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Summer in Osaka > Shopping & City-getaway

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Summer in Osaka > Shopping & City-getaway

I'll be travelling to Osaka this July with some friend for 9 days, and plan to travel out of osaka for some city-getaway.. I did a little research on some location, hope you guys can give some comments.. and also welcome any new suggestions.

(preferably areas 1-2hr away from osaka)

- Mt. Koya

- Chihayaakasaka-mura --> Katsuragi Shrine

- Suma Beach

- maybe a trip down Nagoya....

*is there any racing car circuits worth visiting within the kansai region?

Nashville, TN
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for Himeji, Kobe, Osaka
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1. Re: Summer in Osaka > Shopping & City-getaway

Koya is nice, and should be pretty good on a hot summer day. Suma - I would advise against it. It's a decent enough beach, but it is on the Inland Sea, one of the most heavily traveled waterways in Asia. Nagoya is probably not worth it.

Are you going to Kyoto at all? That is a must see, and it's not all temples and shrines; there are some good mountain spots as well. Plus in July is the Gion Matsuri - it is an incredible event that you should experience if you can. (And, on a related note, the Tenjin Matsuri is in late July in Osaka.)

While we're on the topic of festivals:

japan-talk.com/jt/new/100-best-festivals-in-…

Kinosaki Onsen is another place to consider, though it is usually done as an overnight trip - staying in a traditional inn and stepping out to the springs is part of the experience.

Personally I think Himeji deserves consideration. Sure, the castle is under renovation; but to me that makes it all the more interesting. It is doubtful that you will ever again get to see a major historic site from such a perspective. And Himeji is more than the castle. Next to the castle is Kokoen, a nice garden; and Mt. Koya is a mountain temple/shrine area about 45 minutes away. You can easily spend a relaxing day in Himeji; and if you like outdoors, let me know - there are some good hiking spots in the area, particularly to Mt. Masui and Mt Hiromine.

Kobe area - This falls into the "off the beaten path" category. Kobe is a great city, but it's not all that touristy. And that makes it all the more interesting. Personally I suggest going for the outdoors experiences; Mt. Rokko has a lot of neat stuff. You can take a cog rail up the mountain; the buses on top are very efficient and accessible; and there are some neat things to do. Then you can finish your day with a cable car ride down to Arima Onsen, where you could take in a hot spring and/or a great meal.

Nara - It might be a little hot to wander around Nara park, but if you like history it is a great place to go for a day.

Mie - This is another one from the "quirky" files. The ninja village in Iga Ueno might be an interesting thing to see. Unfortunately, it's not the most convenient place.

Hikone - If you decide that you don't want to see Himeji Castle while it is being restored, you could take a trip up to Hikone. The town is neat, and the castle is pretty nice as well. It doesn't compare with Himeji, but it is still a good example of the architecture. Surrounding the castle is a nice park, and the views from the main keep are very nice. Plus, in Lake Biwa, there are two islands with shrines: Take-Shima and Chikubu-Shima. I've never been to those places, so if you go, make sure to tell me what you think.

Other stuff - if you're looking for different things to do, take in some factory tours; there are plenty of them in the area. The Ramen factory tour north of Osaka is particularly popular, though I've not done it myself. Another option is to do a class: if you're interested in cooking, art, etc., there are some companies that will give you a "native" experience by teaching you something, making your travel a little more unique.

Good luck!

John W.

Nishinomiya, Japan
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2. Re: Summer in Osaka > Shopping & City-getaway

Suma beach is an experience. It's the place to pick up on girls in the summer and great fun watching boys getting denied. It's dirty, noizy, and crazy. This is not the Zen temple Japan. There are many beach shacks that have showers and tables available for a charge, rather expensive IMHO. My friend lives down the street and we go often with our children. Shirahama is a similar beach resort popular with young people in the summer that you also might be interested in, if that's what you're looking for. I enjoy going to the less crouded beaches on the Japan Sea coast.

Suzuka Circut is just over the mountains in Mie. My brother in law has raced bikes there. You can get there on the Kintetsu from line from Nanba. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuka_Circuit

Nara, espeically the Asuka-mura area with my favorite temple Oka-dera is a good day trip to get away from the city. It's doable by train and rental bicycle. Access is also via Kintetsu from Nanba.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
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3. Re: Summer in Osaka > Shopping & City-getaway

Nara certainly deserves a day. It's certainly much more worthwhile than Nagoya. Kobe is a nice city to live in but a bit short on sights as well.

Wear a hat to protect yourself from the rays.

Hong Kong, China
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4. Re: Summer in Osaka > Shopping & City-getaway

Dear John, great to see your recommendations. Am going to visit Osaka and the nearby in August, a family of 4 with 2 boys aged 9 and 6. For sure must go Nara Park, aquarium, Universal Studio and Nissin factory, would also like to do sightseeing including hiking for amazing scene' family hot spring and traditional Japanese cooking class in English for us, any recommendation (website, contact details) for all these? Any more must-go spots? Many thanks!!

Rgds

Jess

5. Re: Summer in Osaka > Shopping & City-getaway

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