Travelling to Japan, you definitely must visit 2 famous cities of the Kansai region which are Osaka and Kyoto. But, do you still hesitate because you don’t know how many days is best to explore Osaka and Kyoto? So, what to do in Osaka and Kyoto for 2 days? Let’s check out our Osaka Kyoto itinerary blog with the detailed itinerary of 2 days in Osaka and Kyoto of Kansai region (Kansai itinerary 2 days) to find out the answer! Let’s see LivingNomads’s suggested schedule with fantastic activities and recommendations now!!
- Dotonbori guide — What to do in Dotonbori & suggested Shinsaibashi Dotonbori itinerary 1 day for the first-timers
- Cherry blossom Osaka 2023 forecast — 13 best places to see sakura in Osaka & best place to see cherry blossoms in Osaka
- What to do in Kyoto? — Top 10 must-see, must do & best things to do in Kyoto
- Top budget hotels in Osaka — 7+ best budget hotels in Osaka & best places to stay in Osaka on a budget
- Osaka travel blog — The fullest Osaka travel guide for first-timers
Osaka Kyoto itinerary blog: What to prepare before going to Osaka and Kyoto?
The first thing you must do after arrived at Kansai airport is to adjust your clock to UTC +2; then, consider these effective “assistants”:
- 4G SIM Card, try to get an unlimited data Sim card for 8 days (get a sale off at only 2,181 JPY)
- ICOCA IC Card (pre-charged with 1500 JPY and deposit 500 JPY) served for transport in public transport such as bus, tram or for payment at convenience stores, ect. We offer this ICOCA card at only 2,124 JPY.
- Then, you need to think about getting a JR Pass at 3rd floor. JR Pass is a Shinkansen ticket goes to JR system all over Japan, almost our destinations are included on this ticket, so we can save a lot of money. Depending on your schedule, choose the right JR and the corresponding number of using days!
Note: If you are not in a hurry and still have a lot of time, you can use the Luggage keeping service located at first or fourth floor so that you don’t have to carry all your heavy luggages to save more energy to explore the stunning destinations! Price is about 300 JPY for 2 hours. Then, take a train with JR to Rinku Premium Outlets – a commercial center with a lot of luxury brands presenting.
Here is the detailed schedule for 2 days travelling in Kyoto and Osaka
2 days in Osaka and Kyoto — Day 1: Culinary tour in Osaka
Here, you can explore the center of Osaka, eat all the delicious food at this “Food capital”. Following is some must-try delicious dishes for you:
- Salmon rice at Kansai Airport: the rice has a sweet and sour taste of Japanese vinegar, served with sliced fish and salmon eggs, Japanese perilla leaves and soup for only 780 JPY.
- Osaka’s famous 551 Horai dumplings at Kansai Airport, I have tried a new Kitkat candy flavor: sake + cherry blossom.
Osaka is the second largest city in Japanese, it is well-known for being the “Food capital” with its crowded Dotonbori District. Travelling to Osaka, you must not miss this place, especially for check-in because Osaka’s distinctive feature is huge, colorful signs with long lines of people waiting for food purchases.
Next destination of the first day visiting Osaka & Kyoto is Midosuji Boulevard – Dotonbori Bridge – Shinsaibashi Quarter
To get full, I go to ICHIRAN Ramen, this is a chain restaurant being awarded Gold medal for being the Best ramen in the world. Although the time waiting to order is long, I still feel pleased with staffs here, they are always smiling and saying thank you to customers. You will experience Hakata-style ramen noodles, that is, each person sits at a table, front and sides are separated by wooden walls to create absolute privacy. Behind the bamboo blinds are waiters and kitchen staff. Items are ordered by automated machines; staff will pull out the bamboo blinds to bring out the dish according to the card purchased at the machine. This is also a unique Japanese culture, creating a “unique style”, one basic Ramen price is about 1300 JPY.
If you come to Dotonbori street, you can’t miss Takoyaki Juhachiban. Here, you can try as many new and unique octopus cakes as you want! I tried 4 of the Takoyaki here, it was really delicious!
Pastry lovers definitely love the cheese tart of famous brand Pablo, originating from Osaka. It is not too difficult to find the store because it is located right at the corner of Shinsaibashi street. One cake price is 900 JPY/ odd cake; if you buy one cake and 2 puddings, there will be 1350 JPY. Tart cheese cake has a medium fat, not too sweet and very “addictive”. There is also Pablo branch at the Airport for those who want to buy to take home as gifts.
Osaka Kyoto itinerary blog — Day 2: Complete the 6 must-do Activities when visiting Kyoto
1. “Travelling to KYOTO, must wear Kimono”
As we often say “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!”, coming to Kyoto, I decided to pre-order a Kimono rental service in advance for 2 people (hair styling for 1 person). You can rent Kimono from 9:00 and return it before 19:00. Total price is 1,714,000 JPY. Remember, pre-order is much more economical than order in place.
How to go: from Tennoji station (Osaka) take the train Hakura Express (JR) to Kyoto station. Then, in order to get to the Kimono rental booth, take the electric train from Karasuman Line to Gojo Station, and exit at Exit 2. OR, from Kyoto Station, take the city bus no. 05, 26, 101 and get off at Gojo Station. As soon as you exit at Exit 2, you will see an OK Kimono rental booth right upstairs at Yoshinoya restaurant.
It was extremely satisfied with the service in Japan, the staff warmly welcomed all the guests and provided helpful instructions for choosing costume, and even help the guests to dress up. There is no discriminating acts to customers using voucher. Staffs can speak both English and Chinese.
2. Visiting KIYOMIZU Temple
After dressing up in Kimono, I take me only 10 minutes by bus to get to KIYOMIZU Temple. There is also a Kodaiji Temple located 900 m from Kiyomizu-dera. Because at the time of going, the temple is undergoing renovation so I go straight to Saga Arashiyama (JR Sagano Line) to come to Sagano Bamboo Forest and visit a series of the most famous attractions that Kyoto travelers should not miss.
Itinerary: Saga Arashiyama Station – Sagano Bamboo Forest – Tenryuri Temple – Togetsukyo Bridge – Saga Arashiyama Station – Kyoto Station
3. Explore Arashiyama District
Arashiyama Districts is very crowded and always full of tourists, there are a lot of ladies wearing Kimono walking by the street which creates a bustling and colorful atmosphere. Besides, there are also tile-roofed houses built in ancient architecture style, which is a great background for taking virtual living pictures. Along this road, I came across a Maiko – an apprentice Geisha.
4. Visit Tenryu-ji (ranked first among the Kyoto’s five great Zen temples)
Tenryu-ji temple has been recognized as a World Cultural Heritage. This place owns the blooming flower garden Sogen Chiteien, surrounded by winding paths that are very poetic. You should also take sometime to see the blue lake, with its picturesque rockery that surprise everyone visiting!
5. FUSHIMI INARI Taisha (The temple of thousands vermilion torri gates)
FUSHIMI INARI Taisha temple is known as a place to worship fox – messenger of Inari God, therefore, there are fox statues everywhere inside the temple.
6. Gion District
17 :00 – I return the Kimono costume before going to the famous Gion district called Geisha street, in which Hanamikoji is the main street with the most exciting Geisha activities.
What to do in Kyoto? Explore now.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, to and from Kyoto you can refer to
- Limousine Bus Transfers between Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Osaka or Kyoto
- Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass (1 Day/2 Days, Kyoto Pick Up)
- Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass 1 Day/2 Days (Pick up at Osaka)
- Randen + Subway 1 Day Pass
- Kyoto Temples & Shrines Day Tour from Osaka: Fushimi Inari-taisha, Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera & More
- Kyoto Perfect Day Tour from Osaka or Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari-taisha, Arashiyama & More
- Kyoto and Nara Day Tour from Osaka/Kyoto
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (JP Airports Pick Up) for Japan
- 4G WiFi (Japan Pick Up) for Japan
- JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)
Are you looking for more Kyoto travel guide and top things to do in Kyoto: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Kyoto travel blog — The fullest Kyoto travel guide blog for a budget trip to Kyoto for the first-timers.