10 Best Day Trips From Kyoto

Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, is favored by many beautiful attractions: thousands of ancient shrines, green spaces, high-class stores and restaurants,…. But more than that, Kyoto is connected with convenient public transport station. Thanks to this, tourists have a variety of choices for day trips from Kyoto.

10 Best Day Trips From Kyoto

1. Nara Temples

The first in the list of day trips from Kyoto is a tour around temples in Nara. This city is very famous for temples and shrines, some of which still possess many treasures dated from the period when Nara was the ancient capital of Japan. There are 7 great temples of Nara worth visiting: Todaiji (home to the largest architecture made from wood), Saidaiji (where there is a beautiful hall constructed in Hasedera style), Yakushiji (famous for its East Pagoda), Horyuji, Kofukuji, Gangoji and Daianji.

day trips from kyoto

Todaiji Temple is home to the largest architecture made from wood.

The easiest way to Nara is going by train. There are two railways: JR and Kintetsu. Going by Kintetsu is faster than by JR, just 35 minutes compared to 45 minutes by express.

2. Arashiyama

Arashiyama is a district in the outskirt of Kyoto which is full of incredible places. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is the most famous. You will enter a very beautiful forest and enjoy the tranquility and fresh air. Other spots that have breathtaking views are Daikaku-ji Temple (where you can see gorgeous cherry blossoms), Arashiyama bridge, Togetsukyo Bridge, Jojakko-ji Temple (surrounded by red and yellow maple leaves in autumn), Nison-in Temple, Otagi Nenbutsu-ji Temple and so on.

day trips from Kyoto

The spring in Arashiyama

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Arashiyama, undoubtedly, makes a wonderful day trip from Kyoto. And it is quite easily accessible. There are 3 stations that will take you there: JR Saga, Hankyu and Keifuku.

3. Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is located in the Osaka Castle Park, which certainly becomes one of the fabulous day trips from Kyoto. There is a museum inside the castle displaying many objects from the last century. After that, go outside and walk around the Osaka Castle Park which is a very huge green space with beautiful cherry blossoms garden.

Let’s see the beauty of Osaka Castle.

Traveling from Kyoto to Osaka, you can either use railway service or bus service. There is a train from Keihan Railways in Kyoto to Osaka Castle and the fee is about $5 – $6.

4. Miyajima – Itsukushima Shrine Island

The great Torii, the vibrant red floating torii gate of the Shrine, is a famous and unique scene. In the Shrine, there are many buildings including the main hall, the prayer hall, Marodo Shrine (or the purification shrine),… In summer, many visitors flock here to enjoy the Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival with brilliant and spectacular scenes.

 kyoto day trip

The Great Toji – the symbol of Itsukushima Shrine

From Kyoto to Itsukushima Shrine, go to Hiroshima, then take a boat in Hiroshima port directly to Miyajima island.

5. Himeji Castle (Shirasagi)

Himeji Castle is the most popular castle in Japan which is located in Himeiji city. It was recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO and also the Japanese treasure in 1993. The white castle is also a famous spot for cherry blossoms sightseeing. Inside the castle, the interiors are made of dark wood and unfinished. Tourists can visit the Main Keep, explore the west bailey and 80 buildings.

kyoto day trip from tokyo

Himeji Castle was recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO and also the Japanese treasure.

From Kyoto, day trip to Himeji Castle will start from JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen. The train will take you 90 minutes and cost you 2270 yen.

6. Toyota Museums In Nagoya

Nagoya is the birthplace of the leading car maker Toyota so you cannot visit Nagoya without a tour for Toyota museums. There are three huge museums which are Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, Toyota Automobile Museum and Toyota Kaikan Museum. This is definitely one of the most incredible day trips from Kyoto. Toyota Kaikan displays new car models and latest technologies and sometimes holds robot shows. The good news is that the tour is on the house. Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology shall introduce you the history of Toyota from the dawn of the textile industry and also hosts many exhibitions on car manufacturing process. Visitors can also do a tour of Toyota Automobile Museum if they are interested in car models around the world from the 19th and 20th century.

For those who want to gain insight in Toyota

7. Kanazawa

Although there are many cool things to do in Kyoto, a visit to “little Kyoto” – Kanazawa city is also a good choice. Tourists should spend a day visiting famous attractions in this beautiful city: Kenroku-en Garden (a huge green space), Kanazawa castle park, Higashi Chaya Area (home to many geisha houses), Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art,…

kyoto to hiroshima day trip

Higashi Chaya Area is the street of many geisha houses

From Kyoto to Kanazawa, take Thunderbird Express train (more than 2 hours and the fee is 6380 yen). This is the fastest way as the highway bus takes 4 hours.

8. Hiroshima

Hiroshima is famous for the atomic bombing in 1945, but it is more than that. First, people often visit the Hiroshima Peace Park to pay tribute to victims in 1945. Then, take a tour in Hiroshima Castle, try local cuisines such as oysters or sake (with a variety of flavors) and enjoy the tranquility in Shukkeien Garden.

Tourists just need to take Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines from Kyoto to Hiroshima day trip. The fee is 10,570 yen and the duration is just 1 hour 40 minutes.

9. Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen is one of the best onsen towns in Hyogo Prefecture. There are 7 different hot springs here. Relaxing and enjoying in the hot spring resorts is a comfortable day trip for those who like simplicity and convenience.

kyoto in a day

Kinosaki Onsen is one of the best onsen towns in Hyogo Prefecture

From Kyoto station, take “Kinosaki” Limited Express to get to Kinosaki. The one-way fee is 4320 yen.

10. Fushimi Inari Shrine

The final destination of the best day trips from Kyoto is Fushimi Inari Shrine – a very important shrine in the south of Kyoto. The sight of the shrine is so incredible and magical as it is the iconic scene of 5000 vermillion torii gates. Many people also like to go hiking to the summit of the mountain and there are also torii gates along the trail.

day trips from Kyoto

The iconic scene of 5000 vermillion torii gates

From Kyoto station, it takes only 5 minutes to get to JR Inari Station which is near the Shrine. The one-way fare is just 140 yen.


There are so many interesting and beautiful towns and cities to explore when departing from Kyoto city. Choose a destination from the above list and enjoy a wonderful day trip.

About Hayami Mori

Hayami Mori is an awesome travel blogger & photographer. She was born and raised in Tokyo and have been here for nearly 25 years. She loves traveling and always wants to introduce her beautiful Japan to travelers from all over the world. Therefore, her blog is a great source of information for people looking for what to do in Japan as well as provides some tips to make their trips unforgettable.