Grab A Map And Go Exploring: 10 Awesome Day Trips from Osaka, Japan

Day trips from Osaka

Osaka is a large port city and commercial center on the Japanese island of Honshu, as such there is plenty to keep you busy on its bustling streets. But, if you do have some spare time and want to explore Japan a little further, then scroll below for our top ten day trips from Osaka. Not only will you have a great day, but you’ll also be back in time for dinner.

1. Nara

The Great Buddha statue in the Todaiji Temple in Nara Japan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pöllö used under CC BY 2.5

Nara is situated in the Kansai region of Japan and is a fantastic day trip from Osaka. Yamatoji Line’s rapid trains run every hour between JR Osaka Station and JR Nara Station and takes 45 minutes.

Once you’re there, you could try to spot a wild deer roaming the city in search of some tasty food, stand in awe at the Great Buddha statue and enjoy the numerous temples, particularly Tōdai-ji. If fact there are a collection of temples known as the “Seven Great Temples of Nara”, that’s a fact for you!

Great Buddha statue

Website: Great Buddha statue

Tōdai-ji Temple

Address: 406-1 Zoshicho, Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8211, Japan

Website: Tōdai-ji Temple

2. Kyoto

Source: Photo by Flickr user Pedro Szekely used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The city of Kyoto is located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Japan and is an easy day trip from Osaka. JR Kyoto Line operates between Osaka Station and Kyoto Station and can take between 30 to 45 minutes.

With a population of nearly 1.5 million, there is plenty to see and do in Kyoto but we’d recommend the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine, and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest for starters!

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Address: 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0862, Japan

Website: Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Address: 612-0882 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Fushimi Ward, Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Japan

Website: Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Address: Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Website: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

3. Mount Kōya

高野山 金剛峰寺3 Koyasan (Mount Koya) - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user baggio4ever used under CC BY 3.0

This is an important Buddhist site and is definitely worth the day trip from Osaka. It is recognised as the world headquarters of the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. It will take about 2 hours total journey time on the Nankai Kōya Line from Osaka Station. Exit at Gokurakubashi Station and then take the cable car up the mountain, to transfer to a bus into the town centre.

Mount Kōya

Address: Koya-san, Koyasan, Koya, Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture 648-0211, Japan

Website: Mount Kōya

4. Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle 2
Source: Photo by user Lukas used under CC BY 2.0

Himeji Castle is just 1 hour away from Osaka and is a world heritage site that is know for its spectacular outstanding white architecture. It is classed as one of Japan’s twelve original castles and underwent extensive renovations in 2015 before reopening.

Himeji Castle

Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0012, Japan

Website: Himeji Castle

5. Miyajima

Known as one of the top three scenic spot in Japan Miyajima is a must-see whilst in Osaka, and it makes the perfect day trip, taking about 2 hours. From Shin-Osaka Station take the Sakura Line to Hiroshima Station and change to a local train from 9th Station to Miyajima-guchi. The three main activities we recommend seeing in Miyajima are the Great Torii gate in the sea, which acts as a gate between the spirit and the human world. After that, a trip to the Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage Site, is a must and finally take in the best panoramic views at Mt. Misen.

Miyajima Torii Gate

Address: 739-0588 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hatsukaichi, Miyajimacho, Japan

Website: Miyajima Torii Gate

Itsukushima Shrine

Address: 739-0588 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hatsukaichi, Miyajimacho, Japan

Website: Itsukushima Shrine

Mt Misen

Address: Mount Misen, Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588, Japan

Website: Mt Misen

6. Iga Ueno

Take a jump, a leap and a flying kick into the past by spending the day in Iga Ueno. The Iga School of ninjutsu (art of stealth), was a leading school for ninjas who’s job it was to carry out missions of espionage and sabotage. In homage to this school, there is a Ninja Museum at Iga Ueno which is well worth the visit. It’s a little bit troublesome to get public transport there as it involves a lot of changes but follow these steps and you should be okay. From Osaka Station, take the JR Yamatoji Line to Kamo Station, then transfer to the JR Kansai Line and exit at Iga-Ueno Station. If you want to land right in the hustle and bustle, take an extra 5 minute local train Ueno-Shi Station. In total, it will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Iga Ueno Ninja Museum

Address: 518-0873 Mie Prefecture, Iga, Uenomarunouchi, Japan

Website: Iga Ueno Ninja Museum

7. Kurashiki

Kurashiki is located in Okayama Prefecture and is home to a wonderful canal to walk along which has history dating back to the Edo Period; you can stroll under the willow trees and look at the old rice storehouses. After that, hit up another historical site, the Ohashi House, which was built by one of the leading merchants as his residence in 1796. Still very much intact, the house offers a delightful insight into the past. Kurashiki is easy to get to by taking the train from Osaka Station; it will take about 1.5 hours in total.

Kurashiki Canal

Website: Kurashiki Canal

Ohashi House

Address: 710-0055 Okayama Prefecture, Kurashiki, 阿知3-21-31, Japan

Website: Ohashi House

8. Naoshima Island

A remote island off of the coast of Japan is busting to the seams with artworks, art museums, architecture, and sculptures. Luckily, it is in perfect reach for a day trip from Osaka, just 2 hours away on the train from Shin-Osaka Station transfer to the JR Sanyo Shinkansen Mizuho service to Okayama then change again for the Rapid Marine Line to Chayamachi, then take the local train to Uno. It sounds like quite a lot of effort right, so is it worth it? Well, we think so and particularly recommend visiting the ChiChu Museum, Art House Project, and the I Love Yu, part public bath part art gallery.

ChiChu Museum

Address: 761-3110 Kagawa Prefecture, Kagawa District, Naoshima, 3449−1, Japan

Website: ChiChu Museum

Art House Project

Address: Naoshima-cho, Kagawa-gun 761-3110, Kagawa Prefecture

Website: Art House Project

I Love Yu

Address: 761-3110 Kagawa Prefecture, Kagawa District, 直島町2252−2, Japan

Website: I Love Yu

9. Echizen Washi

It is said in folklore that 1,500 years ago, a goddess appeared in this area and taught the locals how to make paper from natural materials. This skill has then been passed down from generation to generation and there are now 67 paper mills in this town. We suggest starting your paper discovery journey at the Paper & Culture Museum, which will teach you about both the different styles of washi paper and the different techniques used. To get to Echizen Washi simply take the JR train from Oaska to Takefu, it should take about 1 hour 45 minutes in total.

Echizen Washi

Address: 11-12 Shinzaike-cho, Echizen City, Fukui 915-0232, Japan

Website: Echizen Washi

10. Hiroshima

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Evelyn-rose used under CC0

Many people know Hiroshima as the target for the first atomic bomb which was devastating. It has since been rebuilt and is now a major cultural center of Japan. When there, we recommend paying respect at the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, then visit Okonomimura for all you food lovers and finally Hiroshima Castle. Hiroshima Station can be reached from Shin-Osaka Station on the JR Sanyo Shinkansen and will take about 80 minutes.

Memorial Park & Museum

Address: 1-2 Nakajima-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi 730-0811, Japan

Website: Memorial Park & Museum


Address: 730-0034 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Shintenchi, 5−13, Japan

Website: Okonomimura

Hiroshima Castle

Address: 21-1 Motomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0011, Japan

Website: Hiroshima Castle

Pack a light bag and get ready to explore

There is so much to see and do in Osaka that you may find yourself running out of time for day trips. If that’s the case, don’t worry because we’ve listed the best day trips that you could consider. Now, you just have to fit them into your busy schedule!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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