Japan is steeped in tradition and spirituality, and the perfect place to get a true taste of Japanese culture is Kansai Region. For first-time tourists in Japan, get your fill of tradition in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara where most of the top historical attractions are concentrated in a compact area. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find something unforgettable here! I wrote a detailed Osaka-Kyoto-Nara itinerary with budget for 5 days below to help you plan your trip.
What makes Kansai Region special is this is where the Japanese civilization that we see today was born, specifically in Yamato province, present day Nara Prefecture. Japanese culture evolved from the strong cultural influences of its neighbors China and Korea. Today, tourists can still see these influences retained when taking a leisurely stroll in Nara. Kyoto is another tourist favorite because it is soaked in culture and traditions. This former capital of Japan boasts of 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites and over 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines. And if you want to watch kabuki performances (Japanese theater) and geisha dances, this is the place to be. Osaka on the other hand is the antidote of the traditional Kyoto and Nara. Despite the lack of historical attractions here, this bustling city makes up for it through good food and frisky shopping districts.
Here’s a sample Osaka Kyoto Nara itinerary with budget for 5 days. The sample itinerary is for 2 days in Osaka, 2 days in Kyoto and 1 day in Nara.I wrote the trip budget on a separate table below. Feel free to tweak this depending on your budget and places that you want to visit.
|Day 0||ARRIVAL IN JAPAN|
Check-in at NAIA Terminal 3
ETD for Osaka
ETA in Osaka. Take the train to JR Osaka Station and shuttle to hotel
|DAY 1||OSAKA TOUR (UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN)|
Head to Osaka Station. ETD for Universal Studios Japan.
Via OSAKA STATION: From Osaka Station, take Osaka Loop Liner and alight at Nishikujo Station. Travel time is approximately 6 minutes. Transfer to JR Yumesaki Line and alight at Sakurajima Station. Transit time is about 8 minutes. Total fare is JPY 180/PHP 84 (USD 2/SGD 2/MYR 7)
Via OSAKA-NAMBA STATION: From Osaka-Namaba Station take the Hanshin Namba Line and alight at Nishikujo. Travel time is roughly 8 minutes. Fare is JPY 200/PHP 93 (USD 2/ EURO 2/SGD 2.46/MYR 8). At Nishikujo Station, transfer to JR Yumesake Line and alight at Sakurajima Station. Transit time is about 8 minutes. Train fare is JPY 160 /PHP 75 (USD 2/ EURO 1.22/SGD 2/MYR 6).
Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Wand magic, HP and Forbidden Journey)
Lunch at the Three Broomsticks
Universal Re-boom Party and Market
Other Attractions and Rides in USJ
ETD for Hotel
If hotel is accessible from OSAKA STATION: From Sakurajima Station, take JR Yumesaki Line and alight at Nishikujo Station. Transit time is roughly 11 minutes. Transfer to Osaka Loop Line and get off at Osaka Station. Travel time is about 6 minutes. Train fare is JPY 180/PHP 84 (USD 2/ EURO 1.38/SGD 2/MYR 7).
If hotel is accessible from OSAKA-NAMBA STATION: At Sakurajima Station, ride the JR Yumesaki Line and get off at Nishikujo Station. Fare is JPY 160 /PHP 75 (USD 2/ EURO 1.22/SGD 2/MYR 6) and transit time is roughly 11 minutes. Transfer to Hanshin Namba and alight at Osaka-Namba Station. Transit time is about 9 minutes, fare is approximately JPY 200/PHP 93 (USD 2/EURO 2/SGD 2.46/MYR 8).
Universal Studios Japan
Skip the lines, purchase your ticket in advance below.
Universal Studios Japan Express® Pass
|DAY 2||OSAKA TOUR (OSAKA CASTLE, OSAKA MUSEUM, TEMPOZAN FERRIS WHEEL, SHINSAIBASHI SUJI, AMRIKAMURA AND DOTONBORI)|
Head to train station. Depart for Osaka Castle. FROM OSAKA STATION: At Osaka Station, take Osaka Loop Liner and alight at Osaka Jokoen. Transit time is 10 minutes and fare is JPY 160 /PHP 75 (USD 2/ EURO 1.22/SGD 2/MYR 6).
FROM OSAKA-NAMBA STATION: At Osaka-Namba Station take the Kintetsu Nara Line and alight at Tsuruhashi. Transit time is about 5 minutes. Fare is JPY 210/PHP 98 (USD 2/EURO 2/SGD/ MYR 8). At Tsuruhashi, transfer to Osaka Loop Line and get off at Osaka-Jokoen. Train fare is JPY.
OSAKA CASTLE ENTRANCE FEE: JPY 600/PHP 278 (USD 5/EURO 5/SGD 7/MYR 23)
Walk to Osaka Museum. Located across southwest of Osaka Castle.
OSAKA MUSEUM ENTRANCE FEE: JPY 600/PHP 278 (USD 5/EURO 5/SGD 7/MYR 23)
Walk back to Osaka Jokoen Station and depart for Umeda Sky Building.
At Osaka Jokoen Station. Take the Osaka Loop Line and alight at Osaka Station. Transit time is roughly 9 minutes and train fare is JPY 160 /PHP 75 (USD 2/ EURO 1.22/SGD 2/MYR 6).
UMEDA SKY BUILDING ENTRANCE FEE: JPY 1,000/PHP 464 (USD 9/EURO 8/SGD 12/MYR 38)
*If you are on a budget and not interested in entering the observation deck, you can just take a photo of the building.
Depart for Tempozan Ferris Wheel in Tempozan Harbor Village.
From Osaka Station, take the Osaka Loop Line and alight at Bentencho Station. Transit time is 10 minutes. Fare is JPY 160 /PHP 75 (USD 2/ EURO 1.22/SGD 2/MYR 6). At Bentencho Station, ride the Osaka City Subway Chou Line for Cosmo Square and get off at Osakako Station. Travel time is about 5 minutes and fare is roughly JPY 230/PHP 106 (USD 2/EURO 2/SGD 3/MYR 9).
Places to see in in Tempozan Harbor Village: Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Tempozan Marketplace (Shopping Mall with souvenir shops, Legoland Playground and restaurants), Osaka Aquarium, Naniwa Food Theme Park and Mount Tempozan.
Tempozan Ferris Wheel Entrance Fee: JPY 800/PHP 371(USD 7/EURO 6/SGD 10/MYR 31)
Head to Shinsaibashi Suji and Amerikamura.
From Osakako Station take the Osaka City Subway Chou Line and alight at Hommachi Station. Transit time is about 11 minutes. At Hommachi Station transfer to Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line and and alight at Shinsaibashi Station. Transit is about 2 minutes. Total fare is JPY 280/PHP 130 (USD 3/EURO 2/SGD 3/MYR 11).
Shinsaibashi Suji is a few minute walk from Shinsaibashi Station. Amerikamura can be reached on foot from Shinsaibashi Suji.
Head to Dotonbori, walking distance from Shinsaibashi Suji.
Dinner at Dotonbori
Depart for hotel. Head to Namba Station, about 5 minute walk from Dotonbori Area.
From Namba Station, take the Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line and alight at Umeda Station. Transit time is about 8 minutes. Fare is JPY 230/PHP 106 (USD 2/EURO 2/SGD 3/MYR 9). Osaka Station is about 5 minute on foot from Umeda (Subway) Station.
Back to hotel.
ALSO READ: OSAKA TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary)
|DAY 3||KYOTO DIY TOUR (FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE, KYOTO TOWER, KIYOMIZUDERA TEMPLE & GION DISTRICT)|
From Osaka Station, take JR Kyoto Line Rapid Service and alight at Kyoto Station. Travel time is about 35 minutes. Fare is JPY 560/PHP 264 (USD 5/EURO 4.31/SGD 7/MYR 22).
ETA Kyoto Station. Head to hotel.
Back to Kyoto Station for train to Fushimi Inari Shrine.
At Kyoto Station, take JR Nara Line and alight at Inari Station (2nd station from Kyoto). Transit time is about 5 minutes and train fare is JPY 140/PHP 166 (USD 1.30/EURO 1/SGD 2/MYR 5).
ETA Inari Station. Inari Shrine is a short walk from the station.
Explore Inari Shrine.
Fushimi Inari Shrine Entrance Fee: Free
Return to Inari Station.
Take JR Nara Line for Kyoto. Transit time is 5 minutes and fare is JPY 140/PHP 166 (USD 1.30/EURO 1/SGD 2/MYR 5).
ETA Kyoto Station
See Kyoto Tower
KYOTO TOWER ENTRANCE FEE: JPY 770/PHP 363(USD 7/EURO 6/SGD 10/MYR 30)
*If you don’t plan to go inside Kyoto Tower, you can actually see it in front of Kyoto Station.
Back to Kyoto Station. Depart for Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
BY TRAIN: At Kyoto Station, take JR Nara Line and alight at Tofukuji Station. Transit time is about 2 minutes. Transfer to Keihan Main Line and alight at Kiyomizu-Gojo Station. Transit time is approximately 3 minutes. Total fare is JPY 270/PHP 127 (USD 3/EURO 3/SGD 3/MYR 11).
BY BUS: At Kyoto Station. Take Raku Bus 100 to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Transit time is about 15 minutes.
ETA Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Explore.
Stroll and shop around Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka
Walk towards Gion District. Alternatively, you can take a bus (Bus #100, 202, 206, or 207) from Kiyomizumichi Bus Stop or Gojozaka Bus Stop. Alight at Gion bus stop, in front of Yasaka Shrine. It’s just 2 or 3 bus stops from either stop
Wander around Gion District.
From Gion-Shijo Station take a Keihan Main Line and alight at Tofukuji Station. Transit time is about 5 minutes. Transfer to JR Nara Line for Kyoto and alight at Kyoto Station. Transit time is roughly 2 minutes. Total train fare is JPY 270/PHP 127 (USD 3/EURO 3/SGD 3/MYR 11).
Back to hotel.
Kyoto Afternoon Tour
- Walk through the characteristically vibrant red Heian Jingu Shrine
- Explore the world’s longest wooden structure, Sanjusangen-do Temple
- Visit the Kiyomizu temple and walk through the historic shopping lane leading to its entrance
Kyoto Morning Tour
- Experience the traditional serenity of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
- See the Kyoto Imperial Palace
- Visit Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Temple)
- Transport back to the 1600s with a visit to Nijo Castle
ALSO READ: KYOTO TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary) 2018
|Day 04||KYOTO DIY TOUR (ARASHIYAMA, NIJO CASTLE AND KINAKAKUJI/GOLDEN TEMPLE)|
Head to Kyoto Station for Arashiyama. From Kyoto Station, take JR Sagano Line/ JR Sanin Line. Fare is JPY 240/PHP 113 (USD 2/EURO 2/SGD 3/MYR 9) and travel time is about 15 minutes. Alight at Saga-Arashiyama Station.
|07:15 AM||ETA Sagaarashiyama Station. Explore Arashiyama.|
|12:00 PM||Continue Arashiyama Tour.|
|02:00 PM||End of Tour. Head to Nijo Castle.|
From Sagaarashiyama Station, take the JR Sagano Line for Kyoto and alight at Nijo (Kyoto) Station. Travel time is 9 minutes and fare is JPY 200/PHP 94(USD 3/EURO 2/SGD 3/MYR 8).
ETA Nijo Station. Walk towards Nijo Castle. Explore Nijo Castle.
Nijo Castle Entrance Fee:
From Nijo (Kyoto) Station. Take Bus No.12 to Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Temple). Explore temple.
End of Tour. Back to Kyoto Station. Take Raku Bus to Kyoto Station.
|06:00 PM||ETA Kyoto Station.|
|07:00 PM||Dinner. Shop for souvenirs.|
|Day 05||NARA TOUR|
Head to Kyoto Station for train to Nara.
From Kyoto you can either travel to Kintetsu Nara Station or Nara Station (you can use your JR West Pass).
TO KINTETSU NARA STATION: From Kyoto Station, take the Kintetsu Kyoto Like Express and alight at Kintetsu Nara Station. Transit time is roughly 46 minutes. Train fare is JPY 620/PHP 288 (USD 6/EURO 5/SGD 8/MYR 24). Nara Park is about 5 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station.
TO NARA STATION: From Kyoto Station, take the JR Nara Line for Nara Station. Travel time is about 1 hour 9 minutes. Train fare to Nara Station is (JR LINE) JPY 710 /PHP 332 (EURO 6/USD 7 /SGD 9/MYR 30). Nara Park is about 20 minute walk from Nara Station.
Estimated arrival at Kintetsu Nara Station if you take the Kintetsu Line is 35 minutes. Estimated arrival at if you take the JR Line is 35 minutes. Nara Park can be reached on foot from these stations.
FROM KINETETSU NARA STATION: If arriving at Kintetsu Nara Station, you can walk to Nara Park for approximately 5 minutes.
FROM NARA STATION: If coming from Nara Station, Nara Park is roughly 20 minute on foot. You may ride City Loop Bus #2 (yellow bus) at JR Nara Station East Exit Bus Terminal and get off at Nara Park.
Estimated arrival at Nara Park. Start touring around Nara Park. Purchase deer crackers and feed the deer.
Nara Park Entrance Fee: Free
Head to Kofukuji Temple beside Nara Park. Pay terminal fee if entering the temple, otherwise, you can just take photos outside the temple.
Kofukuji Temple Entrance Fee: JPY 300 (PHP 136.29/ USD 3/SGD 4/MYR 200)
Head to Gangoji Temple. Pay entrance fee if you are entering the temple. Explore and take photos.
Gangoji Temple Entrance Fee: JPY 500 (PHP 227/USD 5/ SGD 6/MYR 19)
|10:00 AM||Head to Nara Museum. Entrance fee is required if going inside the museum.|
Nara Museum Entrance Fee: JPY 520 (PHP 236/USD 5/ SGD 6.39/MYR 20)
Walk to Kasuga Taisha Shrine. If you plan to enter the inner temples, pay the entrance fee. Otherwise, you are free to explore the outer temple.
Kasuga Taisha Shrine Entrance Fee: JPY 500 (PHP 227/USD 5/ SGD 6/MYR 19)
Head to Todaiji Temple. To enter the temple and see the world-famous Buddha, entrance fee is required.
Todaiji Tempe Entrance Fee: JPY 500 (PHP 227/USD 5/ SGD 6/MYR 19)
Return to Kintetsu Nara Station for train to Heijo Palace.
At Kintetsu Nara Station, take the train to Yamato-Saidaiji Station. And walk towards Heijo Palace for about 20 minutes. Fare is JPY 210/PHP 95(EURO 2/USD 2/SGD 3/MYR 8).
From Kintetsu Nara Station, you can take any train that will stop at Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
You may also take the bus at Kintetsu Nara Station and alight at the bus stop near Heijo Palace.
>Heijo Palace Entrance Fee: FREE
Return to Yamato-Saidaiji Station. Ride train to Nishinokyo Station. Train fare is JPY 150 /PHP 70 (EURO 1.16/ USD 1.37/ SGD 2/ MYR 6). Travel time is about 10 minutes.
ETA Nishinokyo Station. Walk to Toshodaiji Temple.
Toshodaiji Temple Entrance Fee: JPY 600 (PHP 272/USD 5.42/SGD 2.46/MYR 23)
From Toshodaiji Temple, walk to Yakushiji Temple.
Yakushiji Temple Entrance Fee: JPY 600 (PHP 272/USD 5.42/SGD 2.46/MYR 23)
Return to Nishinokyo Station. Ride train to Yamato-Saidaiji Station. Transit time is about 10 minutes and train fare is JPY 150 /PHP 70 (EURO 1.16/ USD 1.37/ SGD 2/ MYR 6).
|05:10 PM||ETA Yamato-Saidaiji Station. End of Nara Tour.|
Ride train back to Osaka, Kyoto or Nara Station.
Arashiyama (Kyoto) & Nara Day Tour from Osaka
- Visit Arashiyama in Kyoto, including the famed bamboo forest
- Visit the imperial capital of Nara and its UNESCO World Heritage sites
- See the Japanese national treasures of Todai-ji Temple and Daibutsu Buddha
- Meet and feed the deer of Nara Park
- Inclusion: English speaking tour guides and round trip transport
ALSO READ: NARA TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary)
OSAKA-KYOTO-NARA BUDGET(5 DAY TRIP)
Here’s a sample Osaka, Kyoto and Nara budget for a 5 day trip. Feel free to tweak this. I didn’t include all the entrance fees to the temples in Nara and attractions in Osaka since we didn’t really enter all the attractions, but I’ve written all the entrance above (see itinerary) to give you an idea. This sample budget is good for 1 person/solo traveler and if you are a party of two.
Hotel 5 days/4 nights at JPY 3,000/PHP 1,392 (USD 27/EURO 23/SGD 37/MYR115) per night
|JPY 12,000/PHP 5,558 (USD 109/EURO 91/SGD 147/MYR 460)|
Food at JPY 800/PHP 371 (USD 7/EURO 6/SGD 10/MYR 31) per meal x 3 times a day in 5 days
|JPY 12,000/PHP 5,558 (USD 109/EURO 91/SGD 147/MYR 460)|
|Wi-Fi (Simcard) (6 days)||JPY 1,056/ PHP 498 (USD 10/EURO 8/SGD 13/MYR 41), good for 6 days|
|Nankai Line Airport Express||JPY 1,180/PHP 557 (USD 11/EURO 9/SGD 15/MYR 46)|
|JR West Pass (4 days)||JPY 6,300/PHP 2,973 (USD 58/EURO 49/SGD 73/MYR 237)|
|OSAKA TRIP ( 2 Days)|
|Universal Studios Japan||JPY 7,600/PHP 3,587 (USD 70/EURO /SGD 93/MYR 296)|
|Osaka Castle Entrance Fee||JPY 600/PHP 278 (USD 5.45/EURO 6/SGD 10/MYR 23)|
|Osaka Museum Entrance Fee||JPY 600/PHP 278 (USD 5/EURO 5/SGD 7/MYR 23)|
|KYOTO TRIP (2 DAYS)|
|Nijojo Castle Entrance Fee||JPY 600/PHP 278 (USD 5/EURO 5/SGD 7/MYR 23)|
|Golden Pavilion Entrance Fee||JPY 500/PHP 232 (USD 5/EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 19)|
|Kiyomizudera Temple Entrance Fee||JPY 400/PHP 185 (USD 5/EURO 3/SGD 5/MYR 15)|
|NARA TRIP (1 DAY)|
|Gangoji Temple Entrance Fee||JPY 500/PHP 232 (USD 5/EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 19)|
|Todaiji Temple Entrance Fee||JPY 500/PHP 232 (USD 5/EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 19)|
|Yakoshiji Temple Entrance Fee||JPY 600/PHP 278 (USD 5/EURO 5/SGD 7/MYR 23)|
|TOTAL EXPENSES||JPY 48,0006/ PHP 22,236 (USD 436/EURO 365/SGD 588/MYR 1,833)|
If you plan to travel around the Kansai Region like Osaka, Kyoto and Nara, you can get a JR West Pass, Kansai Thru Pass or ICOCA Card. This will help you avoid going through the daunting task of checking complicated rate tables to buy tickets first. The ICOCA card though doesn’t give you a discount, it’s only a rechargeable card.
KANSAI THRU PASS
unlimited rides across either 2 or 3 days within the valid period.
Travel to a number of cities in the Kansai and Osaka Bay region such as Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, and more.
Purchase train, bus, or subway tickets the hassle-free way without going through the troublesome task of checking complicated rate tables to buy tickets
Use the pass for travel between Osaka and Kansai International Airport
Discount promotions at over 350 major tourist facilities across the covered area.
JR WEST PASS
Access major cities in Kansai with a single rail pass that offers unlimited travel within the designated area
Take rides on Kansai-Airport Express Haruka, the Rapid Services, and local JR-West trains
Now also valid on JR Buses
Consecutive 1 day, 2 day or 3 day rail passes are also available
Pick up your physical JR pass at Osaka Kansai Airport and you can take the JR trains directly!
ICOCA IC Card
- Convenient discount card for JR, subway, private railway, buses and shopping in the Kansai area and around
- The contactless rechargeable smart card is the easiest way to travel around the JR West network including Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe
- Preloaded with 1,500 yen and 500 yen deposit
Being connected online in Japan will save you. Since English is not widely spoken, you can refer to Google Maps for directions and Hyperdia.com for train routes and schedules. You can reserve pocket Wi-Fi in advance through the link below.
4G POCKET WiFI RENTAL
- Enjoy 4G WiFi coverage across Japan on a pay per day rental basis
- Connect up to 5 devices on the same pocket WiFi router
- Get a free JPY500 restaurant coupon when you pick up your ticket at Kansai Airport counter or OCAT counter – limited stock, book now!
4G JAPAN SIM Card
- Choose from 3 different packages for your data needs and budget: unlimited 4G data for 8 days, 3 GB of 4G data for 8 days or 1 GB of 4G data for 6 days.
BUDGET HOTELS IN JAPAN
Shell Nell Namba
Nihonbashi Center Building, 2-9-16 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Namba, Osaka, Japan
2-3-6 UtsuboHonmachi, Nishi-Ku, Namba, Osaka, Japan
SEARCH FOR MORE HOTELS: OSAKA HOTELS
KYOTO BUDGET HOTELS
Sakura Terrace The Atelier
1-1 Higashikujo KItakarasumacho, Minami, Kyoto Station, Kyoto
Mosaic Hostel Kyoto
4-1 Kasuga-cho, Nishikujo, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Station, Kyoto, Japan
APA Villa Hotel Kyoto-Ekimae
533 Shiokoji-cho, Shichijosagaru, Higashinotoin-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto Station
SEARCH FOR MORE HOTELS: KYOTO HOTELS HERE
About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.
For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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