Summer Days Out in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
Apr 21, 2023

Summer Days Out in Kansai

You can find a wealth of things to do during the summer months across the Kansai region. It’s known for its cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe but beyond the built-up areas there are plenty of mountains, forests and even beaches. Whether you’re going solo, looking for a romantic day out or have kids in tow, there are great experiences to be had. Here’s a select pick.

Amanohashidate (Kyoto)

A somewhat hidden gem in the north of Kyoto prefecture, Amanohashidate is considered one of the “three great views” in Japan. Located in Miyazu city, it’s a 3.3 km sand bridge that crosses to Miyazu Bay. Because of the spectacular views, it’s known as the “bridge to heaven”. It’s a popular romantic spot for couples but can be a fun day out for the whole family as there’s a beach (with famously clear water), the Nariaiji Temple and several attractions. These include a ferris wheel, the Hiryukan Observation Deck offering splendid views, plus shops and restaurants along the beautiful coastal strip lined with 8,000 pine trees. If you have time, you can also explore the lovely town of Ine, known as “Kyoto by the sea”.


Tenjin Matsuri Festival (Osaka)

This Shinto festival is a key feature of Osaka’s summer and is, in fact, considered one of Japan’s top three annual festivals (along with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and Tokyo’s Kanda Matsuri). It takes place every July 24-25, with the main community celebrations occurring on the second day. The festival is dedicated to the Tenmangu Shrine, built in the 10th century, and the Heian scholar and poet Sugawara no Michizane who is today considered as the god of learning in Japanese culture. A figure of Michizane is paraded through the shrine and there is a land procession led by drummers as well as a boat procession along the Okawa River. Residents can enjoy music, dance performances and an evening fireworks display.


Awaji Island (Hyogo)

The perfect choice if you have the whole day (or more) to spare and want to have a trip with kids. Awaji Island is the largest island in the Seto Inland Sea and is accessible by crossing the fabulous Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge from Hyogo prefecture. There is plenty to keep everyone occupied on the island, including beaches with seafood restaurants, an amusement park, a sea adventure park with waterslides and water-sports fun such as kayaking. You can also visit Sumoto Castle, Awaji Hanasajiki nature park (known as Flower Island) and the beautiful Yumebutai Garden designed by renowned architect Tadao Ando. There’s so much to do here, you could split the fun into two or even three days out!


Adventure World (Wakayama)

Adventure World is a zoo, aquarium and amusement park that opened in 1978 and is one of the most popular family attractions in Kansai. Although smaller than several other zoos in Japan, it houses a number of species including pandas, gorillas, dolphins, giraffes, penguins and birds of prey. You can plan your visit at certain times to coincide with live displays or feedings. There is also a safari guide option. Entrance fees are 5,300 yen for adults and 3,000 yen for children and include access to the amusement theme park and other on-site facilities.


663highland, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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