Step into a futuristic, fascinating, and fantastical world.
Japan - a cacophony of modernity and tradition, nature and technology, crowds and calm. This country assaults your senses in the best way possible. You’ll see this for yourself on your journey from Tokyo to Osaka. Once you experience the chaos of Tokyo, walk the majestic temples of Kyoto and eat just about anything from the renowned Japanese cuisine, you’ll already be planning your next trip back.
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Tokyo to Osaka highlights
Take a ride on Japan’s bullet train
If you want to well and truly embrace all aspects of the Japanese lifestyle, there’s only one thing for it; get ready for a ride on a Shinkansen train (you get extra points if it’s during peak hour). Connecting travellers to and from Japan’s busiest cities in record time, this bullet train system is not only incredibly safe (no accidents to date) but will fast-track you straight to local status in no time.
Treat yourself to tasty traditional food
Get rid of all of your preconceived notions about Japanese food because nothing compares to eating the real, traditional thing. Boasting vibrant street food scenes your tastebuds will want to get lost in and heaps of restaurants where you can refuel after a day spent exploring, this country promises a culinary experience like no other – think Japanese pizza, fried octopus balls, and lots of sushi.
Wander through the neon-lit streets of Tokyo
Tokyo may be one of those cities you can easily get lost in, but you’ll hardly mind when walking through neighbourhoods as cool as Ginza with its shopping complexes and department stores, Roppongi with its pulsating nightlife scene, and Shibuya with its entertainment venues and theatres. Either settle on a pre-determined route or simply go where the impulse takes you for an afternoon well spent.
Soak up all of the Japanese culture in Osaka
There are plenty of things to do in Osaka from touring Universal Studios Japan and shopping ‘till you drop at boutique stores to venturing along Dotombori Arcade at nighttime. In fact, you could spend several days here and still not feel as though you’ve seen it all. To avoid that, head to Osaka Castle for some tradition, a local market for some street food, and Shinsekai for some entertainment.
Temple-hop through Kyoto
If you want famous landmarks, you go to Tokyo. If you want delicious food, you go to Osaka. But if you want to see as many colourful shrines and Buddhist temples as you possibly can, you go to Kyoto. Featuring the country’s largest collection of World-Heritage listed sites (special shoutouts to Nijo-jo Castle and Shimogamo-jinja Shrine) and ancient monuments stepped in centuries of history, Kyoto is one for the highlight reel.
Visit the Hiroshima Peace Park
While visiting the Hiroshima Peace Park and museum might be sobering, this eye-opening experience is one that is necessary in order to fully understand how this nation has dealt with tragedy. From looking over the Cenotaph in the Peace Memorial Park to casting your eyes over the eerie form of the Atomic Dome, learn about how this city pays its respects to the events of the past but also how it celebrates a new era of universal peace.
Tokyo to Osaka tour reviews
Tokyo to Osaka FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
There’s never a bad time to travel to Japan but the months that see the most travellers are March, April, and May as the weather is mild and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The warm weather (with low humidity levels) of September, October, and November are also suitable months to visit Japan – you’ll even be treated to landscapes coloured with oranges, reds, and browns for autumn. While winter can be cold, this is the best time for snow activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snow festivals. On the other hand, the summer months see high humidity levels that can leave some travellers uncomfortable.
Under current restrictions, a visa is required to enter Japan as a tourist. We recommend you apply for your visa no later than one month before your departure date. Please contact your local consulate or embassy for more information.
Both Tokyo and Osaka are popular destinations in Japan, and luckily there are plenty of ways to travel between the two cities including flying (total flying time is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes), self-driving (can take up to 5 hours), and catching the bullet train (Shinkansen) which can take up to 3 hours.
Having a basic understanding of the language and culture of the country you're visiting can go a long way when it comes to, not only communicating efficiently but your overall trip experience as well. Some common phrases you need to learn are:
- 'hello' - Konnichiwa
- 'good morning' - Ohayō
- 'thank you' - Arigatou Gozaimasu
- 'please' - Onegaishimasu
Read more about which common Japanese phrases/words you should learn
Japan isn't short of spectacular attractions to wander through and fascinating historical landmarks to marvel at but it's pretty hard to do it all on your trip to Japan. So you don't miss the things you simply have to see, we've put together a short list of parks, temples, and monuments worth visiting. Happy exploring!
- Hiroshima Peace Park
- Mt Fuji
- Cherry blossom trees
- Osaka Castle
- Himeji Castle
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
The needs of travellers with mobility issues, including wheelchair users, are considered in the infrastructure in major cities. Train stations have lifts (elevators), wide turnstiles and (for the most part) raised platforms so that wheelchair users can glide onto the train without being assisted.
Sidewalks in Japanese cities are sometimes sloped towards the road, which can make travelling a straight line difficult for wheelchair users or people with vision impairment.
It is common practice in Japan to remove shoes when entering a home. Wheelchair users should carry something to wipe down their wheels in respect of this custom. Apply the same logic for other mobility aids such as canes.
Ryokans and other traditional accommodation can be difficult to navigate for people with limited mobility, but accessible hotel options are plentiful in the major cities.
Travellers with vision impairment may find the tactile yellow strips that guide the way to various places in train stations helpful, though please note that there is no barrier between the train tracks and platforms.
If you have a battery-operated hearing aid, it’s a good idea to bring extra batteries or familiarise yourself with the Japanese equivalent of the batteries it takes.
If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.
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