Kansai 3 Days Trip Itinerary

January 01, 2019



The second most visited part of Japan that I often visit after Tokyo is none other than Kansai, precisely Osaka. What can I say? Easy and fast shinkansen just 2 hours away from Tokyo, offers a lot of amazing day trips from the city center, tons of good foods and vibrant colors of the city. I love Osaka! I was invited to Kansai 2 times this year, and I haven't properly blogged about my itinerary recommendation in Kansai, so lemme share with you the easy 3 days trip itinerary!

TRANSPORTATION
 

From Kansai International Airport there are 2 ways to reach the city center. Train or Bus. I was staying in Shin Hankyu Hotel Osaka, which I really recommend because it's connected to Umeda Station, and they have a shuttle bus to and from the airport. I love the convenience of the shuttle bus because usually when we're traveling, we're going to carry tons of luggage hence it's so helpful! 


If you don't stay at Shin Hankyu Osaka Hotel or not staying in Umeda area, you can also choose to get onboard Kansai International Rapi:t Train that will get you to Namba area in 30 mins! It's really fast and convenient way, besides it's so affordable with only 1130 yen one way! 


And the limited express train is connected to Namba Parks, a one-stop shopping mall where you can shop, dine, or even see illuminations before or after taking the Rapi:t Train! 

TOURIST PASS


There are so many ways and passes to choose from when you're traveling all over Kansai, and they're relatively cheaper than tourist passes in Tokyo area. I recommend 3 passes

KINTETSU RAIL PASS is amazing if you would like to travel between Osaka - Kyoto - Nara - Ise - Nagoya
HANKYU TOURIST PASS is for those of you who want to travel between Kobe - Osaka - Kyoto
HANSHIN TOURIST PASS is for you who want to travel in Osaka - Kobe area only

You can click both passes as I have put down the official website. Definitely, you're going to save a lot of costs by using these passes!

DAY 1
OSAKA
NAMBA PARK

If you're traveling with Limited Express Rapi:t, you'll have a chance to visit Namba Park and their illumination is something that people are excited about because it's all over the area, and it's so pretty


The most exciting part for me is when they give us free Illumination Namba Card where you can see heart shaped illumination through the card! Unfortunately, illumination is only available thorough Japan in winter, so it's not something that you can see all year round


TAKOYAKI

 And when you're in Namba, don't forget to stroll around Dotonbori area to dine, shop, experience the crowd, and of course, savor Takoyaki!

UNIVERSAL STUDIO JAPAN


It's not a complete Osaka experience without visiting Universal Studio Japan! Located only around 20 mins away from my hotel in Umeda, it's fairly easy and convenient to visit even for half a day.


If you're a fan of Minion, don't forget to get into the ride where you're transformed into a minion and ride their boats. What I love about Universal Studio Japan is though most of the voices are dubbed to Japanese language, they still provide english translation for foreign tourists!


And when it's time for lunch, get yourself some Minion-themed food at Happiness Cafe nearby Minion area. The choux cream is even in Banana flavor! 


And everyone's favorite is, of course, Harry Potter and the Wizarding World area! Whether you're there just to take pictures with Hogwarts Robe, or also ride the attraction, you're bound to have a good time! I went for the ride for the first time and they have just renewed the attraction, hence we don't have to use 4D glasses anymore to enjoy the ride


Get yourself to the back area of the restaurant and take pictures with the almighty Hogwarts Castle. It's even better if you have friends who dress up altogether with you and strike a pose like a real wizard


And of course, don't forget to drink their Butterbeer! It can be served both cold and hot, and it is NO ALCOHOL! Also, you can also bring back the glass back home as a souvenir! :D

DAY 2 
KYOTO
ARASHIYAMA 


Kyoto is so huge, and one day is not enough to cover the whole areas that you have to visit in Kyoto. And on that day, we went to Arashiyama area where the most famous Bamboo Forest is located at. I love Arashiyama for its shopping streets, matcha related food all over the town, along with the bridge and river. Also, the train that brought us to Arashiyama was in a retro vibe that makes me happy!


Walk deep to the bamboo forest to get the most beautiful bamboo area where the bamboo is taller and thicker! 


Also, you can see how beautiful the scenery is from around the bridge and river. Unfortunately, the red leaves had gone by the time I was there and I could only find one tree that still blooming. If it's during the peak season of Momiji, this place is bound to be really breathtaking! 


YANAGIDANI KANNON


And these days, there's a recent popular shrine in Kyoto which is said to be one of the prettiest shrines in Japan. It's Yanagidani Kannon, even the area where you've to wash your hands at, is beautifully decorated with real hydrangea flowers!


Upon entering the shrine, there's also famous Instagram Spot another water tank from stone is decorated with momiji leaves. It's too pretty!


The famous spot inside the shrine is where you can see the beautiful scenery of colorful momiji trees. Unfortunately, like I have said, it was too late for me to visit Kyoto as most of the leaves have left their branches. You can google how beautiful Yanagidani Kannon is and prepare yourself for breathtaking pictures during peak autumn, and make sure to come next year !


Besides the beautiful scenery offered, they also offer GOSHUIN experience. Basically, decorating a paper with deep-meaningful kanji with real-life flowers. Since it's autumn, we decorate it using tons of dried flowers and leaves that represent autumns such as ginko and momiji


It's really a good experience to soothe your soul while being away from the city. All you have to care about is the paper and dried leaves & flowers on your table


DAY 3
MIE

Kansai is a big area consist of Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama, Shiga, and also MIE (read as Mi-e). I love Mie a lot and has visited it once before but this time I also explored other parts of Mie. Probably the best reason to visit Mie is noneother than Iga Ninja Museum. The real hometown of Ninja, yes you hear me right!


For Iga Ninja Museum, it's so interesting to the point I am making a separate blog post for that. It's definitely the highlight of my trip which I love and recommend for those of you who want to visit Mie. I know it's pretty far from Osaka, and require a day trip, but if you're interested with either Ninja or Japanese history and want to get a real experience of that piece of life, please, visit this place. To read a blog post about it, click HERE or the title

ISE JINGU


For Iga Ninja Museum, it's only around 3-4 hours to fully experience the place, and if you don't want to go back while in Mie, I recommend Ise Jingu. Ise is a sacred place for Shintoism, and Ise Jingu is like Mecca for Shinto. They call it power spot. I am a Christian hence I don't pray there but I can understand why even for non-Shinto would love to visit it, because the air is so clear and the water flowing in the river is so clean


And my favorite part in Ise Jingu is their shopping street. It's not filled with foreign tourists like Kyoto, and they have amazing varieties of street foods for you to munch in while walking down the street. The whole street is filled with traditional Japan vibe and probably some of the buildings have been around for 100 years or more!


I love the street and in fact during New Year it's probably busier because a lot of people want to pray in this shrine


Upon my first time to Japan, around 6 years ago, which was January 2013, I visited Ise Jingu as well and I was introduced by my friend about this snack shop where you can eat Red bean mochi with warm tea while overlooking the bridge. I can't read the kanji yet don't know what's the name of the shop, all I knew was basically trailing back down the same path that I did 6 years ago and found the little place again. It's always good to reminisce the old memories and it's even better with delightful snacks and warm hot tea. If you're interested, I wrote about a full blog post of Ise Jingu 6 years ago HERE


Anyway I know 3 days is not enough to visit Kansai alone, so if you have extra days to explore, I also recommend other places such as Nara, Kobe, etc. Check out my JAPAN TRAVEL GUIDE that have listed most of my other blog posts about where to visit in the certain area! Hopefully, this post is helpful if any of you need to make an itinerary and feel free to bookmark and share it with your friends who need it

Thank you for reading and talk to you again on my next post!

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