Top 10 tourist attractions in Kansai

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Prosperous Kansai region including Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe is considered as the commercial capital of Japan since the ancient times. Thus, Kansai has distinctive look of vitality and sparkles with energy even until today. Kansai has created a very special attraction to tourists. Famous cities in the Kansai area may remind you of crowded spots which are full of colors of Southeast Asia. However, this is where all the characteristics of Japanese people is expressed most clearly, in both traditional and modern values.

1. Amanohashidate
Amanohashidate is of Japanese leading landscapes. It is known as “Bridge to the sky” which is a strip of land across Miyazu Bay, north of the ancient Kyoto capital. More than 7,000 ancient pine trees as the giant green shield crossing Miyazu Bay to anchor the bridge in heaven between a vast region of water. The legend has it that, the Gods had built a bridge between heaven and earth, unfortunately the bridge collapsed and fell in Miyazu Bay making up Amanohashidate. There are rental bikes, cable cars, boats, observation decks… serving for sightseeing.
2. Manpuku-ji Temple
 Manpuku-ji is a central temple of the sect Obaku-shu. It was built by the Chineses Zen master Ingenryuki-zenshi in 1661. Unlike other temples in Japan, the temple was built with architecture and statues in Chinese style. In addition, other rituals, customs or cooking style  are all influenced by Chinese pattern. The main temple buildings with spacious courtyard are laid out in a straight line, connected by a paved road, or gardens in both sides.
 3. Nijo Castle
Nijo castle is a vast citadel area of Kyoto, Japan. This ancient citadel includes two fortified rounds of wall, Ninomaru castle, Honmaru castles and countless magnificent mansions and flower gardens.
Ninomaru Palace in Nijo Castle is one of the world’s heritage. There are more than 30 rooms decorated with many tatami mats and unique paintings. There are many surfaces covered with gold leaf. Upon arrival, visitors should step foot slightly, because the floor is made to emit creak, which is to alert sleeping people in the house on the intruders.
4. Universal Studios Japan
 Universal Studios Osaka is the first one outside the United States. Opened in 2001, this lively entertainment area has expanded many times and has implemented many attractive and novel games and. To play all the games in Universal Studios in a most comfortable way, it’ll take about 3 days. This is an amusement park complex with a broad genre of games for all ages from teenagers to adults. These include speedboats, 4D games, 4D movies, the musical street shows, parades by night, space exploration games, world of dinosaurs, shark jaws, one piece perform , Shrek monster or kill zombies, … in which many games taken from storylines of famous films of Universal.
5. Mount Yoshino
Mount Yoshino is the common name of the 8km wide mountainous area from Yoshino River to Daimine. In 2004, it was recognized as world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Yoshino is considered the locality of Yamazakura cherry flowers. Approximately 30,000 cherry trees of this type stretching along the mountainsides. This is an ideal place for cherry blossom viewing.
6. Lake Biwa
Lake Biwa belongs to Shiga Prefecture – the province located almost in the middle of Japan. This is Japan’s largest lake, equal 1/6 of Shiga Prefecture area. Previously, Lake Biwa was called Omi. Located near the ancient capital of Kyoto, Omi was used as the main waterway axis from the east to the west in ancient times. Lake Biwa is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges with natural conditions. It has a great ecology with blue mountains and the water sparkling like crystal. Visitors can take “Michigan Cruise” to admire the magnificent scenery of lake Biwa.
7. Genkyu-en Garden

As an excursion garden combined with ponds flaunting the luxuries of Edo culture, Genkyu-en Garden is designated as national landmark. Every year, in September, there is an insects festival where you can listen to the chirping of them. In October, there is “Light up Genkyu-en” of Nishikiaki, where you can feel the delights only in the garden of feudal lords.

8. Mikimoto Pearl Island


Mikimoto Pearl Island is a small island located in Toba city of Mie Prefecture. Inherently the origin of the lands cultivating pearls, it now has become a tourist destination. On the island, visitors can see female fishermen catching shells, learn about the history of Mikimoto Pearl Island, and the cultivation of pearls. Visitors will be provided knowledge of pearls, different colors of pearls, differences between natural and artificial pearls.

9. Kobe Port Tower


Kobe  Tower was built based on the shape of a pipe which is a very unique design in the world with “Hypeboloid structure” like a traditional musical instrument of Japan. Due to that characteristic, it is also called the “Steel Tower Beauty”. At night, the whole tower is lit up by thousands of LEDs, creating a shimmering landscape. At a height of 108m, the red tower is the symbol of Kobe. Standing on the observation deck on the top floor, visitors can contemplate the panorama view of the port city in 360 degrees.

10. Yasaka Shrine


Yakasa shrine was built in 656 AD with the frontage facing the avenue Shijo-dori, in the Gion (center of Kyoto). Yakasa shrine attracts millions of worshippers in the New year Eve. Next to the shrine is Maruyama Park, where the cherry blossom festival takes place each spring. Yasaka is also well- known for the traditional dance of geisha and the bean throwing ritual celebrating New Year in Setsubun festival, with the hope to bring good luck ward off evil spirits.