Route: Kyoto Arashiyama Nara Osaka Kobe
Duration: 8 nights
Transport: This route is a 9 day trip covering 5 of Japan’s most popular destinations. You’ll spend 8 nights in your accommodation and travel by a mixture of train and bus during the day – see the itinerary below for details.
Summary: Experience the perfect mix of Japanese tradition and modernity! This short trip is an intense immersion into traditional and modern Japan. A fast-paced adventure that will let you discover major cities like Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe; but also the smaller and historically rich towns of Arashiyama and Nara. You will explore beautiful shrines and temples as well as amazing luxury cuisine and street food. Wander around Kyoto, the culture city of Japan with a still strong sumo and geisha culture. Learn more about Buddhism and their way of life in Nara and Arashiyama where you will be able to eat like a monk! Get lost in the buzzing Osaka and Kobe while eating amazing food and party all night!
Kyoto is the former Japanese capital and is considered a historical treasure with numerous shrines, temples and monuments – including the famous 1000 torii gate temple in the mountain, Fushimi Inari Taisha. Take part in a traditional tea ceremony and wander around the old streets of Kyoto, imagining what the city used to look like. Be mesmerised by a temple covered in gold overlooking a large pond.Try some matcha dessert or drinks while strolling down the Philosopher’s Path, the perfect spot to see the cherry blossom. Visit some impressive shrines and temples such as Kiyomizu dera and its wooden stage built 13m above the hillside. Try to spot the Geisha going to work in the Gion district before heading to Nishiki market and filling your belly with delicious local food such as Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. Anywhere in the city is good for a night out, especially along Kiyamachi road.
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Bus to Arashiyama – 1 hour
Less than 30 minutes away from Kyoto, Arashiyama is a breath of fresh air. Relax in this small town surrounded by mountains and its beautiful river. Wander around in the mesmerizing Bamboo Grove before visiting some zen temples and finishing the day in the Monkey Park. You could even observe a traditional fishing method using a bird (Cormorant) while the sun sets. Have a taste of traditional vegetarian monk dishes with tofu stock!
Saga-Toriimono Preserved Street
Bus and train to Nara – 2 hours
Nara has the privilege to call itself the first permanent capital of Japan. Wander around Nara Park, full of free roaming deers which are also the town’s mascots. Here, you can enjoy its many temples and relaxed atmosphere while feeding the deers on your way to visiting the world’s oldest wooden buildings and the Big Buddha Hall. Eat a typical monk dish called Chagayu or the traditional sushi of Nara, Kahinoha. Being a small city, downtown Nara is the best place to enjoy a delicious meal and some good sake.
Train to Osaka – 1 hour
As the second largest city after Tokyo, you’ll find plenty to explore in Osaka. Head to one of Japan’s largest aquariums before visiting the castle, another impressive monument in the city. If you’re a food lover, don’t miss out on the local cuisine! As the food capital of Japan, Osaka has some of the best in the country. You could try dishes such as Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki,Kitsune Udon and so on. Walk alongside the canal in Dotonbori street at night to be dazzled by the neon lights before beginning your night out in Namba or the Umeda district. From towering skyscrapers to ancient shrines, this city is more than impressive.
Train to Kobe – 1 hour
Considered one of the most attractive cities in Japan, don’t forget to try the famous wagyu beef before leaving the city! Explore the shopping area of Kobe port before heading to Chinatown and immersing yourself in this mix of culture, part of Kobe’s history of being a foreign trade port. It is also home to the longest suspension bridge in the world. If you want to see an impressive view of the city, Mount Rokko is the perfect place. It is one of the three greatest night views of Japan! For a night out, Sannomiya is the area to go to from chilled jazz bars to British pubs and izakaya.
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge