I just thought of making a 6 day itinerary around Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto and Nara) for you. Hope this helps!
Day 1 : Universal Studios Japan
My current top attractions:
- Minion Park – I wasn’t a minion fan at first but experiencing this made me one.
- Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Try The Three Broomsticks / Harry Potter Restaurant – My faves are chicken and ribs platter and of course butter beer!
- Universal Cool Japan Area – Check out my full post about this here: 17 Reasons to Visit Universal Studios Japan this 2017
Tip: Get your passes at JTB Philippines to avoid long lines and inconvenience. Getting an XPRESS 5 or 7 pass is an option but highly recommended.
Day 2 : Osaka-jo Castle Park, Umeda Sky Building, Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi
Where to stay in Osaka? Check out my post here.
Traveling to Osaka on a budget? Click here for my tips.
My favourite shopping street is along Shinsaibashi to Namba area. You can just leave me there for a day and end up with dozens of items in my hand. Japan is really good at marketing items and I always get fooled.
First time to try Ichiran in Osaka! My real first time was in Fukuoka last May. I personally think that Ichiran is just as good as any random tonkotsu ramen shops in Japan. I suggest to try Ichiran and a random tonkotsu ramen shop so you can also judge.
Day 3 : Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizudera and Fushimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari Shrine is one of the most important Shinto shrine. It is most famous for its torii gates. I suggest putting this on the last of your list in Kyoto so that you can climb up in the afternoon and see a sunset view of the city at the top. It’s truly magical and since it’s free, it could save you money if you are planning to visit Kyoto Tower just for the top view of this wonderful, wonderful city.
Kinkakuji is open every day (no holidays) from 9:00am to 5:00pm only. It cost ¥400 each person for the entrance fee. I also suggest getting the ¥500 day pass that you could easily see along the bus stops in Kyoto station. Since it’s a 40 minute bus ride to get here, you might want to prioritize going here at 9:00am. It could also maximize your time.
Kiyomizu-dera is always one of the must-see temples in Japan because one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage sites. Lots of tourists, usually clad in kimono, go there. I detest huge crowds but I would brave to visit here every single time because it’s just so, so beautiful. Top things to do here are: taste free Japanese delicacies. It’s free but I’m sure once you try it you will surely BUY; wash your hands, drink from the running spring; eat cold soba; and just be completely possessed by how beautiful nature is. It’s kind of unfortunate that they are currently renovating it (as most famous Japanese sites are) because of Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But I definitely recommend you to go and see it for yourself.
Day 4: Nara Deer Park
Nara will definitely win your heart with all it’s perks. Deers can freely roam around the park, you can also feed them senbei (Japanese crackers) that you can easily buy thru local vendors.
Other things to-do in Nara aside from visiting deer park? Click here.
Day 5: Kobe, Motomachi, Sannomiya
Sannomiya is one of my go-to places to tour my friends especially around Kitano area. This city is not just pretty but it also has lot of charm. Many expatriates preferred living here because of it’s sophistication.
Kobe Luminarie 神戸ルミナリエ is a light festival held in Kobe, Japan, every December since 1995 to commemorate the Great Hanshin earthquake. The lights were donated by the Italian Government and the installation itself is produced by Valerio Festi and Hirokazu Imaoka. Lights are kept up for about two weeks and turned on for a few hours each evening. Each light is individually hand-painted. Major streets in the vicinity are closed to auto traffic during these hours to allow pedestrians to fill the streets and enjoy the lights. It is viewed by about three to five million people each year.
Day 6: Awaji Island / Flower Island
Awaji is one of my favourite islands in Japan. It is not only filled with flowers but also art by Japanese self- taught architect Tadao Ando. You must definitely see it!
Still looking for other things to-do in Kansai (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto)? Check it here.
What’s my favourite city in Japan? I can’t really pick one! Each and every place is dear to my heart. How about you? What’s your fave?