A day trip from Osaka! 12 popular sightseeing spots to visit by train


Osaka, the financial center of west Japan. Are you thinking about visiting this amazing city?

Or about to start looking for the best tourist attractions in and around Osaka?

The following is going to introduce you the most recommended spots for a one-day trip. All of them are easy to access by railway started from the biggest terminal station Osaka-umeda.

If you are making plans for your trip, let’s check it out!


1.【Hyogo】Kobe City Center


©Kobe Tourism Bureau


Kobe, a coastal city, developed rapidly under the influence of foreign cultures since the opening of Kobe Port in 1868. Since it has a completely different atmosphere from Osaka and Kyoto, we recommend you to visit Kobe to learn more about West Japan’s culture. Besides, it only takes 30 minutes by railway from Osaka to Kobe.


The center of Kobe City is Sannomiya area, which is not very big but full of attractions. In addition to visiting the bay area where you can experience living in a coastal town, you may also go to Kitano Ijinkan street, where has a lot of modern western-style mansions. We also recommend you to visit the art galleries and museums around. If you want to try some authentic Chinese food, Nankin-machi, one of the biggest Chinatown in Japan, is where you should go. Besides that, Kobe also provides you with the experience of Western food culture and Western sweets.


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30 minutes from Osaka-umeda Station by Hankyu Line
30 minutes from Osaka-Umeda Station by Hanshin Line

2.【Hyogo】Mt. Rokko area


Mt. Rokko is the perfect spot to see the entire city of Kobe. Take the cable car to the mountaintop and enjoy the fabulous city view surrounded by beautiful nature. Also, it is close enough to Osaka that you can easily plan it as a one-day trip.


Mt. Rokko offers the best night view of Kobe and in the daytime there is chance to see Osaka from afar. In addition, the mountaintop also has a photogenic observatory, a botanical garden, an athletic park, BBQ area and a ranch where not only adults, but children can enjoy themselves.


From spring to autumn, the mountain area is covered by alpine plants. A large-scale of art exhibition is held every autumn. During winter, Rokko ski resort is open during the daytime and it is the closest ski resort from Osaka.


If you get tired, the famous Arima hot spring is accessible by ropeway from the mountaintop.


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Mt. Rokko tourist guide



1 hour and 10 minutes from Umeda Station by Hankyu/ Hanshin line
and transfer to Kobe City bus to take Rokko cable car

3.【Hyogo】Arima Hot Spring


Arima Onsen has been known as one of the three best hot springs in Japan, including two popular gold and silver hot spring. It is highly recommended for a one-day trip from Osaka.


Besides the hot spring, you can find some authentic Japanese food and taste the famous “carbonated rice crackers”. Walk along the street slowly and enjoy the traditional atmosphere.


If you are looking for a cost-effective way to go by railway. Arima hot spring is now offering two kinds of package tickets, both of which includes a one-day railway pass and hot spring ticket.
Hankyu expressway bus offers direct access to Arima hot spring and is also highly recommended.


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Arima Onsen Taikou-no-yu Package Tickets


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1 hour and 30 minutes from Umeda Station by Hankyu/ Hanshin line
and transfer to Kobe Electric Railway
1 hour and 15 minutes from Osaka-umeda Station by Hankyu expressway bus

4.【Hyogo】Himeji Castle


Photo provided by Himeji city


Photo provided by Himeji city

Himeji Castle is designated as world cultural heritage and national treasure. It is also called “White Heron Castle” because of its unique wings-shaped rooftop. The main donjon was built in 1609 and keeps showing its beauty to people from all over the world till now. At night, you can see different colors of light up in different season.


Himeji Castle was built with strong defensive system in the past. If you want to have an immersive experience, use the AR and CG provided by Himeji Castle.


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1 hour from Osaka-umeda Station by JR Line
and walk 20 minutes from Himeji Station

5.【Hyogo】Kinosaki Hot Spring


Kinosaki Hot Spring has been loved by great writers from the past. Many tourists choose to stay overnight and enjoy the calm atmosphere, but a one-day trip is also possible if you departure early in the morning. 7 different public baths are provided and take your time to enjoy the street.


Walking along the river full of elegant willow trees, you can see a lot of people dressed in Japanese traditional yukata and going on a tour of all baths. When snow falls in winter, you can enjoy the indescribable breathtaking scenery during the bath.


Also, Kinosaki hot spring town is famous for fresh fish cuisine due to its seaside location. Snow crab is their specialty and you don’t want to miss that.



3 hours from Osaka-umeda Station by JR Line (Express line)
3 hours 30 minutes from Osaka-umeda Station by Hankyu expressway bus

6.【Hyogo】Awaji Island


Awaji Island is a leisure spot that is becoming increasingly popular in west Japan. Island bus is provided for those who want to go around the island by public transportation. Awaji island has not only one of the oldest shrines in Japan, but also delicious sea food and chic cafes in which you can enjoy the spectacular view of the ocean and sky. In addition, you can find a roadside station which has Awaji specialties and souvenirs beside Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, the main bridge connecting Awaji Island and mainland. On the way back, you can also choose to take Awaji Jenova line ferry instead of railway.


Besides, the leisure area Awaji Yumebutai designed by world-famous architect Tadao Ando has the perfect location overlooking Osaka Bay. This terrific architecture puts nature elements and the modern world together.


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This is the place to go! An overwhelmingly beautiful architectural spot that harmonizes with the nature of Awaji Island!



1 hour 50 minutes from Umeda Station by Hankyu/ Hanshin line
and transfer to expressway bus

7.【Kyoto】Arashiyama Area, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Kyoto City Center


When it comes to sightseeing in Japan, Kyoto is one of the best places to experience Japanese culture and it only takes 50 minutes to go from Osaka.


Now sightseeing express railway “Kyo-Train Garaku” is run together with Hankyu railway. Japanese-style interior is popular among travelers. Passengers just need to pay the regular fee and no reservation is required. For your information, Kyo-Train Garaku is available only on weekends and holidays.


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“Kyo-train Garaku” Ride Guide


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Arashiyama Sightseeing Guide



50 minute from Osaka-umeda Station by Hankyu Line

8. 【Kyoto】Nishiyama Area

kyotonishiyama (2)

Nishiyama area is an undiscovered sightseeing spot in Kyoto. In additional to its astonishing nature, Nishiyama area is very close to Osaka.
This area has shrines such as Yoshiminei Temple, where you can overlook the whole city area along the mountain road, and Yanagidani Kannon Temple, which is famous for its hydrangeas and Hana-chouzu (the arrangement of flowers and plants on the surface of a water basin). In addition, “Kyoto City Rakusai Bamboo Forest Park” and “Bamboo Path” are more expansive than Arashiyama’s “Bamboo Forest Path” and are good places to hole up. There are also experience facilities such as “Suntory Yamazaki Distillery” known worldwide as one of the “Japanese Whiskey” and “Suntory <Natural Water Beer Factory> Kyoto”.


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Kyoto Nishiyama|An undiscovered sightseeing spot in Kyoto!



40 minutes from Osaka-umeda Station by Hankyu Line

9. 【Kyoto】Amanohashidate Area


Amanohashidate is one of the three best views in Japan, locating in north Kyoto. It has a unique landform with about 6,700 pine trees growing on the reef approximately 20m to 170m wide and 3.6km long created over thousands of years by nature force. Its large undulating shape has long been compared to that of a descending dragon.


In addition to walking through Amanohashidate or viewing it from a boat, the view from the observation deck is especially recommended.
There is a standard way to enjoy viewing Amanohashidate. Stand with your back to Amanohashidate, bend at the waist and look at Amanohashidate from between your legs. You may be able to see a dragon aiming for the sky while the world is upside down.


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【Kyoto】Amanohashidate Travel Guide|Access, Attractive Points, Ine Town and More!



2 hours 40 minutes from Osaka-umeda Station by Hankyu line
and transfer to Tango Kairiku Express Bus

10. 【Kyoto】Miyama Village





Miyama-cho, Nantan city, Kyoto prefecture is a ‘country town’ where still retains peaceful rural atmosphere and traditional houses with thatched rooftops. It takes about 3 hours to go from Osaka city so it can be visited as a one-day trip destination.


If you want to have a deep experience of traditional culture of Miyama-cho, we recommend participating in tours such as cycling, mochi pounding, and the ‘half-day home visit’ where you can get a glimpse of the local lives.


All sightseeing related information can be found at Kyoto Tamba Kogen Quasi-National Park Visitor Center. English is available at the visitor center.


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Why is Miyama-cho, Kyoto recommended for overseas tourists?



3 hours from Osaka-umeda Station by Hankyu Line
and transfer to Keihan Kyoto Express (Highway bus)

11. 【Nara】Nara Park, Todai-ji, Kasugataisha Shrine and Nara City Center


Nara, a city with a long-established culture, used to be the capital city of Japan in 710. The capital Heijo-kyo was built at the site of present-day Nara city and is designated as World Cultural Heritage, together with Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga-taisha Shrine and Yakushi-ji Temple. In particular, Todai-ji Temple has the famous Buddha statue known as the ‘Great Buddha of Nara’. Daibutsu-den, where the Buddha statue is, has been rebuilt and is one of the largest wooden structures in the world.


Moreover, Nara is famous for its wild deer which are designated as national monument. Deer in Nara can be seen along the street and they would get close to tourists, making it a rare scene of people and wild animals coexisting in the city.


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Enjoy the Great Buddha of Nara, the pride of Japan’s World Heritage and power spot



1 hour from Osaka-umeda Station by JR Line

12.【Shiga】Biwako Valley


Biwako Valley is an activity area built on the top of the mountain with an altitude of about 1,100m to the west of Biwako Lake, the biggest freshwater lake in Japan.

The attraction of Biwako Valley is the magnificent panorama of Lake Biwa! Take the ropeway at the bottom of the mountain for 5 minutes and you can enjoy the whole view of the terrific Biwako Lake. Chances are that you may also see Osaka, Kyoto and even the 3,000m mountains from the terrace.


At the main view spot Biwako Terrace, you can find sofas and chairs set on a wide wooden deck where you can fully relax yourselves. For those who likes thrilling activities, zipline is available at the mountaintop and there are also athletic facilities called Skywalker for both children and adult. What’s more, ski resort is open during winter and is the perfect place to go for ski and snowboard lovers.



1 hour 20 minutes from Osaka-umeda Station by JR Line
and transfer to Kojak Bus

Have you found a good place for a day trip?
Enjoy! OSAKA KYOTO KOBE” provides useful information for visitors to Japan visiting the Kansai region. Be sure to check out the latest trendy tourist spots and unknown hidden gems!

About the author

Your source for sweets and gourmet information!
Editor and writer in charge of outing information media in Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka area for more than 10 years.
I will introduce you to the most popular stores, talked-about gourmet foods, and sightseeing spots in Japan.


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