Three intriguing places to discover nearby Osaka
We are resuming our long-awaited flights to Osaka, Japan on 26 March 2023. Osaka is the gateway to the west side of Japan, and there are lots of attractive sightseeing spots other than the city of Osaka and the world-famous cultural capital Kyoto. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Koyasan is the name of the religious area which is registered as a world heritage site. Surrounded by mountains, there are more than a hundred temples densely located in this area, including the most famous Kongobuji-temple. Kongobuji was established by a monk Kukai in 816, almost 1200 years ago.
One of the must-try experiences is “Shukubo”, meaning that you can stay at a temple and get a chance to experience a full day of living in a temple in the traditional lifestyle of the Buddhist monks. There are about 110 temples in the Koyasan area, and about 50 of these offer their rooms for Shukubo. It was originally for the monks and the people who came to the temple to pray, but nowadays they also welcome tourists.
Staying not at a hotel but at a temple is a unique experience that you cannot have anywhere else. Each temple has a history of over a thousand years. Wander around in the beautiful gardens and enjoy the special Shojin cuisine, cooked in a Buddhist manner. Typical for the cuisine is that they avoid killing animals or fishes as well as using vegetables with strong tastes, such as onion or garlic. Not only the taste but also the appearance of the food is well considered and beautiful – it may even bring you peace of mind. In the morning, you can join the morning prayer with the monks, and afterwards, a tasteful breakfast, Shojin cuisine style, is waiting for you.
Several old routes still exist in the mountainous forest used by prayers and monks, which is a part of the world heritage. By exploring these routes, you will experience the real Japanese atmosphere in the forest and feel refreshed and energised.
The time in Koyasan will bring you back to Japan in old times and make you feel relaxed. If you’re tired of daily life in the modern world, Koyasan should be your next stop.
When travelling anywhere around the world, the old castles’ architecture tells us about their history and culture. The wooden Himeji castle was built about 400 years ago in 1617. It has managed to keep its beautiful posture throughout the years despite the earthquakes typical to Japan. Himeji castle has been registered as a world heritage site since 1993.
When you look at it from the outside, it looks like a building of five floors, but it actually has six floors above ground level and another floor underground level. Because it is the original castle preserved from 400 years ago, you need to go through many gates before actually entering the castle, so make sure to wear good shoes and be prepared to walk a lot. Visiting this unique castle will feel like a small adventure for sure!
Next to the castle, you’ll find a huge Japanese garden called Kokoen. The scenery of the Edo period is reproduced in this garden, and many famous period dramas, which are based on historical fictions, have been filmed here. There is a restaurant and a tea house in which you can sit down and relax while admiring the beautiful scenery of the garden and the castle.
Wish to enjoy the traditional atmosphere of a Japanese hot spring town? Arima onsen is located not too far from the city center of Kobe or Osaka, and it’s a perfect destination for a weekend stay. Arima onsen appeared many times in old documents from over 1,300 years ago, and it’s considered as one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan.
The long history of the onsen demonstrates that this hot spring has been delighting people already in the old times when good excavation technology hadn’t been invented yet. Thus, for this hot spring, the water comes without having to dig too deep.
You can try two types of onsen in Arima onsen: one is called “Gold spring” and the other “Silver spring”. The water of the gold spring is rich in iron and salt, which helps to warm up your body and keep your skin moisturised. The water of the silver spring contains carbon dioxide, which helps expand your blood vessels and improve blood circulation. Relaxation is guaranteed.
Finnair flies to Osaka three times per week from 26 March 2023.