KYOTO, NARA, OSAKA AND MORE
Nestled between the Central and Western regions of Japan, Kansai serves as the ideal hub location from which to explore much of the country. With access by air from Kobe Airport, Itami Airport and Kansai International Airport, port entry leading to the Seto inland sea via Osaka and Kobe, and a sprawling rail network throughout, it’s no surprise that many travellers choose this region to mark the beginning and the end of their trips to Japan. Before moving to Edo (now modern day Tokyo) in 1868, the Emperor called this region home and left behind flourishing cities of great historical and cultural importance that travellers still flock to today. Today, it continues to serve as the starting point of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage and the Nakasendo trail, and provides a great taste of an eclectic mix of lifestyles in one region.
Kansai has a great deal to offer both first time and repeat visitors to Japan; the castle town of Himeji and its majestic castle greeting you when you leave the station; the ancient Lake Biwa and its coasts of cherry trees; Mie and Ise Jingu, dedicated to the mother goddess of Shinto religion; and Wakayama, serving as the entry to the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, to name a few. Anyone would be hard pressed to run out of things to do.
Historic trail walking in the mountains of Hyogo and Himeji, with four gentle hikes of one to four hours
Follow scenic Wakasa bay; the central gateway to the Japan Sea, learning how the flow of water has informed the flora, the fauna and the way of life here, with five gentle hikes or cycles of two to four hours
Learn the festival culture of Tokushima, the Awajishima Island creation myth, and the historic trade route to Kobe, with four gentle hikes of 3-5 hours
Trail walking in the mountains of West Shiga and Fukui prefectures, with four hikes of 1-6 hours