Top 5 Kansai Christmas Illuminations

If you are lucky enough to be in Japan in the holiday season, there are some stunning illuminations and displays in Osaka and Kyoto. While not quite as numerous or as crazy as in Tokyo, they are definitely worth checking them out while you do a bit of Christmas shopping. Japan may not be a Christian country, butContinue reading “Top 5 Kansai Christmas Illuminations”

Top 20 FREE things to do this summer in Japan

Summer is upon us and Japan has a host of things to do for budget tourists. We have compiled our list of the best free things to do. Enjoy! Tokyo Walk along Todoroki Valley Take a light walk along this hidden away paradise just outside central Tokyo. The water is stunningly luminescent in summer. MoreContinue reading “Top 20 FREE things to do this summer in Japan”

Shimogamo Shrine

Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社), linked to the northern Kamimono Shrine, is part of the world heritage sites in Kyoto. It is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, thought to be dating back to the 6th century. Not one of the most popular shrines, but worth visiting if you have done the most famous ones alreadyContinue reading “Shimogamo Shrine”

Kamigamo Shrine

Kamigamo Shrine (上賀茂神社), twinned with Shimogamo Shrine to the south, is an important Shinto shrine in northern Kyoto. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known across the country for its iconic Tatesuna & Saiden sand cones. The shrine is also surrounded by a picturesque primeval forest. Budget travel tips Visiting shrines can getContinue reading “Kamigamo Shrine”

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉) is a popular hot spring town in Kansai. The town is full of ryokans (Japanese style lodge) and hotels that have their own hot spring baths, plus there are 7 public baths around town to enjoy (600-800 yen). Kouno-yu is the oldest and our favourite with its open-air bath, but others are splendidContinue reading “Kinosaki Onsen”

Free tour guides in Osaka

Thought Osaka is just a concrete jungle? Getting a guide to show your around is a great way to really get to know this city and its surrounds. Even better if they are free! Foreigner Guides Net Osaka This group are able to offer guides in various languages and can take you anywhere you want.Continue reading “Free tour guides in Osaka”

Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass

The Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass allows unlimited travel on JR (national rail) trains for 5 days within Kansai and southern Chugoku, from Miyajima in the west to Nara in the east. This includes the use of trains to major cities such as Hiroshima, Himeji, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. What does it cost? 5 days: Adults 13,000 yen (about $105/€95),Continue reading “Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass”

Kansai Thru Pass

The Kansai Thru Pass is a super cheap way to explore the Kansai region. It allows unlimited travel on non-JR trains, buses and subway trains within the free area stretching from Himeji in the west to Nara, Kyoto in the east and south to Koyasan. It also comes with discounts to 350 tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels along theContinue reading “Kansai Thru Pass”

Kansai WIDE Area Pass

The Kansai WIDE Pass allows unlimited travel on all JR (national rail) trains for 5 days, within the free area stretching from Okayama in the west to beyond Nara in the east.  This includes the use of Shinkansen (bullet) trains and limited express trains to major cities such as Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. The pass has a much widerContinue reading “Kansai WIDE Area Pass”

Kansai Area Pass

The Kansai Area Pass is an interesting pass for exploring the Kansai region. It allows unlimited travel on JR (national rail) trains, within the free area stretching from Himeji in the west to Nara in the east. This includes the use of trains to major cities such as Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. What does it cost? 1 day:Continue reading “Kansai Area Pass”

Top 5 Autumn Color Spots in Kyoto and Kansai

Just like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in the Kansai region have some great spots for viewing the colorful autumn leaves. Here are the best! Unless otherwise noted, the best time is usually Mid November to early December. 1. Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺) In our opinion the best place in Kyoto for autumn colors, his temple becomes a hugeContinue reading “Top 5 Autumn Color Spots in Kyoto and Kansai”

Osaka and Around Kansai in 1-2 Weeks

While Tokyo and the surrounding areas are great, a holiday down south around Kyoto and Osaka has its own charm and delights. This itinerary uses a few bus/train passes for each tourist area, so you probably don’t need a  Japan Rail Pass or  Japan Bus Pass.  For long distances use a night bus. Cost: 120,000 yen – 140,000 yen per person DayContinue reading “Osaka and Around Kansai in 1-2 Weeks”