There is so much in Japan to discover outside of Tokyo, but for most visitors, the cities of Osaka & Kyoto are likely at the top of the list. These two cities, located in the Kansai region, offer a captivating blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and culinary delights at a somewhat slower pace compared to the bustle of Tokyo. In this blog, we’ll take you through a 4-day itinerary for the ultimate trip to Osaka & Kyoto.


Day 1: Arrive & Explore Modern Osaka

Morning:

Arrive at Kansai International Airport and take the airport limousine bus or subway to your hotel in Osaka. The bus tends to be most convenient with more direct service, however the subway is often more affordable if you don’t have much luggage. Either way, the airport is located a ways away from the city center, so be prepared for up to an additional hour and a half travel time to reach your accommodations.

Afternoon:

Once you’re settled, we recommend grabbing a quick bite for lunch at CoCo Ichibanya  for some authentic Japanese curry, customized to your tastes. There are many branches across Japan so feel free to pop in any nearby before heading over to the Dotonbori district. This is one of the liveliest areas of Osaka and offers a wide variety of shopping including the infamous Don Quijote. The store is so big, it even has its own Ferris Wheel! 

Evening:

As the sunsets and you’ve shopped yourself out – we recommend exploring the many sidestreets and alleys of Dotonbori for a streetfood dinner. Osaka is famous for having some of the best takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushikatsu street food in the world. And don’t forget to stop by for a pic with the Glico Running Man! 


Day 2: Sightseeing Traditional Osaka

 

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Morning:

Dive into Japan’s traditional side on Day 2 by first exploring one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, Osaka Castle. This five-story castle boasts a history that dates back almost 450 years and is one of the most recognizable buildings in Japan. Then, grab brunch at The 33 Tea & Bar Terrace nearby for a delicious meal with even more unbelievable views!

 

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Afternoon:

Stop by the Umeda Sky Building for a city-wide landscape you won’t want to miss before making your way to Shitennoji Temple. Founded in 593 AD, it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan.

Evening: 

Next up, head over to the Namba area of Osaka. Here you will discover the 12m tall lion head that makes up the Namba Yasaka Shine. It is believed that his mouth will swallow any evil spirits around you and bring good fortune, particularly in business and education. Namba is also home to famous homages to modern favorites like the Kirby Cafe and Sailor Moon Museum.

 

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Finish the day by heading south to Shinsekai, where you can enjoy the unique sumo meal experience at Yokozuna Tsutenkaku!

Looking for a hassle-free way to see the sights in Osaka? Try OSAKA SKY VISTA, an open-top double-decker bus! 


Day 3: Universal Studios Japan

Probably one of the most popular attractions near Osaka, Universal Studios Japan is top of their class when it comes to amusement parks. From Nintendo to Harry Potter & more, this park has it all for visitors both young & young-at-heart. Between travel time to the theme park and the many things to do there, we recommend planning to spend at least a full day exploring everything USJ has to offer.

Theme parks not your thing? Check out these nearby day tours to Nara, Kobe & more to experience more of the Kansai region’s rich history and culture:


Day 4: Day Trip to Kyoto

Morning: 

Enjoy your final day in Kansai exploring everything Kyoto has to offer! Start your day at the iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of vermilion torii gates. Then move on to explore the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) and Nijo Castle, as well as the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

Check out these incredible sites & more via bicycle with a rental pass here

 

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Afternoon: 

Take the opportunity to rest your feet by experiencing a traditional Tea Ceremony. While Kyoto is well known for the tradition of tea ceremonies, this is also the perfect chance to indulge in some of Japan’s world-famous matcha! You can even choose to attend a geisha-hosted ceremony in the Gion district to fully immerse yourself in the ceremonies’ tradition. Afterward, head over to the Pontocho Alley for a late lunch.

 

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Evening: 

Pack your bags, grab any last-minute convenience store goodies, and make your way back to Kansai Aiport in the evening for your return flight. We hope you’ve enjoyed your trip!

Looking for a hassle-free Kyoto experience? Check out these 1-day tours & activities:


To discover more of the best things to do in Japan, visit Trazy.com, Your Travel Shop for Asia!

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