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The Kinki, or Kansai region consists of six prefectures: Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Wakayama, Nara and Shiga prefecture. Kyoto, the ‘thousand year capital’ is so known because prior to the Meiji Restoration it had been the home of the Imperial Household and as such was the capital of Japan for a thousand years. Due to this, the Kansai region was the political and cultural capital of Japan for many years, and this shows in the amount it has for tourists to visit. Kyoto is the most visited part of Kansai, and is well known worldwide for its extensive array of castles and temples, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites and many of those that aren’t are equally as spectacular. No trip to the Kansai region is complete without a trip to Kyoto and as such it is the second most popular city to visit in Japan after Tokyo itself.


Kyoto is the former capital of Japan and was the Emperor's residence for over a thousand years. Kyoto is the home of Japan’s traditional culture and famous for its many temples, shrines and other ancient sites. You may even see the famous Geisha and Maiko that live and work in the Gion area. Kyoto is located in the Kansai area of western Japan and is within easy reach of Osaka, Nara and Kobe. Kansai International Airport and Osaka International Airport are less than an hour away.


Osaka prefecture is located in the centre of Kinki region and in the Midwest of Japan. Osaka prefecture has the third largest population after Tokyo and Kanagawa. Since it is close to the former capitals of Japan, Kyoto and Nara, it has prospered as a commercial city.


Hyogo prefecture is situated in the western part of Kinki Region (Midwest Japan), facing the Sea of Japan to the north and the Pacific Ocean via the Seto Inland Sea to the south. Hyogo is famous for Himeji Castle, a world heritage site and Arima and Kinosaki hot springs, not forgetting the delicious Kobe beef and fine local sake.


Nara is Japan's first permanent capital. Nara offers a full of historic treasures including the world largest bronze Buddha statue and the world oldest wooden structures.


Wakayama Prefecture is located on the Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula in Japan. Wakayama is famous for its sacred ground given over to mountain worship including Koyasan (Mt Koya), Kumano Sanzan (the three grand shrines of Kumano), and the Kumano Kodo (pilgrimage routes) that connect them.


Shiga is located next to Kyoto and the home of Japan’s largest lake, Biwa-ko.


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