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-   -   Osaka/Kyoto (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/osaka-kyoto-1673514/)

anjun Nov 3rd, 2019 12:14 PM

Osaka/Kyoto
 
Hello, I am working on an itinerary for Japan in June and have read some of the threads so far on this forum. I would like some advise. We have 6-7 days for Osaka/ Kyoto area and am trying to figure out how many days for each. We will have a large group of 12 and we are really interested in nature, the old vs the modern world. My son is really interested in food, so he wants to spend time in Osaka. We have found that Osaka is less expensive to stay than Kyoto, but would it take away from the Kyoto experience to travel back and forth from Osaka? Any advise is appreciated.

anjun Nov 3rd, 2019 12:18 PM

I forgot to add, we were thinking of going to Hiroshima and Nara from Osaka as day trips, but if Kyoto needs more days, than we can skip one or the other.

tt7 Nov 3rd, 2019 01:43 PM

For some of us, it would be Kyoto 6/7 days, Osaka 0. Believe it or not, there is also food in Kyoto...

Itís just as easy to do day trips to Hiroshima and Nara from Kyoto as it is from Osaka. Take the 7.21 am Hikari Shinkansen from Kyoto and youíll be in Hiroshima by 9.05. On the way back, youíll have to change trains at Shin-Osaka anyway so go and visit Dotonbori, the nightlife and restaurant part of Osaka.

Kyoto was Japanís capital from 794 to 1868 and thus has over a thousand years of history and is the cultural heart of Japan. Osaka is primarily a commercial city and a bit like a mini Tokyo but without Tokyoís attractions. For some of us, itís a complete mystery why people go to Osaka.

Adastra2200 Nov 3rd, 2019 04:09 PM

I would not throw Osaka under the bus. If you are also seeing Tokyo, there is a lot less need to spend your daylight hours in Osaka - it's something of a clone. For temples and shrines, naturally Kyoto and Nara vastly outshine it. And for castles, Himeji (and even Hikone) are real and authentic, while Osaka "Castle" is no castle at all - it's a modern museum with a castle facade (not to mention staff security waiving signs and barking out, "No photos!!" "Stop taking video!!!"). But every place has something to see, of course. Where Osaka does its best is in the evening, such as Dotonbori and Shinsekai. There are some great lights, food and atmosphere - and it's easy to go there after a day of sightseeing in Kyoto. Nor is it as easy to go to Hiroshima from Kyoto as Osaka - at best, if you have a full JR Pass, you can take the bullet train from Kyoto the whole way (though you may need to transfer at Shin-Osaka). But if you don't, and you choose to get the JR West Kansai-Hiroshima Pass et al, you cannot take the bullet train between Kyoto and Osaka with it. The best case is you could take a limited express like the Haruka or Thunderbird (that's what I do), but it still adds about 30-45 minutes each way to make the connection.
I would certainly make time to see Nara though.
And if you haven't considered it yet, you should think about adding in Himeji. The castle and Kokoen Garden are really nice. You could see both in half a day, and add in Mt Shosha to finish it off, or spend half a day in Kobe.

kja Nov 3rd, 2019 04:52 PM

You've already gotten some great advice! I'll just add that your interest in old Japan suggests that you would want to put most, if not all, of your time in Kyoto and Nara. And you can certainly dine very, very well in those cities.

If you haven't already done so, I would urge you to spend a lot of time with japan-guide.com and the JNTO web site.

janisj Nov 3rd, 2019 04:59 PM

I'm not the Japan pro that some are -- but IME you should spend all or most of your time in Kyoto or Kyoto/Nara. If there are other things you want to see on Osaka, fine - but don't stay there simply for 'foodie concerns'.

yestravel Nov 5th, 2019 02:01 PM

Kyoto had fabulous food. We were so involved and entranced by Kyoto we never even went to either Nara or Osaka. We had 8 nights in Kyoto.

mrwunrfl Nov 6th, 2019 10:17 AM


Originally Posted by anjun (Post 17010938)
We have found that Osaka is less expensive to stay than Kyoto, but would it take away from the Kyoto experience to travel back and forth from Osaka? Any advise is appreciated.

Of course it will. When you exit a lodging in Kyoto then there you are on the street in Kyoto. That is quick (10 seconds) and as simple as could be.

When you exit a lodging in Osaka then you have to make your way to a railway station, get tickets, find your track, wait, board, ride and exit a train, find your way out of the station, and then you are on the street in Kyoto. Maybe an hour for that. Same thing in reverese at the end of the day. Both trips probably around rush hours, with a group of 12? That is not simple.

Don't forget to take everything you need for the day before you leave Osaka. Going back to Osaka for anything pretty much means ending your day in Kyoto.

yestravel Nov 6th, 2019 11:57 AM

Also you need to add in the expense for 12 people of going back and forth between Osaka & Kyoto.

anjun Nov 7th, 2019 02:18 PM

Thank you all so very much for your advise. I will definitely put more thought into staying in Kyoto. We will be in Tokyo for 4 days, so we will get that experience of a modern city. I have looked into lodging in Kyoto, but itís strange that a lot of places that can hold more people only have one bathroom. Iím a little obsessive about have having multiple bathrooms when we have so many people. If you know of any place that is good for a big party, please let me know. Thanks again.

kja Nov 7th, 2019 05:59 PM


Originally Posted by anjun (Post 17013013)
I have looked into lodging in Kyoto, but itís strange that a lot of places that can hold more people only have one bathroom.

Have you checked booking.com?

anjun Nov 8th, 2019 11:36 AM

Yes, Booking.com, VRBO.

anjun Nov 10th, 2019 07:42 AM

I have booked 4 nights at Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei in Kyoto. And two nights at Harper House in Osaka. is anyone familiar with these properties?

mrwunrfl Nov 11th, 2019 10:57 AM

The Kyoto place looks nice. It says it is Japanese style, and it is, except that it has Western beds.

The Osaka lodging is Japanese style - it has futons, not beds. At least, I didn't see any beds in the photos, only tatami floor and one shot showed futons. There was a photo of stairs which makes me wonder if they have an elevator. I didn't check.

janisj Nov 11th, 2019 04:27 PM

>>There was a photo of stairs which makes me wonder if they have an elevator. I didn't check.<<

I flipped through all the photos and it does include one of elevator doors. Both properties look nice.

MinnBeef Nov 11th, 2019 06:30 PM

Put me in the camp of Kyoto: 6-7 nights, Osaka: 0. Having said that, I do think it would be well worth it to visit Osaka in the evening from Kyoto to have dinner ?the Osaka pancakes whose name I canít remember) and see the lights of Dotonbori. Osaka is I my a 20 minute train ride from Kyoto. That was my plan on my 2017 Japan trip. Unfortunately, I developed very painful tendinitis in my shin earlier in my trip and was walking slower than the 80 year old Japanese grandmas. As such, dinners were in Kyoto every night (fabulous food there as well) within taxi distance.

anjun Nov 12th, 2019 07:04 AM

We were thinking of visiting Nara and Hiroshima. So thought that if we did and then had dinner in Osaka, why travel back to Kyoto? The train has to go through Osaka anyway, I think from Kyoto to Nara or Hiroshima.

mrwunrfl Nov 12th, 2019 07:59 AM

janisj, good to know they have an erebeta
MB: okonomiyaki

yestravel Nov 12th, 2019 09:40 AM


Originally Posted by mrwunrfl (Post 17015281)
janisj, good to know they have an erebeta
MB: okonomiyaki

I loved okonomiyaki. While it seemed to be made wherever we went, Hiroshima has it and I believe their version is what popularized it.

We're all different. For me checking into a hotel for one night would be a pain. I prefer settling into one place and would do a late afternoon trip for the evening in Osaka.

kja Nov 12th, 2019 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by anjun (Post 17015251)
We were thinking of visiting Nara and Hiroshima. So thought that if we did and then had dinner in Osaka, why travel back to Kyoto? The train has to go through Osaka anyway, I think from Kyoto to Nara or Hiroshima.

If that works for you -- and it certainly seems that it might -- go for it!


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