The Kansai International Airport (KIX) services the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. If you hold a Japan Rail Pass, travel from the airport can be a simple and exciting process, as the Japan Railway West’s Express Haruka train offers direct transportation from the Kansai International Airport to downtown Osaka and Kyoto.
What is Golden Week? In Japan, the Golden Week is a series of four national holidays that takes place within one week at the end of April to the beginning of May each year. It is often considered a time of vacation for the Japanese people, and many people receive time off from their secular employment on these bank holidays.
The Japanese cherry blossom, or sakura, has long been adored by people across the globe. It is regarded as a symbol of renewal, vitality, and beauty. During the spring season of each year, thousands travel to Japan to view the wondrous spectacle of these white or pink trees blooming en masse.
Note: Third forecast announced! (16/02) Check this article every week for updates about cherry blossom forecasts.
The cherry blossom is an iconic symbol of Japan. Encompassing the renewal of spring, the beautiful cherry blossom is celebrated wherever Japanese cherry trees grow, throughout the world. To truly experience the majesty of the annual cherry blossom festivals, however, one must travel to the heart of it all – to Japan itself.
Before you board your international flight, there are a few things you should know, such as the cultural significance of the cherry blossom, when and where to see them, and how to capture the best cherry blossom photographs.
Miyajima means “shrine island,” and this small island has since ancient times been a sacred place of worship, where the gods were thought to live in harmony with mortal man.
Also called Itsukushima, Miyajima Island is a densely wooded place of tranquil peace and beauty. The island is sparsely populated and home to native deer and wild monkeys. The Itsukushima Shrine and its Torii Gate have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and have been celebrated as one of the Three Views of Japan since 1643.
Hiroshima is a city with deep historical roots, evident in its ancient gardens and castles. During the 20h century, Hiroshima became the center of unenviable international attention after the first atomic bomb was detonated there on August 6, 1945 – destroying everything within two kilometers of impact.
Like the phoenix of legend, Hiroshima and its residents emerged from the ashes. Historical structures were restored, and the city took on aspirations of continued peace. Today, it is home to over one million people and a favorite stop for international tourists, thanks to the bullet train.
Riding trains in Japan is no longer just about getting from place to place. A ride on Japan Rail’s Joyful Trains – with fun and exciting themed rail cars – is a destination in itself.
Joyful trains appeal to a wide range of interests. Several restored historic trains transport passengers not only from place to place, but seemingly on a journey through time as well.
Nikko is a historic and scenic retreat in the heart of Japan, nestled in the mountains north of Tokyo. Located at the entrance to Nikko National Park, the town which offers beautiful mountain vistas, waterfalls, and hot springs. Hiking in the park, you may even spot a troop of wild native monkeys. The area has been sacred to the religions of Buddhism and Shinto for many centuries.
Western Kyoto has long been known for its natural beauty. In fact, the Arashiyama district has been a favorite of tourists for well over 1,000 years. The beauty of this region peaks twice a year, first during the cherry blossom season, and later during the time of autumn color.
The Sagano Scenic Railway is a wonderful way to tour and enjoy the natural beauty of this rural region. The train has come to be known as the Sagano Torokko, or Romantic Train, because its passage takes guests sightseeing through such romantic scenery. If you’ve seen enough of the city, one of these day trips from Kyoto will bring a smile to your face.
Many travellers ask us: what to do in Kyoto? If you are visiting Japan for a week, three days in Tokyo and three days in Kyoto are perfect to explore the two great capitals of Japan: the ancient and the modern one.
Following is a pleasant 3-day Kyoto travel guide, with ideas about what to see, where to go and how to use your Japan Rail Pass to move through the city, its temples, gardens, and geisha alleys. Let us begin!