8 days in Nara, Kyoto & Osaka Itinerary

8 days in Nara, Kyoto & Osaka Itinerary

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Route & dates

1
Nara
— 2 nights
2
Kyoto
— 3 nights
3
Osaka
— 2 nights

2
nights
Nara

Nara ©
The country's first established capital, Nara houses some of the most storied buildings and natural attractions in Japan, with eight World Heritage Sites in total.
On the 10th (Fri), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Horyu-ji Temple, then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Wakakusa, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Nigatsu-do Temple, and finally identify plant and animal life at Nara Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 11th (Sat): take in the spiritual surroundings of Toshodai-ji Temple, then take in the spiritual surroundings of Kasuga Grand Shrine, then examine the collection at Kasuga Taisha Museum, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hase-dera Temple.

For traveler tips, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Nara trip planner.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Nara is an approximately 11.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of car and ferry. Traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Nara, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Expect much colder temperatures when traveling from Kuala Lumpur in January; daily highs in Nara reach 9°C and lows reach 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nara

Historic Sites · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trips

Hase-dera Temple, Horyu-ji Temple
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Nara Park ©
Nara Park
Horyu-ji Temple ©
Horyu-ji Temple
Toshodai-ji Temple ©
Toshodai-ji Temple

3
nights
Kyoto

Kyoto ©
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
Popular historic sites such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Kodai-ji Temple are in your itinerary. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Toji and Tenryuji Temple. There's much more to do: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Shimogamo Jinja, steep yourself in history at Tofuku-ji Temple, don't miss a visit to Eikando Zenrinji Temple, and visit Gion.

For other places to visit, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Kyoto trip maker tool.

Traveling by car from Nara to Kyoto takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a train. In January, daily temperatures in Kyoto can reach 10°C, while at night they dip to 1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can take a train to Osaka.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites · Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Jan 11 — 14:
Highlights from your plan
Kiyomizu-dera Temple ©
Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Eikando Zenrinji Temple ©
Eikando Zenrinji Temple
Tofuku-ji Temple ©
Tofuku-ji Temple

2
nights
Osaka

Osaka ©
Proud of their hometown's distinct culture and dialect, many natives of Osaka describe their city as "Japan's anti-capital." An antidote to Tokyo's hectic energy, Osaka marches to the beat of its own drum, serving as the country's longtime commercial and industrial hub.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Wed): see the interesting displays at Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda, indulge in Japan's hot spring tradition at Arima Onsen, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Nishinomiya Shrine, then wander the streets of Minami (Namba), and finally wander the streets of Dotombori District. On the 16th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: brush up on your military savvy at Kobe Maritime Museum and then examine the collection at Kawasaki Good Times World.

For traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Osaka sightseeing planning app.

Take a train from Kyoto to Osaka in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. January in Osaka sees daily highs of 10°C and lows of 1°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 16th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Osaka

Museums · Neighborhoods · Shopping

Side Trips

Kobe, Nishinomiya Shrine, Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda
Find places to stay Jan 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Nishinomiya Shrine ©
Nishinomiya Shrine
Dotombori District ©
Dotombori District
Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda ©
Cup Noodle Museum Osaka Ikeda

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