Kyoto is no doubt a wonderful city, but it also makes for a base city which easily connects you to other charming towns. I stayed in Kyoto for four days and even got time to take a few day trips to its neighbouring places. Majority of the places mentioned are accessible via the bullet train so it makes your trip convenient.
Himeji – This place is known for the Himeji Castle and the zen gardens surrounding this area. I took a day trip to Himeji to explore the mystical world of the Japanese warriors who once resided here.
Its a two-hour journey from Kyoto and a 15min walk from the Himeji station. Once you are done exploring the castle, stroll around the gardens to experience the tranquil peace from the neighbouring gardens.
Hiroshima – Who hasn’t heard about the mishap which happened in Hiroshima during the world war. Well, this city still remains as an example of what grave danger a nuclear war could do to our world. If you would like to witness a few devastated buildings which today stand as memorials, a visit to Hiroshima is a must.
Roughly around two and a half hour away from Kyoto this is an interesting place to visit. Taking a Shinkansen from Kyoto is advisable, many day tours operate but they are expensive so I would suggest doing the tour by yourself as it’s easy navigating around since its a tourist-friendly city.
Osaka – If you just have a spare day and would like to see another city apart from Kyoto, my opinion would be Osaka. This city is a mix of old and new and you can observe the similarities it shares with Kyoto and Tokyo. A fun-filled city with an energetic crowd, it has lots to see and do. I typically like the food scene here and for history buffs, you can always make a visit to the famous Osaka Castle. Families with kids can venture to Universal Studios too as its an adventure land filled with rides and shows.
Miyajima – A quiet island which is accessible by ferry, during my day trip to Hiroshima I spend some time on this breathtaking island. If you enjoy hiking, climb Mt.Misen or feed the shy deer which wander around this island. I took a quaint spot and spent hours gazing at the Itsukushima shrine which seems like it is floating, especially during high tide. You can do quite a few things here but my favourite was hiking up the mountain and taking the cable car to the peak, getting a birds-eye view of Miyajima and the nearby islands.
Nara – A animal fanatic would be mesmerised by this town. Known for the popular Nara temple and the deer which stroll around here. Surrounded by rivers, temples and shrines this place is another picturesque place to add in your itinerary. The best part about planning a trip to Nara is it’s proximity to Kyoto, there are few afternoon tours as well but if you have the bullet train pass it’s easy to tick off the attractions by yourself.
Todai-ji temple and Kofuku -Ji temple are some of the highly recommended places to see.
With these exciting day trips, you will have a lot to see and do. Even though these are not the only cities to explore, the whole of Japan has delightful places but as a tourist and with a bit of research with the help of my local friends, these few places will be appreciated by the tourists who are in Japan, just for a few days and would like to get a feel of the cultural, traditional and modern aspect of this vast country.