Kansai

Osaka is a charming, relaxed city best known for its food, fun and nightlife—with some history and culture peeking through

Osaka is only a short shinkansen (bullet train) ride from Tokyo, but has a very different personality to Japan's capital city. Hop off the shinkansen into an area of exciting nightlife, delicious food and straight-talking, friendly locals. Along with plenty of shopping and modern attractions, Osaka also has a historical side, the highlight of which is Osaka Castle. The castle is a great place to discover more about Japanese history and to wander the beautiful grounds, especially during cherry blossom season in April when the sakura blooms and the weather is often at its best.

Sightseeing in and around Osaka

Dotonbori & Shinsaibashi

Bright lights, big city, in vibrant Osaka style

Hospitable Osaka established its reputation for commerce and entertainment back in the Edo period.

Image by Juliana Barquero

Kyoto

Kyoto is the former capital city of Japan and world-famous for its refined culture, dining, and charm of rural Japan

Kyoto City attracts millions of local and international visitors each year looking for traditional Japanese culture.

More about Kyoto

Kimono Pond Landscape

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle and the pleasant park grounds surrounding it make for a relaxing escape from the city's concrete sprawl. Ascend to the top of castle keep tower to look over the expansive castle grounds and neighboring skyscrapers.

Nara

Nara Prefecture has sacred mountain ranges, spiritual sites and early Japanese artifacts

The political and religious heart of ancient Japan is easily accessed from Osaka and Kyoto and has shrines and temples that are among Japan's oldest.

Image by Tomáš Malík