Attractions Nearby Kyoto, Day Trips and Excursions

(Kyoto, Kansai, Central Honshu, Japan)

Picture of castle at OsakaAttractions both in and close to Kyoto are simply waiting to be experienced and range from historical shrines and temples, to gleaming modern shopping malls and waterfront restaurants. Particularly popular and nearby Kyoto are the many attractions of Osaka, which include an ancient castle and aquarium, complete with a huge whale shark, which is growing at an alarming rate and a sight not to be missed.

Also close to Kyoto are the main attractions to be found at the cities of Nagoya, Kobe, Himejo and Nara, which include both natural beauty and impressive man-made structures. Attractions nearby Kyoto are shown below.

Picture of the Osaka Aquarium


The many unmissable attractions within the vast city of Osaka lie to the south of nearby Kyoto. With a population of around 2.5 million, Osaka is split into two main districts, the Minami and Kita areas, with the Minami area being especially tourist friendly and overflowing with shopping and nightlife opportunities. The most popular attractions in the city include the Osaka-jo Castle, the Open Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses and also the Osaka Aquarium.

Photo showing the Nagoya Osu Kannon Temple


The fourth-biggest city in the whole of Japan with more than two million residents, Nagoya can be found on the eastern side of Kyoto and is famous for its Japanese pinball (pachinko). With an imposing historic castle, a number of exceptional museums and traditional Japanese gardens, Nagoya is also home to more restaurants and shops than you could possibly have time to fully appreciate, with the sparkly Nadya Park skyscraper complex being a firm favourite with visitors.


Enjoying a hilltop top setting overlooking the waterfront, Kobe is home to a population of approximately 1.5 million and is located to the south-west of Kyoto. Kobe suffered a major earthquake in 1995 and has been completely rebuilt. Many of the main attractions are based around Kobe's compact city centre and are within walking distance of each other, with restaurants, shops and bars being in plentiful supply and fairly relaxed in character. The Sannomiya Sentah shopping centre is a particular highlight in Kobe.

Picture of Himeji Castle


Himeji stands on the south-western side of Kyoto and is famous for its breathtaking Himeji-jo Castle, which dates back to 1580. The city of Himeji has a population of almost 500,000 and is a popular day trip from Kyoto, Kobe and also Osaka, with the train line passing the striking Akashi Kaikyo Suspension Bridge along the way. Apart from the castle, other attractions in Himeji include the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History, the elevated Engyoji Temple complex, and the Japanese gardens at the Koko-en attraction.

Photo of temple at Nara


Second only to Kyoto for its tourist appeal in the Kansai region of Japan, the city of Nara boasts a variety of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and hidden attractions, which need to be searched out. Over 350,000 people live in this attractive city, south of Kyoto, amongst Buddhist temples, shrines, the ruined Heijo-kyo Palace and also the Kasuga-yama Primeval Forest.