Osaka, Kyoto & Nara - Japan
Osaka, the second biggest city in Japan, was the second stop of our trip. During our 6 day trip we also paid visit to the historical old capital, Kyoto, as well as the satellite town of Nara. Similarly to Tokyo, Osaka showcases it's ability to blend traditional Japanese culture with the hustle and bustle of being Japan's second biggest metropolis.
Osaka is known to be the "Nation's Kitchen", and for good reason. The food is phenomenal! We made a conscious effort to try as many of the local delicacies as possible and we were not disappointed. Some of the highlights included the best (and cheapest) sushi & sashimi we have ever had, Ramen, Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ), Udon, Okonomiyaki, Japanese curry (goes particularly well with Katsu Chicken), and most famously - Takoyaki (delicious batter balls filled with octopus). We helped digest these local dishes with Sake, the strong flavoured Japanese rice wine.
Osaka Castle was one of the highlights from out time in Osaka. We were fortunate enough to be there during peak cherry blossom season (Sakura season), which meant that the locals were celebrating "Hanami" - the welcoming of spring. The city was alive with parties and visitors from all around the country and the world. It is truly a special time in Japan, and something that everyone should add to their bucket list.
We chose to stay in Namba for the duration of our time in Osaka, which was a convenient 10 minute walk to main tourist destination in Osaka, Dotonbori. The Dotonbori runs along the Dotonbori canal and is characterised by large illuminated (and often animated) signboards. Dotonbori is an eccentric, energetic part of Osaka that plays host to some of the best restaurants and street food in Japan - A must see in Osaka.
We visited the old imperial capital Kyoto a couple of times, being a mere 12 minutes away on the Shinkansen (bullet train). Kyoto took our breath away, it is such a beautiful, traditional city that gave us the feeling of going back in time. Kyoto was the imperial capital for over one thousand years, and the history is scattered throughout the city. The Fushimi Inari Shrine was certainly one sight not to be missed. There are over 400 shrines in Kyoto, but if you can only make the time to see one, this one takes the cake. The Inari Shrine sits at the bottom of Inari mountain and boasts bright orange shrines that span for 2km, a decent 2 hour walk - quite the tribute to Inari (the god of rice).
Arashiyama prefecture was another highlight in Kyoto. Here we strolled through the famous bamboo forest, and made our way to the base of Arashiyama mountain, where we rode bikes along the river. This is a fantastic, easily accessible place for a relaxing day in Kyoto.
Our last destination from Osaka was Nara. Nara park is known for its abundance of deer. Being cherry blossom season, the park looked like a scene out of a Disney movie - deer walking through the park under the cherry blossoms. A beautiful part of the world that we would recommend for anyone travelling to Japan.
Please enjoy our photographic content from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara below. Please feel free to comment or contact us for any travel advice for Japan.
Images shot on Sony a6000.