Kansai

Located on the island of Honshu, and stretching from the Sea of Japan in the north, to the Pacific Ocean in the south, the Kinki region of Japan hosts many destinations in Japan that have evolved over thousands of years to be to be the vibrant and exciting places they are today. The juxtaposition of modern and ancient Japan is no more apparent in the nation than in the Kinki region and the cities of Osaka and Kyoto

Osaka is the industrial heartland of Japan with factories sitting alongside soaring apartment buildings and seemingly endless shopping arcades which were rebuilt after the area suffered significant damage during World War 2. A mere 60 kilometres away, the ancient capital city of Kyoto thrives as one of the most popular destinations in the country as visitors flock to see some of the 17 UNESCO world heritage sites in the city. Roaming the narrow streets and laneways lined with timber fronted shops and townhouses takes you back in time as you stumble past shrines and temples which have stood on the same sites for a thousand years or more. As Kyoto was the political and cultural capital for such a long time, the architectural and cultural legacies remain in abundant supply. The layers of history and culture from traditional and modern life are on display in both Osaka and Kyoto for everyone to experience and enjoy.

Further west along the coast from Osaka, is the proud port city of Kobe, rebuilt better and stronger following the devastation of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. Known globally for its delicious beef, Kobe is also a vibrant seaside city that sits geographically in the shadows of Mount Rokko and the popular Arima Onsen hot spring village. The city boasts a broad calendar of festivals which take place year round, along with exciting shopping and dining options to suit every taste.

Moving further west, the city of Himeji is home to the ancient Himeji Castle. Recently experiencing a surge in visitors following a complete restoration, Himeji Castle is one of the best and well preserved examples of a fortified building to have survived Japans turbulent past.

The city of Nara, another one of Japan’s former capital cities, is also in the Kinki region. It is in Nara that you will be greeted by local wild deer who have right of way in traffic and roam freely amongst visitors and locals. Less crowded and developed than Kyoto, Nara features significant temples and shrines that can be enjoyed away from larger crowds that may be encountered elsewhere. 

If all of this isn’t enough, the shrines and temples of Mount Koya and Ise in the south of the region offer an experience of pilgrimage that many Japanese would be envious of. Throughout this diverse region you will be spoiled for choice of hot spring resort towns and local cuisine while having the chance to interact with the charming and friendly locals.

Kansai International Airport (KIX) provides easy international and domestic access while the main centres are connected by an extensive rail network.

 

Highlight

  • Cherry Blossom in Kyoto (Kyoto)
  • World heritage temples and shrines (Kyoto)
  • Kinosaki Onsen (Kyoto)
  • Kuromon Market (Osaka)
  • Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Taisha Shrine (Nara)
  • Cherry Blossom in Mt. Yoshino
  • Temple stay in Mount Koya (Wakayama)
  • Kumano Kodo Trail (Wakayama)