Top things to do in Northern Kansai

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kurama & Kibune

Kurama-dera

Located high on a thickly wooded mountain, Kurama-dera is one of the few temples in modern Japan that manages to retain an air of real spirituality. This magical place gains much of its power from its brilliant natu…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Ōhara

Sanzen-in

Famed for its autumn foliage, hydrangea garden and stunning Buddha statues, this temple is deservedly popular with foreign and domestic tourists alike. The temple’s garden, Yūsei-en, is one of the most photographed …
Top Choice Temple in Northern Kansai

Bujō-ji

Bujō-ji was founded in the 12th century by Emperor Toba, and while the main hall has been repaired over the years it stands pretty much the same as it always has: a simple wooden structure with a terrace overlooking…
Top Choice Vegetarian in Kurama & Kibune

Yōshūji

Yōshūji serves superb shōjin-ryōri (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) in a delightful old Japanese farmhouse with an irori (open hearth). The house special, a sumptuous selection of vegetarian dishes served in red lacque…
Japanese in Miyama

Yururi

Miyama's natural bounty is a big draw, and this restaurant in an elegantly updated thatched-roof farmhouse serves courses of seasonal local ingredients (such as mountain vegetables in spring and mushrooms in fall). …
Buddhist Temple in Ōhara

Jakkō-in

Jakkō-in is a small temple on the opposite side of Ōhara from Sanzen-in. It’s reached by a pleasant 15-minute walk from the bus station through an ‘old Japan’ village. Walk from the bus stop to the traffic lights on…
Waterfront in Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate means 'bridge to heaven' and this narrow sandbar covered in some 5000 pine trees has long inspired poets and painters. It's also billed as one of Japan's 'top three views', along with Matsushima and M…
Steak in Kinosaki Onsen

Irori Dining Mikuni

Mikuni serves local speciality Tajima-gyū (a high-end brand of Japanese beef). Different cuts are served different ways, and not just as steaks: sirloin, for example, is seared and sliced thin, served over rice (¥46…
Sushi in Kinosaki Onsen

Orizuru

This is an elegant sushi counter, frequented by locals, offering reasonably priced set meals. In winter you can sample local crab sourced from Tsuiyama harbour, just 10 minutes away, in a variety of ways, from kani-…
Japanese in Kurama & Kibune

Hirobun

This is a good place to sample kawadoko 'above-river' dining on platforms. A friendly crew of ladies run the show and the food is quite good; they are known for their Nagashi somen noodles in summer (11am to 4pm), w…