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some advice on plan & transportation please

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HK
posts: 13
some advice on plan & transportation please

Will be going to Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe from dec 24 - 31, please give some advice to my plan below:

Dec 24 - arriving in Osaka --> check in Swissotel approx 11 p.m.

Dec 25 - Osaka Castle History Museum --> Osaka Castle --> Shitennoji Temple --> Tsutenkaku Tower ---> Festive Gate ---> Spa World ---> Swissotel [ Is this too ambitious?]

Dec 26 - Kiyomizu Temple --> Kodaiji Temple --> Yasaka Shrine --> Gion for lunch --> Heian Temple-->Ginkakuji Temple --> Kinkakuji Temple ---> Kawaramachi for dinner and shopping --> Osaka, Swissotel

Dec 27 - Swissotel --> Kitano --> Sannomiya for lunch --> Arima

Dec 28 - Arima Onsen --> Harborland /Mosaic Garden --> Osaka Aquarium --> Osaka (Swissotel)

Dec 29 - USJ --> Dotomburi (dinner)

Dec 30 - Umeda, Shinsaibashi, Namba (Rinku Premium Outlet), Den Den Town & Dotomburi (dinner)

Dec 31 -- Morning flight

Is the above plan doable? If it is ok, should I buy the Kansai Thru Pass/ Kansai Passport? Or I would save more by just buying Osaka City Day pass/kyoto city day pass etc.???

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,630
reviews: 1
1. Re: some advice on plan & transportation please

<Dec 24 - arriving in Osaka --> check in Swissotel approx 11 p.m.>

If you fly into KIX and stay in Osaka Minami, Swissotel is the best option, transportation-wise.

<Dec 25 - Osaka Castle History Museum --> Osaka Castle --> Shitennoji Temple --> Tsutenkaku Tower ---> Festive Gate ---> Spa World ---> Swissotel [ Is this too ambitious?]>

There’s no problem, I think. But now you are planning on going to Kyoto, Shitennoji won't mean much to you...

<Dec 26 - Kiyomizu Temple --> Kodaiji Temple --> Yasaka Shrine --> Gion for lunch --> Heian Temple-->Ginkakuji Temple --> Kinkakuji Temple ---> Kawaramachi for dinner and shopping --> Osaka, Swissotel>

A bit too rushed, I suppose. Maybe, you’ll be exhausted at Ginkakuji if you do the way you plan.

I’d suggest:

“Kiyomizu Temple --> Kodaiji Temple --> Gion for lunch --> Heian Temple-->Ginkakuji Temple ---> Kawaramachi for dinner and shopping --> Osaka, Swissotel,” or

“Kinkakuji --> Ginkakuji --> Gion for lunch --> Kiyomizu Temple --> Kodaiji Temple --> via Maruyama Park ---> Kawaramachi for dinner and shopping --> Osaka, Swissotel.”

Note: Yasaka Shrine located at the back of Maruyama Park is now under repair.

<Dec 27 - Swissotel --> Kitano --> Sannomiya for lunch --> Arima>

<Dec 28 - Arima Onsen --> Harborland /Mosaic Garden --> Osaka Aquarium --> Osaka (Swissotel)>

<Dec 29 - USJ --> Dotomburi (dinner)>

Looks good!! Pretty envious..

<Dec 30 - Umeda, Shinsaibashi, Namba (Rinku Premium Outlet), Den Den Town & Dotomburi (dinner)>

<Dec 31 -- Morning flight>

Why bother going to Rinku Premium (located near KIX)? I’m not sure, but maybe you can buy things even cheaper in your own country...

<should I buy the Kansai Thru Pass/ Kansai Passport? Or I would save more by just buying Osaka City Day pass/kyoto city day pass etc.???>

In your case, you’d be best off buying Kansai Thru Pass. You cannot ride JR trains with that pass, though. But Osaka to Kyoto and / or Kobe leg can be made by non-JR trains, and ‘Namba (your base)-to-KIX’ is best covered also by them. The only problem is, the pass is valid for 5days. Fares on Dec30 wouldn’t cost much, but on Dec31 you’d have to pay for a ticket when you get back to KIX, which is a lot more expensive than a Osaka subway ticket (that said, it’s only 1390yens on Nankai rapi:t).

Enjoy your trip.

HK
posts: 13
2. Re: some advice on plan & transportation please

Thanks for commenting, Shot!! Helps alot.

I will probably cancel Shitennoji Temple in that case and head straight to Tsukenkaku Tower and perhaps can spend a lil more time at Festive Gate. Is Festive Gate any fun? Are the games really expensive?

In regards to my Kyoto trip, I will probably go with your second option: "Kinkakuji --> Ginkakuji --> Gion for lunch --> Kiyomizu Temple --> Kodaiji Temple --> via Maruyama Park ---> Kawaramachi for dinner and shopping --> Osaka, Swissotel.”

Worst comes to worst, I will take Ginkakuji out. i figure if I get to see Kinkakuji then it wouldn't be that bad missing out the Ginkakuji? I do want to have enough time to see the Kiyomizu. By the way, any point visiting the Nijo Castle?

Also any reasonably budget & good restaurants in the Gion and Kawaramachi?

As for Dec 30, I will take out Rinku Outlet since I am not too big a fan for shopping especially when things in japan are so expensive. I will probably go to the Kuromon Market instead.

I am looking forward to all the food in Dotomburi. Do you have any must-try recommendation?

As for transportation, I was trying to work out what would be the best deal.....i figure i would be better off buying day-passes. Since the trip to Kyoto by JR is only 540 yen x2 , the trip to sannomiya is only 390 x 2 and the trip from KIX to Namba is only 890 x 2. Plus travelling on the JR would save me some time, especially for Kyoto.

Then I would need a Osaka day-pass for dec 25 & 30 which will come up to be 850 x 2; a Kyoto bus-pass for dec 26 which will cost 500 and if i want to the kobe cityloop pass is another 650 (altho i dun think this will be necessary). then the JR fare to USJ and from Sannomiya to the Aquarium shouldn't cost that much.

Am i correct with the transportation bit or I have miscalculated something? The transportation system is quite complicated.

Finally, any tourist point you think i have missed or should squeeze in?

thanks a million!!!!!!

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,630
reviews: 1
3. Re: some advice on plan & transportation please

<Is Festive Gate any fun? Are the games really expensive?>

At the time of its opening, Festvalgate drew more than 3million people in one year, they say. But due to recession and / or its location, it soon began to lose popularity. According to a relevant website, about 90 per cent of the attraction facilities are now closed. There seem to be only three left in operation now: a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster and a shooting ride. But Tennoji Zoo and Spa World, both of which are adjacent to Festivalgate, stay just as active as they were. Spa World , in particular, has become a new spot for locals and tourists as well, it seems.

<Worst comes to worst, I will take Ginkakuji out. i figure if I get to see Kinkakuji then it wouldn't be that bad missing out the Ginkakuji? I do want to have enough time to see the Kiyomizu. By the way, any point visiting the Nijo Castle?>

As you know, along with Kiyomizu, Kinkakuji (or otherwise known as Golden pavilion) is a must for tourists, and I feel it would be a shame if they missed out on Ginkakuji... The view of “Kogetsudai (an artificial sand hill created to take a good look at the moon)” in a sea of grayish white sands never seems to wane in popularity among those with an interest in Japanese-style gardens. Walking through the lane on the mossy hills seen over the pond always makes for the better appreciation of the beauty in a Japanese landscape garden. I hope you’ll some day come and soak in autumn colors in here. For a local, that’s a moment of luxury.

As for Nijo Castle, you'd be better off skipping it this time...

<Also any reasonably budget & good restaurants in the Gion and Kawaramachi?>

Most of the places I can refer to are, well, um, not open up until about 5pm... You can drop in almost at any restaurant you find, but for you to eat good stuff at a reasonable cost, I’d like to suggest the following:

1)7th floor Takashimaya Department Store:

www.leafkyoto.net/newopen/0612/shop13.html (Japanese language)

My recommendation is “Tankuma” and “Unagi Toku.”

For light lunch / sweets, visit:

2)”Cake Salon Jiro,” 4th floor in Fujii Daimaru on Shijo Street

3)Ryoan (for Japanese sweets), opposite from Takashimaya

Department Store on Shijo Street

<I am looking forward to all the food in Dotomburi. Do you have any must-try recommendation?>

1)”Hariju(for shabu-shabu / sukiyaki etc)” on Midosuji Boulevard

www.dotonbori.or.jp/store/store_view.asp…

(See the picture of its building so you can locate it easily)

2)Kani Doraku (for crab meat, try ‘kani sushi’) on Dotombori Street

You'll never miss it. A gigantic, though artificial, crab used for a signboard is just unmistakable.

3)Chibo (okonimoyaki) on Dotombori Street

4)Kamukura (ramen) on Dotombori Street

5)Hamafuji (puffer fish) on the Westside of Dotombori

Note: this is a bit of a high end restaurant

<Am i correct with the transportation bit or I have miscalculated something? The transportation system is quite complicated.>

I think you’ve made a lot of homework already. I must make a correction here for my last post. Kansai Thru Pass is valid not for 5days but for 3days(and / or 2days). If you didn’t use JR trains, that ‘d be pretty convenient for your trip and a bit cost-effective, so I felt... That said, you’ll be quite all right buying day passes. It won’t be as tough riding trains in Osaka as you think.

Enjoy your trip.

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Newport, Depoe Bay
posts: 8,201
reviews: 42
4. Re: some advice on plan & transportation please

Your day in Kyoto is too much, but you have already changed that, but wonder why not a second day in Kyoto? Took us two plus days to see what you have listed plus a couple of other things. And we enjoyed them all

We liked Ryoanji Temple near Kinkakuji, though don't suggest adding it with ust one day

Pick up a JTO Tourist map of Kyoto at some Vis info center. We wore ours out and got a second one I can use now. I still have the old one cause it has routes we took marked. It has all the key places to visit well marked. It also has a map of the bus and subway system which helps to get around.

JTO map of Japan also very helpful. has several metro areas shown in addition to the country map.

we took a few maps along from home to help us get around. we hardly used them once we got the JTO maps. we had one of Tokyo too. suppose there may be one for Osaka

HK
posts: 13
5. Re: some advice on plan & transportation please

Hey Shot thanks again for your comment.

Festival Gate doesn't sound all that exciting and since I will be going to USJ, maybe I will just skip Festival Gate. What about the Tsutenkaku Tower? Is it just paying to stand on a roof-top? If so, I will skip that too and substitute Festival Gate and Tsutenkaku Tower with the zoo!

I do hope my day in Kyoto will run smoothly and I will definitely try my best to squeeze in Ginkakuji. Its too bad that Kinkakuji is all the way on the opposite side of everything!

As for transport, I think I will stick to day passes. For travel to Kyoto & Kobe, I will just take JR to save time and those JR trips are not too expensive.

Phirl: I know I should do kyoto in 2 days but don't really ahve the time. Besides I am not too sure if my bf would want to spend so much time seeing all those temples and shrines (altho I know this is what most ppl appreciate).

A couple of questions for both Shot & Phirl:

1. my flight to Osaka arrives at 9, the info centre in the airport would be closed, rite?

2. how to get to swissotel from KIX?

3. is there any McDonald's in KIX (my bf really wants the Shogun burger.....)?

4. If I check in my hotel at 11 p.m., would there any restaurants closeby that would be still open?

5. Osaka day pass/ kyoto bus pass --- i can just get them at the automatic ticket machines?

6. Is an express pass for USJ necessary/ worthwhile?

Sorry for all those questions, and very very appreciate your help!!

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,630
reviews: 1
6. Re: some advice on plan & transportation please

<What about the Tsutenkaku Tower? Is it just paying to stand on a roof-top? If so, I will skip that too and substitute Festival Gate and Tsutenkaku Tower with the zoo!>

If you like to see the surrounding areas of Osaka from high above, it may be worthwhile paying 600yen for an admission fee. Personally, I like Kobe Port Tower better... There’s one like them in Kyoto also and the evening view from here of Higashiyama looks romantic.

<I do hope my day in Kyoto will run smoothly and I will definitely try my best to squeeze in Ginkakuji. Its too bad that Kinkakuji is all the way on the opposite side of everything!>

That’s one of the reasons people decide to stay a bit longer. But you’ll be amazed at what you see, when you walk through the lane leading up to the pond with a gorgeous view of Golden Pavilion seen over it. By the way, did you ever hear about “bonsai” or a dwarfed (sometimes knurled) tree? In here there’s a big bonsai (pine tree) taking the shape of a boat. It’d have taken more than 300 years to grow. Bonsais 20 or 30 years of age are not a great deal; yes, they are everywhere; you can find one in a hotel, ryokan or even in the house of a private citizen if you have a chance to.

Maybe you know something about a gardener, but I wonder if you ever heard about a professional taking care of potted plants. Yes, there’s a lot of Japanese people having a keen interest in growing them, and that produced a large number of “ueki-professionals” in this country, I suppose.

<how to get to swissotel from KIX?>

1)get out of the airport complex and walk to Kansai Airport Railroad Station on Nankai Line (not on JR Line)

2)Ride “Rapi:t(limited express train)” to Namba, the dead end station

3)there’s an elevator (for hotel guests only) located outside the (train) ticket-collecting gate, which is on the 3rd floor of the station complex. Follow the sign / arrow leading to the elevator, and, yes, if you press “Lobby(perhaps),” you can directly go to the front desk.

<is there any McDonald's in KIX (my bf really wants the Shogun burger.....)?>

Sure, on the second floor. I’m not sure if you can eat that hamburger, though.

<If I check in my hotel at 11 p.m., would there any restaurants closeby that would be still open?>

No, not that I know of. Even “Yoshinoya” closes at 2300 in Namba City Shopping Mall. But convenient stores where you can buy delis, bento and beverages are open, I think. The hotel concierge will sure direct you to the nearest one, if you ask.

<Osaka day pass/ kyoto bus pass --- i can just get them at the automatic ticket machines?>

Osaka subway pass is available at ticket vending machines. At Subway Namba Station, some are for foreign tourists, and because of the language on the display locals stay away from them. If you have a problem, press a red button somewhere on the machine. A uniformed staff member will pop his head out of the window.

As for a Kyoto bus pass, you can turn up at “Bus Information Center” located in front of JR Kyoto Station to buy one. If you get out of the station complex (on Karasuma side, not Hachijo), you’ll see a large bus terminal right in front of you. “Bus information Center” is a barrack-like 2-storied concrete building, which you’ll find on your right-hand side. Get in there and then walk farther inside on the first floor, and they will attend to you.

<Is an express pass for USJ necessary/ worthwhile?>

Wish I could say something about it. As it is, you should post a new thread titled “Need help, OsakaRay!” If he comes around, he sure answers your question.

Enjoy your trip.

7. Re: some advice on plan & transportation please

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