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Just About an Hour by Train from Osaka Station! Top 5 Sightseeing Destinations

If you’ve gone around and fully explored Osaka on your trip, then how about going a little farther to visit other areas in the Kansai region since you’re already there anyway? Below are five popular sightseeing spots that you can reach in about an hour by train from Osaka Station.

1. Kitano, Kobe (Hyogo)

The first spot on this list is the neighborhood of Kitano, which is a famous sightseeing area in Kobe. This is the district where you can find the Western-style houses (called “ijinkan”) of foreigners, who moved to the city when Kobe Port opened as an international trade port in 1868. There were more than 200 ijinkan here at its peak, transforming the area into an exotic landscape with Western-style residences that blended in with Japanese-style houses. Around 60 of these residences still exist today, including Kazamidori no Yakata (which has a weathercock on a spire on the roof) and the Uroko no Ie (scales house). You can tour the interiors and exteriors of these houses. Aside from these houses, this area is also dotted with lots of fancy shops and spots, such as museums, miscellaneous goods/souvenir shops, long-established bars, and cafes.

1. Kitano, Kobe (Hyogo)

3-10-20 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

2. Todaiji (Nara)

Next on this list is Todaiji, a famous temple that is named as one of the eight important assets in the World Heritage Site, Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara. It houses numerous national treasures, such as the Great Buddha Hall that occupies the vast temple precincts and enshrines the large Buddha statue (symbol of the temple), and the Tegai-mon gate that has preserved its architectural structure up till now.

Admission fee (required for entering the Great Buddha Hall, Hokke-do (Sangatsu-do) Hall, and Kaidan-do Hall):
Adult (Junior high school student or older): 500 JPY
Elementary school student: 300 JPY

2. Todaiji (Nara)

406-1 Zoshi-cho, Nara-shi, Nara

3. Arima Onsen (Hyogo)

Next up is Arima Onsen, a popular onsen (hot spring) resort in Hyogo that is visited by approximately 1.5 million people each year. Boasting 1,400 years of history, Arima Onsen is known for having two types of hot spring waters – Kinsen (golden hot spring) with reddish brown color that contains iron, and Ginsen (silver hot spring) that is colorless and clear. Here, you can soak in the baths filled with these hot spring waters at the ryokans (Japanese-style inn), hotels, and public hot spring facilities ("sotoyu" in Japanese).

※Photo shows a foot bath that uses Kinsen

3. Arima Onsen (Hyogo)

790-3 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

4. Wakayama Castle (Wakayama)

Next on this list is Wakayama-jo (Wakayama Castle), which is the symbol of Wakayama. It was built in 1585 by Hidenaga Toyotomi, the brother of the famous military commander, Hideyoshi Toyotomi. This castle has carved a long history since it was built, having served as the castle of the Kuwayama, Asano, and Tokugawa clans. The three-layered castle tower is located at the peak of a hill, so if you go up, you will get to see the city area from every direction. Enjoy an expansive panoramic view of the town below. The current castle was rebuilt in 1958 after the war. On display inside are many items associated with the Tokugawa family.

Admission fee for the castle tower:
Adult: 410 JPY
Child: 200 JPY

4. Wakayama Castle (Wakayama)

1-3 Wakayama-shi, Wakayama

5. Ogoto Onsen (Shiga)

The last spot on this list is Ogoto Onsen, a popular hot spring resort that is located west of Lake Biwa – Japan’s largest lake in terms of area. The water at this hot spring has a pH level of 9.0, making it a simple hot spring with high alkalinity. It is famous for its ability to relieve nerve pains, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, and other diseases, and is reputed to make the skin smoother after a soak. Aside from enjoying the hot spring by staying in any of the hotels and ryokans in the area, you can also soak in the public bath.

※Photo shows the open-air bath in Yumotokan, a famous inn in Ogoto Onsen

5. Ogoto Onsen (Shiga)

1-2-17 Ogoto, Otsu-shi, Shiga

The areas listed above are places that are filled with gourmet dishes, too. Enjoy your Kansai trip to your heart’s content!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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