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The Absolute Best Day Trips from Osaka, Japan | Not to be Missed!!

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Osaka Day Trip and Osaka Day Tours

Are you planning your Osaka itinerary and wondering what the best day trips from Osaka are?

Let us help you plan & book your day trip from Osaka today!

Osaka in Japan, is one of the most beautiful port cities and is a commercial center on the Japanese island of Honshu.  It is a perfect place to base yourself at and to discover the surrounding regions when you venture out on your day trips from Osaka!  Your adventure only starts here!

Best Osaka Day Trips - Kyoto

Are you ready for an adventure?  On your day trips out of Osaka; you can get amongst beautiful temples, shrines, and much much more.  You can walk with the deer on your Nara Deer Park Osaka day trip; you can check out the amazing city of Kyoto; and Himeji castle will steal your heart away!  Kurashiki old town’s cobble stone streets will teleport you to Japan’s past and your trip to Miyajima island… (well this is my favourite) will create unforgettable memories!

What is even better is that all  of these ideas are great as day trips from Osaka by train.  It is really easy to access the trains in Osaka, which means that your trips will be easy to plan.

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The Absolute Best Day Trips from Osaka

Find below a list of the top day trips from Osaka.

 

1. Kyoto Day Trip from Osaka

– Our choice as the best day trip from Osaka –

Kyoto is our favorite city that we have visited on our trip to Japan!  It might come as no suprise that Kyoto is at the top of our list of side trips from Osaka.

This city was home for the emperors for over a millennium, from 794 until 1868.  You will find a number of spectacular gardens, Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, imperial palaces and traditional wooden houses.

Best Day Trips from Osaka - Kyoto

Our top three recommended stops for your day trip to Kyoto from Osaka are:

  • Gion District – the famous Geisha District
  • Fushimi Inari – sensational path of orange gates
  • and Bamboo Forest

There are so many amazing places that we recommend for you to see apart from the above three.  If you have a bit more time spare on your day trip to Kyoto, we would also urge you to see Kinkaku-ji temple ( the Golden Pagoda), Ginkaku-ji temple (the Silver Pagoda), Philosopher’s Path (only in Cherry Blossom season) and the famous Kyoto Streets Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka!

To help you pick which areas you would like to see, watch some of our Kyoto videos in our Japan playlist on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe, like & comment whilst you are there!)

Whilst you can easily do a one day trip from Osaka to Kyoto, we do highly recommend that consider staying in Kyoto for a few nights.

Osaka Day Trips to Kyoto Gion District

Day Tour Option:

You can easily get to Kyoto on your own (find relevant info below), but for those of you who like to sit back and enjoy the ease of an organized tour, we can highly recommend this particular Kyoto Day Tour from Osaka – Kyoto Temples & Shrines Day Tour from Osaka.

How to get from Osaka to Kyoto on your own:

The best & quickest option is the bullet train from Osaka to Kyoto:

    • JR Kyoto Line will take you from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station in 29 minutes.

We highly recommend for you to purchase the JR Rail Pass prior to coming for your holiday to Japan.  Click here to purchase your pass now!

For latest timetables, please follow the link Osaka to Kyoto by train.

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Tip:  If you are travelling with a JR Rail Pass (which we highly recommend!!)  you might want to take an Osaka to Kyoto bullet train.  This shinkansen train will take you from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station in just 15 minutes.  Worth it if you have a JR pass and that way you can see more of Kyoto!

Purchase JR Rail Pass

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2. Nara Day Trip from Osaka

Welcome to the 8th century capital of Japan.  Nara is located in the south-central Honshu and only under an hour away from Osaka!  We heard that here at Nara, the deer walk amongst the temples and mingle with the visitors!  Nara Deer Park is awesome!!   Without a doubt I think that this was the best Osaka side trip for kids.

Katie and Lily were more then stoked to be able to feed all the deer.  You can buy a packet of deer biscuits for only 150 Yen.  Note that you might have to buy a few packets, because there are a lot of deer in the park and they all look super cute!Temples at Nara Park Japan

In the heart of the Nara Deer Park you will find one of the most significant temples of Japan, the famous Todai-ji temple.  This temple is home to the magnificent Daibutsu, Todai-ji’s 15 metre high bronze Buddha statue.  This is one of the biggest Buddha statues that I have ever seen!  There are plenty of things to do in Nara, so you won’t have any problem filling up your day here.

Nara is the perfect 1 day trip from Osaka, whilst some prefer to stay a night or two, we really felt like 1 day was enough to absorb the park and it main attractions.

 

Day Tour Option:

You can easily get to Nara on your own (find relevant info below), but for those of you who like to sit back and enjoy the ease of an organized tour for your Osaka to Nara day trip; we can highly recommend the Arashiyama & Nara Todai-ji Day Tour from Osaka!

 

How to get from Osaka to Nara on your own:

The best way to get from Osaka to Nara is by the JR Yamatoji Line:

    • JR Yamatoji Line will take you from Osaka Station to JR Nara Station in 50 minutes.

We highly recommend for you to purchase the JR Rail Pass prior to coming for your holiday to Japan.  Click here to purchase your pass now!

For latest timetables, please follow the link Osaka to Nara by train.

Purchase JR Rail Pass

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3. Universal Studios Japan | USJ Osaka

OK, I know that this is day trip in Osaka itself, but it will require a full day of exploring!!  It is a definite must do!

Univeral Studios Osaka Japan

Universal Studios Japan is not only for the kids!  Even us, big kids, are allowed to have some fun too!  There is so much to choose from!  The park is divided into eight main sections.  There is New York, San Francisco, Amity Village and Hollywood to check out.  There is a Jurassic Park world with a pretty awesome ride … Waterworld with the unique show to see and the Universal Wonderland as well.  However, what we came here to see was the one-of-a-kind —-> The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!

Girls Enjoying Universal Studios

We surprised Katie and Lily with a daytrip to Universal Studios in Osaka and we have to say that we were all super impressed.  It was simply spectacular! The Harry Potter World is just brilliant!  You can find everything there!  From Butterbeer, to wands, to cloaks for each of the houses!  You can enter the Hogwarts Castle, where you can even find the paintings … speaking to each other!!  Katie proclaimed that the ride inside the castle was ‘ the best ride of ALL TIME!!!’  – Pretty impressive huh!!  We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks and the atmosphere was just amazing!!

 

The park is also the home of Sesame Street and Hello Kitty!  We saw loads of dressed up Hollywood characters wonder up and down the streets!  We watched a pretty crazy fun show at Waterworld!  Man, the atmosphere at the show was incredible!!!

You simply cannot miss out on this day trip!!

Harry Potter at Universal Studio Osaka Japan

This park can get extremely busy with waiting lines of over 1.5 hours (during Japan school holidays), so we highly recommend that you pre-purchase your tickets online in order to skip as much of the queues as you can.

Here is the secret ingredient to enjoying your day on RIDES, not in queues at USJ:

  1. Purchase your Ticket: Click here to purchase your 1-day e-ticket.  This is just the standard ticket that allows you entry into the park, but you will get to skip the line-ups, so worth being pre-organized!
  2. Grab a VIP Wristband (Harry Potter World Fans): If you are mainly interested in the Harry Potter World, we highly suggest you add on a USJ VIP Wristband.  This wristband is magic, and it allows you fast tracked entry into the HP world, which means you can be the first in line for the rides!  Click here to purchase your VIP wristband!
  3. Purchase a 7 Ride Express Pass: If you want to enjoy rides throughout the whole USJ park, forget about the wristband and grab an express pass instead.  The express pass will allow you to skip the lines on 7 of the most popular rides in the park.  With typically waiting lines of 1+ hours, this pass will save you loads of time, which means you can enjoy more rides and get more value out of your day.  Grab your USJ 7 Ride Express Pass here.

 

How to get from Osaka to Universal Studios Japan:

The best way to get to the USJ Osaka is:

    • From Osaka Station it will take you only 12 minutes.

We highly recommend for you to purchase the JR Rail Pass prior to coming for your holiday to Japan.  Click here to purchase your pass now!

For latest timetables, please follow the link Osaka to USJ by train.

Purchase JR Rail Pass

 

For more information on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Japan, click to read a great post here.

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4. Himeji Castle Day Trip out of Osaka

Himeji Castle | Osaka Day Trips

Himeji-jo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a spectacular example of a 17th century Japanese castle.  The castle is also called Shirasagijo or the White Heron Castle.  This white walled architectural marvel is the best preserved castle in all of Japan!  Well, that says it all… a definite must see as one of the top days trips outside of Osaka!

Make sure to check out the famous Koko-en garden next to the castle whilst you are there!

Himeji Castle Shirasagijo in Japan

Your Himeji Castle day trip will very most likely be a very busy day, but if you have time to explore a bit more, we would recommend that you make your way to Mt. Shosha.  You can take a local bus to the end of the line, where you can go on a little adventure at the Mt. Shosha ropeway!  The bus station is close to the Himeji castle.  Read more about the things to do in Himeji.

 

Day Tour Option:

You can easily get to Himeji on your own (find relevant info below), but for those of you who like to sit back and enjoy the ease of an organized tour for your Osaka to Himeji day trip; we can highly recommend the Himeji Castle and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge from Osaka day tour!

 

How to get to Himeji Castle from Osaka:

The best way to get from Osaka Station to Himeji is by:

    • Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station and it will take you only 29 minutes.

We highly recommend for you to purchase the JR Rail Pass prior to coming for your holiday to Japan.  Click here to purchase your pass now!

For latest timetables, please follow the link Osaka to Himeji by train.

Purchase JR Rail Pass

5. Kurashiki

Kurashiki is a little delight for those of us travellers in need of a bit of culture and in search of the old Japan.  This is a perfect place for that!  Kurashiki is a great addition to the Osaka side trips list, as many travellers are unaware of this city, and whilst it might be busy there, you very most likely will find more Japanese than tourists walking the streets of the Old Town.

Kurashiki dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867) and has a well preserved canal that runs through the centre of the old town.  The canal is one of the main attractions of the town, alongside Ohara museum and beautiful old wooden houses lining the streets.  In Cherry Blossom season, this place looks magical!

Kurashiki Japan

Katie and Lily were especially happy to check out the rainforest cat cafe located at the beginning of the Kurashiki scenic streets.  We don’t have those back in Australia, so this was a bit more of a treat for them!  In turn, we loved to wander around the magical old town whilst snapping some unique pics.

Kurashiki Okayama Japan

How to get from Osaka to Kurashiki:

The best way to get to from Osaka to Kurashiki:

    • Sanyo Shinkansen will take you from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama Station in 50-70 minutes depending on the model of a train you catch.

We highly recommend for you to purchase the JR Rail Pass prior to coming for your holiday to Japan.  Click here to purchase your pass now!

For latest time tables, please follow the link Osaka to Kurashiki by train.

Purchase JR Rail Pass

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6. Miyajima Day Trip from Osaka

Miyajima is amazing!  This beautiful island has been called an Island of Gods on the Seto Inland Sea and for a reason!  It is one of the most scenic and spectacular places in Japan!  The Great Torii gate shine like a beacon in the sea, welcoming you to the island and the Itsukushima Shrine (World Heritage site).

Beautiful streets of the old Japan open up around and up to the magnificent Mt. Misen, where you can go on a ropeway to the top for a panoramic view.

What is not to love about this island…  History and romance walk hand in hand here and a feeling of peace and bliss relaxes you to the core!  Well, at least it did for me.

Miyajima Island Hiroshima Japan

Unofficially, Miyajima is called a deer island of Japan.  Deer walk here freely amongst the locals and tourists alike.  Our kids were super stoked to see so many animals on our travels, but I think meeting deer in such a beautiful setting was just that little bit extra special.

Whilst you can easily manage to do a day trip from Osaka to Miyajima Island in one day (if you get up early and expect to get back late); we do recommend you stay a night if you can.

Miyajima Island Japan

Day Tour Option:

You can easily get to Miyajima on your own (find relevant info below), but for those of you who like to sit back and enjoy the ease of an organized tour, we can highly recommend the combined Hiroshima & Miyajima Group Day Trip.

How to get from Osaka to Miyajima:

The best way to get from Osaka to Miyajima is by the Sakura Line.

  • Sakura Line will take you from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station in 1 hour and 32 minutes.
  • Local train from 9th Station from Hiroshima to Miyajima-guchi will take 30 minutes.
  • Transfer to JR Ferry, which will take only 10 minutes to Miyajima

We highly recommend for you to purchase the JR Rail Pass prior to coming for your holiday to Japan.  If you have a JR Pass, not only can you get to Miyajima for ‘free’ on it, but you can always catch the ferry for ‘free’ as well!  Click here to purchase your pass now!

For latest time tables, please follow the link Miyajima from Osaka by train.

Purchase JR Rail Pass

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7. Hiroshima Day Trip from Osaka

Everyone knows about Hiroshima and its history and destruction after the fall of an atomic bomb.  So it is no surprise that the main attraction to this city is indeed the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Park & Museum.  Other very popular things to do in Hiroshima include visiting the unique wooden Hiroshima Castle, strolling around the beautiful Shukkei-en Japanese gardens & simply eating and shopping till you drop!

Hiroshima castle, Japan

Day Tour Option:

You can easily get to Hiroshima on your own (find relevant info below), but for those of you who like to sit back and enjoy the ease of choosing from the Hiroshima tours from Osaka; we can highly recommend the combined Hiroshima & Miyajima Group Day Trip.

 

How to get from Osaka to Hiroshima on your own:

The best way to get from Osaka to Hiroshima is by the Sakura Line.

  • Sakura Line will take you from Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station in 1 hour and 32 minutes.

We highly recommend for you to purchase the JR Rail Pass prior to coming for your holiday to Japan.  If you have a JR Pass, not only can you get to Miyajima for ‘free’ on it, but you can always catch the ferry for ‘free’ as well!  Click here to purchase your pass now!

For latest time tables, please follow the link Hiroshima from Osaka by train.

 

8. Mt. Koya Day Trip from Osaka

Mt Koya Koyasan

Day Tour Option:

In October 2017, a typhoon caused damage to the railway tracks between Hashimoto and Gokurakubashi. As a result, visitors to Koyasan can currently take the train only as far as Hashimoto where they have to transfer to a substitute bus to Koyasan. As a result, the one way journey between Osaka and Koyasan takes about 2.5 hours.

So if you want to enjoy a trip to Mt. Koya, we highly recommend you invest in a day tour option.  The Mt. Koya Day Trek Tour is very popular!

Other Top Osaka Day Tours to Check Out!

If you feel like it would be easier for you to go on an organized Osaka Day tour, than these choices might help:

 

Osaka Accommodation

Wondering where to stay in Osaka? You Could Travel has a great post about the different areas in Osaka.  She outlines the benefits of each area; as well as lists recommended accommodation choices for you to pick from.

We love going on day trips!  I guess every day that we are on our trips seems to be a day trip to somewhere, always packed to the brim with activities and destinations.  And that’s the way we like it!  Because why not?!  If you are in a beautiful country or your bucket list destination, make the most of it!  Take all the time that you have and explore as much as it is possible.  Because, who knows if you ever will have a chance to come back again.  We hope you enjoy your day trips from Osaka as much as we did!  Peace and safe travels to you all!!

Over to you:

  • Which of the destinations of our ”Osaka day trips” did you like the most?
  • Will you be adding a side trip from Osaka or one of the tours from Osaka to your Japan itinerary?

 

Osaka Day Trips Pinterest

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Phil Nolan
    April 27, 2017 at 6:18 am

    I just spent a few days in Osaka and saw a lot of the things mentioned here. In fact I just played my video of Nara park and all the deer as all as a couple other nearby things.

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