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Collect your favourite destinations, experiences and travel styles in your bucket list

Collect your favourite destinations, experiences and travel styles in your bucket list

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Osaka & Kobe, Himeji

Osaka is Japan's second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. It has been the economic powerhouse of the Kansai region for many centuries. Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa and this name is still seen throughout the city and on the number plates of cars.

Before the Nara Period, when the capital used to be moved with the reign of each new emperor, Naniwa was once Japan’s capital city, the first one ever known.
In the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi chose Osaka as the location for his castle, and the city may have become Japan’s political capital if Tokugawa Ieyasu had not terminated the Toyotomi lineage after Hideyoshi’s death and moved his government to distant Edo (Tokyo). Osaka has a very deep culture, but now days is known to be a more relaxing and laid back city when compared to that of Tokyo. The local dialect, food culture, fashion is also very different from Tokyo offering a different view into Japan.

Kobe is the capital of Hyogo Prefecture and one of Japan’s ten largest cities. Located between the sea and the Rokko mountain range, Kobe is also considered one of Japan’s most attractive cities. The night view from just under 1000 metres of Mt.Rokko is known around the world as a million dollar view.


Kobe has been an important port city for many centuries. Its port was among the first to be opened to foreign trade in the 19th century alongside the ports of Yokohama, Nagasaki, Hakodate and Niigata.
In 1995, Kobe was hit by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, which killed over 5000 people and destroyed tens of thousands of buildings. Today the city is completely rebuilt, and few signs of the terrible event remain, but if you get to Meriken Park you can still see the cracked port. Kobe is also famous for its high consumption of bread and western style sweets (Cakes).   Also approximately 40 minutes by train from Kobe is the City of Himeji. Himeji boasts Himeji Castle which was one of the first World Cultural Heritage sites picked within Japan. Himeji Castle is also the most visited castle in Japan. Gone under a 5 year restoration, the castle exactly stays the same as hundreds of years ago, but as the roof tiles (kawara) have been replaced making the castle an astounding bright white color, and also reviving the name to The Castle of the White Heron (Shiro-Sagi-jo).

Explore Japan'sExperiences


Fabulous trip! Experience Japan Travel (EJT) put together a very thoughtful 17 day itinerary for my wife and me. It was our first trip to the country and we waned to see temples, shrines and do some hiking. Scott at EJT arranged a trip that focused mainly on Kyoto and outskirts but included time in Hakone, Ugi, and Kanazawa. He blended: a) stays in three traditional inns with time in conventional hotels, b) several days with personal guides with days by ourselves, and c) days that were very planned and full with ones that were more open. We're not used to using a travel company for our vacations-- prefer to make our own plans--but the trip EJT arranged for us resulted in our experiencing much more of Japan than we would have on our own, and was well worth the money. Every detail was thoughtfully arranged. For example, when Scott made hotel and restaurant reservations, we had great views, were seated next to the falls, overlooking the river, etc. We'd highly recommend EJT to anyone going to Japan.  What were the most enjoyable or memorable parts of your trip?  --Hiking the river below Takao northwest of Kyoto (with Scott, our agent, who suggested we meet in person and spent most of a day with us) -- taking a trip by boat down the Hoza--gawa River outside of Kyoto  --a whole day walking tour of Kanazawa with a lifelong native  -- discovering lots of friendly, informal restaurants for lunch and dinner -- experiencing several traditional Japanese inns that Scott arranged for us... READ MORE

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