Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka 10-Day Itinerary

tokyo osaka kyoto 10 day itinerary

If you are visiting Japan for the first time, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are THE holy trinity of areas to see. I had the pleasure of visiting Japan and stopping at these cities twice. In this 10-day Itinerary, I will be sharing my consolidated experience and recommendations based on my visits.

Transportation passes and internet connectivity


  • JR Pass used to be THE pass to get as a tourist visiting Japan, however with the 60% price increase as of October 2023, I no longer think it is worth the price to get if you are just visiting Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka or following this itinerary.
  • Suica is the card to get for public transport and other transportation expenses around Japan (trains, buses, coin lockers, you even use it at bento shops at the stations and convenience stores). On an iPhone you add this transit pass in Apple Wallet.

Internet connectivity

I have only used portable wifis, data roaming, and internet plans with my current carrier in Japan. Here are some things to consider:

  • Portable wifi is pretty affordable and convenient in that it allows you to connect multiple devices to it, which is a huge cost-saving when traveling together in a group. However, battery life with the two portable wifis I have used has been terrible. Consider bringing a battery pack or two to stay connected.
  • Data roaming features that are free from your carrier, like the one offered by T-Mobile is very slow. I would highly recommend upgrading to an international data plan if you’re not planning to get a portable wifi or purchasing a SIM.

Lodging breakdown:

Day 1 & 2: Tokyo

  • Stay in a hotel close to main train stations for convenience and to maximize your time(ex: Shinjuku Station, Shibuya Station, Tokyo Station).

Day 3 & 4: Kyoto

  • Stay in downtown Kyoto. A combination of train and bus travel is often needed to get around (without extended walking)

Day 5-7: Osaka

  • Stay close to a train station line for convenience and to maximize your time

Day 8-10: Tokyo

  • Stay in a hotel close to main train stations for convenience and to maximize your time(ex: Shinjuku Station, Shibuya Station, Tokyo Station)

Day 1: Tokyo, Arrival and Exploration

Aim to arrive at Narita Airport by early evening (by 6 pm). This gives you time to pick up any physical passes, sim cards/pocket wifi do anything else at the airport while the offices are still open. The train ride (or bus ride) from the airport to Tokyo is about an hour.


  • Check-in to your hotel
  • Explore Shibuya, see the famous Shibuya Crossing, grab food, and visit Shibuya Sky at night (make sure to purchase a ticket and reserve a time in advance)

Day 2: Tokyo, Asakusa


  • Breakfast/Coffee/Tea: Japan has a rich coffee as well as tea culture. Grab a cup of your favorite caffeinated drink at a local shop or hit the konbini (convenient store) for a pick-me-up and drinks for throughout the day. Japan also has amazing bread, so another recommendation is to grab pastries and Japanese bread from a bakery. Most of these places can be found in the train station.
  • Head to Asakusa to see Sensō-ji Temple. Afterward, stop by and explore Nakamise-dori Street, a shopping street walkable from the temple. You can pick up trinkets or sample some snacks here.


  • Lunch: There is honestly so much good food everywhere. Make your pick. One recommendation is to try a conveyor belt sushi place. A local favorite is the chain, Sushiro.
  • Explore Akihabara. Even if you are not into anime, it is quite a spectacle.


  • Visit Shinjuku and try a bar or yakitori place or restaurant or two. The drink of choice in Japan is a Highball (whiskey soda). Popular areas include Omoide Yokocho, Golden Gai, and Kabukicho. I don’t exactly recommend dining in these areas, but it is an experience that some people enjoy. Just note you will be paying a premium here and some places will also charge a cover.
  • Please note that trains stop running around midnight. If you are not staying in the area, plan to head back before midnight or plan to stay out until trains start running again around 5am.

Day 3: Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera & Gion


  • Travel to Kyoto (around 2.5 hours by Shinkansen). You can make a reservation on the shinkansen online or at the train station kiosk and ticketing counters. You can get ticket discounts if you make a reservation far enough in advance online. There are many trains and they come pretty frequently. To get a view of Mt. Fuji, reserve the left side of the car. Grab a bento or two and drinks/snacks from the station for the long ride.
  • Hotels will take your luggage before your check-in time. There are also coin lockers at the train station for luggage storage.


  • Explore Kiyomizu-dera Temple and the shopping street leading up to and from it. Ideally, save your shopping towards the end of the visit. Wearing Kimonos/Yukata is pretty popular in Kyoto. There are two main temples to visit in the 2-day itinerary in Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera and Fushimi Inari. Out of the two, Kiyomizu-dera is a better option to do that since it is less of a hike.


  • Experience Gion, which is known for its traditional tea houses and geisha culture. Its dark streets with lit red lanterns is very aesthetic in the evening.

Day 4: Kyoto, Fushimi Inari


  • Start early to Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is an extremely popular temple and getting there early will avoid most of the crowds. There are shops along the hike, but it’s always nice to pick up some snacks and drinks from the konbini to have at hand.
  • Explore Fushimi Inari Taisha: there are a few hikes to choose from. The main one that is lined with the iconic tori gates is about 2.5 miles, however, it is worth exploring the other trails. There are many smaller shrines to see as well as stone monuments and bamboo forests. Plan for approximately 3 hours here.


  • Spend time in downtown Kyoto and buy some matcha (which is a specialty of the Kyoto Prefecture, specifically in the city of Uji). Visit Nishiki Market for some shopping and food. Optionally, you can take a 1.5hr train ride to Arashiyama to see the bamboo forest and explore the nature and town around there.
  • If you are staying in hotels in both Kyoto and Osaka, it may be worth it to ask about luggage delivery at reception. There is a small fee, but you should be able to receive your luggage at your Osaka hotel in the afternoon or evening the next day. They will help you fill out the delivery form and coordinate it with the shipping company.


  • Enjoy dinner and nightlife in the Pontocho riverfront area.

Day 5: Osaka


  • Travel to Osaka from Kyoto (around 15-30 minutes by train).
  • Consider having brunch at Osaka Station. One recommendation is okonomiyaki, which is very popular in the area.


  • Visit Umeda Sky Building for a panoramic view of the city. You have to book tickets for a time slot in advance. If you are aiming for a sunset viewing, aim to reserve a spot 45 minutes before the sunset to secure a good sunset viewing spot. It is an extremely popular time to visit– tickets sell out for the sunset times within the first 3 hours of being available. Please note that there is a top-floor open-air observation deck as well as a closed viewing area on the floor below. In the close viewing area, there is a cafe with tables and countertop seats overlooking the city. It may be worthwhile to consider grabbing one of these spots (as well as something from the cafe) to sit and enjoy the view.


  • Experience Dotonbori, a chaotic, lively area in Osaka, and enjoy the local street food.

Day 6: Osaka


  • Morning: Explore Osaka Castle and its surrounding park. There is a nice bakery & cafe near the entrance of the park, if you are getting off at Morinomiya Station. They have really good curry bread!


  • Asahi Brewery Tour or Yamazaki Distillery Tour: Reservations for tours have to be made ahead of time. Yamazaki Distillery is based on a lottery system and is pretty tricky to get, but its whiskey is renowned and makes for a great souvenir to bring back or gift. I did not get picked for the Yamazaki tour, but I was able to go to the Asahi Brewery Tour and I have to say it is super fun, even for the non-beer lover. The tour is partially in English but the majority of the spoken part is in Japanese. You get two full pints of beer at the end as well as a logoed glass pint end.


Day 7: Osaka



  • Honestly, days in Japan get physically tiring. It usually involves an unusual amount of walking. If you would like to take a breather day, swing by this climbing gym in Namba to give your legs some break but still help work up an appetite to continue to sample all the amazing food Osaka has to offer. If you want to continue to do more exploration, take a day trip to Nara.


  • Jump over to Kobe (about 40-minute ride by train) to sample Kobe beef, or find a spot in Osaka.

Day 8: Tokyo, Shinjuku


  • Make your way to Tokyo from Osaka and pick up a bento or two for the ride. To get a view of Mt. Fuji, reserve the right side of the car.
  • Check in to the hotel, they will hold your luggage for you if your room is not ready. Staying in central areas, like Shinjuku, Shibuya and Tokyo will make it a lot easier to get around and explore areas in Tokyo.


  • Explore Shinjuku and grab a bite. Please note that Shinjuku station is massive and it is very easy to get lost. Make sure you take the right exit when exiting the station to save you some time.


  • Experience Shinjuku nightlife and the very touristy areas of Omoide Yokocho and Golden Gai. Be mindful that if you do choose to dine or drink in these two areas, it can be double or triple the price of areas that are not as touristy. It is also very common for places to charge a cover charge.

Day 9: Tokyo, Nikko


  • Very early morning: Toyosu Market is the new fish market, if you are interested in visiting. The old location, Tsukiji, is just a touristy shell of its former shelf, where you can still visit, and there are still food stalls, but you can bet everything is going to be overpriced.
  • Grab food at Tokyo station and make your way to Nikko to see the massive Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Unlike shrines and temples in Kyoto, this shrine is less curated to tourists, has elements of both Shinto and Buddhism, and also serves as the burial site of the first shogun of Japan. It takes approximately 2hrs by train to get to Nikko from Tokyo Station. From there, you can either take a bus to the shrine, or walk down the main street through town to the shrine (about a 27 minute walk(.


  • Shops tend to open later in Nikko, so either head to the Shrine first to beat the crowd and have a picnic in the complex (the food options in the complex are slim), or grab a bite in town. Tofu is one of the specialties of the area, so tofu dishes are the thing to try!


  • Grab food and drinks and enjoy the nightlife in Tokyo.

Day 10: Tokyo, Ginza & Travel

Last day in Japan! A flight later in the day is preferred to allow for last minute shopping. Ginza is the shopping district to go to and you can find many flagship stores (like Uniqlo and Muji) there. If you don’t have time to make a trip out, there are a couple of gift shops at Narita that are priced well.

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