Osaka tours and excursions
Osaka’s waterways are the foundation of the city’s economic history, and a cruise along the Okawa River is both picturesque and informative. There are also boat tours of Osaka Bay which stop at Tempozan Village, the site of some exciting port redevelopment projects. Osaka Waterbus runs the Aqualiner, a futuristic-looking tourist boat cruising the Okawa River. The company also offers a gourmet and music group.Tel: +81 75 341 1413.
Seeing Osaka on foot is a great way to become acquainted with both the modern and historical landmarks of the city. The views from Osaka Castle and Umeda’s Floating Observatory offer different perspectives of the bustling metropolis. Sunrise Tours organise guided walking tours, taking in all the key sights.Tel: +81 75 341 0357.
Japan's old imperial capital and still the cultural heart of the nation, Kyoto is 15 minutes away from Osaka on the Shinkansen (bullet train). The city has more than 2,000 temples and shrines and a wealth of other cultural and historical treasures, including the old Gion entertainment area where real geisha can still be spotted dashing between teahouse engagements. Other highlights include the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, with its thousands of torii gates up in the hillside behind it, and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, with its verandas, seemingly hanging in the air above the steep hillside below. The Kinkakuji Temple, with its impressive gold-leaf-covered pavilion, has a lovely garden, as does the Heian Shrine.Tel: +81 75 343 0548.
A city older than Kyoto and the first permanent capital of Japan before Kyoto, Nara is located just 30 minutes by car away from Osaka and has a wealth of cultural riches, including a large number of old temples, shrines and artworks. It boasts what was the world's largest wooden building until 1998 at Todaiji Temple, which houses a famous bronze Buddha of gigantic proportions, as well as the world's oldest wooden structure at Horyuji Temple. Both have status as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites and are among the most important temples in Japan. The city has many other interesting temples in addition to some beautiful parkland and plenty of arts and crafts and souvenir shops.Tel: +81 742 364 894.