Kansai Region to Experience Nature First-Hand

Kansai Region to Experience Nature First-Hand

9 Jan 2020


The Kansai area, which includes Osaka and Kyoto, offers impressive views of magnificent scenery created by nature, beautiful night views, and historic buildings with over a thousand years of history. Here are five superb views you shouldn't miss when traveling in the Kansai area.

1. 【Tottori】 Tottori Sand Dunes

Sand dunes are hilly mounds of sand formed by the wind. Counted among the most magnificent scenic spots in Japan, the Tottori Sand Dunes are made up of rocks from mountains, sand from rivers, and sand from the coast transported here over many years. With the scenic beauty of its sandy dunes, this area covering 131 hectares makes a perfect spot for photography. First gather some information at the Tottori Sand Dune Visitor Center, then take a walk through the dunes! The observation deck facing the sightseeing lifts and the guided tour are recommended.

【Facility name】 Tottori Sand Dunes Visitor Center
【Opening hours】 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
【Days Closed】 Open every day
【Price】 Free of charge
【URL】 Official website(Japanese only)
【Street address】 2164-971 Yuyama, Fukube-cho, Tottori-shi, Tottori
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

2. 【Wakayama】 Hashiguiiwa Rocks

Located in the town of Kushimoto in Wakayama Prefecture, at the southernmost tip of Honshu, the Hashiguiiwa Rocks offer some of the most spectacular scenery on the coastline. From the coast to the isle of Oshima at sea, 40 rocks of various sizes are arrayed in a straight line for about 850 meters, creating a marvelous landscape that gives a sense of nature’s wonder. The rocks resemble the pillars used for building bridges, so they were named Hashiguiiwa, which means “bridge pillar rocks” in Japanese. Although these odd-looking rocks were actually formed by marine erosion, legends holds that the legendary mysterious scenery was created overnight by Kobo Daishi, an ancient Japanese Buddhist teacher. Be sure to drop into the adjacent Kushimoto Hashiguiiwa roadside station. The soft serve ice cream made using locally produced ponkan citrus is exquisite.

【Facility name】 Michi-no-Eki Kushimoto Hashiguiiwa
【Opening hours】 9:00 am - 6:00 pm (April - September)
9:00 am - 5:00 pm (October - March)
【Days Closed】 Open every day
【URL】 Nanki-Kushimoto Tourism Association Official Website (Japanese only)
【Street address】 1549-8 Kujinokawa, Kushimoto-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

3. 【Tokushima】 Naruto Strait

The Naruto Strait is a narrow strait, only 1.3 kilometers wide, between Awaji Island and Magosaki in the city of Naruto on the island of Shikoku. The strait is one of the most spectacular views of Japan due to the Naruto whirlpools, which can only be seen here. Whirlpools are formed of swirling seawater caused by the ebb and flow of the sea. Take a trip on a cruising boat to see spectacular whirlpools right before your eyes, some up to 20 meters in diameter. Witness the intense flow of tides, splashing and swirling up close! Take the Naruto Uzu-no-Michi bridge walking path and walk along the bridge while viewing the whirlpools directly below you. The best time to see the whirlpools changes daily, so be sure to check in advance!

【Facility name】 Naruto Uzu-no-Michi bridge walking path
【Opening hours】 Summer (March - September): 9:00 am - 6:00 pm (Last entry 5:30 pm)
Golden Week & summer vacation: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm (Last entry 6:30 pm)
Winter (October - February): 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (Last entry 4:30 pm)
【Days Closed】 Second Monday in March, June, September & December
【Price】 Adults 510 yen, junior high and high school students 410 yen, elementary school students 260 yen
【URL】 Official website
【Street address】 (In Naruto Park) Naruto-cho, Naruto-shi, Tokushima
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

4. 【Hyogo】 Kobe Night View

Kobe, a leading port city of the Kansai region, is also famous for its beautiful night views. The city boasts many spots for superb night views, and many people visit the city to see the glittering lights that resemble jewels. One of the most popular night view spots is the Kikuseidai Observation Plaza near the peak of Mt. Maya. The night view of Kobe from here is counted among Japan's three top night views, along with Mt. Hakodate in Hokkaido and Mt. Inasa in Nagasaki. The Mt. Rokko Tenrandai observation deck at Rokko Sanjo Station on the Rokko Cable line is also recommended!

【Facility name】 Kobe Night View
【Opening hours】 Opening hours
7:10 am - 9:00 pm (may be extended in summer)
【Days Closed】 Open every day
【Price】 Free of charge
【URL】 Official website
【Street address】 1-32 Ichigatani, Rokkosan-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

5. 【Shiga】 Enryaku-ji Temple, Mount Hiei

Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei is a sacred place for Buddhist training that was founded 1200 years ago by the Buddhist monk Saicho. Since then, it has produced many famous monks up to the present day, and is known as "the mother mountain of Japanese Buddhism." Enryaku-ji is not the name of a single temple, but rather a collective term for the Buddhist temples in this mountain area. About 100 Buddhist temples are scattered across a vast mountainous area of 1,700 hectares, including Konpon Chudo Hall, which is listed as a National Treasure. Don't miss these many historical Buddhist buildings built in the name of religious dedication.

【Facility name】 Enryaku-ji Temple, Mount Hiei
【Opening hours】 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (varies by season & temple precinct area)
【Days Closed】 Open every day
【Price】 Adults 700 yen, junior high and high school students 500 yen, elementary school students 300 yen
【URL】 Official website
【Street address】 4220 Sakamoto-honmachi, Otsu-shi, Shiga
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

Beyond the five superb views introduced here, the Kansai region is home to many other outstanding spots. Why not go a little further on your journey and seek out your own favorite Japanese landscape?

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