Kansai

Kansai

This region is a must-visit for your first trip to Japan. Kyoto served as Japan’s capital in the past and was the emperor’s residence. There are numerous temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures in Kyoto and Nara. Don’t miss the spiritual Mt. Koya and the entertaining and tasty metropolis of Osaka.

Highlights

Gion & Higashiyama

The Gion and Higashiyama areas, located about 20 minutes from Kyoto Station by train or bus, are one of the most representative areas of Kyoto. From Kiyomizu-dera Temple in the south to Ginkaku-ji Temple in the north, the area is lined with famous temples and shrines. You can also meet maiko and geiko in Hanami-koji, a street lined with traditional teahouses, and experience the richness of Kyoto's streets along Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka on the way to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Mt. Koya

About 95 minutes by train and cable car from Namba Station in Osaka, Mt. Koya has a history of 1,200 years as the center of Buddhism in Japan. There are more than 100 temples scattered around its grounds, including some that are registered as World Heritage sites. In Shukubo, lodging facilities of the temples, you can experience a cuisine closely connected to Buddhism called vegetarian cuisine, which uses only vegetables and wild plants.

Dotonbori

The area called Minami, which stretches around Namba in Osaka, is one of the largest shopping districts in the city. Osaka has long been known as the city of "kuidaore" (meaning to spend one's money on food and drinks). In the Dotonbori area, you can experience this culture. In particular, there are many restaurants selling takoyaki (octopus dumplings), okonomiyaki (Japanese-style crepes or pancakes), and so on. You can find your favorite restaurant here. Also, the giant signboards glow at night, making an attractive sight for visitors. Last but not least, on the Dotonbori River that runs through the center of the city, you can take a cruise and enjoy the scenery.

More Destionations

Nara city
Nara city
Nara City, which is only about an hour away from Osaka and Kyoto, was the capital of Japan called Heijo-kyo in the year 710. Many temples from that era still remain. Among them, the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple was built as the center to relieve social unrest caused by a series of disasters, political uprisings, and rebellions at that time through the power of Buddhism. You will also see many deer in Nara Park, which is located near Todaiji Temple.
Kobe
Kobe
A 30-minute train ride from the center of Osaka, Kobe City in Hyogo prefecture has developed as a port city since ancient times, and is characterized by a sophisticated landscape that is a mixture of Western and Japanese cultures.There are variety of ways to enjoy Kobe, such as Kobe beef, Arima Onsen hot springs, or a ropeway ride up Mt Rokko.
Himeji
Himeji
The must visit place in Himeji of Hyogo prefecture, a three-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo or an hour train ride from Osaka, is Himeji Castle, the first castle in Japan to be registered as a World Heritage Site. It is one of the precious castles that survived wars and fires, and is also called Shirasagi-jo (White Egret Castle) because the beautiful white appearance of the castle tower resembles an egret taking flight. The castle is surrounded by about 1,000 cherry trees, so during the cherry blossom season, you can enjoy both the castle and the cherry blossoms at the same time.
Arashiyama & Sagano
Arashiyama & Sagano
Located in the northwest of Kyoto City, the Arashiyama/Sagano area is a 30-minute train ride from Kyoto Station, and is popular for its trolley trains. The train runs slowly for about 25 minutes at a speed similar to that of a slightly faster bicycle. You can enjoy beautiful seasonal scenery from the train windows. Also, don't forget to take a stroll along the Togetsukyo Bridge, the symbol of Arashiyama, and the Bamboo Forest Path.
Lake Biwa
Lake Biwa
Lake Biwa, located in the center of Shiga Prefecture, is known as the largest lake in Japan. In Otsu city, southwest of the lake, there are activities such as zip-lining and a ropeway ride up the mountain to a terrace where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Biwa. You can also enjoy the spectacular view of Lake Biwa on a cruise ship, or enjoy swimming in the lake on a SUP or wakeboard.
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