In Japan, Tokyo has long been the city most people flock to but in recent times, as independent travel around Japan has become far easier, other cities have been attracting a fair share of visitors. One such city that is growing in popularity is Osaka, which is a smaller city with plenty to do and easy access to a number of day trips from Osaka too.
Kyoto, Nara and Kobe are our top three places to visit as a day trip from Osaka as you'll be able to tick off many landmarks in Japan by visiting these three cities. Even if you're planning an extended Japan itinerary, these places are definitely worth visiting.
KYOTO. Japan's former capital, Kyoto was a royal city and home to the Japanese Emperor between 794 and 1868. Compared to Japan's megacities, Kyoto is small (1.5 million people) and is packed with beautiful gardens, shrines and temples. Although Kyoto can easily be visited as a day trip from Osaka, once you're there, you'll most probably want to stay longer. A great way to explore Kyoto is to stay away from hotel chains and live like a local.
KOBE. Kobe is one of the most popular day trips from Osaka. Helpfully, there's a direct Osaka to Kobe train, so it's easy to get there. KOBE ATTRACTIONS AT A GLANCE: - Take the Shin-Kobe Cablecar; - Hike the mountains to see the Nunobiki Waterfall; - Soak at the Arima Onsen; - Sample sake.
NARA. If you’re on an extended trip to Osaka, we recommend heading out for a day trip to Japan’s former capital of Nara. Nara is often overlooked as a destination to visit but most people who end up going there are amazed at how beautiful this city is. NARA ATTRACTIONS AT A GLANCE: - Todaiji Temple; - Horyuji Temple; - Isuien Garden; - Nara Park.