Japan:A Closer Look at Kansai – Part 3Mar 3rd, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Regional Travel Resources
Kyoto and Nara are two spots in Japan that you won’t want to miss if you love history and culture. Kyoto, located in the Kansai region was Japan’s capital city for over a thousand years until it was move to Tokyo in 1868. Nara was the capital prior to Kyoto, in the 7th century, and is home to a many of the country’s cultural and historical treasures.
It’s almost impossible to cover all of the things to see and do in these two popular and historic prefectures but some of the highlights will be presented along with resources that will allow you to plan a very personalized trip by clicking through all that the region has to offer.
Kyoto is home to over Kyoto on thousand temples and shrines so there is always something new to see and do in Kyoto.
“The old capital of Kyoto has weathered many vicissitudes in its long history of wars and truces. The vivid crimson of the Heian Shrine, built overshadowing the Heian Palace, allows one to imagine what the freshness of that old city must have been like in its youth.”
Source: Kyoto City Web
Visit Nijo Castle where the last Tokugawa shogun returned sovereignty to the Emperor of Japan.
Apply to the Imperial Household Agency for permission to tour the Kyoto Imperial Palace built in 1855.
Visit one of Kyoto’s temples to practice zazen (Zen sitting meditation) and shakyo (copying sutras).
Take in a show at Gion Corner to see witness Maiko & Geiko (Geisha in Tokyo) perform the traditional arts of Kyoto, including Kyogen classical comedy, Kyomai dance, Gagaku Imperial Court music, koto (Japanese harp) and flower arrangement.
Visit Ryoanji Temple, built in 1450 and home to a beautiful example of a Zen Rock Garden. Hover over the Kanji to navigate the site – English prompts will appear.
Take in one of the annual events sponsored by the Ookini Zaidan, the Kyoto Traditional Musical Art Foundation.
Visit Kinkaku-ji Temple, home to Kyoto’s Golden Palace (pictured top right).
Other Kyoto Tourism Resources:
- Welcome to Kyoto
- Kyoto Official Travel Guide
- Kyoto City Web
- Kyoto City Tourism and Culture Information System
- Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Kyoto pages
Visit the vermilion-lacquered Kasuga Grand Shrine.
See the great Buddha at Todai-ji Temple that stands 15 meters high and was built in 752.
Visit the Yagyu Iris Garden where approximately 100,000 Irises full bloom from June to early July.
Peruse the annual Nara event Calendar to make sure you don’t miss anything while you visit.
Relax at an onsen (hot springs) in and around Nara.
See the seven World Heritage sites in Nara by purchasing a Sekai Isan Gurutto Pass . A bus visits each site once an hour and passholders can use the bus repeatedly within the day for Y800 (adults). Learn more about the pass or book a bus tour of Nara.
Learn more about things to do and see in Nara Prefecture at Nara, A Journey to the Ancient City or at the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Nara pages.
This winds up our Closer Look at Kansai – visit Kansai Window for suggested tour itineraries for the area and check back next week when we’ll take a closer look at the Chugoku Region of Japan.
Articles in the Japan: A Closer Look series:
- Japan: A Closer Look at Hokkaido
- Japan: A Closer Look at Tohoku – Part 1 & Part 2
- Japan: A Closer Look at Chubu – Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3
- Japan: A Closer Look at Kanto – Part 1 & Part 2
- Japan: A Closer Look at Kanto – Kanagawa
- Japan: A Closer Look at Kanto – Tokyo Practicalities
- Japan: A Closer Look at Kanto – Tokyo – Part 1 & Part 2
- Japan: A Closer Look At Tokyo:Lesser Known Facts And Figures
- Japan:A Closer Look at Kansai – Part 1 & Part 2