Home » Asia » Japan » 13 BEST Day Trips from Osaka, Japan

13 BEST Day Trips from Osaka, Japan

This post contains product affiliate links. These are mainly on items/hotels/tours that I personally endorse & love. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, but at no extra cost to you.

From the trails of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest to the historic sights of Kyoto, here are the best day trips from Osaka you need to do!

day trips from osaka

Tokyo. Kyoto. Osaka. Those are the top 3 cities everyone should visit when travelling around Japan. It’s amazing how different these three places are. If you’re visiting Osaka, then chances are you’re a big foodie like me.

I absolutely loved basing myself in Osaka for a few days. For me, it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Japan, mainly thanks to its central location in the Kansai Region.

However, if you’re looking at exploring all this region has to offer, then I’ve put together all the best day trips from Osaka. These should really help when planning your Japanese adventure.

osaka day trips
There are so many incredible places to visit near Osaka

Whether you’re looking to escape into nature at the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest or dive into history and architecture at Himeji Castle, these day trips are some of my favourite places to visit. 

Of course, there are some big hitters on this list, with major cities like Kyoto and Kobe being just a short train ride away from Osaka. Every place that I’m going to talk about is only a couple of hours from Osaka, so they’re very accessible in a day. However, if you want to save time, I’ll also link to some Osaka tours that include transportation too.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and find out more about the best Osaka day trips for your next advenutre.

Day Trips from Osaka

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

osaka day tours
Just look at the bamboo forests at Arashiyama

Known for its natural beauty and the Instagram-friendly long bamboo reeds towering all around you, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest has to be one of the most popular attractions in Japan. 

Located just over an hour’s drive from Osaka or a one-hour 40 train ride on the Hankyu-Kyoto Line and then switching onto the Hankyu-Arashiyama line at Katsura, it’s a relatively easy day trip from Osaka. 

In the surrounding area of Arashiyama, make sure you carve out time to visit Tenryuji Gardens, which is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site. I think this is often overlooked in favour of the bamboo forest, but it’s definitely worth a visit! 


places to visit near osaka
Kyoto is such a beautiful place to visit

First off, I just want to say that I love the historic feel of Kyoto. As the former capital of Japan, there are plenty of places, like the central Shijō Kawaramachi area, that feel like you’re stepping back in time. As it’s just 24 minutes on the train from Shin-Osaka Station, it’s one of the easiest Osaka day trips on this list. Just jump on the Tokaido-Sanyo Line and you’ll be there in no time! 

Tradition is the name of the game in Kyoto. From some of the oldest sake breweries around to amazing and immersive tea ceremonies, there are plenty of experiences to enjoy here. I’d also recommend making time to visit the beautiful Fushimi Inari Taisha Shinto shrine.


where to go near osaka
Hiroshima is a very poignant place in Japan

If you want to visit one of the most important and reverend locations in Japan, jump on the bullet train on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen and head to Hiroshima. The travel time is only 1 hour and 20 minutes, but if you want a local to show you the sights, I’d check out this Osaka tour that guides you around Hiroshima and Miyajima.

Of course, the main thing to see and do in this part of Japan is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Atomic Bomb Dome. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites are poignant reminders of modern history’s lasting impact and, from experience, I can tell you the visit will stay with you long after you leave Japan.


kobe japan
Kobe is famous for its beef!

Can I even talk about a day trip to Kobe without mentioning food tours? Known around the world for its premium-grade beef, Kobe has tons of amazing walking tours and restaurants to dive into. After just a 20-minute train ride, you’ll find yourself in this Japanese foodie heartland. 

Once you’re sated (and trust me, you will be!) soar above the ground on the cable car inside the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden and Ropeway. You’ll be treated to amazing views of Mount Rokko and the city below. If you prefer a more stationary platform, head to the Kobe Port Tower for equally amazing views. 

Himeji Castle

himeji castle
This is one of the most famous castles in Japan

Located an hour and 20 minutes away by train lies the historic and beautiful Himeji Castle. As the biggest castle in the whole of Japan, if you visit just one historic building, I’d recommend this one. With a distinctive Japanese feudal style, it’s unlike a lot of architecture and the condition of the castle is insanely good.

One of the common tours around this area is to combine a trip to Himeji Castle with a visit to the Arima Onsen. For me, this is an ideal blend. Walk around the castle complex and soak up the history before relaxing in the warming onsen. Is this the perfect Osaka day trip? I think it’s definitely up there!

Lake Biwa

lake biwa
There are loads of things to do at Lake Biwa

Do you want to visit the largest freshwater lake in Japan? Well, a day trip from Osaka to the stunning Lake Biwa can take as little as an hour if you visit the southern lake city of Otsu. Known for its beautiful temples, lakeside views, and forest and mountain trails, it’s the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of Osaka.

In terms of historical sites around Lake Biwa, you have the 17th-century Hikone Castle and the stunning Enryaku-ji, which is a Buddhist temple complex that harks back to the 8th century! 

Takeda Castle Ruins

takeda castle ruins
You can see the ruins overlooking the city

If you don’t mind getting up early and enjoying a longer day trip, I’d highly recommend visiting the Takeda Castle Ruins. The fastest train routes clock in at two hours and 50 minutes, so it’s pretty far, but I think it’s worth it!

This historic site was a prominent 15th-century castle that stood high on the mountaintop. However, it was abandoned after the famous Battle of Sekigahara in the 1600s. Since then, it has been protected and restored and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountainous landscape. 


nara deer japan
Nara is famous for its cute deer all over town

Let’s be honest, Nara is known for one thing in particular and that’s its unique deer park! Nara Deer Park is one of the most visited sites in Japan, thanks to the ability to explore this beautiful park and feed the cute deer at the same time. The best part? It’s just over an hour away from Osaka by train.

Of course, Nara Deer Park is also home to the Tōdai-ji temple. It’s here where you’ll find Daibutsu, a 15-meter-high giant Buddha statue that towers over you in the hallway. Honestly, it’s an intimidating, and inspiring sight in equal measure!

Wakayama City

day trips from osaka in winter
Wakayama is a really underrated destination in my opinion

Visiting Japan during the iconic Cherry Blossom season? The city of Wakayama lies around an hour and a half south of Osaka and has some of the best Sakura spots in the region. Make sure that you bring your camera to the Kimii-dera Temple for the best cherry blossom sightings!

Outside of Sakura Season, Wakayama has a great blend of art and culture, from the Museum of Modern Art to the imposing Wakayama Castle. If you’re looking for a chilled Osaka day trip where you can soak up some Japanese culture, Wakayama is going to be for you. 

Mount Koya (Koyasan)

mount koya

If you’re after a truly spiritual day trip from Osaka, hire a car and drive one hour 45 south to Mount Koya, otherwise known as Koyasan. While you can get there on the train, I wouldn’t recommend the three changes each way for a day trip!

At its heart, Koyasan is a temple complex that is surrounded by nature. The main temples in Koyasan have to be Danjo-Garan and Kongobuji. Danjo-Garan is actually one of the oldest temples in this area and Kongobuji is the head temple of Kōyasan Shingon Buddhism, and both of them are around 1000 years old.

Awaji Island

awaji island
This is a really beautiful destination on the coast

Feel like a beach day? After a two-hour train-bus combo, you’ll arrive on the beautiful Awaji Island. Interestingly enough, this island links the major island of Honshu to the southern island of Shikoku. As a result, one of Awaji’s most famous sights is its giant suspension bridge that links the islands together.

It’s also a great place to visit if you’re a fan of anime and Naruto or Boruto in particular. Awaji is where you’ll find the Naruto x Boruto Theme ParkNaruto x Boruto Theme Park. This park is filled with activities, fan-immersive experiences, and cool references to the anime!  

Kumano Kodo

kumano kodo trek
I absolutely loved visiting Kumano Kodo

Around one hour and 45 minutes in a car south will bring you to Kumano Kodo, one of the most ancient pilgrimage routes in Japan. So, pack your hiking boots, because I’m taking you on an adventure! 

The pilgrimage brings you to three distinct shrines known collectively as the Kumano Sanzan. They’re built all around the mountains and the trails bring you past waterfalls and forests along the way. Not only is it a sacred place that’s full of history, but it’s also an amazing hike! 


weekend trips from osaka
How beautiful does this place look!?

If you like your architecture to look a bit more striking, then you’re going to love Okayama. Located just an hour from Osaka on the train, the main attraction of the city is Okayama Castle, which has been renamed Crow Castle due to its striking black facade.

Want to spend more time soaking up the Okayama sunshine? Head to the iconic Okayama Korakuen Gardens. These formal gardens are one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, so you know they’re outstanding. If you’re looking for a day trip from your day trip, I’d recommend jumping on the ferry to Naoshima Island with its quirky open-air art roots. 

I really hope this article has helped plan your trip to this beautiful region of Japan. If you have any questions at all, just let me know in the comments below.

Like this blog post? Then Pin it for the future!

13 BEST Day Trips from Osaka, Japan

About the Author

  • Rebecca Crowe

    Rebecca Crowe is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about travel, food, and outdoor adventure. She is often found holding a taco, in an airport, or halfway up a climbing wall.

    View all posts

Leave a comment