questions & answers: itinerary check

to-do list on the way to osaka and back (to make the best out of the travel)

To-do list on the way to Osaka and back (to make the best out of the travel)

We will be living Tokyo Shinagawa Station for Osaka and would like to make the best out of the travel.

We are thinking of leaving Tokyo early and stop by Tokyo on the way to Osaka the day we travel there AND on the way back to Tokyo (We already plan the full next day for Nara, ...)

Do you know when is the first train from Tokyo Shinagawa Station to Osaka? If we stop at Kyoto on the way there and on the way back to visit at least one of the following Ninjo Castle and Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Kyoto Handicraft Center, will we have enough time? Thanks.

Is there any tour that you recommend from Kyoto JR station? Thanks.

eDude
eDude

Hi,

leaving Tokyo early and stop by Tokyo on the way to Osaka...

I presume you mean Kyoto....?

Schedules can be found on Hyperdia.
The earliest departure is listed as 6:34 AM. But schedules could change and you don't give any date.

As for having enough time, it is entirely up to what you have planned. Osaka is actually better from the evening to see Dotonbori and some other places. For the Kyoto places you mention, it should not take long. For Kinkakuji. you can be through it in 30-45 minutes tops. There just isn't much there aside from walking around the Golden Pavilion itself - nevertheless it is breathtakingly beautiful. For the Kyoto Imperial Palace you must make reservations first to go on the tour, which lasts 60 minutes or so. I did it in April last year when they opened it up briefly to seeing it without the led-by-the-nose tour. It is nice but honestly not overly impressive. You cannot enter any of the buildings. Instead I would suggest you go see Shugakuin Villa instead - there is a lot more beauty. It also requires advance reservations for its 80 minute tour, but it is free and you might like it more. Nijo Castle is also much nicer, and while crowded with a lot of tourists and a more draconian "no pictures" policy inside its buildings, it is well worth visiting.
As far as a tour goes, I'd say it's better to do it yourself - arrange what you want to see, leave out what you don't, and make your own custom plan that you are happy with.
Try looking through these guides to see what you'd like:

http://www.kyoto.travel/

http://www.ar.jal.com/world/en/guidetojapan/city_information/uky/see/central/

Toraneko
Toraneko

You are right that I meant "Kyoto".

We will be there in summer. How do we make reservations to see the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

What other important tourist site(s) in Japan that we need to make reservations in advance (in Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, ...).

Thanks.

eDude
eDude

I found it.

eDude
eDude

Based on the application to visit, Shugakuin Villa does allow anyone under 18. Is this correct?

eDude
eDude

Hmmm...that's what it says. If you are taking kids, I am afraid they can't go.

As far as other places go, any Imperial Household related place or Kokedera in Kyoto comes to mind. Very beautiful, but pricey.

Toraneko
Toraneko

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