Home >> Japan Travel >> Trip with Japan Rail Pass (Day 2): Kyoto (Kiyomizudera, Heian Shrine, Nishijin Textile Centre) – Osaka (Dotonburi)

We left Tokyo early in the morning and took a shinkansen to Kyoto.  Armed with our guide book, we followed the map and began our walk to Kiyomizudera, passing by  small shrines along the way.


The walk was very long but scenic.  Kyoto was a picturesque city with much to see along the way.


We were very happy to finally arrive at Kiyomizudera!


After visiting Kiyomizudera and the row of souvenir shops in front of it, we continued our walk to Heian Jingu Shrine.


I had my first taste of Japan’s spring water!


After feeling refreshed by the spring water, we continued our walk to Nishijin Textile Centre.


We decided we have walked enough for the day, and took a bus back to Kyoto station.


We took a shinkansen to Osaka, and visited Dotonbori.


Osaka is the ‘town of Takoyaki’ and I LOVE takoyaki.  There were many takoyaki stalls and souvenir shops available.


Of course, we tried the takoyaki here.  It was very different from takoyaki in Singapore.  Takoyaki in Japan is kind of hollow in the middle, and sinks in when it cools down, unlike the Singapore version that is a ball of flour that wouldn’t sink in.  I very much preferred the takoyaki in Japan – I don’t think I would eat takoyaki in Singapore after this!


After eating, we spent the night at Shin-Osaka Station hotel, which was a stone’s throw away from Shin-Osaka station.

Other posts for this trip:

Full Itinerary
Day 2: Kyoto, Osaka
Day 3: Osaka, Miyajima, Tokyo
Day 4: Yokohama, Tokyo
Day 5: Nikko, Tokyo
Day 7: Tokyo


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the author

Supposed to be a stay-home mom, but hates staying home. Definition of parenting is bringing the boys out for 'experiential learning' in Singapore, Japan and wherever else in the world her husband can afford to pay for.


  1. Linda says:

    Hi BBM,

    We went to Hokkaido on jan 2016 & really enjoyed it, thanks to your blog & patience answering my questions.

    We are going to Osaka & Tokyo on Jan 2017. We are 3 adults & 2 kids (10 yos girl & 6 yos boy). Arriving in Kansai on Jan 1 at 8.15 am, departing from Haneda on Jan 11 at 11.45 am. This will be the second time for us to Osaka & Tokyo (first one was in Nov 2005 with a group tour), but the first time for the kids. Can you please help me arrange our itinerary? We would like to go:

    1. Osaka aquarium
    2. Lego discovery center osaka
    3. Universal studio
    4. Abeno tennoji illuminage.

    1. Nakamise shopping street
    2. Tokyo Fire Museum
    3. Sanrio Puroland
    4. Shinjuku
    5. Ginza
    6. Shibuya
    7. Harajuku
    8. Disneyland
    9. Disneysea
    10. Karuizawa (I have never been here. Heard from a friend that it is a really nice town. And it has an outlet mall!)

    1. We dont like to change hotels so we would like just to stay at 1 hotel at Osaka & 1 hotel at Tokyo. And we also dont want to drive. Can you pls recommend hotels or apartments that have easy access to the places I want to visit & also from/to the airports? At first, I want to stay at one of the disney hotels for the 2 last nights in Tokyo, but now am thingking probably will stay at the same hotel in city area since my mom will not join us to disney. This way she can still see see look look around the hotel. But I am also worry about the time that we need to go from city area to disney. Worry that we will not have enough time to play at disney. What do u suggest?

    2. Is it better to use train or plane from Osaka to Tokyo?

    3. According to the itinerary, do you think we need to buy a train pass or subway card?

    4. We would like to go to outlet mall. Still confused whether to go to Gotemba or Karuizawa one. Will choose whichever nearer to our hotel in Tokyo. Which one do you think the closest one?


    • bumblebeemum says:

      1. For Tokyo Hotel, you can consider staying at a Tokyo Disney Resort Good Neighbor Hotel such as Keio Plaza Hotel. The hotel is in Shinjuku at the heart of central Tokyo, and as a good neighbour hotel, they offer free shuttle to Tokyo Disney Resort.

      You can find other Good Neighbour hotels here:

      2. It is better to use the train (shinkansen).

      3. If it’s just a single-trip from Osaka to Tokyo, you won’t need a rail pass. Just get a single trip ticket.

      For within the cities, I prefer to get a pre-paid card like our Singapore’s EZ-link card for convenience:
      If you buy in Osaka, you will get an Icoca. If you buy in Tokyo, you will get a Suica. But they can be used interchangeably. Just tap it at the gantry when you enter and exit the station.

      4. The nearest outlet mall in Tokyo should be the one in Odaiba Venus Fort:

      A possible itinerary would be:

      Day 1: Arrive KIX
      Day 2: Osaka Aquarium
      Day 3: Universal Studios Japan
      Day 4: Legoland Osaka + illumination
      Day 5: Osaka – Tokyo, check in hotel in Shinjuku. Explore Shinjuku.
      Day 6: Sanrio Puroland
      Day 7: Tokyo Fire Museum, Shibuya, Harajuku.
      Day 8: Asakusa, Nakamise shopping street, from there take the Tokyo Bay cruise to Odaiba. Visit the outlet at Venus Fort.
      Day 9: Disneyland
      Day 10: Disneysea
      Day 11: Flight back

  2. Linda says:

    Sorry I forgot to write I also would like to visit Kuromon Ichiba market in Osaka & Tokyo Metro Government Building. Thanks.

  3. Linda says:

    Hi again BBM,

    I think we will pass Sanrio Puroland. Just checked with my daughter & she is not that eager to go.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Tokyo metopolitan government building is in Shinjuku, so you can visit it while you are in Shinjuku. If you are not going Sanrio Puroland anymore, you can shift 1 night from Tokyo to Osaka so that you have an extra day in Osaka to visit Kuromon Ichiba and other general sights in Osaka.

      • Linda says:

        Thank you for your reply BBM!

        We are planning to stay 3 nights in Osaka, then 7 nights in Tokyo. Do you think it will be difficult to buy shinkansen tickets on Jan 4? Should we buy online or can we just buy on the spot at the trian station? I am worry because it is New Year.

        Thank you.

  4. Ann says:

    Dear BBM,

    I have enjoying your blog posts and read through all but still need your great help on my itinerary, our trip has coming to very very close but I have not yet decided on this. Can you help me with itinerary?
    We will reach Tokyo Haneda airport on the 8th Apr and depart from Haneda on the 16th Apr.
    We will be with 2 kids, one girl 5yo and one boy 2yo.
    I will prefer a relax trip as we are traveling with kids.
    Place that we would like to visit:

    – Cherry blossom either Shinjuku/Ueno park (I guess we have to go on the first day we arrived as Cherry blossom forecast in Tokyo is from Mar 24 to Apr 8)
    – Disneyland
    – Mt Fuji (I was looking at your self-drive tour to Mt Fuji but I’m afraid we don’t have enough time for 3 days 2 nights tour like yours, but would love to self-drive too. My kids love to go to Safari park at Mt Fuji.
    – Tourist hot-spots ard Tokyo that can attract the kids too.


    1. As our arrival and departure date are all on weekends, I’m planning to visit Disneyland mid of the week instead to avoid the crowd, is it a wise choice as we need to travel back and forth to town?
    2. Is hotel or apartment rental better when with kids?

    Thanks alot for your help!!

    • Ann says:

      Oh, I forgot we would love to visit Animal Farm too!

      • bumblebeemum says:

        Oh.. If you want to visit Mother Farm, I suggest you pick up the car one day earlier.

        8 April (Sat): Tokyo
        9 April (Sun): Tokyo
        10 April (Mon): Tokyo (day trip to Disneyland)
        11 April (Tue): Tokyo (day trip to Disneysea)
        12 April (Wed): Tokyo – Haneda (rent a car) – Mother Farm. Spend the night at somewhere like Kisarazu.
        13 April (Thur): Kisarazu – Hakone
        14 April (Fri): Hakone / Nount Fuji self-drive
        15 April (Sat): Hakone / Nount Fuji self-drive
        16 April (Sun): Hakone / Mount Fuji – Haneda

    • bumblebeemum says:

      1. Yes, you should try to avoid going to Disneyland on weekends. You can always stay in Tokyo and visit Disneyland as day trips.

      2. Tokyo hotel rooms are terribly small. So if space and comfort is important to you, an apartment may work out better.

      You can try an itinerary as follows:

      8 April (Sat): Tokyo
      9 April (Sun): Tokyo
      10 April (Mon): Tokyo (day trip to Disneyland)
      11 April (Tue): Tokyo (day trip to Disneysea)
      12 April (Wed): Tokyo
      13 April (Thur): Tokyo – Haneda (rent a car) – Hakone
      14 April (Fri): Hakone / Nount Fuji self-drive
      15 April (Sat): Hakone / Nount Fuji self-drive
      16 April (Sun): Hakone / Mount Fuji – Haneda

      If your flight from Haneda on 16 April is in the morning, I suggest you drive back and return the car on 15 April evening and spend the last night somewhere near the airport.

      • Ann says:

        Dear BBM,
        Thanks so much for your reply. I was checking my email everyday for your reply!
        Can I check:
        1. I’m thinking just to let the kids play at Disneyland/sea only. I’m really not a big fan of theme park and I guess kids at 2-5 can’t enjoy much (similar to our USS) but I just think this is our 1st trip and everyone will sure visit Disneyland so just go lor, and consider small age of my kids, should we go Disneyland or Disney sea?
        2. Is it ok for 1 day trip to Disneyland without staying at hotel near Disneyland? Will the kids (mummy & daddy too) too tired to travel back to Tokyo in the same day, as I check Disney at night is nice with firework and parade? Or should I stay 1 night there?
        3. Is it necessary to stay 1 night at Chiba after Mother farm visit or we can back to Tokyo? As I’m trying to minimize change of hotels/apartments as we have to carry luggage with 2 kids in tow 🙁
        4. It’s a must to apply for IDP to drive in Japan?
        5. For mother farm trip, if we stay either at Shinjuku/Tokyo/Ueno (coz I haven’t booked accommodation yet 🙁 ), is Haneda the best place to rent a car as traveling to Haneda with luggage is quite a hassle due to changing lines I heard?

        Thanks so much and sorry for troubling you with too many questions.

        • bumblebeemum says:

          1. I think Disneyland is better for small kids. But if you want something you can’t find elsewhere, then go to Disneysea. The atmosphere is not as good, but the parade on the water was very different from the usual Disneyland parades. And Disneysea is less crowded than Disneyland. But if you want a classic Disneyland experience, then definitely go to Disneyland.

          2. I always stay till night time at Disneyland then train back to Tokyo. The night parade is one of the highlight for me so I wouldn’t miss it. The kids will probably fall asleep sometime during the day. Rent a stroller (if you’re not bringing your own) for them to take their afternoon nap in the stroller. If they take their afternoon nap, they will not be so cranky on the way back to the hotel at night. Alternatively you can look into staying at one of Tokyo Disney’s good neighbour hotel in the city, such as Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo or Hotel Metropolitan Edmont Tokyo. Good neighbour hotels offer direct shuttle service between the hotel and the park.

          3. You can go back to Tokyo if your aim is to save the hassle of changing hotels. But if you are keeping the car for later on, parking in Tokyo will cost a bomb. Which is why I suggested staying somewhere near Mother Farm. But if you really don’t want to change hotel / apartment, you can ask your hotel or apartment host where’s the cheapest place to park nearby.

          4. Yes

          5. It’s possible. You can try searching for a car company that offers pick up in the part of Tokyo city you’re staying but allows you to drop off at Haneda Airport on the way back. Just use Tabirai to do the search and see what you can find:

          • Ann says:

            So sorry my boy was down with fever so I didn’t have chance to take a look.
            I checked hotel at Mt Fuji and really due to peak season, it’s impossible to book 2 nights during weekends, all is fully booked! So I need to shift my Mt Fuji trip to weekdays too.
            I base on your suggestion and collect all your advice that you gave to others with similar itinerary that I want. Can you help me to see which option is better. Also for Osen hotel at Mt Fuji, those booking websites have many options (with 1 kid below 3 stay free), if I want to book for my family, do I need to choose the option with 3 person stay (i.e. I need to pay for my 5yo girl stay) or I can book 2 person and the hotel will allow us to stay and the kids share the bed? I saw your comment you said Osen hotel is strict with number of pax but not sure if they even strict with 2 kids 2yo + 5yo (the price for 3 person is much more ex than 2 🙁 ).

            Here is 2 options, really appreciate your help, omg I haven’t booked accomodation and all is nearly gone either at Shinjuku or Mt Fuji, I’m so worried :(. Basically, the only difference is the Mother farm trip. Do I do too many hotel-hop? I”m worried about the troublesome of luggage (even I will try to travel light with 1 big suitcase and backpack only)

            Option 1

            Day 1 (8 apr – Sat): Tokyo

            Day 2 (9 apr – Sun): Tokyo

            Day 3 (10 apr – Mon):

            – Disneyland (1 day trip), back to Tokyo


            – Stay 1 night and head to Haneda the next day?

            Day 4 (11 apr – Tue): check out, head to Haneda – Kawaguchiko station (rent a car), Fuji Safari Park (stay at Kawaguchiko)

            Day 5 (12 apr – Wed): Hakone Lake Ashi Cruise, , Yunessun (stay at Hakone)

            Day 6 (13 apr – Thurs): Hakone Open air museum, Return car at Odawara, back to Tokyo

            Day 7 (14 apr – Fri): Tokyo

            Day 8 (15 apr – Sat): Tokyo – Haneda (rent a car) – Motherfarm

            Day 9 (16 apr – Sun): Tokyo – Haneda- Home sweet home (3pm flight)

            Option 2

            Day 1 (8 apr – Sat): Tokyo

            Day 2 (9 apr – Sun): Tokyo

            Day 3 (10 apr – Mon):

            – Disneyland (1 day trip), back to Tokyo


            – Stay 1 night and head to Haneda the next day?

            Day 4 (11 apr – Tue): check out, head to Haneda – Kawaguchiko station (rent a car), Fuji Safari Park (stay at Kawaguchiko)

            Day 5 (12 apr – Wed): Hakone Lake Ashi Cruise, , Yunessun (stay at Hakone)

            Day 6 (13 apr – Thurs):

            – Hakone Open air museum:

            – Go to Kisarazu, stay 1 night

            Day 7 (14 apr – Fri): Mother farm – Haneda (return car) – back to Tokyo

            Day 8 (15 apr – Sat): Tokyo

            Day 9 (16 apr – Sun): Tokyo – Haneda – Home sweet home

            Thank you very much dear


            • bumblebeemum says:

              Regarding onsen hotels, yes they are pretty strict, even for infants. I suggest you use Rakuten to book onsen hotels. It is a lot less confusing as you can enter the age of your children and whether or not they require bedding and meals.

              I would go for Option 2. It’s kind of a hassle to go through car rental procedures twice.

              For nights in Tokyo, I won’t change hotels. During the self-drive part, it is okay to change hotels. But changing hotels in Tokyo when you’re using public transport is a real pain.

  5. Ann says:

    It’s me again, I have fixed the itinerary as below, if you have time, can you see if it’s fine? I have 1 question regarding the trip from Mother farm back to Tokyo, which station should we return the car to avoid toll? If we stay near Shunjuki, is it wise to drive straight back or return in 1 of further station? Do we need to rent ETC card? Thanks so much for so many questions

    Day 1 (8 apr – Sat): Tokyo
    Day 2 (9 apr – Sun): Tokyo
    Day 3 (10 apr – Mon): Disneyland (1 day trip), back to Tokyo
    Day 4 (11 apr – Tue): check out  Shinjuku, take bus (2hrs)  Kawaguchiko station (rent a car), Fuji Safari Park (stay at Kawaguchiko)
    Day 5 (12 apr – Wed): Hakone Lake Ashi Cruise, , Yunessun (stay at Hakone)
    Day 6 (13 apr – Thurs)
    – Hakone Open air museum:
    – Drive to Kisarazu (2 hours), stay 1 night
    Day 7 (14 apr – Fri): Kisarazu  Mother farm (35mins drive) – Haneda (return car) – back to Tokyo (stay at Tokyo)
    Day 8 (15 apr – Sat): Tokyo
    Day 9 (16 apr – Sun): Tokyo – Haneda – Home sweet home

    • bumblebeemum says:

      You can’t really avoid toll between Mother Farm and Tokyo. If you are staying in Shinjuku for the last 2 nights, I suggest you return the car to an outlet in Shinjuku, preferably within walking distance of your hotel.

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