How to Get to Kyoto from Osaka, the Path to the Best Yakiniku in Japan!

I found myself in Kyoto. Being with another travel blogger for a whole day and letting time fly had something to do with it. This was the choice I was faced with for the last day of our Japan trip - go shopping-all-you-can in Osaka's Shinsaibashi.. OR travel all the way to Kyoto and spend the day discovering what we can. It was an easy choice. I was at the lobby by 9 a.m. and ready for the adventure with David of Malaysia Asia. Based on that one-day experience alone, here are a few reasons why I was already thinking how soon I could go back to Japan.


Reason #1 - Finding our way through Japan's labyrinth of railways is both challenging and fun. Remember: locals do this every day.

Osaka is only one of the many prefectures in Japan and it has its share of many train railways, subway lines and tram lines.


We followed the signs (from Nankai Namba Station) and walked all the way to the JR Namba Green Line Station (took us a while to get there by foot, there are a number of Namba stations by the way). We bought subway tickets for Namba to Shin-Osaka (Midosuji Line Orange 270 yen) then the Rapid Express (train tickets from Shin-imamiya to Kyoto no stopover, 890 yen) with the help of the manned information booths and help counter near the ticket entrance slots. Even with the express ticket that we bought, we arrived in Kyoto (from Osaka) a little after 11 a.m. (~2 hours with all the walking, finding, transfers and waiting for the train).


Of course, we could have opted to ride the Shinkansen (~2930 yen) and we would have gotten there in like 15 minutes?! We spent a little more but, hey we got to Kyoto! Haha. We used this on the way back (cheaper way, with stopovers, vice versa) - Kyoto to ShinOsaka (540 yen) then ShinOsaka to Namba (270 yen).

Here are other ways to get to Kyoto from Osaka.
Click here for some advice about the best way to get from Kyoto to Osaka and vice versa.

Osaka to Kyoto Train and Subway Tips:
  • A platform can use different trains going to different directions. Make sure you board the right train! There are monitors available that tell you if your train is approaching. Do not miss the time on your ticket! Get there early and give time for finding the correct platform.
  • I found this cool and useful site that does route searching, finds the right trains in English, even tells you the train schedules, indicates the train company and gives you the fare for Japan! Click here.
Reason #2 - Walking in Japan is one great adventure. When we go where the road leads us, 'somewhere' is always one great surprise.

I went to Kyoto hoping to see some geishas and a few temples. We looked at the map and decided that being near the Gion area was a good place. If we had time, some luck and depending on where our feet take us, we would get to see both somehow. We took the Kyoto subway to Hiroshiyama (there seemed to be a concentration of temples in that stop) and picked to go right from Exit 2. We turned right again at the corner, followed the signs, passed a creek


and walked uphill to the Shoren-in Temple.


The walk was a little unsettling because Kyoto was very quiet. We didn't see tourists or that many locals and it took forever to get 'there'. We knew we had arrived 'there' when we saw a temple (we assumed it was Chion-in).


We started clicking away then set off to Chion-in, the farther temple (the sign said there was one in another 360 meters, ~15 minutes walk for us).

Reason #3 - Surprise! Surprises in Japan!

We momentarily stopped for some vendo goodies (and this is where I got the red means hot drink and blue means cold drink part haha)


before walking up a very huge temple.


The trigger-happy sessions began. I believe we found dressed Mizuko Kuyo statues (Buddhist fetus memorial service for the unborn, miscarried or aborted fetuses).



The hours passed by and we were about to leave when... we got a little lost finding the exit and saw two awesome cherry blossom plum flower trees! Update: Our Osaka guide Sachiko-san just corrected me haha: 

The flowers you saw in Kyoto were Japanese plum flowers, and not cherry blossoms.    Japanese plum flowers are in red, pink, and white, and in single and multi-petals. They give out such a beautiful fragrance, too.  
We do have cherry blossom throughout the year.  But what you find in cold months are usually pale-colored such as pale pink, almost white, and also white ones.  The flowers are usually small and do not give a strong feel.


Seeing them out of the blue for the first time hushed my thoughts to complain about the biting cold in Japan during our 7D trip.


We spent around an hour with the trees and playing with the settings of our cameras hahaha.


These trees were well-protected for winter!


I don't know what they are but these grape-like berries were good enough to eat...


There is also something about going down a plight of stairs and stopping to smell and shoot the flowers.


I would consider this one of the highlights of the trip - one moment where time didn't matter and one moment that reconfirmed why I chose to be a travel blogger.


We didn't even notice that it was almost 2 p.m. and, oops, we did forget about lunch. We passed by this river again and saw students sitting there and passing time staring into the water. Time is just so slow in Kyoto.


Directions to the trees: We went in the 三門 (lower right).


We saw the trees after we went up the big bell tower 大鐘樓 (upper right on map) and took the exit on the right to a residential area (no exit here back to the temple entrance confirmed haha).


If you can't find it, you can find these inside the temple too hehe.


To be continued...

Do you have more reasons to go to Japan or Kyoto? Feel free to use the comment section below!

Read Part II of II of my Kyoto Series to get to one of my best foodie finds - Hayashi Restaurant!