herbis Plaza ENT, Sonezaki Ebisu Shrine and Herbis Plaza. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 16 km from Zentis Osaka.

InterContinental Hotel Osaka, an IHG Hotel

High budget hotel Osaka

Only a 5-minute walk from JR Osaka Train Station, InterContinental Osaka is located at the newly developed Grand Front Osaka. This 5-star hotel boasts 5 dining options, a 24-hour fitness centre and an indoor swimming pool.

 

Free WiFi is available at the entire property and guests can enjoy refreshing massages during their luxurious stay. Umeda Station on the Midosuji Line is a 7-minute stroll from the hotel.

 

Offering views of Osaka city from the 20th floor, Pierre restaurant serves exquisite contemporary French dishes. All Day Dining serves a buffet with various international dishes, drinks are available at Adee Bar and Lounge.

 

Osaka InterContinental Hotel is a 10-minute drive from Osaka Castle and a 20-minute drive from Universal Studios Japan. Shin Osaka Station and Namba Station are both a 15-minute train ride away. Kansai International Airport is a 60-minute express train ride from JR Osaka Station.

Konichiwa Osaka!

 

Osaka is a strategic place to start your trip as it is the gateway to other destinations like Nara, Kobe, Hiroshima, Okayama city and the list goes on. Osaka’s nickname is ‘huge heart city.’ This is because people here have warm personalities and huge hearts. They are very friendly, welcoming, and kind to foreigners.

 

Osaka is also well-known for its cheap and various types of food, an ideal place for shopping, and its nightlife. It becomes one of the main reasons why it is an obligatory place to visit. 

There are many reasons why Osaka is worth visiting, especially for the traveler with a low budget, looking for good food and lovely places to visit.

 

The neon capital of Japan is also the other name for Osaka. It offers gleaming nights as you stroll through the roads of the central shopping region. Not just that, the eateries, street food stalls, and a variety of shops remain open throughout the evening bringing this city alive at midnight.

 

The giant size of various types of seafood hangs on the walls welcoming the starving bystanders to enter their premises and buy the delicious food.

In Japanese, “kuidaore” is the word used as a trademark that means, “eat until you drop.” The taste and uniqueness of scrumptious food will make you eat until you drop without making a hole in your pocket.

Tokyo City
Tokyo City

Perfect Osaka Itinerary 

How to get to Osaka?

 

All international flights arrive at Kansai International Airport (KIX) at Osaka Bay, Japan. Kansai International Airport (KIX) is the main entrance to Osaka and the other part of the Kansai Region.

 

But if you are from within Japan, Osaka International Airport or shortly known as Itami (ITM), is another option.

KIX is Osaka’s international airport that receives international flights and few domestic flights. Whereas Itami is the domestic airport for Osaka.

Shrine
Shrine
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To Osaka from Kansai International Airport (KIX)

 

There is a lot of public transport that is accessible around this airport. You can either be using trains, limousine bus services, or taxis to reach Osaka. Make a smart decision by considering your time and other factors such as the amount of luggage you have. Commuting by train is the quickest and most efficient choice.

 

When you are in a rush, Haruka Express should be the solution. It will stop at Tennoji and Shin-Osaka station within 35 minutes and 50 minutes.

From Kansai Airport, it departs every 30 minutes. You no need to worry if you missed the train. You can ride Haruka Express with or without Japan Rail Pass. For passengers without JR Pass, the tickets’ cost is 2000 yen (Tennoji) and 3000 yen (Shin-Osaka).

 

But suppose you are looking for a cheaper alternative. In that case, JR Kanku Kaisoku and Kansai Airport Rapid Train can be the answer. It took longer than Haruka Express (around 15 minutes late). The ticket will cost you not more than 1500 yen for both stops, 1000 yen for the halt at Tennoji Station, and 1200 yen for the Osaka Station.

 

This price is similar for both JR Pass holders and non-JR Pass holders. The train takes longer than Haruka Express because it makes more stops and it is not a big problem unless you are in a hurry.

 

The other train you can opt for if you do not have JR pass holders is Nankai Rap:t Airport express train. It connects Kansai Airport to Namba (cost 1130 yen, 45 minutes). You can take the subway or taxi to bring you to your chosen destination within Osaka from all these stations.

 

A limousine bus will be a better option if you are not staying near the railway station or have some other reason, such as a lot of luggage or not using the subway. These buses are going to drop you and pick you up at a few points in Osaka.

 Another option is a car rental or taxi. If you opt for it, you should know it will cost you a lot (about 10,300 yen). Trust me, you wouldn’t want to spend that much on transportation if you are on a budget.

 

Tips: The first thing to do when you arrive at the airport is to find the Travel Desk of Kansai Tourist Information Center. Here you can get important information about transportation, tickets, and also other accommodation.

Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland

Osaka International Airport (Itami) to Osaka

 

Meanwhile, suppose you arrive at Itami Airport (about 11 kilometers to central Osaka). In that case, the Osaka Airport Limousine bus is the best way to get to Osaka. It will take only 30 minutes for 640 yen or a regular private taxi about 5000 yen in 25 minutes to downtown Osaka.

 

For more convenience, choose to ride a taxi because it will bring you directly to your accommodation, unlike the limousine bus. It is also the best recommendation for travelers with heavy luggage and more than three people traveling together.

 

Same as from Kansai Airport, you can also opt for a train or monorail from Itami Airport. The estimated cost is between 420 yen to 690 yen. It will take about 33 to 50 minutes with one switch.

 

Tips: Make sure you already decide your place to stay before booking any transportation tickets/passes. This will save you the stress of moving from one hotel to another, searching for what suits your budget and taste.

Ueno park
Ueno park

Best place to stay?

 

According to Yoshke Dimen, the typical recommended place to stay is in Namba or Umeda district. The reason is, both these places are in the center of Osaka. That makes it the most accessible (one-way trains from the airport and most linked stations) and convenient place to stay.

 

If you want to stay in the Namba district, you have the advantage of walking around Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. It is a famous and attractive place in Osaka, especially for shopping and eating.

 

Umeda is the most suitable base for stay if you plan your trips to travel outside Osaka too. It is because Umeda is near to the stations that connect to other places such as Kobe and also Kyoto.

Meguro River
Meguro River

Osaka Amazing Pass

Osaka Amazing Pass is a ticket that offers the opportunity to discover up to 35 of Osaka’s famous spots. It provides limitless access to public transport. You can choose your Osaka Amazing Pass for a one-day or two-day pass based on the duration of your stay in Osaka.

 

Unlike the JR Pass that limits visitors, everyone visiting Osaka can buy an Osaka Amazing Pass. However, for kids under 12 years old, you need to get an Enjoy Eco Card to enable them to use public transport. While for children under two years old, all tickets are free.

 

If you’re going to visit a lot of museums and attractions, this fantastic pass is worth it! But take note, plan your route in detail to maximize the pass’s usage as it’s quite hard to visit all the attractions in two days.

 

Osaka Amazing Pass is a perfect option. Especially for traveling around town by using public transportation such as trains and buses. As we know, Japan’s transport network is well-known for its high prices.

 

Tips: Get Osaka Amazing Pass-through Traveloka to get a fantastic bargain!

Imperial Palace

Things to do at Osaka

You should never skip three main things while visiting Osaka, which is: 

  1. See all the iconic places
  2. Food hunting, and 
  3. Shopping!

 

With Osaka Amazing Pass you can visit all the top and most famous places in Osaka. They have a unique attraction. For example, 

  • Universal Studios of Japan, 
  • Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, 
  • Shitennoji temple, 
  • The Umeda Sky Building, 
  • Abeno Harukas, 
  • Minoo Park, and others.

 

I would say you cannot miss out on visiting Kuromon Market for the best food hunting places. It is also known as Osaka’s Kitchen. Here, you can get whichever type of food that you crave!

 

The other districts that are also famous for their food and perfect shopping destinations are Minami, Shinsekai, Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade, Amerikamura, and Namba Parks. All these places are compulsory to visit in completing your Osaka trip.

 

Sky tree

Amazing Day trips from Osaka to Kyoto

Travel from Osaka to Kyoto

 

Staying three days in Osaka is the ideal period before moving to the next place, Kyoto. Kyoto is about 1 hour and 2 minutes away from Osaka. It is a preserved city that gives you a chance to experience real Japanese culture and tradition.

 

For example, 

  • Maiko and Geisha traditional entertainers,
  •  the Japanese cultural attire, 
  • Kimono, 
  • art masterpieces (Yuzen dyeing), 
  • Tea Ceremony, 
  • Shodo Calligraphy, and many more.

 

Tokyo Art Center
Tokyo Art Center

How to reach Kyoto from Osaka?

The most recommended way to travel from Osaka to Kyoto is using public transport which is by rail. It would be a smart choice to save money and time. It also provides comfort for your traveling experience compared to using a bus. It depends on the places you are from in Osaka and the places you wish to visit in Kyoto.

 

Below is the list of the railway you should take into consideration :

Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji

1. Shinkansen

 

Shinkansen is a bullet train and one of Japan’s trademarks. It is the fastest option and provides you with a comfortable ride from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto station (15 minutes, 1420 yen). It is money-worthy with Japan Rail Pass.

national museum of nature and science
National museum of nature and science

2. JR Kyoto Line’s Special Rapid Service

 

It is a good option for non-JR Pass holders. It will take you to Kyoto Station (24 minutes, 560 yen) from Shin-Osaka Station or Midosuji Subway Line if you are from Umeda or Namba.

SHINJUKU GOLDEN GAI
Shinjuku

3. Keihan Main Line

 

This Limited Express train will commute you from Yodoyabashi Station to Sanjo Station (55 minutes, 410 yen). Sanjo station is close to many ideal locations you wish to visit in Kyoto. If you are from Umeda or Namba, you can access Yodoyabashi Station through the Midosuji Subway Line. (This is not available for JR Pass)

4. Hankyu Kyoto Main Line

 

It is one of the cheapest options to travel from Osaka to Kyoto. You can start your journey from Hankyu Osaka-Umeda Station to Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station for 400 yen within 44 minutes. But, JR Pass is also not applicable for this train.

 

Tips: Use JR West Timetable and Fare Finder to travel using shinkansen or JR Lines. If you want to translate the language in the route finder to English, use Jorudan or Hyperdia. It is applicable for private trains such as Keihan or the Hankyu Line.

Perfect Kyoto Itinerary

Kyoto best place to stay?

 

Before arriving in Kyoto, you must already have the best place to stay in Kyoto written in your itinerary. This is because one day trip would not be enough to discover this city of culture.

 

The best and recommended place to stay in Kyoto is at Downtown Kawaramachi. You can find hotels and accommodations that suit your taste around here quickly. Besides, you can also opt to stay at Central Kyoto, Kyoto Station, and Gion.

 

Things to do at Kyoto

These are four places that you should include in your bucket list during the trip to Kyoto:

1. Ramble through the stunning Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine

 

Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine is a temple that you can find at the end of the walkway. The walkway is made up of traditional torii gates colored in a flame bright color. At the Yotsutsuji Intersection (halfway up), you can see a mind-blowing view of Kyoto.

SHINJUKU GOLDEN GAI
Shinjuku

2. Breathtaking view at Bamboo Grove Arashiyama

 

To experience fresh air with beautiful scenery, this is the place you should visit. It is a bamboo forest with tall bamboo stalks that sways when the wind blows.

 

This place is available on the world record’s list as one of the beautiful forests in this world. Its attraction is a unique rustling sound as the product of the bamboo stalk’s movements. It has a glamour name which is Soundscapes of Japan because of that reason.

3. Ancient gold temple, Kinkakujii Golden Pavilion Temple

 

It is an ancient temple and covered entirely with a gold leaf on the temple’s top floor. It has a unique structure with specific functions. It also serves as a Buddhist temple. The uniqueness and age increase the value of this temple.

4. The heritage building, Nijojo Castle

 

This castle keeps various meaningful history stories. It has seen almost all of Japan’s significant events that occurred a long time ago. The age of this castle is about 400 years old. It also has its architectural structure.

SHINJUKU GOLDEN GAI
Shinjuku

Kobe

Kobe is one of the top destinations to stop by on a day trip from Osaka to Kyoto as it is only 29 km from Osaka. It not only provides sightseeing places but is also famous for its delicious food such as Kobe beef.

 

From my experience, I would suggest you go to the Arima Onsen hot spring to complete your fantastic vacation. On the other hand, I would not recommend you to stop by for a while in this city. A minimum one-night stay will be worth your trip for a more exciting discovery!

SHINJUKU GOLDEN GAI
Shinjuku

Nara

If you choose to visit Kobe, then you cannot miss visiting Nara too. It is very close to Kyoto and Osaka. It offers legendary historical places, modern stores and also friendly animals!

 

The most famous places in Nara are within Nara Park. By walking, you can quickly get there.

 

Here are tips, when you set on a day trip to the enlisting city of Nara, make sure you take steps to Nara Park. Also to the Tōdai-Ji Temple, and their famous restaurants and markets. If you are in doubt to visit Nara because of budget, no worries; many exciting places in Nara are free of charge and affordable to stay.

The bottom line is that the trip from Osaka to Kyoto is fantastic; It grants you extra incredible exploration. You should include all these destinations in your travel wishlist. It is like killing two birds with one stone with this trip worth your money and time.

SUMMARY

Here a quick recap for you :

Arrival :

Kansai International Airport (KIX) / Osaka International Airport (Itami)

KIX – the central city of Osaka : 

(from this central city of Osaka, you can go to the nearest place either by walking/train/bus)

  1. By trains (RECOMMENDED) 
  • Haruka Express (faster,pricey) : 

Tennoji (35 mins,2000yen), Shin-Osaka (50 mins,3000)

  • JR Kanku Kaisoku / Kansai Airport Rapid (cheaper,15 mins late than 1.1)

Tennoji (50 mins,1000 yen), Osaka Station (65 mins,1200yen)

  • Nankai Rap:t (non-JR pass holder only)

Namba (45 mins,1130 yen)

      2. By limousine bus (have a lot of luggage, accommodation far from the railway station) 

– Drop and pick at bus point around Osaka

– Fee depends on pick poinT

     3. By car rental/ taxi (Pricey, NOT recommended)

  • 100 USD (min)

Itami – the central city of Osaka : 

(from this central city of Osaka, you can go to the nearest place either by walking/train/bus)

  1. By bus (RECOMMENDED)

-Osaka Airport Limousine (30mins,640yen)

      2. By taxi (25 mins,5000yen)

      3.    By train (33-50mins,420-690yen)

Osaka-Kyoto Day trips Summary Itinerary

You need to buy:

  • Osaka Amazing Pass (¥2500) 
  • JR West Kansai Pass (¥2200

[ OSAKA]

 

  • From KIX – Namba (Nankai Airport Express), stay at Namba.

 

Destination: Kuromon Market, Dotonbori

– Walk to Kuromon Market and Dotonbori.

– Suggested place to eat: Tokisushi (sushi restaurant) 

 

Destination: Universal Studios Japan

– Walk to JR-Namba Station 

– From JR-Namba Station to UniversalCity Station (±180 yen)

– Arrive at Universal Studios Japan (±7900 yen)

– Train back to Namba (±410 yen)

 

Destination: Osaka City Tour (ALL free for Osaka Amazing Pass)

 

(Osaka Castle)

-Go to Tamagawa Station by subway 

-Suggested place to eat: Endo Sushi

-Tamagawa Station to Tanimachiyonchome Station 

-Arrive at Osaka Castle

-Go to Nakatsu Station by subway 

-Suggested place to eat: Ramen Yashichi

 

(Umeda Sky Building Observatory)

– Nakatsu Station to Umeda by subway 

– Umeda Sky Building Observatory

– Subway back to Namba

 

(Tombori River Cruise, Dotonbori)

-Tombori River Cruise

-Dotonbori Night Tour

 

[KYOTO]

  • Ride a train from Namba Station to Umeda Station (230 yen)
  • At Umeda Station, take JR Special Rapid Service to go to Kyoto (560 yen)

Destination: Toei Movie Studio Park

– Go to Uzumasa Station by train from Kyoto Station (200 yen)

– it is around 5 minutes walk from Uzumasa Station 

-To go to Toei Movie Studio Park (2200 yen)

 

Destination: Gion shrines & streets

-From Uzumasa Station, walk to Hanazono Station

-From Hanazono Station, go to Gion-Shijo Station by train (350 yen)

-Arrive at Gion shrines & streets

-Train back to Kyoto Station (270 yen)

-Suggest a place to eat: Ramen-Koji

 

Destination: Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji Temple

-Ride bus no. 101 or 205 to Kinakuji (230 yen) from Kyoto Station

-Arrive at Kinkakuji Temple (400yen)

-Take the bus back to Kyoto Station (230yen)

 

Destination: Kyoto Tour (ALL free for West Pass)

(Bamboo Grove Arashiyama, and nearest famous place)

-From Kyoto Station, take a train to Saga Arashiyama Station

-Walkabout 10 minutes & arrive at Bamboo Grove Arashiyama

-Explore all nearest location, for example to Tenryuji Temple (2 mins walk)

-Back to Kyoto Station by train

 

(Fushimi Inari Shrine)

-From Kyoto Station, take Train to Inari Station

-1 min walk to Fushimi Inari Shrine from Inari Station

-Back to Kyoto by train 

 

Destination: Kansai International Airport (KIX)

-from Kyoto Station ride JR Ltd. Exp. Haruka train

– arrive at Kansai International Airport

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Best Places to visit in Tokyo

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Best Places to visit in Tokyo
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