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Conquer Osaka-Kyoto-Nara In 6D5N With This Muslim-Friendly Itinerary

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Ili  •  Oct 20, 2019

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There's no question as to why Japan has been a long-time favourite destination for travelers all over the world.  From gorgeous cherry blossoms to mouth-watering cuisine, it holds a special place in the hearts of many people (and that includes ours ❤️) Credit: Giphy Because of how well-loved Japan is, visitors often make it a point to stop by multiple cities on their trip. Whether it's a combination of  Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto or Osaka-Himeji-Kobe-Shiga and Mie, you're guaranteed an exciting time in any of Japan's cities! For this itinerary, we bring you on a 6D5N trip that covers Osaka, Kyoto and Nara 😀
Getting around
Being Japan's third most populated city, it comes as no surprise that Osaka's public transportation system is everyone's go to means of transport. The city is largely divided into 2 main areas: the Umeda area, called “Kita” and the Namba/Tennoji area, called “Minami”. The subway pretty much covers the whole city area as well as the JR Osaka Loop Line which circles the central districts, as well as other connecting private railways. We'd recommend getting the 2 day Osaka Amazing Passto get around! This all inclusive pass is truly value for money; besides the unlimited rides on buses,trains and private railways, you'll also have free access to over 30 sightseeing spots in Osaka! Who says you can't save money while travelling 😉
Day 1: Arrive at Kansai International Airport
  • Drop by the HIS counter at Kansai International Airport before heading to the train station to pick up a JR West Rail Pass that can be purchased ahead of time on Klook. With the pass, you can save the hassle of purchasing tickets before each train ride and avoid the long queues too (especially during rush hour!)
  • This pass can be used on the Kansai-Airport Express Haruka, Rapid Services, local JR-West trains and JR buses.
#HWWT Tip: Planning for your Japan trip? Save by purchasing in advance on Klook! Use these promo codes to get discounts off your first purchase: SG: TRAVELHHWTSG for SGD8 off (with min. spending of SGD80) MY: TRAVELHHWTMY for RM30 off (with min. spending of RM240) ID: TRAVELHHWTID for IDR100,000 off (with min. spending of IDR800,000)
Osaka
Food hunting at Kuromon Ichiba Market (2h)
  • Start your day with brunch (because what's a vacay without sleeping in a little) at Kuromon Ichiba Market, also known as "Osaka's Kitchen". Well known for its fresh seafood, you'll find a variety of stores which specialize in various types of seafood.
  • Do notethat none of the stores here are halal-certified but there are Muslim-friendly options.
  • If you love crabs just as much as we do, stop by Yasojima for the sweetest and juiciest grilled King crabs!
  • Take your pick from the various trays and the staff will grill the crab meat for you. Prices per tray begin from ¥4,000 but the quality of the meat is worth every yen.
  • Halal status: Only seafood served
  • Besides seafood, you'll find plenty of fruit stalls and you definitely have to try melon, a popular Japanese summer fruit! This particular store had melons from various prefectures including the premium Crown Melon.
  • The melon from the Yamagata Prefecture bears a sweetness that cannot be described with words. If only we had melons like these back home!
  • Still feeling peckish? Grab a stick of tempura or two from Nisshindo. From squid to pumpkin tempura, Nisshindo has it all!
  • Halal status: Muslim-friendly verified by local authorities
Explore The Pacific Rim At Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium (2h)
  • As one of Japan's most impressive aquariums, the Kaiyukan is a must-visit!
  • Go on a tour of the "Pacific Ocean" as you explore the 14exhibits based on the various locations on the Pacific Rim.
  • Start your journey at Japanese Forest where you'll meet Asian small-clawed otters, all the way to Japan Deep where you'll find humongous Japanese spider crabs!
  • #HWWT Tip: There's a prayer room just next to the aquarium, on the 3rd floor of Tempozan Marketplace. Remember to stop by the Information Counter to get access to the room.
Chibo Diversity (1.5h)
Credit: CHIBO Diversity 道頓堀ビル店〜Muslim Friendly〜 on Facebook 
  • Specialising in okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake), this is the first Chibo outlet in Japan that has a Muslim-friendly menu!
  • Indulge in chiboyaki packed with beef and an assortment of seafood or other classic dishes such as yakisoba, wagyu and nabe 🤤 As you have this wonderful culinary experience, you also get to witness your food being made right in front of you!
  • The restaurant has a prayer room equipped with wudu’ space and prayer mats.
#HHWT Tip: As the restaurant's website did not mention whether they provide prayer garments, we advise that you bring along your own. Halal Status: Halal-certified and only non-alcoholic beverages are served. Average price: ¥ 780 to ¥ 1, 000 / RM30 - RM38.60 Opening Hours: Open daily; 11:00AM – 11:00PM (last order 10:00PM). Address:7F,1-5-5 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, OsakaContact: +81 6-6575-7423 Website | Facebook  
Kobe beef at 3'te Cafe (1.5h)
  • It's time to get acquainted with the flavours of Japan through mouthwatering Kobe beef at 3'te Cafe!
  • They also serve delicious curries as well as fried chicken with rice and vegetables.
Halal status: Halal-certified meats are available, and this cafe is strictly pork-free and alcohol-free. Average price: ¥ 1,000 / RM38.60 Opening hours: Open daily; 12PM-3PM, 6PM-9PM Address: 1 Chome-10-17 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0086, Japan Contact: +816-6243-5766 Website | Facebook  P.S. Craving for more Japanese food? Here are some other halal eateries in Osaka you should check out!
Night Lights At Dotonbori (1.5h)
  • The night is still young and it's time to explore one of Osaka's popular tourist spots - Dotonbori!
  • Be dazzled by the neon lights and signs including the famous Glico Running man! Did you know the sign has transformed 6 ties over the past 8 decades?
  • You'll also find plenty of shopping options ranging from Forever 21 to souvenir stores where you can find Osaka exclusive merchandise.
Day 2
Universal Studios Japan (USJ)
  • A trip to Osaka is not complete if you don't make a day out of visiting Universal Studios Japan! From Minion-themed rides to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you're in for an exciting timeat this city's top attraction 😃
  •  Skip the insanely long queues and get the best views of the amazing parades in designated areas with the USJ Express Pass!
Note: You’ll still need an admission ticket (which is a separate purchase) to enter the park. P.S. Make the most out of your USJ experience with these useful tips and tricks!
Day 3
Osaka Castle (2.5h)
Credit: Daniel Ramirez on Flickr
  • Wander the castle grounds of one of Japan's most famous landmarks - the Osaka castle - and admire the historical beauty behind the monument built in 1583.
  • Make your way up the castle, which is now an 8-storey museum highlighting the castle's history. Find historical artefacts, samurai outfits, and miniature displays of the original 16th-century castle and it's surrounding areas. Or head to the first floor and enjoy short historical programs on the castle's history with English subtitles
  • On the 8th floor, there's an observatory deck where you can enjoy a spectacular view of Tokyo city.
  • Don't forget to explore the scenic gardens surrounding the area too, which spans across two square kilometres.
Cost: ¥600 / RM23 Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan Opening hours: Open daily; 9AM - 5PM Website|Facebook
Osaka Museum of History (2h)
Credit: @katzecatherine on Instagram
  • Just walking distance from Osaka Castle is the Osaka Museum of History, this is the best place to visit if you wish to learn about the city's colourful history. Learn about Osaka from ancient time up to its current modern period.
  • There are two 'courses' for you to explore in the museum, a Highlight course which covers all the main highlights, and the Complete course which showcases everything you need to know about Osaka's history.
  • Explore exhibits showcasing different periods of Japan, lifesize mannequins in traditional outfits, videos showing films depicting different eras, miniature feudal towns, and plenty of archaeological work.
Cost: ¥600 / RM23 Address: 4 Chome-1-32 Otemae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0008, Japan Opening hours: Wed-Monday; 9AM - 5.30PM (closed on Tuesdays) Contact: +81 6-6946-5728 Website
Kema Sakuranomiya Park (0.5h)
Credit: @channie_csw on Instagram
  • Take a relaxing stroll at Kema Sakuranomiya Park that stretches along the Ogawa River.
  • If you happen to be in Osaka at the right time, you can catch the stunning scenery of sakuras in bloom at this park 😍 The locals typically have their picnics - also known as hanami - in view of the cherry blossom season.
P.S. Find out what other spotsin Japan you can witness the cherry blossoms!
Ramen Honolu (1.5h)
Credit: @nandharamadhani on Instagram
  • Take a well-deserved break with some yummy ramen at Ramen Honolu  😋
Halal status: Halal meat available. Do note that alcohol is served on premise, so we advise you to dine at your own discretion. Average price: ¥380 - ¥880 / RM14.60 - RM34 Address: 1F, 2-5-27 Motomachi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 556-0016 Opening hours: Mon-Sat; 11.30AM – 12.30PM (lunch), 5PM – 9PM (dinner), Sunday; 5PM – 9PM(dinner) Contact: +81 6-6710-9604 Website | Facebook | Instagram
Umeda Sky Building (2h)
Credit: @othnielgiovanni on Instagram
  • Conquer your fear of heights and take the see-through escalator that's suspended 40 floors above ground!
  • Make your way up to the open-air observatory to get an incredible 360-degree view of Osaka
  • P.S. Entrance is free with the Osaka Amazing Pass that you can purchase on Klook!
Address: 1 Chome-1-87 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan Opening hours: Open daily; 9.30AM-10.30PM Website #HWWT Tip: Planning for your Japan trip? Save by purchasing in advance on Klook! Use these promo codes to get discounts off your first purchase: SG: TRAVELHHWTSG for SGD8 off (with min. spending of SGD80) MY: TRAVELHHWTMY for RM30 off (with min. spending of RM240) ID:TRAVELHHWTIDfor IDR100,000 off (with min. spending of IDR800,000)
Day 4: Nara
Nara park (whole day)
Credit: Yu Hisu Feng on Facebook
  • Nara is a city that's about an hour away from Osaka by train, and it's one of Osaka's nearby locations that's worth spending an entire day exploring the place.
  • The park is known for its 1,000 deers who are friendly to visitors. Most who heard of Nara Park but have not been there tend to associate the place with deers, but there's so much more to explore in this massive park.
  • We suggest you take your time and spend an entire day to fully experience Nara ina single day trip. Some of the things you could do in Nara Park are listed below, but there are plenty of other attractions within the park that you could include in your own time too.
Cost: ¥200 / RM8 bus fee Opening hours: 24 hours Address: Nara, 630-8211, Japan Contact: +81 742-22-0375 Website 
Kōfuku-ji
Credit: @helmia.miaphy on Instagram 
  • On the main road at NaraPark is the Kokofuji Temple, which is a five-storey pagoda. The pagoda is listed as a World Heritage site and was built in 669 by a noble family during the Heian Period, the Fujiwara family. It's oneof the few remaining building in Nara from that era that survived through time.
  • The surrounding areas are worth exploring, though you need to pay an entry fee to enter National Treasure Museum and the Eastern Golden Hall which feature some architecture and artefacts.
Cost: Free (fee required for some exhibitions - National Treasure Museum and Eastern Golden Hall) Opening hours: Temple grounds are open 24 hours, National Treasure Museum and Eastern Golden Hall 9am-5pm Address: 48 Noboriojicho, Nara, 630-8213, Japan Contact: +81 742-22-7755 Website 
Isui-en Gardens
Credit: Silvia Fortunato on Facebook 
  • You don't have to be a professional photographer to take stunning photos here! Every single picture taken of this place is a gorgeous one worth being on your Instagram feed. Isui-en is one of the most attractive gardens around with its detailed Japanese-style landscaping, giving it a tranquil and serene atmosphere.
  • This stunning garden was created during the Edo period (16th to 18th century), and with Nara's magnificent mountains as its backdrop, it is a sight to behold.
Cost: ¥900 / RM35 per adult Opening hours: Wed-Monday; 9.30AM - 4.30PM (closed on Tuesdays) Address: Japan, 〒630-8208 Nara, Suimoncho, 72−3 氷心亭 Website
Tōdai-ji
Credit: Sarena Sukhani on Facebook 
  • A place that youmust see when visiting Nara - it's considered one of Nara's iconic landmarks that was constructed in 752 and was the head of all provincial Buddhist temples in Japan at it's prime.
  • Explore the main hall showing one of Japan's largest Buddha statues at 15 meters tall as well as the Nandaimon Gate, a large wooden gate watched over by two fierce looking statues.
Cost: ¥600 / RM23 per adult Opening hours: 7.30AM-5.30PM (April to October), 8AM-5PM (November to March) Address: 406-1 Zoshicho, Nara, 630-8211, Japan Contact: +81 742-22-5511 Website
Kasuga-taisha
Credit: @jamu.jpg on Instagram 
  • Also built by the Fujiwara family is the Kasuga Taisha shrine. The shrine is famous for its hundreds of lanterns which were donated by worshippers over many years. The lanterns are lit twice a year, in February and August during the lantern festivals.
  • Explore most of the shrine, and you'll find some of the most photo-worthy spots here with the red pillars, lanterns and stunning Heian Period Japanese architecture. There are plenty of smaller shrines in the woods surrounding the Kasuga Taisha, and just a short walk away is the Kasuga Taisha Shinen Manyo Botanical Gardens with over 250 species plants.
  • Do note that there areextra charges for the inner area of the main building.
Cost: ¥500 / RM19 per adult Opening hours: 6AM - 6PM (April to September), 6.30AM-5PM (October to March) Address: 160 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212, Japan Contact: +81 742-22-7788 Website (Japanese only)
Naramachi Jinniyah 
Credit: Jinniyah Naramachi ならまちじんにい on Facebook One of the well-known places serving halal food is Halal Ramen Naramachi Jinniyah, located in the old town district of Naramachi. Have your fill of their scrumptious ramen (from ¥ 850), teriyaki chicken rice bowls or grilled chicken (from ¥ 500)! Not only does this eatery serve delicious food, but it also has a tatami seating area so you can experience the traditional Japanese way of dining. Do note that you’d need to make a reservation 2 days in advance and that a purchase of ¥ 1,000 or more is needed per person. Halal status: Halal meat available (prayer facilities in establishment) Average price: ¥1000 / RM38.60 Opening hours: Open daily; 11.30AM-6PM Address: 28-34 Minamijodocho, Nara, 630-8341, Japan Contact: Email [email protected] to make your reservation. Website | Facebook 
Day 5: Kyoto 
Just like Osaka, Kyoto is connected by a series of train lines, subway and buses. With the ICOCA IC Card, you can enjoy discounts onpublic transportation and shopping in the Kansai Area (which includes Kyoto and Osaka!)Note: Before heading over to Kyoto, you can redeem this card at the Osaka City Air Terminal (JR Namba Station) #HHWT Tip: Stay near to Kyoto station for easy access to majority of the top local attractions; they're within short walking distance from the station.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (2.5h)
  • Walk through the thousands of torii gates at the Shinto shrine
  • The entire walk to the summit of Mount Inari and back will take you around 2-3 hours, with breath-taking views of Kyoto along the way.
  • Unlike other temples or shrines, entrance here is free!
#HHWT Tip: Go further up the path to take photos of just yourselves or the gates without the throngs of eager visitors that crowd the lower levels of the shrine.
Tofuku-ji Temple (1h)
Credit: Yusuke Umezawa on Flickr
  • The oldest and largest temple in Kyoto, this attraction is also one of Japan's best autumn viewing spots 🍂
Nishiki Market (1.5h)
  • The largest traditional food market in Kyoto, Nishiki Market is over 400 years old!
  • Savour authentic local food like fresh sashimi and green tea 😋
  • Be sure to swing by the market before it closes at 5pm
Disclaimer: The food items at Nishiki Market are nothalal-certified, we advise that you dine at your own discretion.
Dinner at Naritaya (1.5h)
Credit: 100%Halal 麺亭 祇園 成田屋 Gion Naritaya on Facebook 
  • This halal-certified eatery serves up delicious bowls of miso ramen and crispy fried chicken karaage 😋
  • There's even a prayer room, complete with ablution facilities and prayer times!
Halal status: Halal-certified Average price: ¥ 850 / RM32.83 Opening hours: Open daily; 11.30AM-9PM Address: Ability Gion Bidg. 1F, 424 Rinkacho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 605-0062 Contact: +807-5531-8200 Website | Facebook
Night stroll along Gion (1.5h)
  • Travel back in time and wander through rows of traditional wooden Japanese houses and shop lots
  • Try to catch a glimpse of a real life geisha; the best places to see them are at Hanami-koji-dori (the section between Shijo-dori and Kennin-ji Temple)
Day 6
Morning walk at Sagano Bamboo Forest (0.5h)
  • Take a leisurely stroll among the towering bamboo groves and soak in the tranquil vibes of the forest
#HHWT Tip: If you get there early enough in the morning, there'll be less people about and you'll get to take a clear photo without the crowds!
Hop on the Sagano Romantic Train (1h)
  • Said to be one of the most beautiful railway journeys in Japan, you'll be treated to gorgeous views of the city, regardless of the season!
Lunch at Yoshiya Arahsiyama (1.5h)
  • Dine with a view at Yoshiya Arashiyama and order hala washoku(traditional Japanesedishes) from their Muslim-friendly menu
Halal status: Halal-certified Average price: ¥ 2,000 / RM77.20 Opening hours: Open daily; 11AM-5.30PM Address: 31, Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Contact: +81 75-871-0448 Website | Facebook 
Stroll along Kamo River before taking a coffee break  (1h)
Credit: @yn_pic2 on Instagram  
  • Take a break from the touristy side of Kyoto and sit by the picturesque Kamo River
Opening hours: Open daily; 8AM-6PM Address: 3-47 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8385, Japan Contact: +8175-480057 Website | Facebook
Time to head home, Kansai International Airport  
  • Alas, we have come to the end of the trip 😞 Hop on the Limited Express Haruka (covered by the JR Pass) from Kyoto Station for a 75-minute ride that will take you directly to Kansai International Airport.
Even though they say that all good things must come to an end, it's never too early to plan your next trip to Japan 😉 So, while you reminisce your entire multi-city trip, be prepared for the next adventure that's soon to come!