Here are sample recommended DIY OSAKA-KYOTO itineraries for 1 DAY (layover), 2 DAYS (overnight), 3 DAYS, 4 DAYS, 5 DAYS, and 6 DAYS with breakdown of expenses, train pass recommendations, and other travel tips.

Kansai is an interesting region to explore especially for first-time travelers in Japan. It has many modern, cultural and historic attractions connected by developed and efficient rail and bus networks, allowing visitors to travel easily and comfortably.

The region’s largest city and economic center is Osaka. You’ll easily fill a day’s itinerary just exploring the city. Its most famous district is Dotonbori, where you’ll get to shop till you drop or eat to your heart’s content. There are plenty of local flavors to indulge your gastronomic curiosity. Feel like a child again by going on the rides of Universal Studios, which can take up an entire day. The lines can also be very long depending on the season and day of your visit. The bustling metropolis is where you’ll see old and new collide. Old but restored sites such as Osaka Castle occupy a special place in the city’s beautiful cityscape and skyline.

Other destinations in Kansai are easily accessible from Osaka. Kyoto is the most popular. The city has ancient temples that are picturesque and each has a story to tell. Some of these are Kiyomizu-dera and Kinkakuji. Get a glimpse of how royalty lived while exploring Nijo Castle, enjoy nature in Arashiyama and take in the old-world ambiance of Gion. You can also make day or overnight trips in Nara, Himeji and Kobe.

In this post, we’ll share with you several sample itineraries that TPT co-founder Yoshke created. You may use these as guides to build your own itinerary.



Tip! Rent a pocket wi-fi for hassle-free travels!

The language barrier in Osaka is real, so you can save a lot of time and avoid stress if you’re connected to the Internet, which you can use to translate and navigate. You can reserve one in advance via Klook for only PhP 389 per day for unlimited 4G access. That’s a lot cheaper than those you will find at Kansai airport. The best part, if you’re a group, you can connect multiple devices hassle-free. You can then split the cost with your friends. You can pick up the device at the airport. No deposit is required.

RESERVE THIS NOW


To save money, you can avail of the travel passes for foreigners. These come in day or multi day passes that cover a huge chunk of your travel expenses. Some even provide discounts to famous attractions within the city. There are a lot of them available in Kansai Region. But only the ones listed below are needed for the itineraries in this post.

  • Get an Osaka Amazing Pass (OA Pass) to save some yen. Having the Osaka Amazing Pass will waive the entrance fees to some of the attractions and unlimited access to the subway. It costs ¥2500 for 1 day and ¥3300 for 2 days if you book with Klook. RESERVE HERE
  • You have an ICOCA card to make it easier for you to go through train gates and use lockers. RESERVE HERE
  • You DON’T need a JR Pass. It’s only wise to use it for trips longer than 7 days with at least 2 long-distance journeys. Since the itineraries below are restricted to Kansai region and none of them involve long-distance travels, the JR Pass will be a waste of money here.

All itineraries below assume you’re flying in and out of Kansai International Airport. In Osaka, stay at a hotel or hostel in Namba area so you have a direct access to the airport and key attractions. In Kyoto, stay within spitting distance of Kyoto Station.

OSAKA ITINERARY 1 DAY (Layover)

One day is not enough to see the best that Osaka can offer, but if that’s all the time you have, you can still have a grand time. If you want to experience Universal Studios Japan, it can easily take an entire day. For more information, visit: Universal Studios Guide.

But if you’re more interested in enjoying the city’s most iconic sites, then the itinerary below is for you.

For this itinerary, you will need a 1-day Osaka Amazing Pass. Reserve a Pass Here!

Day 1: OSAKA CITY TOUR
07:00am – Arrival at Kansai Airport
08:00am – Collect 1-day OA Pass, ¥2500
08:30am – Nankai Airport Express to Tengachaya, ¥920
09:10am – Metro to Tanimachiyonchome Station (Osaka Castle), FREE (OA Pass)
09:30am – Osaka Castle, FREE (OA Pass)
12:00nn – Subway to Nakatsu Station (Ramen Yashichi), FREE (OA Pass)
12:30pm – Lunch at Ramen Yashichi, ¥730
02:30pm – Subway to from Nakatsu to Umeda, FREE (OA Pass)
03:00pm – Umeda Sky Building Observatory, FREE (OA Pass)
04:30pm – Subway from Umeda to Namba, FREE (OA Pass)
05:00pm – Early dinner at Tokisushi, ¥1134
06:00pm – Dotonbori Tour, FREE (OA Pass)
08:00pm – Train to Airport, ¥920
09:00pm – Flight Check in
11:30pm – Flight out

Cost Estimate: JPY 6500 (USD58, SGD80, PHP3150, EUR50), excluding airfare.


OSAKA ITINERARY 2 DAYS (Overnight)

Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Hotel stop: 1 night in Osaka

This overnight itinerary will take you to Universal Studios Japan on your first day and to the city’s most famous tourist spots including Osaka Castle, Dotonbori and Umeda Sky Building on the second day.

For this itinerary, you will need

You will need a 1-Day Osaka Amazing Pass for this itinerary, but you should only on your second day. On the first day, just get a regular ticket to ride the train or subway.

Day 1: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
12:30pm – Arrival at Kansai Airport
01:00pm – Collect 1-day OA Pass, ¥2500, Reserve Here!
01:30pm – Train to Universal City, ¥1190
02:30pm – Universal Studios Japan, ¥7900, Reserve Here!
08:00pm – Train to Namba, ¥410
08:40pm – Hotel check in
09:00pm – Late dinner, ¥1000
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 2: OSAKA CITY TOUR
07:00am – Wake up, check out
08:30am – Subway to Tanimachiyonchome Station (Osaka Castle), FREE (OA Pass)
09:00am – Osaka Castle, FREE (OA Pass)
12:00nn – Subway to Nakatsu Station (Ramen Yashichi), FREE (OA Pass)
12:30nn – Lunch at Ramen Yashichi, ¥730
02:30pm – Subway to from Nakatsu to Umeda, FREE (OA Pass)
03:00pm – Umeda Sky Building Observatory, FREE (OA Pass)
04:30pm – Subway from Umeda to Namba, FREE (OA Pass)
05:00pm – Tombori River Cruise, FREE, (OA Pass)
06:00pm – Train to Airport, ¥920
07:00pm – Flight check in
07:40pm – Dinner, ¥1500
09:15pm – Flight out

Cost Estimate: JPY 16500 (USD148, SGD203, PHP7980, EUR127), not including airfare and hotel.


OSAKA-KYOTO ITINERARY 3 DAYS

This 3-day/2-night itinerary will take you to both Osaka and Kyoto. However, you will be spending both nights in Namba in Osaka. Kyoto will just be a day tour. In Osaka, you’ll be able to visit Universal Studios and key attractions in the city. In Kyoto, you’ll see the thousand torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine as well as the Golden Pavilion and Gion District.

Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Hotel stop: 2 nights in Osaka

PASSES YOU NEED:

  • 1-day Osaka Amazing Pass, ¥2500, to be used on Day 2, Reserve Here!
  • 1-day JR West Kansai Pass, ¥2200, to be used on Day 3, Reserve Here!

Day 1: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
12:30pm – Arrival at Kansai Airport
01:00pm – Collect Klook Passes at Arrival Hall
01:30pm – Train to Universal City, ¥1190
02:30pm – Universal Studios Japan, ¥7900, Reserve Here!
08:00pm – Train to Namba, ¥410
08:40pm – Hotel check in
09:00pm – Late dinner, ¥1000
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 2: OSAKA CITY TOUR
05:00am – Wake up
06:00am – Subway to Tamagawa Station (Endo Sushi), FREE (OA Pass)
07:00am – Breakfast at Endo Sushi, ¥1242
08:30am – Subway to Tanimachiyonchome Station (Osaka Castle), FREE (OA Pass)
09:00am – Osaka Castle, FREE (OA Pass)
12:00nn – Subway to Nakatsu Station (Ramen Yashichi), FREE (OA Pass)
12:30nn – Lunch at Ramen Yashichi, ¥730
02:30pm – Subway to from Nakatsu to Umeda, FREE (OA Pass)
03:00pm – Umeda Sky Building Observatory, FREE (OA Pass)
04:30pm – Subway from Umeda to Namba, FREE (OA Pass)
05:00pm – Tombori River Cruise, FREE, (OA Pass)
06:00pm – Dotonbori Night Tour, FREE (OA Pass)
07:30pm – Early dinner at Tokisushi, ¥1134
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 3: KYOTO DAY TOUR
07:00am – Wake up, hotel check out
08:00am – JR Trains to Kyoto Station, FREE (JR West Pass)
09:00am – Leave bags in locker, ¥700
09:50am – Train to Saga-Arashiyama, FREE (JR West Pass)
10:10am – Explore Arashiyama, Tenryuji Fee: ¥500
12:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
12:30pm – Lunch, ¥1000
01:40pm – Train to Inari Station, FREE (JR West Pass)
02:00pm – Fushimi Inari Shrine, FREE
04:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
04:30pm – JR Ltd. Exp. Haruka train, FREE (JR West Pass)
06:00pm – Dinner, ¥1500
07:00pm – Flight check in
09:15pm – Flight out

Cost Estimate: JPY 23,000 (USD205, SGD282, PHP11120, EUR176), not counting airfare and hotel.


OSAKA-KYOTO ITINERARY WITH UNIVERSAL STUDIOS 4 DAYS

Duration: 4 days, 3 nights
Hotel stop: 3 nights in Osaka

PASSES YOU NEED:

  • 1-day Osaka Amazing Pass, ¥2500, to be used on Day 3, Reserve Here!
  • 1-day JR West Kansai Pass, ¥2200, to be used on Day 4, Reserve Here!

Day 1: DOTONBORI
12:30pm – Arrival at Kansai Airport
01:00pm – Collect Klook Passes at Arrival Hall
01:39pm – Nankai Airport Express to Namba, ¥920
02:15pm – Walk to hotel
02:40pm – Hotel check in, freshen up
04:30pm – Kuromon Market, Budget: ¥1500
06:00pm – Dotonbori
08:00pm – Dinner at Tokisushi, ¥1134
10:00pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 2: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
07:00am – Wake up call
08:20am – Walk to JR-Namba Station
09:00am – Train to UniversalCity Station, ¥180
09:30pm – Universal Studios Japan, ¥7900, Reserve Here!
Food expenses: ¥2500
08:00pm – Train to Namba, ¥410
08:40pm – Hotel check in
09:00pm – Late dinner, ¥1000
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 3: OSAKA CITY TOUR
05:00am – Wake up
06:00am – Subway to Tamagawa Station (Endo Sushi), FREE (OA Pass)
07:00am – Breakfast at Endo Sushi, ¥1242
08:30am – Subway to Tanimachiyonchome Station (Osaka Castle), FREE (OA Pass)
09:00am – Osaka Castle, FREE (OA Pass)
12:00nn – Subway to Nakatsu Station (Ramen Yashichi), FREE (OA Pass)
12:30nn – Lunch at Ramen Yashichi, ¥730
02:30pm – Subway to from Nakatsu to Umeda, FREE (OA Pass)
03:00pm – Umeda Sky Building Observatory, FREE (OA Pass)
04:30pm – Subway from Umeda to Namba, FREE (OA Pass)
05:00pm – Tombori River Cruise, FREE, (OA Pass)
06:00pm – Dotonbori Night Tour, FREE (OA Pass)
07:30pm – Dinner, ¥1200
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 4: KYOTO DAY TOUR
07:00am – Wake up, hotel check out
08:00am – JR Trains to Kyoto Station, FREE (JR West Pass)
09:00am – Leave bags in locker, ¥700
09:50am – Train to Saga-Arashiyama, FREE (JR West Pass)
10:10am – Explore Arashiyama, Tenryuji Fee: ¥500
12:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
12:30pm – Lunch, ¥1000
01:40pm – Train to Inari Station, FREE (JR West Pass)
02:00pm – Fushimi Inari Shrine, FREE
04:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
04:30pm – JR Ltd. Exp. Haruka train, FREE (JR West Pass)
06:00pm – Dinner, ¥1500
07:00pm – Flight check in
09:15pm – Flight out

Cost Estimate: JPY 29,000 (USD260, SGD355, PHP14025, EUR222), excluding plane tickets and hotel.


OSAKA-KYOTO ITINERARY 5 DAYS

This itinerary is very similar to the 4-day itinerary above. The only difference is, you will be staying overnight in Kyoto instead of just visiting on a day tour. This way, you get to see much more of what the city has to offer. Aside from the usual tourist spots like Fushimi Inari Shrine and Arashiyama, this itinerary includes a visit to Toei Movie Studio Park, which is a Japanese-style theme park that kids and adults alike will surely enjoy.

Duration: 5 days, 4 nights
Hotel stop: 3 nights in Osaka, 1 night in Kyoto

PASSES YOU NEED:

  • 1-day Osaka Amazing Pass, ¥2500, to be used on Day 3, Reserve Here!
  • 1-day JR West Kansai Pass, ¥2200, to be used on Day 5, Reserve Here!

Day 1: DOTONBORI
12:30pm – Arrival at Kansai Airport
01:00pm – Collect Klook Passes at Arrival Hall
01:39pm – Nankai Airport Express to Namba, ¥920
02:15pm – Walk to hotel
02:40pm – Hotel check in, freshen up
04:30pm – Kuromon Market, Budget: ¥1500
06:00pm – Dotonbori
08:00pm – Dinner at Tokisushi, ¥1134
10:00pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 2: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
07:00am – Wake up call
08:20am – Walk to JR-Namba Station
09:00am – Train to UniversalCity Station, ¥180
09:30pm – Universal Studios Japan, ¥7900, Reserve Here!
Food expenses: ¥2500
08:00pm – Train to Namba, ¥410
08:40pm – Hotel check in
09:00pm – Late dinner, ¥1000
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 3: OSAKA CITY TOUR
05:00am – Wake up
06:00am – Subway to Tamagawa Station (Endo Sushi), FREE (OA Pass)
07:00am – Breakfast at Endo Sushi, ¥1242
08:30am – Subway to Tanimachiyonchome Station (Osaka Castle), FREE (OA Pass)
09:00am – Osaka Castle, FREE (OA Pass)
12:00nn – Subway to Nakatsu Station (Ramen Yashichi), FREE (OA Pass)
12:30nn – Lunch at Ramen Yashichi, ¥730
02:30pm – Subway to from Nakatsu to Umeda, FREE (OA Pass)
03:00pm – Umeda Sky Building Observatory, FREE (OA Pass)
04:30pm – Subway from Umeda to Namba, FREE (OA Pass)
05:00pm – Tombori River Cruise, FREE, (OA Pass)
06:00pm – Dotonbori Night Tour, FREE (OA Pass)
07:30pm – Dinner, ¥1200
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 4: TOEI MOVIE PARK
07:00am – Wake up, hotel check out
07:30am – Namba Station to Umeda Station, ¥230
08:05am – JR Special Rapid Service to Kyoto, ¥560
09:00am – Hotel check in
10:30am – Train to Uzumasa Station, ¥200
11:00am – Toei Movie Studio Park, ¥2200
12:00pm – Lunch (onigiri), ¥500
01:00pm – Continue exploring Toei Park
02:40pm – Walk to Hanazono Station
03:08pm – Train to Gion-shijo Station, ¥350
04:00pm – Explore Gion shrines & streets
06:30pm – Train to Kyoto Station, ¥270
07:00pm – Dinner at Ramen-Koji, ¥1500
08:00pm – Walk to hotel
10:00pm – Lights out

Day 5: KYOTO TOUR
07:00am – Wake up call, early check out
08:00am – Walk to Kyoto Station, leave bags in lockers, ¥700
08:41am – Train to Saga-Arashiyama, FREE (JR West Pass)
10:10am – Explore Arashiyama, Tenryuji Fee: ¥500
12:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
12:30pm – Lunch, ¥1000
01:40pm – Train to Inari Station, FREE (JR West Pass)
02:00pm – Fushimi Inari Shrine, FREE
04:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
04:30pm – JR Ltd. Exp. Haruka train, FREE (JR West Pass)
06:00pm – Dinner, ¥1500
07:00pm – Flight check in
09:15pm – Flight out

Cost Estimate: JPY 35,000 (USD313, SGD430, PHP16,900, EUR268), excluding plane tickets and accommodations.


OSAKA-KYOTO ITINERARY 6 DAYS

Duration: 6 days, 5 nights
Hotel stop: 3 nights in Osaka, 2 nights in Kyoto

PASSES YOU NEED:

  • 1-day Osaka Amazing Pass, ¥2500, to be used on Day 3, Reserve Here!
  • 1-day JR West Kansai Pass, ¥2200, to be used on Day 6, Reserve Here!

Day 1: DOTONBORI
12:30pm – Arrival at Kansai Airport
01:00pm – Collect Klook Passes at Arrival Hall
01:39pm – Nankai Airport Express to Namba, ¥920
02:15pm – Walk to hotel
02:40pm – Hotel check in, freshen up
04:30pm – Kuromon Market, Budget: ¥1500
06:00pm – Dotonbori
08:00pm – Dinner at Tokisushi, ¥1134
10:00pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 2: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN
07:00am – Wake up call
08:20am – Walk to JR-Namba Station
09:00am – Train to UniversalCity Station, ¥180
09:30pm – Universal Studios Japan, ¥7900, Reserve Here!
Food expenses: ¥2500
08:00pm – Train to Namba, ¥410
08:40pm – Hotel check in
09:00pm – Late dinner, ¥1000
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 3: OSAKA CITY TOUR
05:00am – Wake up
06:00am – Subway to Tamagawa Station (Endo Sushi), FREE (OA Pass)
07:00am – Breakfast at Endo Sushi, ¥1242
08:30am – Subway to Tanimachiyonchome Station (Osaka Castle), FREE (OA Pass)
09:00am – Osaka Castle, FREE (OA Pass)
12:00nn – Subway to Nakatsu Station (Ramen Yashichi), FREE (OA Pass)
12:30nn – Lunch at Ramen Yashichi, ¥730
02:30pm – Subway to from Nakatsu to Umeda, FREE (OA Pass)
03:00pm – Umeda Sky Building Observatory, FREE (OA Pass)
04:30pm – Subway from Umeda to Namba, FREE (OA Pass)
05:00pm – Tombori River Cruise, FREE, (OA Pass)
06:00pm – Dotonbori Night Tour, FREE (OA Pass)
07:30pm – Dinner, ¥1200
10:30pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 4: TOEI MOVIE PARK
07:00am – Wake up, hotel check out
07:30am – Namba Station to Umeda Station, ¥230
08:05am – JR Special Rapid Service to Kyoto, ¥560
09:00am – Hotel check in
10:30am – Train to Uzumasa Station, ¥200
11:00am – Toei Movie Studio Park, ¥2200
12:00pm – Lunch (onigiri), ¥500
01:00pm – Continue exploring Toei Park
02:40pm – Walk to Hanazono Station
03:08pm – Train to Gion-shijo Station, ¥350
04:00pm – Explore Gion shrines & streets
06:30pm – Train to Kyoto Station, ¥270
07:00pm – Dinner at Ramen-Koji, ¥1500
08:00pm – Walk to hotel
10:00pm – Lights out

Day 5: GOLDEN PAVILLION, REST DAY
06:30am – Wake up, walk to Kyoto Station
08:00am – Take Bus 101 or 205 to Kinakuji, ¥230
09:00am – Kinkakuji Temple, ¥400
11:00am – Bus to Kyoto Station, ¥230
12:00nn – Lunch, ¥1000
01:00pm – Free time
07:00pm – Dinner, ¥1000
09:00pm – Back to hotel, lights out

Day 6: KYOTO TOUR
07:00am – Wake up call, early check out
08:00am – Walk to Kyoto Station, leave bags in lockers, ¥700
08:41am – Train to Saga-Arashiyama, FREE (JR West Pass)
10:10am – Explore Arashiyama, Tenryuji Fee: ¥500
12:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
12:30pm – Lunch, ¥1000
01:40pm – Train to Inari Station, FREE (JR West Pass)
02:00pm – Fushimi Inari Shrine, FREE
04:00pm – Train to Kyoto Station, FREE
04:30pm – JR Ltd. Exp. Haruka train, FREE (JR West Pass)
06:00pm – Dinner, ¥1500
07:00pm – Flight check in
09:15pm – Flight out

Cost Estimate: JPY 38,000 (USD340, SGD466, PHP18,400, EUR290), not counting hotel and plane tickets.


OSAKA-KYOTO ITINERARY WITH NARA OR KOBE

If you have more days, we recommend that you visit other cities in Kansai Region like Nara and Kobe. For that, we have a separate post.

READ: OSAKA-KYOTO-NARA-KOBE ITINERARIES


Reminders and Tips

If you choose to use any of the itineraries above, please take note of these reminders.

  • Book your tickets and passes with Klook. Most of these are discounted. Just follow the affiliate links indicated in the itinerary. It will also help us maintain this blog at no extra cost to you.
  • The indicated budget and times are just estimates. It’s meant to simply give you an idea on how much time or oney an activity can cost. The actual prices and schedules may vary so please double check with official sources. Estimated budget do not include shopping and other expenses not indicated.
  • Total cost projections are overestimated. We gave it a bit of allowance so you have some wiggle room in case of little unplanned incidental expenses.



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Joshua Berida

Joshua Berida

Blogger at The Wandering Juan
Joshua is a wanderer at heart but a writer by profession. He plans to explore the world one province, city and country at a time. Follow his travels at TheWanderingJuan.net
Joshua Berida

Comments

  1. Tin says:

    Hi! May I know how is the train commute within the Osaka area? I will be travelling with my husband and our 3yo daughter and my concern is baka too crowded ang mag-train na it will be difficult to travel with kids?
    Thanks!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Tin! It’s not as bad as in Tokyo, faaar from it. But it’s best to avoid rush hours kapag papasok and pauwi na yung mga nagwowork, around 7-9am and 5-7pm. And even then, not all lines are crowded.

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