Travel to Japan: Explore Kansai in Autumn (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Shiga, Mie)

One of the best season to travel to Japan is during the Autumn season (October-early December). This is the time where you can see the maple and ginkgo leaves turn yellow or red especially during the peak of the season.

If you wish to experience the beautiful autumn scenery in and around Osaka area, the best time would be between mid November till early December. If not, you might be disappointed as the autumn colors start from the north and can really be seen in Kansai region around that period.

From Kansai International Airport (KIX)

Traveling around Kansai region wouldn’t be much a hassle as you could really rely on their public transportation for most places even within the suburb area. You can also get various travel train passes for your convenience which I will share further at the end of this post. So make sure you read this post to the end!

After arriving at Kansai International Airport, you can use Kansai Limousine Bus to head to Osaka (approx. 1 hour journey) or to other main cities around Kansai. Or you can choose Limited Express Rapid train that will bring you straight to Namba in 38 minutes journey. You can use similar routes to return to the airport later. Fares will be around 1,200yen - 1600yen to get to Osaka city.

 Places to Visit and Experience

In Japan, there are endless option of amazing places to visit to be honest especially in Kansai. Depending on your interest while travel, some of it might not need further recommendation like Dotonbori, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, etc.

In the recent trip, I got the chance to spend around 4 days trip to travel around Kansai region and had really amazing experiences from the trip. Some of the places might be a bit underrated in my opinion. So here some of the list for you that might worth to explore.

1. The Birthplace of the Ninja, The 48 Waterfalls of Akame (Nabari, Mie)

This is a historical training place of Iga-ryu ninja during 15th - 18th century. Surrounded by a beautiful natural forest, you can experience the challenging ninja training and learn various weaponry tools used by them, wearing a full ninja suit. Pretty interesting right?


During the training you will learn a bit of history about ninja, the place and then head to the training area where you will learn how to climb, balance, intrusion, hiding, throwing shurikens as well as how to use some other weaponry. These are all the essential skills required by a ninja as an intel agent during their period, where they might need to infiltrate enemy’s place to gain information.

At the end of the training, you will get a ninja scroll / certificate as a proof that you have completed the training, and it allows you to brag as a legit shinobi to the entire internet universe! :P



Not far from the training ground (within walking distance), you can experience the spectacular Akame 48 Waterfalls that goes on the list as Best 100 Waterfalls of Japan! If you love nature and hiking, you can spend at least 2-3 hours to enjoy the scenery (during good weather day). Unfortunately, we only got to spend around half an hour here as it was rainy during the time of our visit. But still it was amazing to see some of the waterfalls and had some good photos of the scenery.


2. Mount Rokko (Rokkosan)

Mount Kobe is located near Kobe and Osaka city. If you have only a day to spend in Kobe, Mount Rokko can be a nice place to chill away from the busy cities.

From seeing the breath-taking panoramic view from the Rokko Garden Terrace, to picnic at Rokkosan Country House grassy lawn, walking around Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden and enjoying a cup of coffee at Tenran Cafe during sunset will be perfect for you to have a great time.

This place really have a complete sceneric experience for couples and families. At the Rokko Garden Terrace, there are souvenir shops and restaurant/cafes with a beautiful view of Kobe city and Osaka Bay. You can enjoy a nice lunch at Rokkosan Genghis Khan Palace (non-halal for Muslim) and walk to the Rokko-Shidare Observatory, a remarkable architectural structure designed by Hiroshi Sambuichi.

If you bring family and kids, Rokkosan Country House and Rokko Snow Park (during winter) are the best places to spend your time. You can do outdoor activities around the park with picnic, trampoline, pedal boats and feed fishes in the pond. For the snow park, you can enjoy ski and snowboard where the slope is suitable for beginners.

Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden is the next thing on the list for you to visit. Opened since 1993, it is the oldest botanical garden in Japan with approximately 1,500 kinds of alpine plants from all over the world. It is a unique experience to be seeing the lovely colors of the trees especially in autumn. At night, the park will be lighten up with colorful lights and you can stroll around with chōchin (paper lanterns) for a different mood from daylight walking. Romantic uh-huh~? :P



Good news for foreign visitors, you can save some money by getting the Rokkosan Tourist Pass for transport facilities to Mount Rokko and discounts for entrances. The price for the pass is 1,000yen and you can check their website for more info here.

3. Kobe Harborland and Luminous 2 Cruise

Located at Kobe’s waterfront, Kobe Harborland is a redeveloped area of freight yard that become a large shopping, entertainment and tourism spot. Mosaic is one of the main attraction in the area where you can shopping and dining inside the shopping mall. It has a small amusement park as well on the outside, with a Ferris wheel that gives you a nice view of Kobe Port from the top.


For more fancy restaurants and cafes, head over to the Kobe Brick Warehouse. Around 6-minutes walking distance from the Mosaic shopping mall, you will find red brick warehouse with stationery art shop and cafes inside that was once a storage area. The place have the industrial and rustic design feel around the building, which is good news for y’all ‘hipsterss’ out there! Haha!



Kobe Harborland is a lively place especially on the evening, as the broad walk area has a nice seaside view of Kobe Port. You can see lots of couples and old people with their dog having a great time walking along the waterfront.

During this trip, I got the chance to cruise around Kobe Port on Luminous 2! You have options for day or night cruise, but I bet the night cruise is more worth it. The night cruise starts around 7pm which is the perfect time for sunset view from the cruise. It was really an amaaazing view for you to enjoy, and having a fine dining on the cruise just completing your overall cruising experience.



4. Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden

This Herb Garden is another interesting place in Kobe. Seems like Kobe has so much to offers for us travelers. I still remember the nice pleasant smells that greet us from the entrance, lavender and chamomile fragrance that soothe your mind.


You need to ride a cable car up to the herb garden where you will have a beautiful panoramic view of Kobe city along the way. Towards the mountain side, you can see Nonobiki no Taki Waterfalls and Nunobiki Gohonmatsu Dam before you reach to the top station.


Inside the garden that consist of 75,000 plants with over 200 varieties, you will be surrounded by various different aromas in the Herb Gardens and know a bit more about the usage for each type of herbs. If you are interested in a potpourri making, they have practical sessions inside the Glasshouse area and have the potpourri that you’ve made at the end of the session.


One interesting fact that I learned from the session is that each person potpourri’s will be different in term of smell and the strength of the smell even though they have the same ingredients. Guess why? Ah-haa! Share this post around, you might find the answer. :DD

5. Lake Biwa and Michigan Cruise

In Shiga Prefecture reside Japan’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Biwa which also among the oldest lakes in the world that exist at least since 4 million years ago. The large area of the lake surrounded by many historical place and shrines, including the famous torri gate of Shirahige Shrine.

The Michigan is one of the cruise that can bring you around the south part Lake Biwa. It is a 4-floors giant cruise where we can roam freely on any floors. They have restaurants and cafes on board for us to have meals in the beautiful scenery of Lake Biwa. From snacks, course meals to buffet are ready on-board, but reservation is required for the buffet.


They have several options cruise courses (check the details here), but the one that we had was the 80 minute cruise course. After you had your nice meal, make sure you walk around the deck on each floors to enjoy the activities and different view while cruising on this wonderful lake.



6. Other Places

Few other places that I went during the trip that you might want to consider are Omi Shrine (Otsu, Shiga), Geikeikan Sake Museum (Fushimi, Kyoto) and Maruzen & Junkudo Bookstore (Osaka) where they have dedicated section for Tezuka Osamu’s work collections and merchandise. If you plan to go for a shopping spree in Osaka, Hankyu Department Store Umeda which popular with leading fashion brands and various interesting products might be a best place for you to swipe all your credit cards~ :P



Travel with Railway Passes

If you going to travel to Japan, you will be easily overwhelmed by the different train and subway lines that operate by several different companies. It might be confusing at the first place, but once you got it you’ll realize that how convenient to commute using their public transportation.

Most of the time, you will be traveling around with train and you’ll need to buy train tickets. To make it convenient for us travelers, these railway companies offer railway passes that provide unlimited usage for a certain period of time (days). This will save your budget if you are going to be traveling around a lot. Below are some of the passes that we used throughout our trip.

1. Hankyu Raillway Pass

2. Hanshin Railway Pass

3. Kintetsu Railway Pass

Other than the railway passes, there is one really nice thing to have which is Kansai One Pass. This card is like a TouchN’Go in Malaysia, where you can top-up your credit to pay for most train, subway and bus tickets in Japan. This won’t save your money (although they offer discounts for some shops & tourist spots) but it is very convenient to use for transportation especially when you are in Japan!

With all that tips, go ahead plan your next trip to Japan and have a wonderful journey where culture, tradition and technology beautifully coexist.



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MYTRAVELLICIOUS - Foods & Travel Blog Malaysia: Travel to Japan: Explore Kansai in Autumn (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Shiga, Mie)
Travel to Japan: Explore Kansai in Autumn (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Shiga, Mie)
Travel to Japan: Explore Kansai in Autumn (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Shiga, Mie)
MYTRAVELLICIOUS - Foods & Travel Blog Malaysia
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