Japan In Brief

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Summer Evening in Gion Higashiyama Taking advantage of a cooler, less crowded time of day

Summer Evening in Gion Higashiyama Taking advantage of a cooler, less crowded time of day

Gion Higashiyama is popular with tourists for good reason! It's a fascinating area rich in tradition and beautiful detail. Because it is so popular it is usually crowded, but I went there one summer evening and found it less busy than usual. I could enjoy taking photos of the traditional buildings and beautiful streets

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel

Kyoto

Gojo-sagaru, Horikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 600-8519 

  • 5 minutes by car from Kyoto Station

  • 10 minutes by free shuttle bus from Hachijo exit of JR Kyoto Station (Shinkansen exit)

  • 7 minutes by walk from Gojo Subway Station

Distance from hotel

about 15 minutes by car from Kyoto Tokyu Hotel

The Cats of Fushimi Inari Taisha Celebrating Fushimi Shrine's most-loved residents

The Cats of Fushimi Inari Taisha Celebrating Fushimi Shrine's most-loved residents

As the crowds disperse in the late afternoon at Fushimi Inari, the shrine's most favorite residents come out from hiding. The cats of Fushimi Inari wander towards the quiet pathways lined with orange 'torii' gates in the thousands. Big cats, small cats, spotty cats, stripy cats - all the cats of your wildest dreams emerge from the wilderness. With personalities as iridescent and interesting as the shrine where they live, the cats of Fushimi Inari Taisha will warm the hearts of everyone they meet

Kyoto Tokyu Hotel

Kyoto

Gojo-sagaru, Horikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 600-8519 

  • 5 minutes by car from Kyoto Station

  • 10 minutes by free shuttle bus from Hachijo exit of JR Kyoto Station (Shinkansen exit)

  • 7 minutes by walk from Gojo Subway Station

Distance from hotel

about 20 minutes by car from Kyoto Tokyu Hotel

The Osaka Castle Park in Autumn An urban paradise in the middle of Osaka’s jungle

The Osaka Castle Park in Autumn An urban paradise in the middle of Osaka’s jungle

In the heart of Osaka, inside the Great Stone Wall, there is a beautiful castle, the symbol of Osaka. However it’s not the only beautiful thing to admire. The Osaka Castle’s Park, opened in 1931 and covers an area of 106.7 hectares offering unique scenery that attracts many visitors all year round. You’ll be surprised to remember that you’re still in the center of a big city! The people of Osaka are so lucky to have such a beautiful park in their city, one that is ideal for all ages and a perfect place for relaxation and recreation.

Osaka Tokyu REI Hotel

Osaka

2-1, Doyama-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-0027 

  • 10 minutes on foot from JR Osaka Station (Hankyu line and Hanshin line) and Umeda Station

  • 20 minutes from Toyonaka Exit on the Meishin Expressway

  • 30 minutes by airport bus from Osaka (Itami) Airport to Osaka Station

Distance from hotel

about 15 minutes by car from Osaka Tokyu REI Hotel

Shin-Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI Hotel

Osaka

9-6, Toyotsu-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka 564-0051 

  • 1 minute on foot from Esaka Station on the Midosuji Subway Line (4 minutes by Subway from Shin-osaka Station, 11 minutes by Subway from Umeda Station)

  • 15 minutes by car from Osaka (Itami) Airport to Esaka Station

  • 26 minutes by train from Osaka (Itami) Airport to Esaka Station

Distance from hotel

about 45 minutes by train from Shin-Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI

Magnificent Night Views of Osaka Seen from the Floating Garden of Umeda Sky Building

Magnificent Night Views of Osaka Seen from the Floating Garden of Umeda Sky Building

On a cold clear day in December 2013 I climbed to the top of Umeda Sky Building in Osaka to see the gorgeous night view from there.

Umeda Sky Building has a famous 'Floating Garden' on its rooftop, which is an observation floor that boasts a 360 degree panoramic view of the city of Osaka. The most important feature of this place, which pleases me a lot, is that since this is an open-air space, I don't have to worry about the reflections of lights on the glass windows. Although it's unbearably chilly to stand on the 40th floor of a 173-meter-high building, once you see this gorgeous night-time view, you'll forget about the chill for a while. This is the must-visit place if you ever come to Osaka!

Osaka Tokyu REI Hotel

Osaka

2-1, Doyama-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-0027 

  • 10 minutes on foot from JR Osaka Station (Hankyu line and Hanshin line) and Umeda Station

  • 20 minutes from Toyonaka Exit on the Meishin Expressway

  • 30 minutes by airport bus from Osaka (Itami) Airport to Osaka Station

Distance from hotel

about 10 minutes by car from Osaka Tokyu REI Hotel

Shin-Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI Hotel

Osaka

9-6, Toyotsu-cho, Suita-shi, Osaka 564-0051 

  • 1 minute on foot from Esaka Station on the Midosuji Subway Line (4 minutes by Subway from Shin-osaka Station, 11 minutes by Subway from Umeda Station)

  • 15 minutes by car from Osaka (Itami) Airport to Esaka Station

  • 26 minutes by train from Osaka (Itami) Airport to Esaka Station

Distance from hotel

about 20 minutes by car from Shin-Osaka Esaka Tokyu REI

Viale Osaka

osaka

3-1-3, Azuchi-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 541-0052541-0052 

  • 3 minutes on foot from Honmachi Station served by the Subway Midosuji Line Exit 1

  • 5 minutes on foot from Sakaisuji-Honmachi Station served by the Sakaisuji Subway Line Exit 17

  • 5 minutes on foot by subway from Namba Station

Distance from hotel

about 15 minutes by car from Viale Osaka

The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan™

Osaka

6-2-52, Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 905-0207554-0024 

  • 1 minute on foot from JR Universal City Station

  • 30 minutes by car from Osaka (Itami) Airport

  • 40 minutes by car from Kansai International Airport

Distance from hotel

about 25 minutes by car from The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan®

Cherry Blossoms at Osaka Mint Hanami by the Yodogawa

Cherry Blossoms at Osaka Mint Hanami by the Yodogawa

The cherry blossom walk at the Osaka Mint is like strolling through a botanic garden overflowing with sakura, the Japanese word for cherry blossoms. There are over 100 varieties on display, especially those with more than five petals, called Yaezakura in Japanese, which bloom a week later than the more common Yoshino variety. Like models at a fashion show, they are feted with the clicking of the cameras and adorations of "kirei, kirei”, praised for their beauty and charm.

The Osaka Mint is moments away from the Yodogawa, where cherry blossoms line the river, and many people enjoy hanami parties amongst the seasonal market stalls selling street food like squid skewers and okonomiyaki, a kind of Japanese savory pancake.

Viale Osaka

osaka

3-1-3, Azuchi-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 541-0052541-0052 

  • 3 minutes on foot from Honmachi Station served by the Subway Midosuji Line Exit 1

  • 5 minutes on foot from Sakaisuji-Honmachi Station served by the Sakaisuji Subway Line Exit 17

  • 5 minutes on foot by subway from Namba Station

Distance from hotel

about 10 minutes by car from Viale Osaka

The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan™

Osaka

6-2-52, Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 905-0207554-0024 

  • 1 minute on foot from JR Universal City Station

  • 30 minutes by car from Osaka (Itami) Airport

  • 40 minutes by car from Kansai International Airport

Distance from hotel

about 25 minutes by car from The Park Front Hotel at Universal Studios Japan®

Harbourland Kobe A shopping district with a European aesthetic

Harbourland Kobe A shopping district with a European aesthetic

When staying at Hotel Crown Palais Kobe of if you are just visiting the city then Harborland (or Harbourland) is the place to go for all your shopping and dining needs. Built on the former site of a Japanese National Railways freight depot in 1992, this more recently developed shopping district gives the city an aura much different from it’s Kansai neighbors. With a primarily European design you might even forget you’re in Japan. Located in Kobe’s port, enjoying some retail therapy or a bite to eat with a Pacific sea breeze in the air is what makes this area of the city a great place to spend the day. Mosaic is the main host of restaurants in the district and closet to the harbor. With a huge selection of various cuisines available you may just find yourself stuck for choice. Harborland also has its own Ferris wheel as well as the Kobe port tower so getting a great vantage point over the city and surrounding mountains couldn't be easier.