5-Day Autumn Getaway to Kyoto, Osaka & Nara Itinerary

Kansai region (関西地方) lies in the southern-central region of Japan. It is the cultural and historical heart of Japan, the earliest beginnings of Japanese civilisation. It is where Kyoto, Nara and Osaka are situated.  Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital (710-794) that saw the spread of Buddhism to Japan. During the Heian period (794-1185), the capital was moved to present-day Kyoto, where it remained until the Meiji Restoration. In 645, the capital was moved from Asuka (present-day Nara) to Osaka and a Palace was built though it was not officially recognised as the national capital, it served as a sub-capital.

If you have been following my blog, you would have read about my visit to Kyoto, Osaka and Nara in November 2016. The weather was lovely and among the places we visited, Arashiyama is the place I like most. As I was there with my friend in early November, we did not get to experience the autumn foliage in full bloom which was a pity.

Sharing my 5 Days, 5 Nights brief itinerary, hope you will find it helpful when you plan your short getaway to Kyoto with side day trips to Osaka and Nara.

Day 1 at Kyoto

Our Day 1 started on the red-eye flight to Kansai International Airport. We stayed at Gion area and spent the rest of the day at Shijo, visiting Kamogawa (Duck River) and Gion. Check out my post at Autumn in Kyoto – Kamogawa and Gion on where we stayed and visited.

Day 2 at Kyoto

Our Day 2 itinerary was a walking tour, we explored the Higashiyama District and visited Kiyomizu Temple, Nanzenji and Philosopher’s Path. We had an enjoyable time exploring Kyoto on foot though my feet were super sore by evening. Check out what we did and our photos at Autumn in Kyoto – Higashiyama and Kiyomizu Temple and Autumn in Kyoto – Nanzenji and Philosopher’s Path.

Day 3 at Kyoto

We spent our morning at Arashiyama, on the western outskirts of Kyoto and the afternoon at Nijo Castle, the place where nearly 270 years of Tokugawa Shogun rule came to an end. Arayshiyama is my favourite place, would definitely go for the train ride if I am to visit again. For more on our visits and photos, go to Autumn in Kyoto – Arashiyama and Autumn in Kyoto – Nijo Castle.

Day 4 at Osaka

We made a day trip to Osaka, spent the morning at Osaka Castle and the rest of the day at Namba. After 30 minutes train ride from Kyoto Station via the Special Rapid Service (Red Sign), we reached Osaka. For more on our day trip, go to Autumn at Osaka Castle Museum and Autumn in Osaka – Namba.

Day 5 at Kyoto & Nara

Day 5 is our last day of sightseeing in Kyoto. We spent the morning at Inari, in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto and a side trip to Nara in the afternoon. For more on our visits, go to Autumn in Kyoto – Morning at Inari and Autumn in Nara “Bambi Land”.

All good things must come to an end and the same applied to our lovely autumn trip. We took the flight back to our real world on the next morning.

Parting Thoughts

Due to time constraint, we have two small regrets about this trip. Firstly, we did not visit one of the must-see, Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), the place is not accessible via train did not help. Secondly, we did not get to spend enough time in Osaka, if only we could stay a night there.

If you are planning your trip way ahead, do plan your visit to be on the second or third week of November to see the autumn foliage in full bloom, start your day early as most of the places become crowded from 9 am onwards, and spend at least a night in Osaka as there are lots to see and eat. For details on getting to the places of interest we visited, they can be found under The Lowdown section of my individual trip posts. And do remember to download the train maps before your trip for ease of planning and moving around when there.

Finally, I am posting the photographs that we took during this trip on every Wednesday under “Wordless Wednesday” from January to April 2017. They are photographs that I did not manage to post in my earlier travel posts. The photographs were mostly taken by myself using Leica C, with some taken by my friend using Panasonic GX8.

Follow my blog to see the rest of our photographs and how I quenched my wanderlust. Guess and comment where the photographs are taken and what the photographs say to you. Enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by and Happy Living for Experiences!

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36 thoughts on “5-Day Autumn Getaway to Kyoto, Osaka & Nara Itinerary

  1. Ahhhh, you’re just making us want to skip over our plans and head straight to Japan! IT LOOKS AMAZING! Thanks for sharing your itinerary, will definitely be stealing some bits from it 🙂 Cheers, Kyle

    Liked by 1 person

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