3D2N KANSAI Budget and Itinerary (Osaka-Kyoto-Nara)

by - Monday, November 05, 2018


Going to Kansai region is like hitting two birds with one stone. Dubbed as the culinary capital of Japan, Osaka and its food and shopping districts; the richness in history of the ancient capital, Kyoto; the temples and bowing deers of Nara, you can easily spend days in Kansai region and still barely scratch the surface. I find myself keep coming back.


This clearly isn’t the cheapest Kansai itinerary out there but I’d say this one is rich in experience and quite laid back, you can tweak and add stops according to your preference. This Kansai itinerary doesn’t seem like you have to hurry to finish everything because it focuses more on immersing on the activities.

Here’s a sample 3 days and 2 nights Kansai itinerary, assuming that you’d be staying near YODOYABASHI STATION of Midosuji Subway Line.


DAY 1: OSAKA

8:00 - Arrival at Shin-Osaka Station
transfer to Midosuji Line going to Yodoyabashi station
        - walk to hotel, drop luggage
        - walk back to Yodoyabashi station going to Osakajokoen Station via (Osaka Loop Line)

Read more about Osaka Castle Park

9:30 - OSAKA CASTLE PARK
11:00 - ride the train going to Osaka Station
          - walk from Osaka station to Umeda

11:30 - Lunch at GUDETAMA CAFE
          - shopping at HEP 5 Mall Umeda
          - walk back to Higashi-Umeda Station
14:00 - ride train going to Tenjinbashisuji Rokuchome Station (via Tanimachi Line)

14:30 - OSAKA MUSEUM OF HOUSING AND LIVING
          - leave things in coin lockers; line up for Kimono rental + fitting
16:45 - walk back to train station, ride train going to Nippombashi station (walk to Dotonbori)

17:30 - DOTONBORI / SHINSAIBASHI
          - Glicoman picture taking
          - shopping at Shinsaibashi

Read more about Gudetama Cafe, Osaka Museum of Housing and Living, and Dotonbori


19:00 - Dinner at SHAKEYS Shinsaibashi (eat-all-you-can)
21:00 - back at hotel

Note that you can stay longer in Shinsaibashi/Dotonbori area especially since Namba station is just 10 minutes away from Yodoyabashi station (our base/hotel). As for us, I left a little bit early to accompany my mom to the shinkansen station because of her work the next day.

Be sure to have a good sleep, we’ll be up early the next day!

DAY 2: KYOTO

6:30 - Good Morning!
        - walk to Yodoyabashi station
        - train from Yodoyabashi to Umeda
        - transfer from Umeda to Osaka Station
        - Osaka Station to Kyoto Station (ride JR Special Rapid Service bound for Yasu / 29mins)

8:32 - Breakfast at DOUTOR KYOTO STATION
        - go to Kyoto Tourist Information Center to get Kyoto Bus Pass
        - ride RAKU BUS #101

RAKU BUS Route Map can be found here!

9:30 - KINKAKUJI / GOLDEN PAVILION
        - ride bus bound for Nijo Castle

11:30 - NIJO CASTLE
          - bus back to Kyoto Station

14:30 - LATE LUNCH AT KYOTO STATION
          - Monte Romano at Kyoto Porta
          - walk to Kyoto Railway Museum (20mins away)

15:00 - KYOTO RAILWAY MUSEUM
          - shop for souvenirs

17:30 - Ride JR Special Rapid Train back to Osaka
          - buy dinner from convenience store (Tipid tips!)

18:30 - back to hotel*
I traveled during Spring, a peak season, so I thought of beating the crowds by waking up and going to places early and regain my energy back by calling it a day early too.* You might be wondering why Kiyomizudera is not included in our list. It's because it is under renovation since 2017 until March 2020. 

Rainy day? Fret not. Enjoy A Rainy Day Trip to Kyoto. Here's How!


DAY 3: Nara

6:30  - Early bird catches the worm!
         - buy breakfast from convenience store
         - pack things be ready for early check-out
         - check-out / leave luggage in a coin locker or at the hotel for pick-up later

8:00 - Yodoyabashi Station to Namba Station
        - Namba Station transfer to Osaka-Namba Station (via Kintentsu Nara Line)
        - get off at Kintentsu-Nara Station (50mins)

9:00 - Arrival at Nara (Kintentsu-Nara Station)
        - go to Kintentsu-Nara Bus Information Center to buy NARA 1-day Bus Pass

9:30 - Nara Park
        - feed the deers*
        - walk to Todaiji Temple

10:30 - Todaiji Temple
          - buy souvenirs
          - walk to Kasuga Taisha (walking not recommended, ride the bus instead)*

12:00 - Kasuga Taisha
          - explore the shrine and the woods
          - ride the bus back to Kintentsu-Nara Station
          - eat lunch*

13:30 - Arrival at Namba Station

14:00 - Eat at SHAKEYS SHINSAIBASHI again* (I was craving! Haha plus don't forget this is eat-all-you-can!)

15:00 - Last minute shopping at Shinsaibashi
17:00 - go back to hotel to pick-up luggage
18:00 - ride the bullet train back home / prepare for flight*

Read more about Nara 2018 - Nara Park, Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha



Travel Tips

When traveling around Japan, I strongly recommend getting the stored-value / IC cards (ICOCA for Kansai) if you will be riding the train a lot, it would definitely make your travel a breeze! You can also pay using these IC cards at many grocery and convenience stores.

Tourists must also take advantage of the Kansai Pass and other railways passes. Since I'm here on a resident visa, I'm not eligible to get neither the Kansai Pass nor the Japan Railway Pass. The Kansai Pass is available in 1-day up to 4-day tickets that allow you to ride JR trains and buses in Kansai, except for bullet trains, during the validity period (read more about Kansai Pass).

Just like the Kansai Pass, JR PASS, the supreme of all passes, allows foreign tourist visitors to ride JR trains and buses + the bullet train (Nozomi and Mizuho Shinkansens are the exemptions) throughout Japan. If you plan going to or from Tokyo and other regions in Japan, I highly recommend getting the Japan Railway Pass.

Read Universal Studios Japan (Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Attack on Titan)


Travel Budget and Expenses:




Aside from Spring is a peak season for foreign and local travelers in Japan, I booked my hotel room during the predicted cherry blossom blooming season so the steep price was as expected. If you're coming in with family or groups, you might want to consider renting an airbnb. If you're traveling solo just like I did, I once stayed in The DORM Hostel right smack in the heart of Shinsaibashi for ¥2,900 per night.

Traveling to a different place in Japan? Check out my blog's navigation and click on PLACES  > JAPAN > to check out other tourist destinations. Hope this post has been useful! If you have any more questions or suggestions feel free to drop them down below in the comments. Thank you for reading! :)

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