TRAVEL | MY TRIP TO KANSAI PREFECTURE

kansai travel
Werbung/ Press Trip
My trip to Japan started almost 3 weeks ago. I spent all these 3 weeks in Kansai area, discovering the various prefectures and the culture of Japan. Within today´s article I will take you on a trip to Kansai, showing you some of the most beautiful places in Japan and maybe even in the world..



My trip started in Wakayama. I spent almost one week in Wakayama and had a road trip all around the prefecture. I discovered peach fields, waterfalls, mountains, hiking and glamorous dinner. I joined meditation and stayed in temples but most of it I had an unique time and fell in love with Wakayama, which always remains as a magical place to me. You guys can read my full review of my trio to Wakayama prefecture HERE, besides there is also a video, which might make you enjoy this review a little more.

rapid train osaka kansai kix airport

Arriving in KIX airport, after a long flight from Berlin to Osaka, with a stop in Singapore, I took the rapi:t train from Osaka KIX airport by Nakai Electric Railway. One can hop to Osaka Nakai Namba station in 34 minutes. It is a luxurious and fast train, with toilet, and comfortable seats. One can save time during travels and take the rapi:t train for a reasonable price. The train is an absolute experience for itself, very clean and always on time.

wakayama temple

After spending all these lovely days in Wakayama, I made my way to Kyoto. I was staying in the Prince hotel Kyoto and I was pleased to work again with Prince hotels for my Japan travels. You guys might remember some of my reviews of Hakone or Tokyo, where I stayed with Prince hotels last year during my Japan travels

wakayama torii gate

Even though I traveled Kyoto before, I must admit that I never knew that Kyoto was a prefecture, besides being a lovely city. There is Kyoto by the sea and Kyoto by the forest. This time I discovered Kyoto area with my JR west pass, which allowed me to travel all of Kansai area for 5 days with only one ticket. It´s hard to calculate but I have saved so much money, it´s unbelievable. The Japan rail pass Kansai area starts from 2,200 yen for one day and 6,300 for 4 days. 5-day unlimited ride is only from 9000 yen on. 

shimkazen trainn travel

Out of staying in Kyoto I spent my first day with some staff of Kintetsu railways. Kintetsu rail way network is one of the train companies operating in Kansai area. I was using the trains the other day to explore Shima, where I visited the Kanko hotel, so as Ise Jingu Shrine and had a ride on the famous Shimakaze train, which belongs also to Kintetsu railway company. 

The Shimkaze train has Premium seats, massage within the seats and a board restaurant. More over there are also private rooms available and it´s super popular. One definitely needs to make a reservation before ahead.

There is also Kintetsu rail pass which operates between Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Mise Shima and Nagoya -all within one pass. It offers unlimited rides for 5 days and costs 3800 yen, there are also rail passes for one and two days, starting from 1500 yen for adults.

After enjoying all of these wonderful sights I went back to Kyoto, where I had dinner at the New Miyako hotel. It was truly a great evening, with a lot of Japanese practice for me and delicious foods.

kyoto new miyaku hotel

Day 3 started and I changed hotels to discover the Otsu Prince hotel, which is located in Shiga prefecture. The hotel is located in front of a lake and has the shape of a huge tower with more than 500 bedrooms. 

I was lucky, as I could transfer my luggage from Kyoto station to the hotel without the need to carry the luggage myself. That way I was able to start my schedule early and discover the Wazuka D:matcha cafe, Chasoumyo Shrine, Byodo-in Temple in Uji and had a tea infused lunch and tea tasting, before heading to the hotel in the evening.

jasmin fatschild travel

I also visited the Wazuka cha cafe. It´s best to discover the tea fields and the small town with a rental bike available for 1000 yen only. Wazuka in Kyoto is known for 800 years of tea production history. One can learn about tea ceremony and even have a farm walk. Prices for the activities start from 1800 yen and last between 40 minutes and one hour. 

matcha ice cream

Wazuka in Kyoto is accessible with JR and it´s easily to get around. I can tell that tea lovers will be obsessed with this place and also hiking roads are a magical experience in the beautiful area.

Yamashiro is the birthplace of Japanese tea culture which has a history that refers to more than thousand years ago. There is sencha, tenha and matcha and gyokuro tea. In the edo era, Nagatani Soen developed a ground breaking new method of steaming and rolling tea leaves.

A last stop was the Boyodo in temple, which is a world heritage in Kyoto, demonstrating more than 1200 years of history in Kyoto. Still the original temple and some of the few that did not got burned. There is also a famous for phoenix hall and a superb garden with a pond. Hosting a huge museum which provides information about culture and is very impressive.

japan garden temple

Traveling within Kansai I used the Kansai one pass, for busses and trains all in Kansai area. One ticket for all – saves time and money. Just tab, it´s easy to recharge(options from 1-10.000 yen). It also offers attractive discounts in various shops and can be used as a payment for shops, facilities and vending machines. For more researches there is also an app to find out where discounts are granted.

kansai one pass japan

In the morning I used the complimentary shuttle bus and left for Kyoto by the sea. I started into the day with delicious mochi in the popular shopping streets and took photos of the world famous Ine no Funaya Houses.

kyoto by the sea boat trip

All houses have boat entrances and back in time people only used to get around with these boats. It was a truly exciting experience and ended with feeding birds and having a traditional Japanese lunch at the Mari Netopia resort, a 8-bedroom Ryokan with an modern, elegant twist and a luxurious atmosphere.

kyoto by the sea

On the next day I checked out and moved to a hotel in Osaka. Before traveling to Osaka, I however discovered more of Otsu and Shiga prefecture. I started my day on the Eizan Rope way, which is, with an 11-minute ride, the longest rope way in whole Japan, operated by Keihan railways. Arriving on the top I visited the garden museum Hiei and even enjoyed a rose foot onsen – I can tell, it was amazing. The whole garden is a photo hotspot and a wonderful place to get lost in time and spend an entire day between flowers and small ponds.

otsu travel garden

The show must go on, that’s why I spent only a little time in the garden museum Hiei and took the car to The Enryakuji Kaikan, for a zen mediation and vegan lunch in a ryokan nearby, which was followed with the training of Kaiho line, which is a route for prayers, full of holy places. Moreover, the temple lodging will offer vegan retreats and menus in future. 

otsu shiga vegan lunch temple

July 1st was around and I started into the month with a quick trip to Kyoto. I was escorted by Hankyu railways, who kindly sponsored my ticket to travel from Osaka, Umeda station to Kyoto on the Kyo-train, which is an beautiful train with a unique Japanese design, departing only on weekends and during holidays. Moreover, the train is super-fast and will guide you to Kyoto in about 40 minutes only.

kyoto travel food tofu ice cream

A full day of fun was ahead. I visited the monkey park, took a rickshaw to the bamboo grove, ate tofu ice cream and visited the Tenryuji Temple, so as the Kimono park. Summing up my experience, I was blown away and didn´t even feel that already 14 hours passed by, since I departure from the hotel and arrived back to fall tired but bright smiling into my bed.

kyoto monkey forest kimono garden

Also, on the next day I was accompanied by Hankyu railways. I had a trip to Kobe in Hyogo prefecture, to discover the famous sake breweries around Nada district and even entering the Fukuji sake factory(established since 1751) and the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. Sake is a huge part of the Japanese culture and highly appreciated. Even though I don´t drink I must admit that it was truly impressing to visit these Sake themed places and felt as if I just discovered some more of the deep Japanese culture.

gato bonito travel sake

The afternoon was filled with action, as I joined the Takarazuka review for the play Gato Bonito. I have never visited a show like this before. It was lively, funny and easy to understand. The whole play was performed in Japanese, however, the acting was refreshing, and the costumes were a sparkling highlight. The actors even interacted with the visitors and it was easy to understand, that everyone simply had an appropriate time. Before the play I also visited the museum of Takarazuka review and was able to try on a costume.

kansai travel train

In the evening we went for a visit to Mt. Rokko, where I used the rokkosan tourist pass, which is only 1000 yen and admits entrance to bus, cable car and certain offers and discounts. Mt. Rokko is a popular sight seeing spot in the evening, where one will overview various parts of Kansai.

Before spending my last days all in Osaka city, I made a quick visit to Himeji, more detailed to the world heritage Himeji castle. Himeji was perfectly tailored for me, as the main theme of Himeji is kawaii, accessible for all ages. The Himeji castle is almost completely accessible on all floors and offers countless photo spots.

mount rokko travel rokkosan pass

Besides the huge castle, there is also the koko-en garden, which reminded me of a Japanese version of the gardens of the world in Berlin. Himeji is easy accessible from Osaka within a brief time and welcomes guests for day visits but also for longer stays. With many new hotels opening in the city and an own hello kitty café, so as a zoo, adventure park and museums, the city of Himeji might be an idea for your next holiday.

himeiji castle city kansai

Osaka remains to be my favorite city in the world, I guess it was love on the first view/visit. I guess a great selling point is that one is centrally located in Osaka, being able to head all around Japan, as Osaka is most of all in the center of Japan. 

himeiji city travel

Calling out all the foodies in this world, Osaka is made for food lovers, as it hosts foods from all over the world and surprisingly many vegan restaurants (good for me, tho!). Some of the spots I visited were Osaka castle and Kaiyukan aquarium. However, please refer to my full review of my visit to Osaka, which you can find HERE.

osaka castle travel blog solo trip

On my last day, before leaving for Shizuoaka, I went to Nara to visit Takayama Chasen, where I met Tango Tanimura, who produces the tea whisks, which are used to prepare matcha tea. As the tea culture is an important part of the Japanese culture, I was even more impressed, how Tanimura San transformed a piece of bamboo into an art piece. 

osaka food review

Close to his house, I had lunch and a tea ceremony at the Jukou-in temple, which was found in 1663. Nara prefecture is surprisingly big. Last year I only visited for Nara city, so I was pleased to discover more of Nara.

japan ryokan tempel

On top of my list was taking a photo with a Nara deer, which finally came true. I felt so much luck and joy, seeing these lovely creatures jumping around the park. It was a perfect farewell to my Kansai trip and made me even more curious. I´m looking forward to exploring more of Japan and Kansai in future and hope this article inspired you to do the same.

nara reh bambi matcha japan

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