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2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

shanghai
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2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Hi,

Hubby is taking me to Japan for my birthday the first week of April to see cherry blossoms. We're flying in/out of Osaka, where we will spend 1 day/night, then we're spending 2 days in Yoshino, and that leaves us 2 more days to spend somewhere not too far from Osaka.

I thought about Himeji initially but read on this forum that the castle is under renovation. We've both been to Nara and Kyoto several times already so would like to try somewhere new...

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!

Anna

14 replies to this topic
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1. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Perhaps Takayama? http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5900.html

shanghai
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2. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Thanks Dave for your suggestion! We have been to Takayama once some years ago before we were married and loved it. Our toddler son is now the proud owner of a Sarubobo doll that we bought as a souvenir back then... :-)

What about Koyasan? Is that worth a visit? Or maybe Kinosaki Onsen?

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3. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Koya-san is a very popular and worthwhile side trip from Osaka. People make special trip up there to experience an overnight temple stay.

Other popular destinations west of Osaka include Kobe, Okayama, Kurashiki, Hiroshima and Miyajima.

Horyu-ji is also an easy day trip from Osaka if you like temples and shrines.

If you can spend an overnight stay outside Osaka, consider going down south to Shirahama which has some scenic coastal spots, a lovely white sand beach and many onsen opportunities.

Between Osaka and Shirahama, the town of Wakayama is also worth considering. We were there during cherry blossom season and enjoyed the sakura view in Wakayama Castle and especially up the hill in Kimii-dera.

Interesting to read that you intend to spend 2 days in Yoshino. We went for its sakura festival on April 11 and fully enjoyed the festive feel and the spectacular view up the mt slope. We did it as a day trip from Osaka and found that 1 day is quite adequate to take in all.

Edited: 23 February 2012, 14:50
shanghai
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4. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Thanks for the insight! I will check out the other destinations you mentioned. Of Kobe, Okayama, Kurashiki, Wakayama and Miyajima (we've been to Hiroshima) which would you recommend the most? We currently live in a "concrete jungle" in Shanghai, so we're probably less interested in a crowded city.

The idea about Yoshino was that we were probably not going to get there on the first day until late afternoon or early evening, so we'd be doing sightseeing the next day. Then the day after the second night we're heading home from Osaka so will be at least a partial travel day.

That, and the fact that after spending 3 years traveling with a baby we're really hoping to just relax instead of rushing around trying to cover a bunch of places... :)

Thanks again for your helpful suggestions.

Anna

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5. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Yoshino has thousands of cherry trees, so going there should be really nice. Please try the Kakinoha-zushi, Miwa-somen, and Kuzukiri-mochi when you are there. Koyasan can be approched from Yoshino via change to JR Wakayama Line Local Train to Hashimoto and then Nankai Railway Koya Line to Gokurakubashi (then cable car). Perhaps after visiting the shrines and temples of Yoshino you might want to concentrate on onsen spa healing and relaxing. Shirahama is nice- but perhaps a Safari Park there is too scary for your 3 year old?

Edited: 25 February 2012, 15:00
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6. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

I don't know if it's worth the trip to Miyajima if you've already been to hiroshimo as you usually combine the 2 trips but it's certainly a great place to visit. We loved the colourful Daisho in temple and the monkeys.

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7. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Of the listed destinations, in order of my own preference it would be Miyajima, Kurashiki, Kobe, Okayama and Wakayama. Too bad Shirahama is not on the list or else I’ll put it second only after Miyajima.

Miyajima is touristy but definitely worth going. Last time we went there during autumn foliage season the koyo view was beautiful and quite different from that of our first visit. How I envy you going during cherry blossom season as I’m sure the sakura scenery would be equally captivating though again different. Try to time your visit during high tide to see Itsukushima-jinja and the offshore O-torii seemingly floating on water. Also, even without staying a night there try to stay after dusk when the place is beautifully lit up with all the stone lanterns. And also don’t forget to try out those yummy oysters!

As for Yoshino we were too lazy to change accommodation, hence we just did a day trip from Osaka. Instead of going for temple lodging we stayed in a more affordable business hotel in Osaka to save a bit.

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8. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Have you been to Tokyo before, if not consider it. Tokyo is only 2.5 hours from Osaka. It has a great number of awesome sakura viewing spots, not to mention a whole lot of other things.

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9. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

Osaka has Osaka Mint (Zoheikyoku) along the Dojima River, which is one of the most well known sakura viewing spot in western Japan.

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10. Re: 2 days in April, where to go from Osaka

I too support the idea of going to Yoshino which then is followed by Shirahama. The difference is huge in comparison, in that in one place you'd be immersed in ultra-dynamic sakura-related environment, and in the other in views of dramatic coast lines and beautiful seaside in the warmer climate, not to mention the abundance of hot spring waters and probably great sea foods at your accommodation.

For Yoshino, you may like to do a bit hilly walk to a 'lookout/vantage point' called Hanayagura, an old battle field valley, so you can see clusters of sakuras way down below. There's a Japanese-style restaurant in here, where you sit on tatami mat and if you get a table by the railings you sure will be amazed by the views, a bit rundown place though. There's also an open plot of land serving as its backyard, from where you can catch just as great sakuras dotted in the valley for free of course. If you can manage, you may also like to cover the castle ruins and the observation ground adjacent to/up on the hill from there: you can see higher peaks of mountains from afar through the space of boughs of sakura trees. Kamisenbon, which is a 20min uphill walk away from Hanayagura, a bit too steep to manage with small children in tow (unless you give'em a piggyback), is perhaps too early to soak in sakuras. Maybe combining the Shimosenbon area and Hanayagura would suffice.

Oh, don' forget to get in Zaodo (Kimpusenji) Temple, which is located near the upper cable car station, if you are interested in 'a style of esoteric ascetic practices' performed by Japanese Buddhist monks: the whole idea coming 'partly out of the native Japanese reverence for nature and mountains in particular, and partly to escape the government's increasingly intrusive regulation of monastic life.' In this day and age, you can still see the monks in white clothes accompanying worshipers/adventurous tourists (also in white) in their trek to Mt Ohmine (highest peak in the kansai region) and through a Unesco World heritage pilgrimage road down toward Shingu Wakayama.

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