Also known as the Kinki region, Kansai includes the prefectures of Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyōgo, and Shiga.


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Not overlooking but actually inside Nara Park, the picturesque cottages that comprise this 100 year old ryokan are as close to Nara’s main attractions as you can possibly stay. This is not a five-star luxury hotel, but the traditional cottages are very comfortable. With the chance to see the local deer taking a nap right…

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Himeji Castle

The most impressive of Japan’s scant dozen original castles, Himeji-jo is also known as the “white egret castle” or the “white heron castle” for its stately white walls. The main tower is particularly interesting, but the grounds are worth exploring in their entirety. The castle buildings were renovated recently and were re-opened in March 2015…

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Hyatt Regency, Kyoto

The Hyatt Regency opened its stylish doors in 2006. Just minutes from JR Kyoto Station, the Hyatt Regency is located in the heart of the richly cultural Higashiyama area, amidst the famous Chishakuin, Sanjusangendo and Yogenin Temples. With rooms blending Japanese and Western luxury, the Hyatt Regency excels at comfort, and brings already high levels…

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Located in the Kansai Region, stretching from the Seto Inland Sea to the Sea of Japan and nestled between Osaka and Okayama, Hyogo’s largest city and prefectural capital is Kobe, its most famous tourist attraction is Himeji Castle, and its best known hot spring resorts are Arima and Kinosaki.

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Isuien Gardens

Isuien is a very pretty Japanese garden close to Todaiji Temple. Isuien means “Garden founded on water”, and its name is came about because its ponds are fed by the Yoshikigawa River, which runs nearby. The garden is divided into two parts; Front & Rear, with several tea houses found in both parts. The front…

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Kanponoyado Nara

Kanponoyado is a quiet and comfortable inn on the western side of Nara, offering a base from which to explore the ancient capital. The elegantly decorated guest rooms and indoor and outdoor natural hot-spring baths provide a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere. Delicious seasonal food is served in the restaurant overlooking the garden.

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Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Kasuga Taisha (Grand) Shrine is Nara’s most celebrated Shinto shrine. Kasuga Taisha was also the shrine of the Fujiwara, Japan’s most powerful family clan during most of the Nara and Heian Periods. It is famous for its lanterns, which have been donated by worshipers. Hundreds of bronze lanterns can be found hanging from the buildings…

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Despite its merits as an attractive and culturally rich port city, Kobe’s real claim to fame lies in its world-renowned beef. As is often found in Japanese cuisine, this flavourful meat is as much of a delight to the eyes as it is to the mouth; one look at Kobe beef’s distinctive marbling is enough…

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Mie Prefecture is in the Tokai region in central Japan. It is the home of the most sacred shrines in Japan at Ise. Other places of interest in Mie include Nagashima Spaland, the Mikimoto Pearl Island, Toba Aquarium, the Meoto Iwa ‘married rocks’ (shown above) and Amanemu Resort.

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Mount Koya

Not far from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s third largest city, the holy mountain known as Koya-san is one of the most peaceful spiritual centres in the country. Mount Koya is the heart of Shingon Buddhism and the resting place of the sect’s founder, perhaps Japan’s best known Buddhist, known as both Kukai and…

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Mount Yoshino

Located in the Yoshino-Kumano National Park at the center of Nara Prefecture along the Yoshino river, Mount Yoshino is considered to be the best cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan. The whole of Mount Yoshino is registered as a World Heritage site. There are around 30 thousand cherry trees in the area, which is divided…

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The capital of Japan from 710 to 784, Nara was built on a grid pattern, influenced by T’ang Chinese cities of the time. The first written records date from this period, and Nara is generally regarded as the birthplace of Japanese civilisation. The town’s greatest legacy for the visitor, however, is the collection of ancient…

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Nara Hotel

Founded in 1909, The Nara hotel first served as the premier guesthouse in the Kansai area for visiting dignitaries from Japan and abroad. It’s one of the oldest hotels in Japan, with most of its 129 rooms keeping their ancient glory, with wooden beams, European radiators and ceramic fireplaces. With a great location on the…

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Nara Park

Nara’s main sights are arranged around the grassy Nara Park, through which friendly deer freely wander – you can buy special deer-food sembei crackers which will make you popular! Here you’ll find Tōdai-ji, Nara’s most important and impressive temple, and home to Japan’s largest Buddha statue. Though the current temple structure is only two thirds…

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Noborioji Hotel

The newly luxurious Noborioji hotel is nestled at the foot of Kofukuji temple, and the beauty of the surroundings is reflected by the masterful use of wood for the interior design of the hotel. Large windows also provide wide views over Nara park. There are only 12 rooms, with a minimum size of 40 square…

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Mt Koya’s Okunoin is the site of the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism and one of the most revered people in the religious history of Japan. Okunoin is one of the most sacred places in Japan and a popular pilgrimage spot. Since Kukai’s death in the 9th…

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Osaka, Japan’s second largest city, is famous for its bustling city life, thriving music and cultural scene, sense of humour and laidback approach. Osaka has always been a vibrant centre of commerce, and therefore also entertainment, as the two often go hand-in-hand in Japan. The area around Dotombori & Ebisu-bashi is a blaze of bright…

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Osaka Castle

One of Japan’s most famous castles, Osaka castle played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century under the rule of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The imposing castle structure towers five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and is built on a tall stone foundation. Equally attractive are the…

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Sakai Knife Museum

The area of Sakai in the outskirts of Osaka has a long tradition and history of knife making. During the Edo Period, following the end of the Samurai wars, blade makers began producing knives for cooking and, following its first import, knives used for cutting tobacco. The tobacco knives produced by the craftsmen of Sakai…

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Part of the Kansai Region, Shiga Prefecture is located to the east of Kyoto. The prefecture contains Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake. Another attraction is Hikone with its feudal castle.

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St. Regis Osaka

The St Regis, which was constructed in 2010, is Osaka’s newest five-star hotel, located on high-end Midosuji Avenue.  Lined with ginkgo trees and the flagships of luxury brands, Midosuji Avenue goes through Osaka’s most lively neighbourhoods: Umeda, Shinsaibashi, Dōtonbori, Amerika-mura, and Namba. A splendid hotel, the lobby is located high up on the 12th floor, and this…

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Swissôtel Nankai Osaka

Swissôtel Nankai Osaka is a luxury hotel ideally located in the heart of Namba, Osaka’s most exciting entertainment, shopping and dining district. Tourist attractions like Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi and DenDen Town are all within easy reach, and the hotel sits above Namba station on Nankai Railway, offering a direct train access to the Kansai International Airport.

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Tenjin Matsuri

Osaka’s Tenjin Festival is ranked as one of Japan’s top three festivals, along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Tokyo’s Kanda Matsuri. The festival started over 1000 years ago and today takes place on July 24 and 25 every year. The main celebrations are held on the festival’s second day, July 25, including a land procession…

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The Garan

Legend has it that Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism, threw a Buddhist ceremonial tool from China, where he had been studying, to Japan. Later, having returned to Japan, and in search of a place to base his new religion, he came across this tool in the branches of a pine tree on Mount Koya…

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The Ritz-Carlton Osaka

Located in Osaka’s bustling Nishi-Umeda shopping district, the Ritz Carlton offers a haven of peace at the centre of the city. The hotel boasts Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and French restaurants, and guest rooms have superb views of Osaka city. The fitness facilities feature a swimming pool, fitness room, and saunas, and personal training services are…

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Todaiji (“Great Eastern Temple”) is one of Japan’s most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. The temple was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan and grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to lower…

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Universal Studios Japan

Opened in March 2001 in Osaka, Universal Studios Japan became the world’s fastest amusement park to have achieved the 10 million milestone the same year and since then, the park has had approximately 8 million visitors every year. USJ has eight sections: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and…

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Visit a Tea Plantation

Tea has long played an important role in Japan and its culture. This is a unique day tour from nearby Kyoto that offers an authentic tea picking and making experience and the chance to learn more about the role of tea in modern Japan. You will have the chance to try traditional locally made teas…

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