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Paul Sheppard Nov 14th, 2001 07:31 AM

Help I'm going to Osaka!
I am going to be in Osaka from Jan 17-21. I will be staying at least 3 of those nights at the Hilton (free hotel points). If anyone has recommendations as far as restaurants, sight seeing, theater (especially interested in puppet shows) and generally getting around. How hard is it to get to downtown from Kansai (and how expensive). Also since I'll only be there for 4 days is it worth it to visit anywhere else like Kobe or Kyoto? Any thoughts, help, or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

cb Nov 19th, 2001 04:07 AM

The National Bunraku Theater in Chuo-ku, Osaka City holds puppet performances. The theater is a short walk from Nipponbashi station. Try this website for schedules - The tourist office in NY was not able to give me up to date information on many events. If the web site does not give you schedules, the best bet is to go to the theater. You can probably also try the tourist offices in Japan, but I don't know which ones can give you schedules.<BR>The performances are in Japanese, no explanation in other languages. We went to an afternoon performance geared for children; I could at least guess what was going on with the story. Even if you don't understand the plot, it is very fascinating to see how the puppets are worked.<BR><BR>As for tourist sights, I did not find much in Osaka. I found Kyoto and Nara more interesting; I did not go to Kobe.<BR>You can do day trips to Kyoto, but I found it had many interesting gardens, temples, palaces and the 4 days I spent there was not enough.<BR><BR>We took the train and subways from Kansai airport. I can't remember how much it was, but it was definitely a lot cheaper than taking a taxi. Taxi ride in Japan is costly, but then it may be more convenient for you. <BR><BR>For restaurants, there is a wide range of places to eat from the very inexpensive stand-up noodle shops, to restaurants in department stores, to the moderate and expensive establishments. <BR>There are of course many many sushi/sashimi places to eat. If you get to Kobe, there is that famous kobe steak which is quite expensive. All eating places in Japan are quite safe and sanitary; I did not worry about getting sick even from sidewalk food stands. Sorry I can't be more specific; I can't remember where we did go (although mostly to the noodle shops), but email me if you want more details and I'll dig up my trip notes.

Ricky Nov 19th, 2001 04:03 PM

Hi cb,<BR>I'm also planning my next trip to Kyoto & Osaka around. As you said, Kyoto & Nara have so many gardens, temples & palaces. Would you recommend a few which are "must see". Any other suggestions are welcome.

Florence Nov 19th, 2001 08:43 PM

In Kyoto, my favorite temple and gardens is Myoshin-ji. Take a bus in front of the station to Myoshin-ji-michi-mae (= in front of the road to Myoshin temple) then walk for about 15 minutes along a road lined with traditional crafts (straw objects and tatami makers, fascinating). The temple complex is large and the gardens splendid, there is a lot less people than in the other more known temples. You can cross the whole temple, have lunch in one of the small restaurants and take a bus back to the station on the street above. Allow a whole morning.

cb Nov 27th, 2001 08:49 AM

Ricky, to start with in Nara, see the Daibutsu and Daibutsuden and the vast Horyuji temple complex. In Kyoto, my favorite sites are the golden pavilion (the silver pavilion is supposedly nicer but I did not get to see it), Ryoan-ji and its Zen rock garden, and the Heian Jingu. The kiyomizu dera is magnificently situated, and someone posted how awesome it is during cherry blossom time. If you can, try to see one of the imperial villas - Shugakuin, Kyoto, Katsura or Sento; they are more difficult to reach and require advance permit (free). I'll email you with more details; too long to post here.

Judy Dec 9th, 2001 02:19 AM

I live in Kobe and I agree about getting to Kyoto and Nara, both easy access from the JR Osaka station, right across the street from the Hilton. In Kyoto, there is a bus station right outside the train station. You can buy an all day bus ticket for &yen;800 (less than $8.00). They give you a map and the streets are on a grid pattern, easy to change buses and get around. I second the vote for Kiyomiso dera temple, an old wood temple on the hill, miso means water and it has great meaning there. Also, a must is the Philosopher's Walk, along a canal with some nice galleries, near the Silver Pavillion. Another good day trip is Arima, up in the mountain above Kobe. It is a small town with wonderful onsen, the hot baths. A great way to relax. You are welcome to email me and I'll show you around on the weekend.

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