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6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/24 00:47
Hi, this is my first time to Osaka (have been to Tokyo).

1. I only have 5 full days to spare, how many days should I spend in Osaka and which recommended side trip should I visit? e.g. Kyoto/Nara/Hiroshima etc.

2. Is it advisable/cheaper to book train tickets and accomodation by myself instead of tour packages? I can only speak English.

Appreciate your recommendations!
by jell (guest)  

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/24 08:39
I only have 5 full days to spare, how many days should I spend in Osaka and which recommended side trip should I visit? e.g. Kyoto/Nara/Hiroshima etc.

It depends on your personal interests! If you like history and tradition, I recommend to spend most of your time in Kyoto (at least 2 days) and Nara (at least one day) and possibly Hiroshima/Miyajima (1-2 days). Maybe Mount Koya (overnight stay at a temple). But if your interest is more with shopping and theme parks, I recommend to spend about three days in Osaka and the rest in Kyoto and Nara. Still, if you would like to see rural Japan, nature and nature, I would recommend side trips to Mount Koya, Kinosaki, maybe Kumano.

Is it advisable/cheaper to book train tickets and accomodation by myself instead of tour packages? I can only speak English.

Depends on what tour packages you have access to. But few tour packages can compete with the 1500 yen low-budget accommodations around Shinsekai if you are really serious about saving money.

As for short-distance transportation around Greater Osaka, there are various passes available, but moving around geographically wisely with a prepaid card is often the cheapest. Icoca&Haruka is often a good deal if you arrive at Kansai Airport:
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/24 13:19
For Osaka you won't need more than a day.

I suggest visiting Kyoto for 2-3 days, Himeji Castle, Nara and maybe Mt. Koya:

Or - if you are interested in ninja, how about Iga-Ueno?
by zoomingjapan rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/24 16:28
Thank you so much for your recommendations. I have read up on the places, and have a few questions:

1. For Osaka, I intend to visit Osaka castle, Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, Umeda Sky Building+Takimikoji, Osaka Aquarium+Tempozan Harbor Village, Minami (Namba),Shinsaibashi. Can all these be covered in a day? Also, is the aquarium a must-go?

2. I am interested in culture and architecture, but if temples are mainly similar, one or two will be sufficient. I also hope see different things e.g. shopping districts, food streets. As such, will Kyoto offer a greater variety of attractions as compared to Osaka?

3. I will be arriving at Osaka Kansai Airport and leaving from there. It seems like the Kansai Area Pass is the most value for money if I were to take side trips. Should I start with Kyoto and stay for 2 days, move back to Osaka for the rest of the days and take day trips to Nara and Himeji (1 day each)?

4. Mt Koya looks good but it's not covered under the Kansai Area Pass. If Mt Koya is a must-see, I can forgo either Nara or Himeji

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!
by jell (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/24 21:07
Am spending last night of 5 in Osaka. Nara (& Naramachi) are a decent day trip. If you only want to visit a few castles I would highly recommend Himeji, even though the main part is undergoing restoration, as there are other parts and the part under renovation is accessible and you learn how castles, esp roofs are constructed.
I have JR pass bought in Australia and use to determine rail timetables and it often gives u platform numbers. At station entrances trains are listed in Japanese and then English. I have booked accommodation of web in Japan and had no problems. I have next to no Japanese and have coped for 3 weeks. Go to tourist info spots at towns/cities u visit as they have good English maps of towns. They r usually at railway stations. You could do all of Osaka in 2 days, 1 might be pushing it.
by Megan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/25 14:10
The aquarium is a must see depending on your love of aquariums I suppose. I found it impressive and have visited twice. If you do go, try to get there right when it opens to avoid the crowds that can build up. I think spending the morning there and then going for lunch nearby before heading off somewhere else would be the best bet if you wanted to go to it.

If you want to hit all the spots in Osaka and maybe enjoy a ferris wheel or boat tour as well, I'd suggest using the Osaka pass for one or two days. It gives you unlimited transit on the subway and free admission to numerous places as well as discounts on others. You can read it in detail here it also says where you can buy it. Though when I used it, I picked it up from the tourist office in Osaka station near the Central gates.

It wouldn't be worth it for you to get a JR pass since you aren't doing any long distance travel and the travel you will be doing can be covered by other passes or just pay the normal fare.

Kyoto has a lot of history and culture but not all temples/shrines/palaces are built alike. I'd spend some time going through Japan-guide's Kyoto section and picking out a few that interest you by looks, history or uniqueness and try to find a nice mix.

I think you might like the walk from Kiyomizu dera through the Higashiyama distric towards Yasaka shrine. It will give you a feel for different type of Japan than is in Osaka. If you have time or inclination, the walk from Nanzenji along the philospher's path and to Ginkakuji is also really nice. Though I personally am not that fond of Ginkakuji itself, I do like the walk.

Another must see is the golden pavillion of Kinkakuji though it's off on the other side of Kyoto. You might combine it with Ryoanji which is in that area. And perhaps you'd either like to visit the Imperial Palace and the gardens or Nijo-jo which is a castle by name but is more like a palace in design.

I think if you don't want to feel too rushed and want to take your time to explore places spend 2 days in the Kyoto area, 1-2 days in Osaka depending on how much you want to see. Maybe combine a half day in Nara with either Kyoto or Osaka (It's easy to get to from either Osaka or Kyoto) and then a day being a bit more adventurous and going further afield.
by Sage (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/25 15:01
It can get very hot in June, particularly late June. We were there between about the 10th to the 24th in 2010, while it was pretty mild in Nara at the beginning of the trip (and quite cool in Hakone after that) it was like a furnace by the time we got to Kyoto in the last few days of our trip, too hot to go out. So unless you are going in early June or tolerate the heat well, I'd look for cooler areas to go - maybe Miyajima, Mt Koya etc. Don't get me wrong, it was a great time to be there, not many Europeans at all and you would really get fussed over, but just work around the heat.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/26 14:33
It's totally personal preference. I could easily spend 6 days just in Osaka. There's so much to see and do and eat and buy! And if you include a day trip (or 2) to Kyoto that doesn't give you much time to see any other cities/sites.

What did you enjoy about Tokyo, what do you want to see more of, or what do you want to see that you felt you didn't see in Tokyo?

For shopping, culture and food, definitely visit Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori and Namba. Umeda is a nice area too. For something different see the area around Tsutenkaku Tower and Tsuruhashi Station for Korean BBQ Street.

The aquarium is a good 1/2 day trip so you won't be able to fit all those other sights.

Someone else recommended the Osaka Unlimited Pass. I second that recommendation. You can see a lot on your list for free with it.

Because you only have a limited time, I don't recommend Mt Koya. It's a long trip there and back, but do go if you have a spare day.
by Obak3 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/26 14:48
I spend a week each year in Kansai. There are so many things to do in Osaka that six days would not be enough to see everything.
Of course, some may just see this city superficially and then think it is not interesting but take time to visit and enjoy it.

Enjoy your stay in Osaka!
by fuchan29 rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/27 00:24
Thank you so much, I appreciate the time taken to make suggestions, especially Sage.

Architecture wise I am really looking forward to Osaka castle and Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, I think those are really unique, but I will research further into Kyoto and as advised, pick a few cultural places to explore. Will also visit the shopping and food places as suggested by Obak3.

For now I intend to spend 2 days in Osaka, 2 days in Kyoto, and a day trip in Nara. If I decide to cut short Osaka, I will then make a trip to Himeji.

Question 1: I know it's the rainy season (I am going in the third week of June),I don't mind the heat but I wouldn't want the rain to hinder my sightseeing. As such, are there places I should avoid if it rains? I intend to visit Nara Deer Park.

Question 2: Since a JR pass is not recommended for my short stay, can I get train tickets to Kyoto from the train stations directly?
by jell (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: 6 Days Osaka in June 2013/2/27 18:06
Yes, possible to just leave out Mt. Koya, especially if it rains
by tadasan (guest) rate this post as useful

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