Four Days Near Osaka
January 8, 2019 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I have four extra days by myself in Japan before flying out of the Osaka airport. Where should I go?

I'm staying a few extra days after my bf flies home. We will have spent 5 days in Tokyo, 1 in Hakone, and 5 in Kyoto. We don't have day trips planned yet, but are open to that if we feel like we have time, so it's possible I will have gone to Nara already. I'm trying to decide where to book accommodation for after he leaves. It will be from a Wednesday to Sunday in early May.

I'd be interested in doing some hiking, if it's not too difficult to get to. I like to travel slow so I don't want to try to squeeze in too much. It would be cool to do a leg of the Nakasendo Way if that's possible, or check out some other parks. I also like eating and wandering around aimlessly. Open to all suggestions.
posted by monologish to Travel & Transportation around Japan (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You could go down to Koyasan in Wakayama, stay in temples and do some day hiking.

Also, if you have a JR pass then I'd recommend a short trip to Hiroshima. You can do hiking on Miyajima as part of it.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:24 AM on January 8 [4 favorites]

I loved Himeji castle if that's your thing. Really cool and some great views. As well the park looked like a nice place for a walk. Otherwise would recommend the Osaka aquarium, you get to see a whale shark! It's also well built so you're descending a spiral and get to see the depths open up to you as you descend.
posted by Carillon at 11:25 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

Koyasan, Himeji-jo, Miyajima
Sakurajima might be too far, but was one of my favorites
posted by TravellingCari at 11:31 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]

In case you're thinking that Hiroshima is just the Peace Park it also has a nice contemporary art museum as well as Okonimi-mura: a building filled with restaurants selling okinomiyaki.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:19 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]

On the northern edge of the Osaka area, there's Minoo Park. One issue is that it was damaged in typhoons this and last year, but things might be ok by May? Although it was on my list (partially opened for fall foliage), I wasn't able to visit, so I can't give an experiential opinion.

As mentioned, if you have a JR pass, Miyajima might be worth a visit. There are hiking trails to the summit of Mt. Misen but also a rope way that goes most of the way to the top (so you could just hike down). (I was able to make the visit to the summit--via the ropeway--also stayed a night on the island.)

Also, I rather liked Nara, so would recommend at least a day trip. Although I was visiting more for the history, cultural, etc., the park seemed large enough to be able to wander around for a bit. Additionally, I had one of my better dinners (roast boar and deer and veggie tempura) at Secchu Shunsai Kagetsu (tabelog, TripAdvisor). They didn't have an English menu but luckily the waitress working that night knew enough for things to work out.
posted by MikeKD at 12:27 PM on January 8

Fourthing Miyajima. The Mt. Misen hike is great. If you go the steeper route it's mostly stone stairs so it's not terribly complex per se but I routinely hike and going up I still broke a sweat so it's really rewarding. There's a longer route that is slightly less steep but I feel like it's more enjoyable to go down a gentler slope than stairs. At the very top, there's an observation tower that looks out on the pacific and the island. You get a wonderful panoramic view in the middle of everything. It's definitely worth spending a day there. You can get there fairly easily from Hiroshima; if you have a JR pass you can take the train and then a ferry for free.
posted by donut_princess at 12:30 PM on January 8

One day, I wandered around Awaji Island. I know the photo album link is broken, so if that kind of trip interests you, let me know and I'll fix it tonight.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 2:31 PM on January 8

The Takedao hike! The Fukuchiyama JR trail is an abandoned railroad with lots of tunnels and a very cool bridge. I did this with a friend for a day trip, and after a full morning of hiking, we got back to the main city in mid-afternoon. It's only 40 minutes from Osaka by train, and if you start at Namaze, you'll end up at Takedao (one of the coolest stations I've ever seen--literally inside of a mountain). You'll need a flashlight for the trail tunnels and good shoes. My friend and I also went to a nearby onsen afterwards.

More blogs to help get there, since the trailhead is a bit of walk from Namaze Station (but there are usually small groups of people going there you can tag along with):

I've lived in Japan for years and this was still one of the best hikes I've done, but I'm very glad I read the blogs ahead of time and had a general mental map of how to get there. (Make sure you have cell service for your trip for Google maps etc., even if it's a pocket wi-fi.)

I also highly recommend the Osaka aquarium and the takoyaki from the nearby shops.
posted by lesser weasel at 4:54 PM on January 8 [3 favorites]

Naoshima - via Yokohama
posted by sconbie at 6:56 AM on January 9

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