Field Guide: Tokyo to Osaka

Field Guide: Tokyo to Osaka

If you are visiting Japan anytime soon and you want to travel to different cities from Tokyo to Osaka, you can refer to this sample itinerary guide. We stayed for 10 nights in Japan and we visited 6 cities/towns. I’m not gonna lie, Japan is expensive, but totally worth it. I have listed the must see places, as well as the Airbnb guesthouses we stayed at. It’s best to book your accommodation 6-8 months ahead of time so you can get cheaper rates. Just check those Airbnb guesthouses that have flexible cancellation policy, in case you need to make changes to your plans at a later date. Airbnb is a whole lot cheaper compared to hotels, so if you’re tight on budget I strongly suggest you go with Airbnb.

Accommodation and transportation took up the biggest part of our budget. So, do yourself a favor and carefully plan your itinerary to avoid unnecessary expenses. I wish I can share a summary of our budget with you but I’m really bad at keeping records of the things I buy or spend. I know! Im not exactly the best blogger in town! Lol! Also, try not to be too ambitious with your itinerary, give enough time to linger and feel the vibe of each place instead of rushing and trying to see everything in the city. And most importantly, wear your comfiest shoes!

I have to warn you though, that there are no theme parks on this itinerary. We did not visit Disney Tokyo or Universal Studios in Osaka (may Harry Potter forgive me for not visiting him!) I have nothing against theme parks, I actually think they’re fun but I also think they take up too much time and you’d have to spend an entire day queuing up for rides which I really don’t want to do. But its all up to you, just add them to your itinerary and be sure to allot an entire day for one theme park.

Day 0 – Arrival 

Narita Terminal 2 to Asakusa
Train: Narita Sky Access Line (Access Limited Express)
Fare: ¥1276 or P558.48(with PASMO card)

Airbnb Accommodation in Tokyo
Rate: We paid ¥11978.15 or P5232.25/night or for 2 guests but it’s cheaper if you book far in advance.

Note: Our flight arrival time was late at night, so we didn’t start touring till the next day. As for our accommodation, we stayed at Asakusa area because there’s a direct line from the Airport to Asakusa and there’s also a direct line from Asakusa to Nikko which was our next town to visit, outside of Tokyo. I actually really liked our airbnb in Tokyo as compared to the ones that we stayed at in Osaka and Kyoto. It was clean, comfortable, not too cramped, and it was in a very quiet area.

field guide tokyo to osaka

DAY 1 – Tokyo

1. Ueno Park – We went there because we want to see the autumn foliage but unfortunately autumn came early in Tokyo so there wasn’t much to see when we were there. Im sure the park is also pretty during spring because of the cherry blossoms. Try to search the cherry blossom forecast in Japan, so you will know the estimated dates when they’re in full bloom.
How To Get There: Asakusa (Ginza Line) to Ueno Park

2. Akihabara –  This is where you will find all sorts of anime shops, game arcades and old school nintendo games.
How To Get There: Ueno to Akihabara (Hibiya line)

3. Around Asakusa area- Sensoji temple, Nakamise Dori (street market), Tokyo Skytree (sunset)
How To Get There: Akihabara to Ueno to Asakusa station

Note: Our itinerary is designed for us not to go back and forth from one place to another because again, train and bus rides in Japan are so expensive. It may seem like you’re only paying small amounts each time but it will add up and before you know it, you’re already running out of budget. Piece of advice, study the MRT of the city when you plan your itinerary.field guide tokyo to osaka

Day 2 – Tokyo

1. Tsukiji Fish Market – It can be really crowded even when its early but I had loads of fun eating all sorts of Japanese street food here. Eat in small portions because there’s so much food to try, mostly raw! Lol! You’ll eat some of the freshest seafood and high quality sushi here and you can also watch a fascinating Tuna auction if you go as early as 5am. We didn’t watch the auction because we’re too lazy to get up at 4am and be there at 5.
How To Get There: Asukusa (Asakusa Line)  to Ningyocho to Tsukiji
Some recommended restaurants (which we didn’t try because the queue are crazy long): Daiwa Sushi and Iwasa Sushi

2. Meiji Shrine – We witnessed a Japanese wedding here, it was fascinating.
How To Get There: Tsujiki to Hibiya (hibiya line) — Hibiya to Meiji-jingumae Harajuku (Chiyoda Line)

3. Harajuku streets – This is a ridiculously crowded part of Tokyo. It’s known as the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. We almost backed out when we saw a sea of people, but what the heck, we joined the crowd and it was fun. You can find small shops and boutiques all over this area, mostly selling cheap fashionable clothes, bags, accessories and all sorts of Japanese knick knacks. You can also spot a lot of Japanese cosplayers here and people who are in fun weird outfits.
How To Get There: There’s an exit from Meiji Shrine that will lead you straight to Harajuku streets

4. Shibuya – This is where you can find the world’s famous busiest intersection which is the Shibuya crossing. We crossed the streets of Shibuya so many times trying to get a perfect shot but it was impossible without a tripod and without getting bumped into someone. You can also find the statue of the famous dog Hachiko here. It’s just right next to the crossing.
How To Get There: Shibuya Station

5. Ginza – Shibuya is close to Ginza, so if you’re not tired yet, you can also go to Ginza to shop. It is where you can find the boutiques of high end brands. We honestly skipped this part because we were dead tired and we have no intention to shop. field guide tokyo to osaka

DAY 3 – Nikko

How To Get There: Train: Tobu Skytree Line Section Rapid  for TOBU-NIKKO
Fare: Y1360 or P595.55 (hourly dep. 6:20am-8:31am, 7:10am, 8:10am, 9:10am)
Travel Time: Approximately 1.5 hours away from Tokyo

1. Kegon Waterfalls and Lake Chuzenji
How To Get There: From the train station, there are buses going to Chuzenjiko Onsen bus terminal (50 minutes)
Fare: Chuzenji Onsen Free Pass Y2000 or P875.81 (8:42am, 9:27am, 10:27am)

2. Toshugu Shrine
How To Get There: Bus from Chuzenji Onsen to Nikko Central (1:15pm, 1:25pm, 1:35pm)

Nikko to Tokyo (Asakusa) – There is no direct train back to Tokyo
How To Get There: Tobu-Nikko to Shimo-Imachi; Shimo-Imachi to Asakusa
Fare: Y2700

field guide tokyo to osaka

Day 4 – Hakone

Airbnb Accommodation in Hakone
Rate: We paid Y14302.93 or P6263.30/night for 2 guests
Tip: This was hands down the best Airbnb guesthouse that I had ever stayed at since I started using Airbnb. The view in this house was to die for. It was featured in my Nikko and Hakone video here.

How To Get There: Asakusa- Shimbashi- Odawara – Hakone
Fare: Y2080 or P910.84
Hakone Pass – Y4000 or P1751.61 – This will let you do a full circuit tour using all modes of transportation in Hakone.

Tip: The foreshore area immediately south of Moto-Hakone port is a great spot to take photos of Mt Fuji. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side when we were there, but Autumn was on its peak in Hakone so we still tremendously enjoyed this small scenic town. field guide tokyo to osaka

Day 5 – Kyoto

Airbnb Accommodation in Kyoto
Rate: Y8696 or P3808.01/night for 2 guests
How To Get There: Hakone – Odawara (Shinkansen Train)– Kyoto (7:44am-10:11am)
Fare: Y12190 or P5338.04

1. Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun, 9AM-5PM
Admission: ¥400 or P175.16
How To Get There: There’s a bus from Kyoto Station that will go directly to Kinkaku-ji.

2. Nijō Castle – (We skipped this because we didn’t have enough time)
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun, 8:45AM-5PM (admission until 4PM)
Admission: ¥600 or P262.74
How To Get There: Kitaoji – Karasuma Oike (Transfer to Tozai Line) – Nijojo-mae

3. Light Illumination Temples – Eikando Temple
Operating Hours:  9:00 to 5:00 pm (entry until 4:00 pm); special evening hours during autumn illuminations.
Admission: Y600 or P262.74
How to Get There: From Kyoto Station – Nanzenji-Eikando-michi bus stop, 35 minutes, Y230 or P100.72 from Kyoto Station by Bus number 5

Tip: There are so many temples in Kyoto but you don’t have to see them all. Choose your battles. 😉field guide tokyo to osaka

Day 6 – Kyoto

1. Fushimi Inari Shrine (Orange Torris)
Operating Hours: Always open
Admission: Free
How to Get There: Fushimi Inari Shrine is located just outside JR Inari Station.

2. Kiyomizu-dera Temple – We got stupidly lost here, thinking that the other temples outside has a way that will lead us to this temple, but no save your efforts and just go to the main entrance directly. Unless you want to wander at a scenic Japanese cemetery like us, then go wander off by all means!

Operating Hours: Mon-Sun, 6AM-6PM / 6:30PM-9:30PM (Spring and fall illumination)
Admission: ¥300 / ¥400 or P131.37 / P175.16 (Spring and fall illumination)
How to Get There: Take bus number 100 or 206 (15 minutes, ¥230) from Kyoto Station and alight at Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. The temple is 10 mins uphill walk.

field guide tokyo to osaka

We got lost in a maze of gravestones! Seriously!

3. Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka Streets/ Gion –  Can be paired with a visit to Kiyomizudera Temple
How to Get There: It’s just the streets right outside of the Kiyomizudera Temple. It’s hard to miss.

Day 7 – Kyoto to Nara

1. Tenryuji Temple and Arashiyama Bamboo Groves – This is the last site we visited in Kyoto super early in the morning to beat the crowd. It felt like a rural part of Kyoto, it was really peaceful and scenic especially when we were on our way home and we have to walk along the river. The autumn foliage were insanely beautiful and I can only imagine how magical it looks in spring.

Operating Hours for the Temple: 8:30 to 17:30 with ¥500 or P218.95 admission
*Arashiyama Bamboo Groves is always open and free
How to Get There: Kyoto Station – Arashiyama (JR Sagano Line). From there, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to central Arashiyama.

field guide tokyo to osaka

Nara
How to Get There: Kyoto – Nara (JR Line), 1.5 hours from Kyoto
FARE: ¥710 or P310.91

Accommodation in Nara
TOTAL: Y29987.39 or P13131.58/night for 2 guests
Note: Me and my friend agreed that we should at least stay for 1 night in a traditional Japanese room with tatami and futons for sleeping. So, we decided to stay at this quaint hotel in Nara. Our room was beautiful, it was traditional with the luxury of modern comfort. It has a private open air bath and for those who want to try an onsen, they also have one within the hotel.

Nara Park – Nara is a small town, you can just walk around. The main attraction is the Nara Park where you can enjoy the nature and the deers that are freely roaming everywhere. You can also feed them. We stayed in the park till sundown then we went back to our hotel around 7pm. To be quite honest, I felt like I just slept through Nara. This was the only day during our Japan trip that I slept so early and woke up so late the next day. I was exhausted!

field guide tokyo to osaka

Day 8 – Osaka

How to get there: Shin-Ōmiya Station(Nara)- Osaka-Namba Station
Fare: ¥740 or P324.05

Airbnb Accommodation in Osaka
Total: ¥9760.14 or P4274/ night for two guests

Note: There are also tourist spots in Osaka but we skipped all of that and just stayed at Dotonbori area. Osaka is known as the kitchen of Japan. It is the food capital of the country, so all we did during our two day stay in this city is eat and shop. Lol! We honestly had no fixed itinerary in Osaka because we want to give ourselves a break.

Day 9 – Osaka

Shopping and food trip again around Dotonbori area – If you ever plan to shop, do it in Tokyo because things are generally cheaper in Tokyo. We didn’t realize this till we arrived in Osaka, so we had no choice.

Day 10 – Departure Flight

There is a direct bus from Namba station to Kansai Airport. It’s called OCAT.
Fare: ¥1050 or P459.80

I wrote more Japan travel tips here, to make your trip easier. I also created some travel videos and published a photo gallery about Beautiful Strangers in Japan and Autumn in Japan. Let me know if you have any questions about traveling to Japan. Im happy to help.

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2 Comments

  1. Renee Hahnel

    Wow… your photography is so beautiful!

    REPLY
    • Getz

      That’s flattering coming from you! Thanks Renee!

      REPLY

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