Traveling Kansai is almost a spiritual experience. Breathtaking rocky coasts, centennial forests, scenic rivers, majestic waterfalls, ancient temples and shrines. Name all the striking adjectives in the world and they wouldn’t be enough to describe this area. But Kansai is considerably big and it’s hard to choose what to visit especially if your trip is a short one. So we’ve put together a list of the 10 most beautiful destinations in Kansai to help you with your travel plans.
Nara Park is the famous park where more than 1200 wild deer roam the streets freely. Such a number was reached because the deer were once considered scared and killing them was forbidden. They new became the symbol of Nara, attracting visitors from all over Japan and the rest of the world. Visitor can feed them with special crackers that are sold around the park.
Arashiyama refers to a mountain and its surrounding area located in the outskirts of Kyoto. As you approach Arashiyama, you will first reach Hozu River and Togetsukyo Bridge, the perfect place for a leisure walk. After the bridge, the mountain itself welcomes you with beautiful nature and a monkey park standing at the top. Other attractions in the area include the Arashiyama bamboo grove, which is said to make you feel in other world.
Standing off the shore of Kushimoto, Hashigui Iwa are several pointed rocks which spread for almost one kilometer, giving the impression of a bridge ( hashi means bridge in Japanese ). The blue sky reflected in the clear water combined with these fascinating rocks create an eerie sight. This is also a perfect spot to catch a sunrise because the sun rises just behind the rocks. Hashigui beach is also a short walk from the rocks, an ideal place to relax on the sand.
Kiyomizudera is one of the largest and oldest temples in Kyoto whose structure is very interesting because no nails were used during the construction. The temple is surrounded by forests and stands on a hill, which makes it even more appealing. It is a very popular destination during spring when cherry blossoms are in full bloom and in autumn when trees turn colorful. There is also a long shopping street with a large number of vendors selling traditional Japanese food, sweets and local souvenirs.
Fujimi Inari Shrine
Fushimi Inari is a shrine famous for its thousands of torii gates which are disposed over the trails that lead to the main building. A torii gate marks the entrance to Shinto shrines, representing the line between the ordinary and spiritual worlds. The gates were donated by companies or individual people and have their donor’s name on them. Walking among endless rows of red gates and surrounded by the quietness of the forest can make an experience to remember.
Also located in Kyoto, Kinkakuji, The Golden Pavilion is the famous Buddhist temple covered in gold leaf. Recognized as an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, Kinkakuji is one of the most representative landmarks of Japan. In the middle of a pine forest and next to a large pond, this temple makes an incredible sight. The view is spectacular no matter the season, therefore making the temple a popular attraction all year long.
Nachi Taisha is a Shinto Shrine part of the pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountains of Japan. What makes is stand out from the other shrines in the pilgrimage route is the astonishing 133 meters waterfall behind it. Nachi waterfall is the tallest waterfall in Japan and is believed to be inhabited by a deity. The sight it creates together with the shrine will leave you speechless.
Located in Nara prefecture, Mount Yoshino is the most famous cherry blossom viewing spot thorough Japan. When spring comes, more than 30,000 cherry trees located on the mountain slops turn pink, offering a view you will not see anywhere else in this world. There are also several interesting temples and shrines on the mountain you can visit during your ascent.
A spectacular coastal area on Oshima Island, Umikongo consists of several big rocks in all kinds of shapes, mostly pyramidal. Big waves hit the rocks resulting in white foam, which together with the pure blue water of the ocean add to the artistic effect of the scene. If you want to visit a place where you can feel the power of nature, Umikongo is the perfect spot for you.
Amanohashidate is a pine covered strip of sand in Miyazu Bay, northern Kansai. It is considered one of Japan’s three most scenic views, along with Miyajima and Matsushima. You can either take a walk along the alleys on the sandbar, or enjoy the view from Amanohashidate View Land, a park situated on a nearby mountain which can be accessed by chairlift or monorail or from Kasamatsu Park, which stands on the other side of the bay, accessible by chairlift and cable car.
Kansai is a treasure in terms of beauty. As seen above, one of the most scenic sights in the world can be found here. You should definitely not miss this area when you plan a trip to Japan!