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Part 1 told you about the recommended places to go and take a visit while traveling to Osaka. In part 2, I would like to suggest new tourist destinations of Kansai area that everyone should visit once!
1. Nara Prefecture
Nara Park (奈良公園 Nara Kōen) is located in the center of Nara and is was one of the oldest parks in Japan which were established in 1880. This place was visited by 13 million visitors annually because it is famous as the home of Nara deer where you can meet approximately 1200 numbers of them ran freely all over the park. These deer are really aggressive if they know you are trying to feed them. Moreover, some of the deer can even bow to visitors to ask for food. But be careful, you should buy deer crackers sold around the park to feed them, not using your own food to feed because deer are easily gotten food poisonous if they eat unfamiliar food. Besides deer, you can see some of the other wild animals that live in the park such as wild boars or tree squirrels. You are recommended to walk around the park to see and enjoy beautiful natural scenes here.
Tōdai-Ji (東大寺, Eastern Great Temple) is a Buddhist temple complex that used to be one of the seven most powerful temples in Nara. This temple was first built in 752 as the head of Buddhist temple in Japan and listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. In central of the temple, this is a place of Todaiji’s main hall, the Daibutsuden, known as the largest wooden building in the world. Inside that hall, you should pray for luck or happiness in front of one of the biggest Japan’s bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). Inside of Tōdai-Ji, you are able to see and play with free deer running around.
Ticket price: + Ticket for Tōdai-Ji only: adult: 600 yen and children 300 yen
+ Ticket set (including Tōdai-Ji, museum and other places inside Nara park): adult: 1000yen and children for 400yen.
How to access: visit the website below for choosing a suitable route.
2. Hyogo Prefecture
Kobe (神戸) is the capital of Hyogo prefecture and listed in the top 10 Japan’s largest cities. It has been most well-known for its expensive high-quality local beef and wonderful economic redevelopment after the strike of Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 which caused deaths of over 5000 people and completely destroyed many of important buildings. There are several famous tourist destinations for you to visit. For example, you can try to eat Chinese food in Kobe’s China town called Nankinmachi; visit Kitano where used to be a residential area of foreign merchants in the past; or visit the most outstanding Kobe’s hot spring place: Arima Onsen. So this city is a great place to visit after Osaka city where you can see many of beautiful natural scenes or large companies’ headquarters such as Kawasaki Industries, Nestlé, and visit some of the great shopping centers to buy local souvenirs.
How to access: visit this website to choose your fastest route to Kobe city from Osaka city.
Himeiji castle (姫路城, Himejijō), also known as White Heron Castle due to its elegant and white appearance, is widely claimed as one of the most spectacular castles in Japan. The difference from Osaka Castle is that it has never been destroyed or damaged by wars, fire or any disasters. It has been protected and maintained original architecture from the far past. After many restorations work for several years done by the local government, the castle buildings look more beautiful and attractive to millions of tourists who have visited this place annually. Beside the famous castle buildings, castle areas are also well-known for wonderful natural gardens where you can find lots of different plant’s species growing and looking differently every four seasons.
Admission fee: + Adults: 1,000 yen ; students: 300 yen
+ Ticket set (for both castle and garden): 1,040 yen for adults and 360 yen for students
Working hours: 09:00–17:00（entry 16:00）or *09:00 – 18:00 in summer (April 27–August 31) (entry 17:00). Closed day (scheduled): December 29,30. Check the official website for unscheduled day-off before visiting this area.
How to access: visit the official website for the best suitable route.
3. Kyoto Prefecture
Kinkaku-Ji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) is a two-story Zen temple whose top and roof are completely covered in gold leaf. It is one of the most well-known buildings in Japan, which attracts millions of visitors per year. Although it was burned down during Onin War (1467-1477) and in 1950 by a novice monk, the whole areas and its statues inside were rebuilt and restored as exactly the same as its origin. When you visit this temple, you will know clearly about Japan’s 14th-century architecture style, the living style of shogun’s headers and immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding garden. It was also listed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites too.
Admission fee: adults: 400 yen; children: 300 yen
Working hours: 09:00 – 17:00 every day.
How to access:
+ Kyoto Station by direct Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205 in about 40 minutes and for 230 yen
+ Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 260 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, 1000-1200 yen) or bus (10 minutes, 230 yen, bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205) to Kinkakuji.
Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally “Pure Water Temple”) is one of the most popular and spectacular temples in Japan. It was first constructed in 780, located in halfway up Mt. Otowa and next to a pure waterfall. This temple has been known for its wooden structure without any nails using to connect with each other. Most people come to Kiyomizudera to pray for love, future fortune, and health. The most famous spot in the temple is Otowa Waterfall located at the main hall. Pure water from the waterfall flows into three different streams and visitors use hishaku (small wooden spoon) to drink water from streams. Each stream has separate meaning: longevity, success at school or jobs and a fortune love life. Because its special location in the middle of a mountain, from the temple, you can have a wide view of below forest as well as Kyoto city both in the morning or at night. It’s such an amazing experience so you need to visit when going to Kyoto city.
Admission fee: adults: 300 yen; children: 200 yen
Working hours: 6:00 – 18:00 (Closing time differs according to the season)
How to access: visit the website for further information.
4. Mie Prefecture
Iga-Ueno Museum and Iga Ninja Village
Iga-Ueno Museum is a museum where shows the history of Iga Ninja and relative information about ninja. Ninja was a kind of type of warriors used to gather secret information about the enemy or conduct violent acts such as murder, etc. In this museum, it shows all the ninja’s weapons, how hidden traps were active or how they were trained in the past to get enough skills for overcoming all the difficulty they would get during career life. In addition, Ninja Shows are held for customers to know well about ninja life.
Iga Ninja Village is a place where Iga Ninja used to live. You can try to wear Ninja clothes and act like a real ninja with some basic figure movements . In the future, there is no real ninja left in Japan in the future because Jinichi Kawakami is the only ninja left and he has no students to follow in his steps at present. So if you really like about Ninja and want to transform into a real ninja for fun, this is the best place for you to do that and know more about ninja’s history.
Admission fee: Adult (Over 16) : 756 yen
Child (4-15) : 432 yen
Hours of Operation: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m ( days closed Dec. 29 – Jan. 1 )
How to access: visit the official website for detailed information.
These are all the recommended famous destinations that all the tourists should go and take a visit while they are traveling to Kansai regions. If they need to visit somewhere new besides Osaka city, those above places are the best choice for travelers to come and pay a visit. Enjoy your vacation in those wonderful and amazing places. Good luck with your travel plan!!!!!