Kansai is a region in the west of Honshu Island which is the cultural and historical center of Japan. Most tourists go to the Kansai region because they want to visit Kyoto. Well, I want to tell you about other places that are unusual but really fun to relax.


Many people have been here, but at most they only eat the famous Kobe beef . Whereas Kobe is more than just food because there are many interesting places to visit.

A walk in downtown Kobe is a pleasure because the city is dotted with beaches on one side and mountains on the other. Start walking in the Sannomiya area which is a shopping and culinary center. From there, visit Ikuta Shrine . This beautiful shrine which is one of the oldest in Japan is believed by local people to bring a soul mate when praying there.

Not far from there we can visit the Kobe Mosque . The mosque, which was built in 1935, is the first mosque in Japan. The surrounding area is indeed inhabited by Muslim residents, so it is not surprising that there are many shops and restaurants that serve halal food.

If you want to buy souvenirs or snacks, you can go to Kitano Meister Garden . Although the name is “garden”, it is not a park, but a retro-styled former school building. On the second floor, I tried to learn to make food samples (made from wax that we often see in the window) in the form of macarons . It turns out that it’s really hard to decorate small things like that, my eyes are leaking!

What’s fun, visit Kobe Animal Kingdom . It’s actually a zoo, but what makes it different is that many of the animals aren’t kept in cages so visitors can pet them right away! It was there that I first saw and petted a capybara , the world’s largest type of rat weighing about 50 kg! Other unique animals include the alpaca , kangaroo and red panda (the Master Shifu in the Kung Fu Panda film). Don’t forget to have lunch at the Flower Forest restaurant, which serves delicious all-you-can-eat food.


If you’re in Kobe in early December, head to Kobe East Park to see Kobe Luminarie . This festival is held every year to commemorate the victims of the Henshin earthquake in 1995. The lamp installation as large as a building made by Italian craftsmen is simply gorgeous! Another unique place to visit at night is Nankinmachi or Kobe’s Chinatown which was built in 1868. Along the way there are shopping centers and cheap foodies.

– From Kansai Airport (KIX) the fastest to Kobe by taking the high-speed ferry . From the airport, just take the shuttle bus to the Airport Pier. In half an hour’s ferry ride to Kobe. Much faster than the road which takes 1.5 hours.
– To save on the train ride in Osaka-Kobe, use the Hanshin tourist pass for 500 yen for 1 day unlimited , or if in Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto use the Hankyu tourist pass for 700 yen for 1 day unlimited .
– Hotel: Kobe Portopia Hotel – cool architecture, spacious rooms for Japan.


Tokushima is located on Shikoku Island, but is easily accessible by train or bus from Kobe or Osaka which is connected by a bridge. The landscape of Tokushima is really spectacular because it is a mountain with a green water river. It is the center of Japanese agriculture. Perfect for nature lovers like me!

At Oboke Gorge, join the Oboke Pleasure Cruise trip . By riding a motorized boat containing about 20 passengers, we are taken along the turquoise Yoshino River surrounded by large white rocks and forest on a cliff whose leaves are yellow-orange-purple in autumn.

Not far from there is Kazurabashi Bridge , an ancient suspension bridge made of vine branches. Walking on this 45-meter-long and 14-meter-high bridge makes your guts cringe because of the rocking and the infrequent distance between your feet! But the surrounding scenery is amazingly beautiful. The area around the bridge is also fun to explore on foot. You can relax while sitting on the rocks by the river or contemplating at the Biwa waterfall while eating grilled Ayu fish caught from the river and seasoned with salt.

– Lunch: Rest House Ueno – Gyudon (rice with beef) there is super delicious!
– Hotel: Obokekyo Mannaka. This is a ryokan -style inn or traditional Japanese inn where you sleep on tatami , has its own onsen , and guests are required to wear a yukata .


Didn’t think there were Sand Dunes in Japan ! Japan’s largest desert is located along 16 km of beach in Tottori and up to 50 meters high that was formed over 30,000 years. The sand is very fine yellowish color, the desert is wide, the beach is beautiful, so it’s really spectacular!


Opposite is the Sand Museum or the sand art museum which contains various sculptures and sculptures made of sand! Every year the theme is different, this year the theme is South Asia. The statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha, to Patan Durbar Square and Varanasi are made large and very detailed with the activities of people in the background.

What’s unique is the Nijisseiki Pear Museum in Kurayoshi. This museum contains all sorts of things about pears in the world, especially the Nijisseiki pears that are widely produced in this area. We can see the history of pears, how to cultivate pears, to   pear tasting and eating pear ice cream.

– Dinner: Izakaya Gyoen – the food at this traditional Japanese bar is delicious, especially the fried variety.
– Hotel: St Palace Kurayoshi – the hotel is basic but strategically located opposite the train station.


The biggest city in Kansai is Osaka, so definitely stop by here. Outside of Namba and Dotonbori for shopping and dining, there are still many interesting places to visit.

As a fan of looking up at the city from above, I love Abeno Harukas . This 300 meter high skyscraper has an observation deck on the 60th floor which can see Osaka 360°. During winter , there is an illumination of light that is shot at the walls.

Did you know that near Osaka, in Sakai , there are sites that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List? In Sakai there are ofun or ancient tombs of Japanese kings from the 3-7th century AD. Uniquely, this tomb looks like a keyhole from above, but it is very wide and surrounded by a lake – up to 486 meters wide! There are a lot of kofun around Sakai, it’s going to be very noisy if you go around all of them. The easiest way to learn it is to go to the Mozu and Furuichi Tumuli clusters , enter the Sakai City Museum, then watch Virtual Reality .

In the afternoon, drink matcha tea at Machiya Café é Sacay , while learning how to make a Japanese cake called wagashi (a kind of mochi made in cute shapes). Before returning to Indonesia, don’t forget to shop at MEGA Don Quijote . There are several convenience stores and cheap ones in Osaka, but the one in Shinsekai is the largest so it’s a pleasure to choose.