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20 Best Day Trips From Osaka (For 2024)

These are the best day trips from Osaka that I recommend to choose from after having stayed in Osaka for several weeks and exploring many of the areas around it.

Osaka is the second-largest city in Japan and is known as the “nations kitchen” as some of the best Japanese food can be found there.

Although Osaka doesn’t have the big draw of some other parts of Japan, it certainly has plenty of things to see and do in itself and it’s one of the best cities to base yourself in, especially for day-tripping to other places.

This article is to give you some advice from my own experiences of doing day trips from Osaka when there.

Transportation for day trips from Osaka

If you plan on doing lots of day trips from Osaka by train (the best way) and travelling to other areas of Japan further away like Tokyo or Hiroshima then it’s best to save money on train travel with a Japan Rail Pass (get one with that link).

Then with the Japan Rail Pass, you can use the Shinkansen trains where available as they are quicker. If you don’t have the Japan Rail Pass for day trips from Osaka then use the Special Rapid Service trains that are cheaper than the Shinkansen, but take longer.

Another good option is to get a Kansai Thru Pass if you don’t plan to travel further away like to Hiroshima. The pass will allow you unlimited travel on transport and travel to places like Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and also to the international Kansai Airport.

The main Osaka train stations for getting your transport for day trips are Umeda, Namba, Shinsaibashi, Yodoyabashi, and maybe some others depending on where you go.

This is the website for the West Japan Railway Company to check the timetables for the trains.

I’ve done separate posts for some of these trips which I have linked to that give a more in-depth look at the destination.

If you haven’t booked accommodation in Osaka you can book a hotel here with my favourite booking site for Japan where I find the best deals:

Best Day Trips From Osaka

This is what I recommend doing for day trips from Osaka. They’re in no particular order as one thing will appeal more to you than maybe another, although Kyoto is number one as that’s what I regard as an essential day trip to do if you are not planning to stay in Kyoto itself at any point.

1. Kyoto Day Trip From Osaka

kyoto day trip

This is pretty much a no-brainer. If you’re basing yourself in Osaka to explore the region then one of the best day trips from Osaka is to Kyoto.

Kyoto is the ultimate place in Japan to see temples, shrines, traditional Japanese gardens, the geisha district, and so much more. Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan and is a must-visit. Personally, I would recommend staying there a few nights if you can.

There is a Shinkansen train to Kyoto from Osaka that only takes 15 minutes but is 3 times more expensive than the special rapid service which takes 25 minutes and only costs 560 yen.

Of all the day trips from Osaka if there was only one to do then this would be it, especially if you don’t plan to stay in Kyoto at some point during your trip to Japan.

Kyoto tours from Osaka as mentioned are easy to do.

One thing that’s great to do there if you have an interest in old samurai history is to do this tour:

2. Nara Day Trip From Osaka

nara day trip from Osaka

Nara is an easy local train journey from Osaka and takes around half an hour to reach. It costs an average of 740 yen each way depending on the time of day.

Nara was the old capital of Japan and as such has many temples to see.

It’s the main reason to visit Nara on a day trip. Plan for at least 4 hours to explore the old temple area and its peaceful parks full of friendly roaming deer.

If you’re lucky and in Nara, in mid-December, you can see the Nara Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri Festival which lasts for 4 days and is Japan’s oldest cultural arts festival.

Nara is one of the essential day trips from Osaka for history lovers.

One of the best ways to see the best of Kyoto and Nara if you’re short on time, is to join a day tour:

3. Mount Koya (Koyasan) Day Trip From Osaka

Koyasan day trip from Osaka

One of the most peaceful and ethereal places I have visited in all of Japan. Located near Mount Koya there’s a large temple complex to visit but the main draw is its graveyard.

The graveyard is home to over 200,000 monks’ graves as well as warlords and important figures.

It really is a serene place to be in and if you stay until it gets dark it gets very eerie.

Koyasan is set up in the mountains and is a one and a half hours train ride away which slowly winds up through the hills. The last train back is at 21.30 at night.

This is one of my favourite day trips from Osaka.

You can read more about the day trip to Koyasan here.

You can do a great full-day tour to Koyasan to save the hassle of going by local transport if you’re short on time:

4. Himeji Castle Day Trip From Osaka

himeji castle day trip from Osaka

Himeji is mainly known for its castle and for a good reason.

This castle is one of the biggest and best-preserved castles in Japan. The castle grounds are fascinating with a labyrinth of paths and alleys but the castle keep is the best part.

It’s kept in its original state with low ceilings and narrow stairways.

The woodwork is spectacular and extremely well-preserved. Make sure to arrive early in the day as the castle becomes crowded with tourists very quickly.

The castle grounds are also a great spot for watching cherry blossoms.

Himeji Castle is easy to find as it is clearly visible from the station entrance. It will take around one hour and forty-five minutes to reach there by train.

You could squeeze in Himeji Castle in the morning with an afternoon/evening in Kobe (see below) on the way back to Osaka to get both done on the same day. They are not that far from each other.

A shinkansen takes around 35 minutes to get to Himeji and roughly an hour by local train. You can walk to Himeji Castle from the station.

If you like castles then Himeji is an essential one of the day trips from Osaka you should plan to do.

5. Kobe Day Trip From Osaka

Day trips from Osaka, Kobe waterfront.

Kobe is just 25 minutes by train from Osaka so it serves as an excellent day trip and there are plenty of things to do in Kobe when there.

The city is a nice mix of newly developed areas that were built after the earthquake of 1995 and old districts like Nankinmachi.

Nankinmachi or Chinatown is a collection of small streets and alleys lined with restaurants, food stalls and shops, making it a great place to go shopping. There is a small plaza in the centre where you can find people playing Go.

Head to Meriken Park in the Kobe Port area of the city by the waterfront with open spacious areas and the nearby Harbourland is a massive complex for places to eat and for shopping.

The Kobe Port Tower is good to see in the port area, and the history of Kobe’s maritime connection with the wider world can be found at the Kobe Maritime Museum.

If you are looking for a more quiet and tranquil attraction, Sorakuen Garden is a good choice. This is a typical Japanese garden with several ponds, a boathouse and some nice walking paths.

The garden is located in downtown Kobe but has some beautiful scenic spots which is why you’ll have a good chance of seeing newlyweds having their wedding photos taken there.

If you have any interest in Japanese alcohol then go to the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. Sake is Japanese rice wine and you can enter the museum for free. You can do sake tasting at the shop there as well.

Of course, a visit to Kobe would not be complete without enjoying a good Kobe beef steak or Wagyu as it is locally known. Exceptionally tender and juicy meat.

It’s not cheap though, expect to pay around 50 to 60 euros for an average-sized steak, but it’s worth it if you like a good piece of steak. You’ll find plenty of Wagyu restaurants around Kobe and Sannomiya stations.

The Shinkansen train only takes around 15 minutes to reach Kobe but like Kyoto, you can take the normal special rapid service for less than half the price at 640 yen and only takes 15 minutes longer.

6. Okayama (With Naoshima Below) Day Trip

okayama day trip from Osaka

This is one of the longer day trips from Osaka, so start very early. If you are using the Shinkansen trains then this will help you a lot for this one.

Okayama has some things to do and one of the main reasons for stopping is to see its large Japanese garden, the Korakuen Garden, which is one of the three best landscape gardens in Japan.

Okayama Castle is near the garden and worth a look as well.

But Okayama is the gateway down to Naoshima Island and the two work perfectly together for a combined long day trip from Osaka.

It takes around one hour on a shinkansen to reach Okayama from Osaka costing around 5,500 yen, or two and a half hours by regular train (but almost half the price).

7. Naoshima Island Day Trip From Osaka

Naoshima day trip from Osaka

This day trip can be done with the Okayama day trip.

Naoshima Island(known as Japan’s art island) is a funky little place covered in random outdoor art sculptures everywhere. The Art House and museum on the east coast is a must-see.

The best way to see it is by bicycle costing 500 yen a day to rent. There are also buses that go around, but a bicycle is way more fun.

You will want to concentrate on the southern part the most and it’s not a huge island.

Allow several hours so you don’t need to rush.

You’ll discover little art cafes scattered around to stop in for a drink as you go. It’s a very relaxed place.

Take the local JR line train from Okayama to Uno Station, you might have to transfer trains on the way (takes around maybe 2 hours).

Then go to the ferry terminal a few minutes walk away. It takes 20 minutes by boat to reach Naoshima. There are 2 ferry terminals on the island, and most people (including myself) arrive at the port on the west side.

This is one of the best day trips from Osaka if you like art and a more remote island experience.

This is my article on Naoshima Island Art.

8. Hiroshima and Miyajima Day Trip From Osaka

Hiroshima day trip from Osaka

Hiroshima and Miyajima Island can be done as one of the day trips from Osaka even though it’s a bit far away as the bullet train will get you there in around one and a half hours.

Hiroshima makes for a more solemn visit as the main reason to go is to see the Peace Memorial Park and the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

But it’s also good to see the new city today and there are also some great food options to try. Make sure to track down a good okonomiyaki place (Hiroshima is famous for it, as well as Osaka). It’s considered Japanese soul food.

Miyajima Island is fun to explore. You can hike to its highest point or take a cable car up there for the views, and there are old temples and shrines to see.

You would need to use the Shinkansen trains for this trip, time-wise. It takes around one and a half hours on the fastest shinkansen each way and you would have to start early.

To get to Miyajima from Hiroshima there is a local train every 15 minutes from the same train station and takes around 30 minutes. Get out on the 9th stop.

From there, there are 2 ferries that leave for the island. One is a JR ferry so take that one if you have a JR pass. The boats run every 15 minutes and take 10 minutes.

This is my post on the day trip from Osaka to Hiroshima and Miyajima.

9. Cycling From Osaka to Nara Day Trip

cycling Osaka

Believe it or not, this is not only one of my favourite day trips from Osaka but also one of my favourite experiences in Japan.

Cycling in Osaka itself is how I got around in my one month of living there, and it was too tempting not to go cycling from Osaka to Nara.

First of all the going is tough in parts as you will be going along Japan’s steepest highway, but what goes up must come down, and it’s a lot of fun riding down.

On the way, you will pass rural villages, remote shrines, rice paddy fields, and a bamboo grove with mini-shrines with almost no one there at all, unlike the busy one in Kyoto.

It will take you all day and will be a workout in parts but it’s so rewarding, if anything because you get away from the main touristed places.

Be aware though that it is hard work so if you are out of shape, or with young children, then this is probably, actually, I would more likely say definitely, not the best choice for you. 

Take the train from Nara to Osaka at the end of the day. Here’s a post I did about cycling from Osaka to Nara.

10. Kanazawa Day Trip From Osaka

Kanazawa day trip

This is one of the longer day trips from Osaka as it’s not close by.

It takes around 3 hours by train from Yodoyabashia station so you would need an early start.

In the Edo Period of Japan Kanazawa was a town as powerful, if not more so than Kyoto and Tokyo and survived World War 2 without being destroyed.

Therefore it has many old buildings to see such as the castle area, the Higashi Chaya District with its teahouses and geisha, and more.

The main attraction though is the Kenrokuen Gardens, known as one of, if not the best Japanese landscape gardens in the country.

11. Kurashiki Day Trip From Osaka

Kurashiki day trip from Osaka

Kurashiki is a popular place for Japanese tourists, who tend to outnumber foreigners. It’s a very chilled place with an old canal that runs through the centre.

This is a great place for some culture as a day trip from Osaka. Old wooden buildings line the streets and it has a great ambience of the Edo Period of Japan.

A Shinkansen train will take around one hour to get there from Osaka.

12. Nagoya Day Trip From Osaka

Nagoya day trip

This is one of the great day trips from Osaka if you’re interested in the more modern technological things in Japan.

You can do a 2-hour tour of Toyota Motor Corporation’s main factory, or take a look at the JR Scmaglev and railway park where the world’s fastest train resides.

If you want the more cultural things then there is Nagoya Castle, and one of the most respected Shinto shrines in Japan. Add to that the open-air Meiji era (1868 – 1912) museum with its outdoor exhibits, and it’s worth your time.

Just be aware that some of those places are not in the centre of Nagoya and would take an extra 20 minutes to an hour or so to get to.

Nagoya is around 1 hour from Osaka by Shinkansen and costs around 6500 yen. Or take the local JR trains for around 4000 but taking around 2 and a half hours.

Skip this day trip for others though if you want more Japanese culture in your day trips such as Nara, and Koyasan as at the end of the day Nagoya is a modern city.

13. Universal Studios Japan Day Trip From Osaka

universal studios Japan osaka

I wasn’t sure whether to add Universal Studios Japan onto the list simply due to it not being a uniquely Japanese experience, but it’s nearby Osaka and is very popular and recommended by other travellers, and if travelling with children makes a good choice as one of the day trips from Osaka to consider.

There are some Japanese-orientated things there though especially some involving Japanese animation.

Universal Studios Japan opening hours are usually around 8.30 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. until 7 – 9 p.m. It depends sometimes if there are special holidays.

You can take a direct train from Osaka station which takes around 10-15 minutes to get there.

14. Miyama Village and Amanohashidate Day Trip From Osaka

miyama day trip from osaka

Miyama Village is just north of Kyoto and is the quintessential rural village experience of Japan.

Nestled in the mountains it has a very chilled-out atmosphere and is the perfect escape from the cities.

the main reason for visiting is to see the rural life of Japan. There is a folk museum worth visiting as well.

Add on an onward trip to Amanohashidate which is known as ‘one of Japan’s 3 scenic views’ where a sandbar covered in pine trees spans across the bay where you can also take boats out to see it from the sea.

There are some temples and shrines scattered around as well.

You can do this trip with public transport if you leave early otherwise a highly recommended tour to take is this one:

15. Kumano Kodo Day Trip From Osaka (To Nachi Taisha Shrine)

kumano kodo trail Japan

The Kumano Kodo is a bunch of hiking trails that are old pilgrimage routes still used today.

You can see some of the ’Three Grand Shrines of Kumano in the area if you have more time, but realistically the Kumano Kodo should be done for multiple days to experience the area properly.

Having said that to get a feel for the peaceful and serene place you can visit one of the Three Grand Shrines, the Nachi Taisha Shrine, on a day trip.

It’s one of the best shrines to photograph in all of Japan and has a waterfall nearby.

16. Lake Biwa Day Trip From Osaka

lake biwa

Ok, a lake doesn’t sound super exciting compared with some of the other day trips from Osaka on the list, but this is Japan’s largest freshwater lake.

It will take you around 40-50 minutes on a fast Shinkansen train.

At Chikubushima Island in the north of the lake, you can see old shrines and temples dating back over millennia which can be reached by a local ferry.

You can get active and cycle around the lake itself or take it easy on a boat, or one of the beaches.

There’s also a 17th-century castle to see called Hikone Castle.

This day trip from Osaka is a good option if you feel like having a relaxing day on the lake with some history thrown in.

17. Wakayama City Day Trip From Osaka

Wakayama City is an easy day trip from Osaka as they’re not that far away.

In Wakayama City, you can see Wakayama Castle and see lots of temples and shrines when walking through Oda Park. There are lots of Onsens in the city itself that you can relax in after walking around.

You can even stop over in Wakayama City going to or coming back from, the Kumano Kodo day trip. Although to save rushing around it’s best to do those as separate day trips from Osaka.

18.Tottori Day Trip From Osaka

This is a slightly different vibe for the day trips from Osaka to choose from. This trip is all about nature. Specifically large dunes by the sea that can reach up to 50 metres in height.

Located on the Sea of Japan coast they are impressive to see and there’s even a Sand Museum filled with sand sculptures.

You can also try sandboarding on the dunes as well and for the more adventurous there are even paragliding options.

Choose this option for a nature hit, but don’t expect much in the way of ‘traditional Japan.’

It takes around 2 and a half hours to get there by train from Osaka Station.

Save time and take a full-day tour there:

19. Awaji Island Day Trip From Osaka

Awaji Island day trip from osaka

Awaji Island is home to the largest suspension bridge in the world, over 4km long, that connects Kobe and Awaji which is worth seeing in itself, but there is much more than that.

Sumoto City is the biggest city there and you can see Sumoto Castle and other historical sites, so it’s not just about the suspension bridge.

Given its location not so far from Osaka, it makes for another one for the good day trips from Osaka to consider.

I won’t say one of the ‘best day trips from Osaka’ for this post as I would choose some of the others over this first. But it’s a good option if you have more time and this is your kind of thing.

You can’t reach it by train so you will have to take a bus from Kobe, or if you have your own car drive there.

20. Iga Day Trip From Osaka

Iga is one of the last fun ones for day trips from Osaka that you can do and is especially great for those with an interest in martial arts and history.

Iga is a small town but was well known during the old days in Japan as the best place for Ninja training at the Iga School of Ninjutsu.

These days you can visit the museum that’s all about Ninjas and see live performance reenactments of Ninja techniques that include throwing the famous shuriken ninja stars.

Iga can be reached by train in 2 hours.

Best Day Trips From Osaka

There are many other places to see but I would recommend those for longer than just a day trip. The ones mentioned here are generally the best and most popular day trips from Osaka.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article if you haven’t booked accommodation in Osaka you can book a hotel here with my favourite booking site for Japan where I find the best deals:

Get a Japan Rail Pass here for travelling in Japan by train (the best way). Also if coming from Tokyo to Osaka for example and back again, or continuing onwards to Hiroshima, then the Japan Rail Pass will help.

Get a Kansai Thru Pass if you don’t plan to travel further away like to Hiroshima. The pass will allow you unlimited travel on transport and travel to places like Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and also to the international Kansai Airport.

While in Osaka take a look at what I recommend for the best things to do in Osaka.

And the best things to see on an Osaka Amazing Pass.

Check out some cool tours to do in Osaka itself:

I recommend using SafetyWing Travel Insurance for your trip.

Pick up the Lonely Planet Pocket Kyoto & Osaka (Travel Guide)

A friend Patrick, who is a regular visitor to Japan and an expert on the country, contributed the Kobe and Himeji sections as recommendations for the day trips from Osaka.

Share this article about the best day trips from Osaka:

13 thoughts on “20 Best Day Trips From Osaka (For 2024)”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I hope you continue to have such quality articles to share with everyone! I believe there will be many people who share my views when they read this article from you. Those who come to read your article will find lots of helpful and informative tips

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  3. I love very much this wonderful country that feels like I’m in a dream
    Thank you for giving us a comprehensive guide if you would like to visit Japan

  4. These day trips can be perfect for those who are planning to visit Osaka Japan. However i loved some of the places and would love to visit myself whenever i plan for Osaka such as- Nooshima, Nagoya, Nara and Universal Studio Japan.

  5. With limited time, you’ll want to come armed with a good Mount Fuji day trip itinerary. Below I will detail five awesome and totally different Mt. Fuji day trip ideas, because different people have different ways to travel, right? If you most important concern is seeing Japan s most iconic mountain from the best spots, check out my article on the 10 best Mount Fuji viewpoints !

  6. This Article is Awesome. It’s helped me a lot. Sir, Please keep up your good work. We always with you and Waiting for your new interesting articles.

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