Kansai – Detailed information

Kansai is main touristic region in Japan. The area has Osaka, the second biggest city, Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo, Shiga, Wakayama and Mie. We are not sure where exactly the very first kingdom flourished in Japan, even now, however, Nara has historical monuments which were built in 7-8th century and is considered as the first possible capital city of Japan.

Then, the capital moved to Kyoto, where Emperor, Japanese King, lived for nearly 1000 years. This is where what-is-called Japanese culture was born, and the city is attracting not only foreign tourists but also Japanese. The area has everything what foreign tourists dream of; food, culture, old buildings and warm people.

World Heritage Sites

Horyuji temple (法隆寺)

The oldest wooden construction in the world. It was first constructed back in the 7th century, by Shotokutaishi (聖徳太子), who is believed to have created the bases of Japan as a country. Horyuji temple is located in Nara, but the temple is nominated as an independent World Heritage Site, not as a part of old city Nara. All the valuable treasures from 7th century can be seen in the museum.

The world’s oldest wooden construction.
The world’s oldest wooden construction.

Old city Kyoto (古都京都)

The city is full of treasures of Japanese beauty. There are a lot of temples and constructions which are nominated as World Heritage Site, however, the city itself too is under the strict preservation law. We thrive to conserve the city as it is and that is the reason why just walking in the city and we can feel as if we are making a time travel.

Typical image of Kyoto
Typical image of Kyoto

Old city Nara (古都奈良)

Nara is believed to be one of the first cities in Japan. When Nara has flourished, culture exchange with China, Korea or even central Asia was so common already in 7th century. We can still see the essence from these countries in the artwork and construction of the city. This is the difference from what we can see in Kyoto, and it will be interesting to compare.

Todaiji (東大寺) temple
Todaiji (東大寺) temple

Himeji castle (姫路城)

Himeji is located nearly one hour away from Osaka city, and the castle is very first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan. Their bright-white appearance is also called as Castle of white-heron, a kind of bird. There is no wonder the castle being the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Japan, because it is just amazing and beautiful.

Himeji castle which is also called as White-heron castle.
Himeji castle which is also called as White-heron castle.

Kii mountain, the pilgrimage route (紀伊山地の霊場と参詣道)

Koyasan (高野山)

Koyasan is relatively unknown; however, the place is where you can feel real Japanese Buddhism. Koyasan is a mountain in Wakayama, on the top of the steep mountain of 800 meters high. The whole mountain itself is sacred where Buddhist monks practice.

Kumano pilgrimage route(熊野参詣道)

Along with Koyasan, Kumano pilgrimage route has been nominated as the World Heritage site of Kii mountain. The pilgrimage road leads to three sacred shrines of Kumano, where Buddhist monks receives harsh and strict practice. There are mainly six roads, with five of them nominated as World Heritage site, the longest road could be as long as 160 kilo meters.

Mozu Furuichi Tumulus (百舌鳥古市古墳群)

The newest UESCO World Heritage site in Kinki area. Tumulus, in other words, is a big tomb, just like pyramids in Egypt. More than 200 tumuli were made in 4th to 6th century, the biggest tumulus could be up to 840 meters with the width of 654 meters.

The entrance of tumulus of Nintoku Emperor, the biggest tumulus of Japan. (仁徳天皇陵)
The entrance of tumulus of Nintoku Emperor, the biggest tumulus of Japan. (仁徳天皇陵)
Buried items to hope a good afterlife of a deceased person.
Buried items to hope a good afterlife of a deceased person.

National Parks

Yoshino Kumano (吉野熊野国立公園)

A World Heritage site. See the description in the World Heritage.

Seto inland sea (瀬戸内海国立公園)

The ocean between mainland and Shikoku island is called Seto inland sea (瀬戸内海). This National Park is the widest in range, with 11 prefectures touching the ocean. The park has so many small islands floating on the ocean, as well as some of the mountains and hot springs also included.

The ocean is so tranquil and serene.
The ocean is so tranquil and serene.

Sannin coast (山陰海岸国立公園)

Sannin coast National Park is on the Japan sea side, from the coast of Kyoto, Hyogo to Tottori prefecture, about 75 km long. While Seto inland sea is tranquil, Japan Sea is rough. The Park has so many coasts which are made because of high waves. The area is also nominated as a geo park, where we can feel the history of the Earth.

Sannin coast, which is also a geo park.
Sannin coast, which is also a geo park.

Advice for Muslims

The area would be the best choice for the first-time travelers in Japan! Because there are so many choices for Muslims except for some rural areas, especially in Wakayama, Mie or Hyogo.

If you cannot find Halal or Muslim restaurants, then go to the restaurants that offer traditional Japanese food. Traditional Buddhist cuisine usually does not contain meat or pork, so it will be easy to find Muslim friendly meals, too.

Muslim friendly local meals

  • Ibuki soba (伊吹蕎麦), Shiga
  • Koya Tofu(高野豆腐), Wakayama
  • Bara sushi (バラ寿司), Osaka
  • Akashi yaki (明石焼), Hyogo
  • Yuba and Tofu (湯葉・豆腐料理), Kyoto
  • Hamo sea eel (鱧料理), Kyoto
  • Kakinoha sushi (柿の葉寿司), Nara
  • Nyumen (にゅう麺), Nara
  • Bonito Tekone sushi (手こね寿司), Mie

Description available in each page.

How is the Access?

From Tokyo
Take a flight to Osaka which takes only 1.5 hour, and then take a train. Taking Shinkansen could be also an option, which takes about 2.5 hours.

Within the area
Trains are very frequent and convenient. If you are planning to go to the mountain side in the region, then consider driving a car.