Osaka/Kyoto

Nov 3rd, 2019, 12:14 PM
  #1  
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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.
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Nov 3rd, 2019, 12:18 PM
  #2  
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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.
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Nov 3rd, 2019, 01:43 PM
  #3  
tt7
 
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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.
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Nov 3rd, 2019, 04:09 PM
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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.
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Nov 3rd, 2019, 04:52 PM
  #5  
kja
 
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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.
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Nov 3rd, 2019, 04:59 PM
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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'.
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Nov 5th, 2019, 02:01 PM
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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.
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Nov 6th, 2019, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by anjun View Post
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.
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Nov 6th, 2019, 11:57 AM
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Also you need to add in the expense for 12 people of going back and forth between Osaka & Kyoto.
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Nov 7th, 2019, 02:18 PM
  #10  
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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.
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Nov 7th, 2019, 05:59 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by anjun View Post
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?
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Nov 8th, 2019, 11:36 AM
  #12  
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Yes, Booking.com, VRBO.
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Nov 10th, 2019, 07:42 AM
  #13  
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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?
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Nov 11th, 2019, 10:57 AM
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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.
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Nov 11th, 2019, 04:27 PM
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>>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.
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Nov 11th, 2019, 06:30 PM
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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.
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Nov 12th, 2019, 07:04 AM
  #17  
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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.
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Nov 12th, 2019, 07:59 AM
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janisj, good to know they have an erebeta
MB: okonomiyaki
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Nov 12th, 2019, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
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.
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Nov 12th, 2019, 06:00 PM
  #20  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by anjun View Post
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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