UNESCO World Heritage in Kansai
One of Osaka's greatest advantages is its proximity to the World Heritage sites scattered in the neighboring prefectures of Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo and Wakayama. Many of the designated sites are only 30 minutes to one hour by express train from Osaka. Here are the World Heritage List from the Kansai region:
Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area
Horyu-ji Temple is the first site in Japan to be selected by UNESCO as World Heritage. There are around 48 Buddhist Monuments in the temple grounds. The introduction of these masterpieces of wooden architecture coincides with the introduction of Buddhism into Japan making them not only important for the history of art, but religion as well.
Otherwise known as Himeji Castle, it is widely regarded as the finest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture. Dating from the beginning of the Shogun period, it's 83 buildings are fine examples of defense and and ingenious protection devices.
Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)
Until the middle of the 19th century, Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan. During this period of over 1000 years, Kyoto was immersed in the development of architecture and Japanese gardens, both which continue to influence the world today.
- Kamigamo - jinja Shrine (Kamowakeikazuchi - jinja Shrine)
- Shimogamo - jinja Shrine (Kamomioya - jinja Shrine)
- To - ji Temple (Kyo-o-gokoku - ji Temple)
- Kiyomizu - dera Temple
- Enryaku - ji Temple
- Daigo - ji Temple
- Ninna - ji Temple
- Byodo - in Temple
- Ujigami - jinja Shrine
- Kozan - ji Temple
- Koke - dera Temple (Saiho - ji Temple)
- Tenryu - ji Temple
- Kinkaku - ji Temple (Rokuon - ji)
- Ginkaku - ji Temple (Jisho - ji)
- Ryoan - ji Temple
- Hongwan - ji Temple
- Nijo - jo Castle
Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara
From 710 to 784, Nara was the capital of Japan, and the remaining Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and the remains of the ancient imperial palace give a glimpse into this period of political and cultural change.
- Heijo Palace Site
- Todai-ji Temple
- Kofuku-ji Temple
- Kasuga Grand Shrine
- Kasuga-yama Hill Primeval Forest
- Gango-ji Temple
- Yakushi-ji Temple
- Toshodai-ji Temple
Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range
Three sacred sites--Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan--are linked by pilgramage routes to the cities of Nara and Kyoto, and reflect the fusion of Shinto and Buddhism religions, and continue to attract around 15 million visitors annually.
Day trip from Osaka: Far
Osaka is located almost at the center of Japan. There are plenty of ways to get to and from Osaka. Depending on your destination and preferred traveling style, you can choose from planes, bullet trains, express trains, buses, cars and ferries, amongst other modes of transportation.
There are flights from Itami and Kansai International Airports to all over Japan.
By Train or bullet train
Japan's fastest train, the Shinkansen (bullet train), links major cities around the nation. The number of bullet train services is enough to service a large number of travelers to and from Osaka. The Shinkansen's gateway in Osaka is JR Shin-Osaka Station, connected to Osaka Station by the JR and subway lines. Trains run every 5 to 10 minutes. Cities without Shinkansen train stations can be accessed by limited express trains on the JR and private railway lines.
Day trip from Osaka: Near
Many of Japan's foremost sightseeing spots are located in Kansai, the region surrounding Osaka. Osaka features historic buildings, cultural attractions, and high-tech amusement facilities. Neighboring cities have great features as well; these include Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan; Kobe, a fashionable port city, and Nara with numerous World Heritage sites. These unique destinations form a culturally endowed urban region. From Osaka, these cities can each be reached in about 30 minutes by express trains.
To areas around Kansai by train
Discount Tickets for travelling around Osaka
Many different tickets are available for travellers to use while travelling in and around Osaka, including the Kansai Thru Pass. This three-day or two-day ticket is convenient for taking trips in Kansai. It allows you unlimited rides on designated public transportation. Also, by showing a pass that you've used that day, you can get special treatment at special facilities along the railways.