Friday, September 8, 2017

Best of Kansai, Japan – Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe

       It has been 2 years since I last visited Kansai. Recently, by chance and impulse, I was able to travel to Kansai one more time, which makes me really feel like writing an article about this whole area, because Kansai is way too awesome and I need you guys to know it. 
       Here I am going to answer all your “Where”, “How”, “What” about Kansai. If you still have any doubt, feel free to comment and let me guide you further. Too bad since I visited Kansai both times during summer, so I don't have much comment on the different season’s views. Anyway Summer was great! But I guess other seasons will be super lovely too.

One super quick tip before start reading and going! 

       About the transportation, almost everywhere in the list below is accessible by train. To make your life easier, I will note down all the station/ nearest station. When you want to visit a spot, just key in in google:
____ (your current) station to ____ (your designate) station. 
       And google will show you which train to take, how to transit and where to get down in ENGLISH. 
       That’s exactly how I survived more than a year in Japan. 

WHERE TO VISIT (sorted by 4 main areas)

1. OSAKA

       Osaka should be a familiar word, especially if you wanted to or traveled to Japan. So what is fun in this place?
    •    Namba 
       I am not sure if it is true, but for me I would say this is the center of Osaka City! It is accessible by any train and there are a lot of fun here. First if you recognize the Glico? If you ever see someone take a picture with him? Yes he is here. In the Dodonbori. Dodonbori is a place where I feel it is a pond which has every culture well mixed. It mixes Japan traditional culture, pop culture, global culture, shopping culture, drinking culture and you won’t feel it is weird. They are all well blended in this town.
Glico

       You will also find Amerikamura (America village) in this town, the heaven for the youngsters. if you like Japan fashion, Harajuku style, café, shopping, then this is a place you should visit.
Amerikamura

       Another place to buy! The Ten Ten Town. What you can find here are electronic stuffs. AND Osaka is totally a good place for Bargain! (not any other place in Japan maybe. So you might as well pick up this sentence to get yourself a good deal! 
O-ma-ke-ku-da-sai 
       Which means can I have some discount. Hope it is going to be useful!
Station: Namba

    •    Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle
       Any History lover here? Or maybe interested in Japan history? Come over visit Osaka Castle to know what happened hundred years ago in Japan. Step into this beautiful castle and enjoy the historical stories!
       I had one question about the Osaka Castle. Because it was basically turned into a museum rather than keeping the original old interior. If you also feel like want to visit a Castle but not museum, I will bring you to Kobe Himeji Castle later!
Station: Osakajokoen Station

    •    Shinsekai
       Shinsekai carry the meaning of The new world. This new world is a cool place to visit! The model of Shinsekai was Paris and New York, even the famous tower in town TSUTENKAKU was built based on the idea of Eiffel Tower. In the tower, a new open-air deck on top of the main observatory was opened in late 2015. It is definitely a nice place to check it out.
Shinsekai

       Aside of the tower, Osaka is super famous with 3 Japanese food
    •    Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki
    •    Takoyaki
Takoyaki
    •    Kushikatsu 
Kushikatsu

       All these 3 you can easily found in any alley in the Shinsekai! Watch out your wallet. Because you might end up so broke by eating too much. 
       One more great thing in Shinsekai, The Spa World. Natural hot spring water is pumped up from far below the earth's surface.Enjoy the Onsen in Japanese style. Yes we have to be naked but don’t be shy, it is gonna be an interesting experience!
Station: Shin-Imamiya 

       Of course others we do have Universal Studio Japan and Sea Aquarium Osaka. I can only say they are both superb. If you plan to visit any of it, space out a full day and you’re going to have a blast! 
       **Tell me you are ready to meet Harry Porter ;) 'Wizarding World of Harry Potter' is real in USJ Osaka!
Wizarding World of Harry Potter

2. NARA

       Nara is one of my favorite towns in Japan! It is small but compacted with natural and belief. Nara is basically about Otera and Jinjya (Japanese temple and Shrine), plus a lot of lovely Deers walking around freely! :D (might be scary as well, they are quite big in size) 
       Transportation in NARA, I really recommend the one day pass. As we get down at Nara station, next we need to take the buses to go around to visit. The one day pass includes the buses and round trip train ticket from Osaka. Refer here : Kintetsu 

    •    Todaiji
Todaiji is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. Inside the massive building is the Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu).
Todaiji
Daibutsu

Nigatsudo is right beside the temple. And I love this place a lot.
Nigatsudo
Nigatsudo
Nigatsudo

    •    Kasuga Taisha
       Kasuga Taisha is Nara's most celebrated shrine. I love how red it is and it looks clean and elegant. You can find various types of lanterns around the shrine and you can pay to visit the interior.
Kasuga Taisha
Kasuga Taisha

    •    Nara Park
       The park is home to hundreds of freely roaming deer. In the Shinto belief, deers are the messengers of the gods. Therefore around 1200 deer in Nara have become a symbol of the city and have even been designated as a natural treasure. You can even feed them with the senbei selling in the park.
Nara deer park
Nara deer park
Nara deer park
Nara deer park
Nara deer park

3. KYOTO

       For anyone who loves Japan whether on culture, history or scenery. One would definitely love Kyoto.
    •    Uji
       Uji is my all-time favorite in Kyoto. I visited twice and still, the moment I got down from the train I can feel how much I love this place.
Uzi has: 
1. Kinkaku-ji. The golden temple! It is the true gold. The top two floors are fully covered by gold leaf.
Kinkaku-ji
Kinkaku-ji

2. Matcha!!! It is said that Uji is the hometown of matcha. You can have the best matcha soft cream here and a lot more matcha souvenir.
Matcha Ice cream

3. Great natural view. Great air and great sky.
Kyoto

4. Quite and lovely. :) although it is a famous spot. But walk around the town you will feel the traditional Japan, the daily Japan, and a lot of peacefulness.
Station: JR Uji
uji

    •    Inari Fushimi Shrine
       The Inari Shrine is a shrine to pray for a bumper harvest. In the past, it was mainly about rice. You will see a lot of fox’s statues in the shrine; this is because foxes are believed to be the messenger of the God of Inari. 
Inari Fushimi Shrine

       Behind the shrine’s main ground, there is a hiking trail covered by tori, which is a very popular spot for photographers and tourists. The senbon tori (thousands of tori gates)
Inari Fushimi Shrine

       I visited the shrine during evening time, and wait until sunset, 
Inari Fushimi Shrine

Station: JR Inari Station

    •    Arashiyama
       The famous bamboo groove is in here! Visiting during summer is superb as it is windy and chilly in the forest.
Arashiyama

       And there’s the adorable ancient Sagano Train you could hop on and enjoy the scenery from inside the train. This is how it looks during autumn!! But I haven’t been there yet. Hopefully the next Autumn I will be visiting it.
Sagano Train

       Another beautiful view is the Togetsukyo. I swear I can stay by the river the whole day if it is not too sunny. Ki-mo-chi! (comfortable)
Togetsukyo
Togetsukyo
Togetsukyo
Station: Arashiyama

       Yes there’s also Kiyomizudera, which might be the most famous temple in Kyoto as it was built without a single nail.
Kiyomizudera

       and also Gion, which you might bump into a real Gesha. 
Gion

4. KOBE

    •    Himeji Castle
       Remember the castle I told you before? Not a museum but real interior displayed. This is the beautiful piece of art. The pure white castle. 
Himeji Castle
Himeji Caste

        It went through the second war world, everything in the surrounding was destroyed but surprisingly it survived. Recently renovated but the original look is well kept.
Station: Himeji

    •    Mount Shosan Engyo-ji temple
Mount Shosan Engyo-ji temple
Mount Shosan Engyo-ji temple

       This is a hidden gem. Inside the mountain, which you need to take a bus, get in the cable car, and hike a little bit to reach the temple. The main idea of the construction of the temple is same as Kiyomizudera; without a single nail. Unfortunately the year of it being constructed has not been clearly recorded, but definitely there for over 1000 years. 
Station: Himeji (buses depart from Himeji station. Check on the bus toward Engyo-ji)

    •    Kobe China town
       One of the best China town in Japan. And here you will be able to eat Kobe beef bun, steak, and shao long bao. I repeat, KOBE BEEF. One of the most expensive beef in the world!
Kobe China town
Kobe China town
Kobe China town
Station:  Five minutes walk south of Motomachi Station, Ten minute walk southwest of Sannomiya Station

    •    Kobe Port Tower
The view is amazing in Kobe Port.
Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower
Station: Motomachi station by JR kobe line. Need to walk from the station.

    •    Starbucks Kobe Kitano Ijinkan
One of the Top 3 Starbucks Cafe in Japan. 
Starbucks Kobe Kitano Ijinkan
Starbucks Kobe Kitano Ijinkan

HOW TO GO? TRANSPORTATION

       Because most of the places above are accessible by JR line, in addition if you really travel all the places above, I highly recommend this JR pass! Unlimited trips with JR train. 
JR pass

       You can choose how many days you want to travel with the pass. 1,2,3 or 4. The 4-day pass will be 6300 yen. And other detail you may check on the website

WHERE TO STAY? ACCOMODATION

       For me, I personally prefer to stay at 1 place as I don’t want to waste my time on searching new place every day, lazy to move around with luggage, and if stayed somewhere lovely I don’t want to move. 
       For Kansai trip, if you are also like me, Osaka will be a good spot (as it is at the center of Kansai) to accommodate you throughout the trip. In Osaka, you can easily gain access to any other part of Kansai. 
       Are you a backpacker? Or traveling with group of friends who seeking for cheap accommodation? Do you love music? Do you want to meet new friends?  If you answer yes on any above, click on this article to check out the dream accommodation of backpackers. 

best hostel in Osaka

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Thank You for Reading! This post is submitted by MHF's blog contributor, Choco Yinnsbased on her recent trip to Hokkaido. Blog post cowritten by Blog editor.  
An ordinary girl who loves the beautiful world like everyone else. The only difference that set her apart from the others might be this-- She is willing to put everything down but her luggage, stepping out to experience the world she loves.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi.. You wrote a splendid entry there. Can i know how much do you spend during the travel?