Best Places to Visit in Japan – Osaka in Review

Osaka-What to see and places to stay

If you had to select just one destination to understand more about Japan , Osaka and Kansai would be a fairly easy choice. It is the center of Japan-there is nowhere else in the country you will find so much of traditional and cultural interest in such a small area.”

Osaka Local foods
Osaka Local foods

Osaka, the area’s hub and Japan’s 3rd biggest city, showcases Japanese downtown lifestyle in all its mind-boggling power. Kobe maintains some of the global feeling which goes back to its times as an international treaty port.

Nara, Japan’s first long-term capital is heavy with traditional scenery which includes Japan’s biggest Buddha at the awe-inspiring Todai-ji. Ise Grand Shrine, Mie Prefecture is among the three most important sites in Shinto. In Wakayama-ken you will discover fantastic onsens and trekking. A rugged coast as well as the mountaintop Buddhist temple complex of Koya-san, among Japan’s most powerful spiritual places.

Kyoto and Osaka are the major cities of Kansai and also both make excellent bases for exploration.

When to Go

Late Mar-mid-Apr, The wonder of the cherry blossoms are at there best.

May-Sep, July and August are hot and sticky, but the summertime is an enjoyable experience for festivals and street life.

Oct-early Dec, Kansai scenery is stylish alongside a background of bright red maple leaves.

Best Places to Eat

Wanaka Honten

Yoshino Sushi

Shoubentango-tei

Kobe Plaisir

Best Places to Sleep

Hostel 64 

Cross Hotel

Oriental Hotel

Kansai Highlights

1 Todai-ji, Gazing is amazing at Japan’s biggest Buddha at Nara’s great temple.

Baby Buddha statue
Baby Buddha statue

2 Dotombori, Feasting your eyes on the vibrant people watching in this photogenic part of Osaka.

3 Ise-jingu, Experiencing the energy radiating from Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrine.

4 Oku-no-in, Walking around the magical forest of Koya-san and visit a spiritual Buddhist cemetery.

5 Hongu, Immersing in the three surrounding onsens.

6 Kumano Kodo, Wandering the traditional pilgrimage trails in Wakayama.

7 Kinosaki Onsen, Wearing a yukata (light cotton kimono) and walking from onsen to onsen in this charming town.

Getting There

Osaka is the main centre for entry to the Kansai region. Using Kansai International Airport for international and domestic flights and Osaka Itami Airport for only domestic flights. By rail, Osaka and Kyoto would be the primary gateways, connected to main cities within the remaining country via rail and shinkansen (bullet train).

There’s a substantial network of Japan Rail and other (private) train lines all through Kansai. Within a number of Kansai’s outer areas for example, Kumano,Kodo on the Kii Peninsula, bus would be the most effective method of public transit. Leasing a car is becoming ever more popular, though be careful if you’ll be doing a lot of expressway driving as tolls can also add up quickly.

Osaka

If Kyoto was the city of the courtly upper class and Tokyo the city of the samurai, then Osaka was the city of the merchant class.

Osaka neon lights
Osaka neon lights

Japan’s third biggest city is a location where everything usually moves a little bit faster. Where people are really a little more brasher and relationships are peppered with lively jokes and local customs. Osaka is not an attractive city in the traditional sense – even though it does have a beautiful river cutting through the centre-but it delivers more color than most.

The acres of concrete are cloaked in dazzling fluorescent neon signage. Shop fronts are vibrant, unabashed cries for particular attention. This is simply not a city that would rather dress all in black. Most importantly, Osaka is a city that loves to eat, its unofficial slogan is kuidaore (‘eat until you drop’). It genuinely stands out at nighttime, when it looks like so many people are out for a good meal and a fun time. Definitely a location worth visiting when in Japan.

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