Revisiting Tokyo vs. Osaka

Time to get back to more travel talk and get this trip planning back together. I will start with the biggest debate in my mind, Tokyo vs. Osaka, and which city will win out for the bulk of the trip. I am keeping it to one city and won’t be travelling across the country to the other city for several reasons. For one, its the cost factor and time factor. I will have a new boss starting next year, so I won’t be able to simply take two weeks off for a long trip. It stinks, but I need my job so can’t push the limits of a new boss so early on. Secondly, its the cost factor. I can’t go into a lot of debt after this trip and won’t max out credit cards. With a new apartment on the horizon, I have to plan and budget smart for this one. Thirdly, I’m a Florida boy and a foreigner making their first trip outside of the US. I don’t want to get lost and want to enjoy my time without being worried I’ll end up on a wrong train to the other side of Japan. I want to keep it simple and know exactly where I am headed.

So it comes down to Tokyo vs. Osaka/Kyoto. I know Osaka and Kyoto are two different towns, but with their close proximity to each other, a side trip from one to the other is more than doable. Tokyo or Osaka, this is down what it comes down to and there are so many factors to it. One of the factors again is cost but when it comes down to it, Osaka and Tokyo are nearly the same. Osaka might be a little cheaper, but for a long trip, the price is not that much different compared to both cities. The real question is what do I really want to see when I visit (it will happen). Do I want to see more old school Japan with a mix of modern with Osaka and Kyoto or do I want to get more modern and see the big city of Tokyo, one of the biggest cities in the world. It really is a flip of the coin at this stage. Both cities have their pros and cons and the prices for both are roughly the same, with Tokyo being slightly higher. It is a debate I’m still having and something I need to figure out very, very soon.

Any advice folks? I know I can’t go wrong with either, but anyone who would like to chime in is always welcome!

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6 thoughts on “Revisiting Tokyo vs. Osaka

  1. Hi. If you can fit it in your budget and have time I recommend using Tokyo as your base and bulk of your trip. Then use the Shinkansen to get to Osaka and Kyoto for a day or two. Just over two hours to get there. Depending on what you feel like experiencing. Good luck!

  2. Thanks for insight. I have thought about it with the Shinkansen, but I think for a first time trip out of the US, I want to keep it as simple as possible. I think doing two cities might be a bit much and I don’t want to rush through a city and miss major spots. It’s a debate I’ve still got in my head!

  3. Yeah good point. Well I spent a few weeks in Tokyo and currently in Osaka and I think Tokyo would be a better place to go for your first time. All the most well known tourist spots are there and there’s still heaps of places to see old japan. There’s tours that go to Mt Fuji for the day which isn’t too far out. There is also a site where you can book free volunteer guides for a couple of days that take you around to anywhere you want to see, which is very handy because it does take a while to get a handle on the subway system.

  4. It’s how I’m leaning a bit (towards Tokyo) but seeing the old city of Kyoto is very intriguing and a short trip from Osaka compared to the long distance from Tokyo. Mt. Fuji is something that is also on my list as well. There are just so many factors, one of them being my awful Japanese. I would think Tokyo would have more English in in than Osaka, at least at the airports.

  5. I wouldn’t worry about your Japanese. I’ve been walking down this country for three months and when I arrived only knew how to say hello. If you want have a read of my posts about Tokyo, Mt Fuji and Kyoto if you like, they might help. Mt Fuji I would say is the biggest highlight for me but Kyoto is amazing also with all the ancient temples and shrines to be seen. It’s a hard choice.

  6. I will do so and look forward to reading up on places in Japan you have visited. That’s what is making it hard, I’m a history major so all the ancient stuff in Kyoto makes it hard to simply pick Tokyo and dismiss Kyoto.

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