Day Eight: 4/7 (Sat) – Osaka
(credit - Insideosaka.com)
Kyoto --> Osaka : JR Line
- if you’re near Kyoto Station and don’t have a Japan Rail Pass, you can take the regular JR Tokaido Line, which runs from Kyoto Station to JR Osaka Station (29 minutes, Y560). Just be sure to take a shinkaisoku (express) as the locals are very slow.
- One final option for traveling between Kyoto and Osaka is the JR Tokkaido Line. This operates between Kyoto Station and JR Osaka Station in the Kita District of Osaka. You can ride this train with a Japan Rail Pass or just pay in cash. This is a good option if you find yourself in southern Kyoto (ie, near Kyoto Station) and want to go right into the heart of Osaka without transiting Shin-Osaka Station. The fastest trains on the JR Tokkaido Line are called shinkaisoku, which is written as “express” in English. These take 29 minutes between Kyoto and Osaka and cost Y560. This is our least favorite way to get to Osaka, because the trains are usually packed with commuters, but if you’re traveling offpeak, you might get lucky and snag a seat.
- The high speed shinkansen service (also called the bullet train) will get you from Kyoto Station to Shin-Osaka Station in 12 minutes for 1420 yen. This is the fastest and most comfortable route into Osaka, and might be worthwhile if you have a Japan Rail Pass to cover the cost. If you do not have a Japan Rail Pass, you can take the Special Rapid Service on the JR Kyoto Line (see below) instead. This will get you to Shin-Osaka Station in 23 minutes for 560 yen. Also, if you want to travel on to Osaka Station, it is better to take the cheaper JR Kyoto Line. If you take the shinkansen to get to Osaka Station you will still have to transfer at Shin-Osaka Station. As a result the travel time to Osaka Station on the cheaper JR Kyoto Line is almost the same as that for the shinkansen.
- TL;DR: Osaka Station is best served by the Special Rapid service on the JR Kyoto Line. The Special Rapid Train will get you to Osaka Station in 28 minutes for 560 yen. Trains depart from platforms 4 and 5 at Kyoto Station.
- Kita District: From Tempozan, return to Osakako subway station and take the Chuo subway line back two stops to Bentencho Station and switch to the JR Loop Line and take it to JR Osaka Station.
- : Explore the Kita District: JR Osaka Station is right in the middle of the Kita District. The station is literally surrounding by huge shopping malls and department stores.
- Pokemon Center Osaka is located on the 13th floor of Daimaru Umeda department store, next to Osaka Station
- Hankyu Entertainment Park
- -six minute walk east of Osaka Station and a four minute walk south of Hankyu Umeda Station. It is super easy to find because of the giant red wheel.
Osaka Castle Area:
From JR Osaka Station, the easiest way is the Osaka Loop Line to Osakajokoen Station. The recommended approach to Osaka Castle is through Otemon Gate at the park's southwestern corner. The closest station is Tanimachi 4-chrome Station along the Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line.
Minami District: From most parts of Osaka, the easiest way to reach Minami is to take the Midosuji subway line to Shinsaibashi Station.
- : Explore Minami: Take exit #2 from Shinsaibashi Station and walk for three minutes to arrive at Tokyu Hands Department Store, which opens at 10am. This is one of the coolest hobby and gadget stores in the world. After checking out Tokyu Hands, cross south over Nagahori-dori Street and walk one block west and then enter Shinsaibashi-suji, one of Osaka’s famous shotengai (covered shopping arcades). Walk south through Shinsaibashi-suji. This will take you south into the real heart of Minami.
- : Dotombori Area and Lunch: Walk south through the Shinsaibashi-suji arcade and you’ll eventually get to Ebisu-bashi Bridge over the famous Dotombori Canal. This is the most iconic sight in all of Osaka. Just south of the bridge you’ll find yourself in the Dotombori arcade. This street is line with restaurants that have incredibly flashy signs and symbols outside to attract customers. This is a good place for lunch.
- Visit Hozenji Yokocho: A short walk south of the Dotombori Canal is the incredibly atmospheric Hozenji Yokocho, a narrow pedestrian-only lane lined with traditional restaurants. Be sure to check out Hozen-ji Temple, where you’ll find the moss-covered Mizu-kake Fudo statue.
- Walk through Doguyasuji Arcade: Another short walk south of Hozenji Yokocho, you’ll find Doguyasuji Arcade, Osaka’s famous kitchen-supply street. Here, you will find an almost endless variety of kitchenware and tableware.
- Visit Den-Den Town: If you walk to the south end of Doguyasuji Arcade, you’ll come out on a relatively wide street. If you turn left and walk straight east to the second traffic light, you’ll be at the north end of Den-Den Town, which is Osaka’s electronics district. This is a great area for people with an interest in gadgets, Japanese pop culture and computers.To get to Denden Town walk south from Nippombashi Station or north from Ebisucho Station. This area is located near Nankai Namba station and Kuromon Ichiba Market.
- Evening views from the Abeno Harukas 300 observation decks in Tennoji. After dinner, take the Midosuji subway line south from Minami to Tennoji Station and follow the signs to Abeno Harukas. Take the elevators up to the Abeno Harukas 300 observation decks, which are open until 10pm daily (ticket sales stop at 9.30pm).
Day 10: 4/9 (Monday)
Flight Osaka to Narita
Airport: ITM—> NRT
Flight Narita --> Chicago --> PHL