Osaka is a cosmopolitan city near the ancient capital, Kyoto, best known for its dynamic food and drinking culture, and famously outgoing people.
My trip started by landing at the Kansai International Airport (KIX), located 38 km (24 mi) southwest of Ōsaka Station. Approximately 1h 30m bus ride and JP¥1.760
Osaka offers plenty of places to eat and shop with captivating streets everywhere you go.
The castle is one of Japan's most famous landmarks and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. The gardens surrounding it are just as impressive as its interior.
Nara is located less than one hour from Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.
According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, the god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijō-kyō. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country.
One way ticket by train from Osaka to Nara costs between ¥670 and ¥800 and takes about 1h 30m.
Wild deer are roaming around the grounds around the temples and they are very gentle and even posing for the tourists. Make sure you buy them some of their favourite sweet deer waffles in sign of gratitude.
Kyoto is most well known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.
You can reach Kyoto with the Keihan Main Line from Osaka's Yodoyabashi Station in about 1h 30m and ¥640 one way.
Kyoto is a very traditional city and a very popular touristic destination when coming to Japan. It has many landmarks and activities for some days of stay. Kyoto is also known as the capital of Geishas but they are respectable and hardworking people and rarely seen out in the open. If you are lucky (like I was) you can spot one running on the streets on their way to their next appointment 🎎
The walking paths that cut through the bamboo groves make for a nice walk or bicycle ride. The groves are particularly attractive when there is a light wind and the tall bamboo stalks sway gently back and forth. The bamboo has been used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes and mats at local workshops for centuries.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Fushimi Inari Shrine is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.
A Ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn that has existed since the eighth century A.D.
Bedding is a futon spread out on the tatami floor. When guests first enter their room, they usually find a table and some supplies for making tea. The table is also used for meals when guests take them in their room. While guests are out, staff (usually called nakai) will move the table aside and set out the futon.
The Great Buddha of Kamakura
The Daibutsu of Kamakura is the second largest monumental Buddha in Japan, weighing in at 93 tons and reaching a height of 13.35 meters
Tokyo (東京, Tōkyō) is Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. It is also one of Japan's 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns and villages west of the city center.
There are two main airports that connect Tokyo to the world. Haneda International Airport is located closer to central Tokyo than Narita International Airport. Almost all domestic flights land at this airport. There are fewer transportation options from the airport to central Tokyo, some of which require transfers, but the journey is much quicker and cheaper.
Japan is also known for its railway network and particularly the "Bullet Trains". If you do not have a Japan Rail Pass then the fare will be about JP¥13,620 one way. There are three types of train on the Tokaido Shinkansen line: the Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama. The Nozomi is the most frequent and the fastest train as it travels between Shin-Osaka and Tokyo in just 2 h 30m!
Also another alternative to reach Tokyo from Osaka is by night bus. It takes about 6 hours and the prices start at JP¥3,600 for simple seats, but look further and you can find great deals on busses with private and full reclinable seats. Even with onboard entertainment! I highly recommend Willer Express.
Asakusa (浅草) is the center of Tokyo's shitamachi (literally "low city"), one of Tokyo's districts, where an atmosphere of the Tokyo of past decades survives
Explore the vast variety of neighborhoods and areas that Tokyo has to offer. Tokyo is big and Tokyo is spread. There are over 1000 train stations in Tokyo that translate to an equal number of identifiable neighborhoods. Making sense of Tokyo neighborhoods isn't always easy. There are many guides that you can find online that will provide you with great and detailed information on what neighbourhoods match your interests.
Japan is a mecca for obsessive geeks or otaku, and Tokyo has shops catering to every obsession
Go beyond sushi! can't have enough Japanese food
Japanese cuisine offers an abundance of gastronomical delights with a boundless variety of regional and seasonal dishes as well as international cuisine. Restaurants range from mobile food stands to centuries old ryotei, atmospheric drinking places, seasonally erected terraces over rivers, cheap chain shops and unique theme restaurants about ninja and robots. Many restaurants are specialized in a single type of dish, while others offer a variety of dishes.
The Tokyo Skytree is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from Asakusa. With a height of 634 meters, it is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion.
Mauricio Frias | Digital Expat