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7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

by limledi Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 12:31 AM

Hi. We are a family of 5 going to Osaka for 7 full days. This trip is from May 21-28.
Day 1 - Evening arrival 7:55pm in Osaka. Will go direct to Kyoto from Osaka airport & check in @ Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi.

Day 2 - Kyoto

Day 3 - Kyoto

Day 4- Kyoto

Day 5 - Early morning move out to Osaka. Check in at Hotel Chuo Oasis Osaka.

Day 6- Osaka

Day 7 - Day trip to Nara. Return to Osaka.

Day 8 - Last day in Osaka. Evening flight 8:40pm.

List of places to go:
1. Osaka - Universal Studios, Minami (Namba), Osaka Castle, Kita (Umeda), Umeda Sky Bldg, Osaka Bay Area. If time permit, might include Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, ***ennoji Temple, Shinsekai Tsutenkaku Tower, Osaka Station City, Minoo Park, Tenmangu Shrine

2. Kyoto - Kiyomizudera Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple, Ginkakuji Temple, Arashiyama, Sanjusangendo, Nijo Castle, Gion, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Philosopher's Path, Nishiki Market. If time permit, Higashiyama, Shugakuin Villa, Kokedera, Katsura Villa, Byodoin Temple, Ninnaji Temple, Nanzenji Temple

3. Nara - Todaiji Temple, Horyuji Temple, Isuien Garden, Nara Park, Kofukuji Temple, Kasuya Taisha, Yoshikien Garden, Omizutori

Please advise on the following:
1. Is my itinerary ok?

2. In Kyoto, is it better value to take subway plus taxi from the subway stations closest to the attractions than buses since we're 5 pax? Can a taxi take 5 pax?

3. Is it good value to get the roundtrip ICOCA & Haruka package at Osaka airport? What type should we get & how much is it? Aside from this, do you recommend getting other passes useful for our trip?

4. Are my hotels in Kyoto & Osaka ok?

5. About my itinerary, are my 7 days distributed well on those 3 places Osaka, Kyoto & Nara?

6. Of those attractions listed on Osaka, Kyoto & Nara, which should I prioritize based on my duration in each place since they are too many?

7. If we take the Kyoto bus, which online site can we download the bus map in English?

Hope to hear from you. Thanks!

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10 Answers
  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Kyoto and Osaka are right next to each other. We did both out of Kyoto. I would say the 5 people are 2 taxis, but we used the bus and subway system every where we went.

    I think your agenda is a bit agressive.

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  • stamporama's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by stamporama Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    I think 3 days for Kyoto is good enough but if your party includes kids/teens, they might get bored if most of what you plan to see are temples. After visiting the first two, you will soon notice that Shinto temples have a similar layout so you might want to rethink this especially when admission fees are involved. For Kyoto, the Kiyomizudera, Fushimi-Inari and the Kinkakuji temples are beautiful examples to view. I'd skip the Philosopher's path if I were you. As for Nara, one whole day is sufficient to go through the deer park and Todaiji temple. Not much to see in Osaka but if you're headed to Universal then that should occupy the one day you allotted. Taxis in Japan will only take on 4 passengers max, so to get around Kyoto where the attractions can be far apart you'd have to navigate with both train and bus. There is a counter in the Kyoto station where they give free maps of the subway, bus numbers and their respective routes. Another alternative is to inquire from your hotel for a private vehicle with driver guide that would fit all of you and take you to where you want to go. It's more expensive but more convenient. Finally, expect hotel rooms in Japan to be smaller than Western types. I have also stayed at a Super Hotel in Kyoto and you hardly have room to move about especially with your luggage.

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  • dru46's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by dru46 Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    1. For visiting Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara, yes. For what you want to see, probably not. You might want to cut out a few things. I would skip Umeda, personally. I have been there and it is pretty nice, but not that great. Nanba is where the action is at, and for shopping, much better. If you had more time, definitely check out more of Umeda. USJ? Maybe skip it unless the kids want to go as it will take up most of a day.

    2. I would probably take the bus. It is the most convenient and the bus pass is pretty economical. Taxi, unless one of your children is a baby, you won't get into a cab. There are very few cabs that accommodate 5 people.

    3. The ICOCA & Haruka is a good deal. You can break even if you buy the round trip and don't use the return. You save money either way. You will probably use most of your card's money going to Nara alone.

    4. Hotels will depend on where you go. Super Hotel is a good hotel. I would rather stay near Kyoto Station as the bus access is easier, but the Super Hotel is more central. Easier to get to other places. The Chuo Hotel isn't the best place. I would consider somewhere in Namba instead. It is right at the shopping area and you can walk everywhere. Plus, going to Nara is pretty easy from Nanba.

    5. I think the distribution is good. More time is in Kyoto and a couple days in Osaka. As mentioned, if you go to the Bay area, you will "lose" a day going there. It really depends on what you want to see and do. Some people love Osaka and the shopping, others couldn't care. ^^

    6. People have mentioned all of the important ones. In Nara, if you have time, go to Horyuji. Many people skip it because it is not that close to central Nara, but it is nice. In Osaka, I would consider skipping the Bay area. You can spend 1 day in Nanba, and a day in Umeda. Rather, half a day at Osaka Castle park, then a full day in Nanba and Shinsekai. Without knowing what you and your family want to do, it is a bit difficult to say exactly what you should or shouldn't see.

    7. city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/acces...

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  • SfumatoPants's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by SfumatoPants Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    I have to disagree Dru, Umeda is not only the best (best meaning largest concentration of stores into the smallest possible area) shopping area in Osaka, but when Grand Front Osaka opens at the end of April 2013, Umeda will be the largest shopping area in Japan, and that makes it one of the largest in the world.

    Your itinerary. Leave of Tsutenkaku. Add a walk from Dojima to Osaka Castle. A great way to see the city is to get off at Yodoyabashi station and walk along Dojima (the island in the middle of the river) East to Osaka castle. Thiscould take several hours depending on you pace, but there are restaurants, cafe's, bars, sights snd sounds along the way to make it worthwhile. The other thing I like is the river cruise: http://renew.ipponmatsu.co.jp/

    As for your hotel in Osaka. I think it's a bad choice. Although the hotel itself may be well run, it's in an inconvenient location on the doorstep of the redlight district and the Day Labourer hotel district. I'm assuming that you chose it based on price, so you may not have the option to find a hotel closer to Namba station or Umeda station. If you can you should look for something within walking distance of those two stations. If you want a more specific recommendation PM me.

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  • limledi's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by limledi Online Now Feb 14, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    Thanks for all your advises. It's really helpful.

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  • limledi's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by limledi Online Now Feb 14, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    Dru46, I don't understand why I shouldn't use my roundtrip ICOCA & Haruka but only 1 way & it might be used up going to Nara. By the way, aside from ICOCA & Haruka package, should I get any other passes? Thanks!

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  • Bilimari's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by Bilimari Online Now Feb 14, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    Not a big deal, but if you go to Nara on Day 5 from Kyoto, instead of heading to Osaka, and back up to Nara, you would save some time in the transportation.

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  • cgf's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by cgf Online Now Feb 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    1=yes 2=no 3=why not 4=yes 5=yes 6=check locally also by weather 7=I could not find one but this site may help you http://kyotoadvice.info/navigation/

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  • dru46's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by dru46 Online Now Feb 14, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    limledi wrote: Dru46, I don't understand why I shouldn't use my roundtrip ICOCA & Haruka but only 1 way & it might be used up going to Nara. By the way, aside from ICOCA & Haruka package, should I get any other passes? Thanks!
    Sorry, I didn't mean you shouldn't make use of the round trip.  I meant to emphasise the savings by the fact that you will break even if you didn't make use of the return, so you won't lose anything from buying the round trip no matter what.  Simply put, buy it.  ^^

    As for other passes, the bus pass in Kyoto is worthwhile, especially if you use the bus to go to many places.

    SfumatoPants:  I do believe you know a lot more than me.  I just found shopping in Umeda to be bothersome.  I prefered Nanba more.  Guess I should look around a lot more if I ever get a chance to do so.

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  • limledi's Profile Photo

    Re: 7 Days Itinerary - Kyoto, Osaka, Nara

    by limledi Online Now Feb 15, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    Bilimari wrote: Not a big deal, but if you go to Nara on Day 5 from Kyoto, instead of heading to Osaka, and back up to Nara, you would save some time in the transportation.
     Thanks. That's a good idea. On day 5, where should I stay the night in Kyoto or Osaka after a day trip to Nara?

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