Taking the scenic route: Osaka to Tokyo by local train

By Liam Carrigan

I love traveling. However, I also love having money. With the bullet train so expensive, and with a few days to spare, I set myself a challenge: Get from Tokyo to Osaka using only local trains, and see as many new places as I can along the way.

Taking advantage of Japan’s world-class local train system, I decided to go from Osaka to Tokyo via local trains usually takes about 8 or 9 hours, however for the purposes of this project I envisioned a four-day time span for the trip. A couple of hours on the train each day, stopping off to take in some of the best sights along the way.

One of the great things about the route between Osaka and Tokyo is that there are so many points of interest along the way. Visiting Japan is a lot like visiting the UK in some ways. If you spend all your time in big cities like London, Edinburgh, or Glasgow, you’re missing the big picture of what real life there is like.

While my trip was just 4 days, it would be easy to extend that to a week or possibly even longer. So, here is my basic itinerary outline, with some notable highlights to plan your own trip like this.

Day 1: Osaka – Kyoto – Nagoya

Firstly, leave Osaka nice and early to get a head start on your trip. From JR Osaka station, the local train will get you to Kyoto in about 40 minutes. I would recommend spending a full day in Kyoto, to take in the best of the sights.

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Agree 100%. Both the UK and Japan are countries where the countryside is so important

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ITaking the local train but not stopping at the smaller cities along the way seems rather bland and time consuming. I live in Shiga and know that it isn't a tourist destination but articles like this could focus on the countryside. There are lots of great stops that could have been talked about such as Hikone for the castle or Nagahama's kurokabe square for local art. However, if you want to skip those, just take a shinkansen or travel during the 18 kippu season to get to the next big city.

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I can beat that, I went to Osaka via Gamagori in Aichi pref., island-hopping across Ise Bay to Toba by hydrofoil, and then taking the Kintetsu line to Tennoji Station in Osaka via Yoshino in Nara. Great scenery.

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