6 Days Osaka Itinerary under SGD500 (Budget Edition)

Osaka boasts historic sights and rich cultures that you must not miss.

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Spring season is the best time to visit the Kansai region as it is the blooming period of the cherry blossoms. So what are you waiting for?

In this guide, we will take you through the worthy destinations to visit while working with a tight budget

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Pre-Trip Preparations

Getting around Osaka

The Osaka equivalent of Ez-link cards is the Icoca Pass. If you are mainly based in the Osaka area, getting the Kansai One Pass would be a better option as it comes with more benefits.

Simply present the pass at attractions like Osaka Aquarium to receive a souvenir as well as coupons for discounts, while stocks last!

The card is not restricted only to trains, but also buses, convenience stores, lockers, and even vending machines. Simply top up the card at any train station, and you are free to use it to travel anywhere along most lines. 

Booking of accommodation

Since we are keeping to a budget, you may want to look up deals for cheaper options of accommodation such as hostels on Agoda. There are plenty around Osaka, Namba area, and almost all of them are easily accessible

After booking your accommodation, plan your routes around your location of stay.

Familiarise yourself with the different train lines around you and the routes to take based on your destinations planned.

Electricity in Osaka

Japan uses type A sockets, 100V.

Be sure to get an electrical adapter and check the labels on your chargers as some may not be compatible with 100V charge.

Planning the outlines of each day of your itinerary

If you have a budget to work within, it is important that you plan ahead and ensure the lowest travelling cost (as well as time) between locations.

Some attractions can also be forgone depending on the entrance fees and level of interest. Some attractions have varying prices depending on seasons or dates, take Universal Studios Japan for example.

Here is how I managed to plan each day of my trip in Japan and I hope that it can serve as a good point of reference for you. 

DayTimeItinerary
110:00Todai-Ji Temple
14:00Yoshiki-en Garden
15:00Isui-en Garden
16:00Naramachi
210:00Minoo Park Hike up
12:00Picnic at Minoo Waterfall
14:00Minoo Park Hike down
16:00Osaka Pokemon Centre
310:00Fushimi Inari Shrine at Kyoto
17:00Gion
410:00Osaka Castle
14:00Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
17:00Dotonbori
510:00Sagano Romantic Train at Kyoto
14:00Okochi Sanso Garden
16:00Tenryuji Temple
17:00Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
69:00Universal Studios Japan

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Day 1

Todai-ji Temple

On day 1, we will visit Nara, the town of deers.

Simply take the rail train to Nara station either via the JR line or the Kintetsu line. Then, we can take the Nara internal loop bus to bus stop N7 for the Todai-Ji Temple.

The temple is interesting because it was constructed in year 752 as the head of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan.

The main hall, Daibutsuden, is the world’s largest wooden building and it houses a 15m tall bronze statue Buddha.

The infrastructure is truly a sight to behold.

There are also many other halls to visit, but if you are short on time, I would recommend the Nigatsu-do hall which is just a short walk east of the main hall.

Can’t get enough? Take a flight of stairs up, flanked by traditional buildings to reach a balcony that offers majestic views of the city.

Occasionally, you will see a few deers from the neighbouring deer park. While they can be very adorable and charming, the key is to not spend too much time taking pictures with and petting them as there are plenty of chances to do so in the entire day.

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

Entrance fee: 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for children

Opening hours: 7:30 to 17:30 (April to October) 
8:00 to 17:00 (November to March)

Estimated duration of activity: 2 hours

Yoshiki-en Garden

Next up, we will visit Yoshiki-en Garden, which is just a stone’s throw away from todai-ji.

It is free for tourists as long as you present your passport at the counter at the front of the garden. Here, we experience the natural sights and sounds of a Japanese Gardens.

You can take a seat at one of the huts for a quick recharge as you take in the beautiful scenery.

Address: 60-1 Noboriojicho, Nara, 630-8213, Japan

Entrance fee: 250 Yen (free for tourists)

Opening hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)

Estimated duration of activity: 45 minutes

Isui-en Garden

Just next to the Yoshiki-en Garden is the grand entrance to an even more magnificent garden, the Isui-en Garden.

Here you can take a slow stroll down the paths and admire the blooming flowers and delicate trees. “Isui-en” actually means “Garden founded on water“!

Address: 74 Suimoncho, Nara, 630-8208, Japan

Entrance fee: 900 Yen

Opening hours:9:30 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)

Estimated duration of activity: 1 hour

Naramachi

By now you must be hungry from all that walking! Just a few bus stops away, you can visit the street of restaurants and shops of Naramachi for some light snacks or dinner.

However, do try to make your way down early as all the restaurants do close rather early (around 7 pm), leaving just the bars that open till 11 pm.

Do not miss the famous pounding mochi, Nakatanidou, and the fragrant melon bread, Melon De melon.

Lastly, take a stroll along the sides of Sarusawa pond and view the spectacular silhouette of the kofukuji temple in the background.

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Day 2

Minoo Park

After the rather chill and casual day 1, we will embark on a more intensive and exciting adventure on our second day by hiking at Minoo Park.

Hop off at Hankyu Minoo station and look out for signs that will lead you to the start of the trail. The first half of the trail up is generally relaxing, as you pass by a lot of souvenir shops as well as some breathtaking temples.

There is also an insect museum with an entrance fee of just 270 yen for adults and free of charge for children.

The second half incorporates more steep inclines and you will be surrounded by more dense trees.

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When you reach the Minoo waterfall, you can take a seat at one of the many benches and rest your sore legs as you take in the picturesque scene.

It is quite a perfect spot to have a picnic as well so do pack some light snacks and drinks (but be sure to clean up after yourselves!). After you are well-rested, you can slowly start to make your way back down.

Address: 1-18 Minookoen, Minoo, Osaka 562-0002, Japan

Estimated duration of activity: 3 hours

Osaka Pokemon Centre

Just 30 minutes away from Hankyu station is the downtown Umeda area where you can find several shopping malls with a wide variety of shops and restaurants. Be sure to visit the Osaka Pokemon Center at Daimaru to pick up the cutest Pokemon plushies and keychains as souvenirs.

Address: Japan, 〒530-8202 Osaka, Kita Ward, Umeda, 3 Chome−1−1 大丸梅田店13F

Opening hours: 10:00 to 20:00 daily

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Day 3

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Put on the comfiest pair of shoes as you will be climbing lots of steps today!

Just one station away from Kyoto, we get off at JR Inari station where the shrine is just located next to.

Fushimi Inari shrine is famous for its vermilion torii gates (more commonly known as red gates) that leads into the wooded forests of the sacred Mount Inari.

It is one of the most important shrines dedicated to the Shinto God of Rice. The hike to the summit at back will typically take about 3 hours but you can choose to turn around and head back whenever you wish to.

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I took a break at the Yotsutsuji intersection where there were soft serve ice cream and a splendid bird’s eye view of the city, before heading back down. When you are at the base of the shrines, you will see lots of street food vendors selling delicious and fragrant street foods like fish pancakes and crab meat for affordable prices.

Every dish that I got my hands on tasted immensely flavourful and palatable!

Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0882, Japan

Estimated duration of activity: 3 hours

Gion

Catching the sunset at Gion, is definitely an experience not to be missed, as the rows of traditional wooden machiya houses suddenly have a golden glow to them, making it a marvellous sight to behold.

However, there is no need to fret even if you reach Gion after it darkens as the night scene is just as magical. Coupled with the sakura trees and reflections of city lights in the river, the vibes is just one out of the movies.

Take a relaxing walk down the streets as you browse the wide variety of restaurants and bars available, and interspersed by these eateries are a number of teahouses (known as Ochaya), where you may be able to catch sight of some Geishas on their way to work.

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Day 4

Osaka Castle

After two consecutive days of long walks, you must be dying to relax and have a more easy-going day right?

On day 4, there will be relatively much less walking as we take a casual stroll to see the Osaka Castle.

Simply hop off Osakajokoen station on the Osaka Loop Line and take a 15 mins walk to reach your destination. Along the way, you may catch sakura trees as well!

Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan

Entrance fee: 600 yen

Opening hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entrance until 16:30); extended hours during various holidays and special exhibitions

Estimated duration of activity: 1.5 hours

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan

Next, we can hop on the rail train again and disembark at Osakako station on the Chuo line to visit the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan which introduces various forms of life inhabiting the Pacific Rim in a well organized and impressive way.

The most interesting exhibit beside the main whale shark tank is the jellyfish exhibit as it houses a wide range of jellyfishes of different shapes, sizes and colours and they are displayed in very eye-catching little tanks with impressive lightings.

Address: 1 Chome-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, 552-0022, Japan

Entrance fee: 2300 yen

Opening hours:10:00 to 20:00 (from 9:30 in May, October and mid-July to August); admission ends one hour before closing

Estimated duration of activity: 1.5 hours

Dotonbori

As the day ends, we can start to make our way to Dotonbori, which is one of Osaka’s major city centres, with its iconic Glico Man signboard. It is densely crowded with tourists waiting to get a photo with the scenic streets lit by vibrant branding signs and advertisements.

It is highly accessible at Namba station served by three lines – Nankai, JR, and Kintetsu. You will be impressed by the abundant dining and shopping choices available, such that one night is barely enough to experience the whole entirety of the vibes this street can provide.

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Day 5

Sagano Romantic Train

Today we will head back to Kyoto for a second time to experience something different.

Embark on the old-fashioned nostalgic carriages of the Romantic train and you will find yourselves winding through mountains, valleys and rivers at a relatively slow pace.

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The rumbling of the engines and sounds of pebbles being displaced under the wheels of the trains are oddly satisfying!

The 7km journey will take roughly 25 minutes for a one-way trip. While there are no discounted rates for a round-trip, I would still highly recommend it as the views will definitely make your time and money worth.

Address: Saga Torokko station

Opening hours: Hourly from 9:00 to 16:00 (until 17:00 on busy days)

Estimated duration of activity: 1.5 hours

Okochi Sanso Garden

Near the Arashimyama station, pay a fee of just 1000 yen to visit the Okochi Sanso Villa – formerly the estate of famed film actor Okochi Denjiro.

Here we can admire one of the finest examples of a delicately traditional Japanese architecture and also enjoy a complimentary hot cup of matcha tea and a sweet Japanese candy at the teahouse.

Cr: SingaporeGO!

Explore the garden trails at your own pace to take in the sights and sounds of beautiful flowers (Sakuras, if you’re lucky) and chirping birds.

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Follow the arrows to reach an amazing viewpoint which provides a magnificent view of the city and the horizon.

Address: 8 Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8394, Japan

Entrance fee: 1000 yen

Opening hours: 09:00 to 17:00 daily

Estimated duration of activity: 1.5 hours

Tenryuji Temple

Just a short walk away is one of the most important temples in Kyoto Arashiyama and also one of the world heritage sites, the Tenryuji temple. Tenryuji was built in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji.

Outside the temple, you will also see a stunning view of a pond and colourful trees (especially in spring and autumn).

Cr: SingaporeGO!

Address: 68 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8385, Japan

Entrance fee: 500 yen (an extra 300 yen for entrance into the temple buildings)

Opening hours:8:30 to 17:30 (until 17:00 from late October to late March)

Estimated duration of activity: 1.5 hours

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

One of the most photographed places in Kyoto, nothing beats the first-hand experience of standing in the middle of the path flanked by two vast plots of bamboo trees extended towards the sky.

The sunlight filtering into the pavement makes it a very instagrammable spot, although you will need to be quick in snapping your shots as soon as the flitting crowd starts to thin.

Address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-Ku

Estimated duration of activity: 20 minutes

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Day 6

Universal Studios Japan

Cr: SingaporeGO!

If you do not go to USJ, have you really been to Osaka? USJ is one of the biggest highlights in Japan, being the first universal studio branch to be opened in Asia. What sets it apart from the other branch in Singapore is the Minion Park and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Cr: SingaporeGO!

The amusement park is crowded all year round so do try to purchase an express pass to beat the queues at selected rides. There are many souvenirs shops in USJ, but the most unique ones are the ones in Harry Potter World where they sell (expensive) Harry Potter merchandises. 

The butterbeer is definitely a must-try!

Cr: SingaporeGO!

Address: Konohana-ku, Osaka, Japan

Entrance fee: Fees vary depending on date of visit

7,400 to 8,700 yen (12-64 years old)
5,100 to 5,900 yen (4-11 years old)
6,700 to 7,800 yen (65 years or older)

Opening hours: Typically 09:00 to 19:00

Estimated duration of activity: 8 hours

Sayonara Nihon!

The best takeaways from Japan are definitely the sights and sounds that pictures (or even videos) do no justice to. Japan is a magical and glorious country you need to personally experience for yourself! Working on a tight budget? I hope that this breakdown of all the fees and sequencing of all the must-see attractions will come in handy for you.

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