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The Kansai Region Travel Guide

  • Photo: Hinochika / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Samart Mektippachai / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Nattee Chalermtiragool / Shutterstock
  • Photo: PKOM / Shutterstock

Plan Your Kansai Region Vacation

Stretching from Mie Prefecture in the east to Hyogo Prefecture in the west, the Kansai region is both a snapshot of archetypal Japan and a showcase for the country’s diversity. As home to Japan’s capitals for nearly a millennium, Kansai is the undisputed seat of Japanese culture and tradition. It is the birthplace of Japan’s traditional theater styles—Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku—as

well as the tea ceremony, Japanese Buddhism, and ikebana (flower arrangement). Thanks to Kobe and Osaka, it was also the heart of Japanese trade and industry until Tokyo surpassed it in the 1970s.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Architecture Skyscrapers share Osaka's 1,500-year-old skyline with 4th-century burial mounds, while Nara's wealth of classical temples, pagodas, and shrines are outstanding.
  2. Food Osaka has been nihon no daidokoro (Japan's kitchen) since the 17th century. The region's tender, highly marbleized Kobe beef is world famous.
  3. Nada no Sake The sake breweries of Nada, in western Kobe, use miyamizu (mineral-rich water) and Yamada Nishiki rice, grown near Mt. Rokko.
  4. Shopping Locals in old wooden shops sell Nara's famous crafts sumi (ink sticks) for calligraphy and ink painting, Nara sarashi (fine handwoven, sun-bleached linen), and akahadayaki pottery.
  5. Todai-ji Temple Complex The complex in Kobe includes the Daibutsu-den, home to the monumental Great Buddha. The 8th-century San-gatsu-do houses Tenpyo-era statues.

When To Go

When to Go

Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are the best times to visit the Kansai region. The cherry blossoms flower mid-March to ea...

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