After you have planned for your trip and read up on the background info, this is the Days 1 and 2 of the Osaka-Kyoto Itinerary:
Take a train from Kansai International Airport to the city (Namba train station). Use google maps.
There is a huge counter that sells train tickets at the airport terminal. Do NOT buy it; it’s a scam. Instead, buy an ICOCA card and use the card to take the train. This is because the train ticket costs 3 times more than the ICOCA card.
Arrive at your hotel and rest until dinner time. (We stayed at Il Cuore Namba.)
If you’re living around the Namba area like us, explore Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi-suji shopping street. (Use google maps to get there, the areas are side by side.)
At Dotonbori, don’t forget to visit the Ebisu bridge where the Gilco Man (originally installed in 1935), #1 attraction of Osaka, is.
You may also take a 20-minute river cruise at Tonbori River Cruise of Dotonbori canal. The boat departs from the Tazaemonbashi Bridge Boat Dock.
There are hundreds of restaurants in this area. Have your dinner. Perhaps you’d like to eat Osaka street food, okonomiyaki.
Do NOT shop at Don Quixote (aka Don Don Donki) at this time. This is only the first day and if you shop, your luggage will be too heavy. Don’t worry, this itinerary is designed so that you have a chance to shop at Don Quixote.
Rest early. It will be a long day tomorrow.
9am – Go to Kuromon market (established since 1902) where homeowners and chefs get their ingredients. There are several sashimi, sushi, and rice bowls shops: eat your breakfast here.
10am – Reach Osaka Castle which began its construction in 1583.
11am – Start traveling to Kobe. Check out their official tourism website to check for events. If you’re taking the high speed, it takes only 30-40 minutes but the normal train takes 1.5 hours.
1pm – Take advantage of the Kobe beef lunch set at restaurants which is cheaper than dinner. (We ate at Kobe Beef Kisshokichi.) Take your time and chat with your partner.
3pm – Explore Nankin machi, Kobe’s Chinatown, established since 1868. It is one of three Chinatowns in Japan.
4pm – Shop at Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street (7 Sannomiyacho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0021, Japan).
5pm – Go to the famous Be Kobe sign (in Meriken Park, beside Kobe Port Tower). There will be a long queue.
6pm – 7pm: Dinner. We ate at one of the most popular streetfood stalls in Kobe, Hyōtan (1 Chome-11-15 Motomachidori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0022, Japan). It serves only gyoza and there will be a long queue because the hole-in-the-wall shop is small.
Travel back to your hotel in Osaka after dinner.
Next day, you’ll go to Ohara, an onsen town in rural Kyoto.
You may be interested in…
–10 Must Eat Food in Kyoto and Where to Find them
–Where to Stay in Kyoto, Japan: Hotel Vischio Kyoto Review
–Where to Stay in Osaka: Review of Hotel Gracery Osaka Namba
–10 Must-Eat Food in Hokkaido
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.