CITIES: Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Hiroshima

SIDE TRIPS: Various, Himeji Castle, Imai-cho

SEASONAL BREAKDOWN: Beautiful in spring and fall, nice in summer (lots of festivities), winter is beautiful with snow

about this trip

The western gate of the main island on Kansai takes you away from the super city of Tokyo for a whole different kind of adventure. Travel through Japan’s most famous historical spots and relive a vibrant and exotic past, all while touching up with locals at Osaka and Kobe for some of Japan’s finest soul food.

Why we're obsessed

  • Enjoy a customizable balance between the traditional aesthetics in the aristocratic culture in Kyoto and the energetic merchants' atmosphere in Osaka

  • Follow the long history of Japan through the legacies of Buddhist and western influence in architecture

  • See relics in Hiroshima, the beginning of culture in the modern era of Japan

Sample Itinerary to Get you Started

Day 1-2 (osaka)

Welcome to Kansai! After settling in, prepare yourself for the gushing liveliness and friendlinessin Osaka, a city that historically has been a merchant’s capital. Enjoy Dotonbori, the large-scale downtown area, and some of Japan’s finest savory soul foods: Okonomiyaki pancakes and Octopus puffs. Visit famous attractions from Osaka castle to Universal Studio Japan to Bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppet theater designated as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.

Day 3-4 (kyoto)

Change up the pace from Osaka and surround yourself in the aesthetic and tranquil scenery. In Kyoto, which was historically the home of the noble, find yourself in the past as you explore through the beloved cultural treasure trove of Japan. With a myriad of world renowned historical relics, Kyoto proves itself as the former glorious capital of Japan. Surround yourself in culture and traditions as you stroll through the simple yet beautifully arranged gardens and gorgeous temples of Kyoto. Embrace mystique as you hike through the thousands of gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine and cross through the bamboo groves of Arashiyama. Witness both glamour and aesthetic austerity in the twin temples of the Golden and Silver Pavilions. Enjoy yourself as you immerse into the deep history of Japan.

Day 5 (hiroshima)

Hiroshima has come a long way since its destruction at the end of World War II and has become a city symbolic of peace to come. The memorials and sculptures made of folded paper cranes tell an emotional tale of community and support. We advise you to visit the Peace Memorial Museum with discretion, as it is does contain graphic imagery, but there is much more to feel and see in Hiroshima as well.

Afterwards, just thirty minutes away awaits the island of gods, Miyajima. Known for its unparalleled beauty and iconic spectacle of the giant gate in the waters, Miyajima is home to the enchanting Itsukushima Shrine and majestic Mount Misen. Enjoy strolling along the old-fashioned shopping streets.

Day 6 (kobe)

Hop on the bullet train and head straight to Japan’s most treasured castle, Himeji Castle. Over four centuries old, the structure is a gorgeous labyrinth routes and passages, with the castle majestically towering over the complex. Discover the life of the Japanese aristocracy as you wander through the mystical gardens and hallowed halls in a breathtaking journey to the top.

As you make your way back to Osaka, take a quick break in Kobe and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the bayside or a memorable hike along its awesome stretch of mountains. There’s even an herb garden to lie down in, bathing in the sun surrounded by fragrant flowers!

Day 7 (Tokyo)

Reflect on your long stay and tell us what you missed and where you would like to revisit. This is the last chance for you to get some last-minute shopping and visits done until the next time you visit Japan.