Kinki | Kyoto
The Kinki region, also known as Kansai, is one of Japan’s most popular destinations with the metropolitan aspiring Osaka and the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara at its center. Osaka is Japan’s second largest city and much like Tokyo buzzes with activity throughout the year. Osakans are said to spend more on food than anything else, and who can blame them with so many delicious dishes, such as okonomiyaki (pancake) and takoyaki (grilled octopus), available to them. People in Kyoto, however, are always said to spend their money on kimono’s. As Japan’s capital before Tokyo, Kyoto was the heart of Japanese culture for many centuries allowing many of the classical arts and crafts to develop here throughout the ages. Kyoto is also well-known for its hundreds of temples and shrines, such as Kiyomizudera Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine, scattered throughout the city.
Nara is another ancient capital which is most famous for housing the largest Buddha statue in Japan at Todaiji Temple. Another prefecture in Kansai boasting a rich history is Hyogo with the port city of Kobe and castle city of Himeji. In Kobe you may find much foreign influence as many foreigners, especially Europeans and Chinese, settled here in the past and build homes according to their native architectural preference. Himeji on the other hand is well-known for its castle which is regarded is Japan’s best preserved and most beautiful original feudal era castles. The other prefectures in Kansai are Shiga and Wakayama each encompassing much natural beauty.