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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

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My husband and I have just come back from the most amazing trip to Japan. We knew we wanted to go to Japan but that was all we knew. What to see, what to d we needed a little guidance in working this part out. Our travel co-ordinator, Amanadine, was wonderful. She listened to what we had to say, and formulated an itinerary that has left us wanting to return to Japan again and again. Before we left Australia she ensured that we had all the information we would need for our trip ranging from a detailed final itinerary to follow as well as city maps and simple instructions on how to move our suit cases between cities rather than taking them on the bullet trains. She had thought of everything! And knowing that we had someone in Japan that we could access if we had any concerns certainly was reassuring. Amanadine sourced quality hotels in each city together with very capable Guides for our personal tours around those cities. She organised our train travel and even on those days where we did not have a formal guide she provided us with must see places to visit and things to do together with all the necessary maps on how to get there. We cannot speak highly enough Amanadine, we will be definitely using them again. We were blown away with the beauty of the temples and shrines. The knowledge of our Guides in each of the Cities was incredible. We walked away learning so much about the rich culture and history of this place. Our experience at Hidatei Hanaougi in Takayama where we had our own private garden and private hot-springs, was utterly delightful. The traditional dinner and breakfast provided was wonderful. Our visit to Hiroshima left us wanting more. This is one city that we will be coming back to. Nijo Castle at Kyota was a huge highlight and we were amazed by the Nightingale floors. Walking around down town old Osaka with all its lights and bars and shops and restaurants, fantastic! Our whole holiday was memorable it is very hard to pin point.... READ MORE

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