New Spots to Visit Around Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
Apr 26, 2024

New Spots to Visit Around Kansai

The pandemic shut down everything in Japan for a while, but Kansai has now bounced back with a number of new attractions. This makes right now a great time to rediscover Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Nara.

1. Super Nintendo World

The latest addition to Universal Studios Japan is Super Nintendo World, which opened in early 2021. The current highlight is the real-life Mario Kart courses, although fans are looking forward to Donkey Kong Country, coming in the spring of 2024. The theme park has proved so popular that entries have to be limited each day. To ensure you’ll have access, consider purchasing an express pass or a travel package.

2. Heijo Palace Southern Gate

Nara was the capital city of Japan in the 8th century, when it had the name Heijo. Little remains of this part of history, as the structures were either moved to the new capital in Kyoto or destroyed by natural disasters. However, starting in the 1990s, there have been efforts to reconstruct the Heijo imperial palace. In 2022, this involved the creation of the southern gate, called the Nanmon, which joins another gate, a garden, and an audience hall.

3. Kobe Port Museum

A new landmark on the Kobe waterfront is the Kobe Port Museum, which opened in October 2021. Inside is a theatrical aquarium, where art is interspersed with tanks containing different types of marine life. On the first floor, there is a food hall with views of the aquarium on the ceiling. The space is also available to reserve for wedding photography.

4. Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport Kadoma

Kadoma City has a new option for shopping at Mitsui Shopping Park at LaLaport Kadoma, which opened in the fall of 2023. Unlike many other suburban malls, it’s easy to reach by rail from both Osaka and Kyoto. In addition to the shopping park with its 153 stores, there’s an outlet made up of 96 stores.

5. Nakanoshima Museum of Art

Nakanoshima Island in Osaka is home to a number of museums. The newest addition is the Nakanoshima Museum of Art, which opened in February 2022. It’s next to the National Museum of Art, which focuses on contemporary art from Japan and abroad. The new museum provides more space for contemporary and modern art from Osaka and farther afield.

6. DAISO Complex

The first DAISO complex in the Osaka area opened in January 2024. In addition to the 100-yen store, the complex contains two sister stores: Standard Products and THREEPPY. These offer quality products at a range of price points.

7. Kiyomizudera Temple

After a decade, the renovations at Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto are finally complete. The project involved repairing all the major buildings in the famous temple. The scaffolding came off the main hall and its balcony around the same time as the pandemic was declared and the reroofing was completed in June 2020.

The above are just the start of the developments in Kansai. Expect even more exciting projects to take place in the next few years, including further construction to the Heijo palace., CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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