Most people know that Osaka (大阪) is the second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. One of its famous landmarks, Osaka Castle (大阪城), played a major role in the country’s history. Osaka is also popular for okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), a pan-fried savory pancake. Osaka is known for its exciting nightlife and evening activities.
However, did you know that there are also many other stimulating things to do in this part of Japan? There are several scenic spots near and around Osaka which are worthy of traveling during the daytime. If you have no idea which places nearby are famous scenic spots for daytime travel, here are three of the best areas to try reachable from Osaka.
The first exciting daytime travel destination we’ll talk about is Tomogashima. This is one of the most interesting places to spend the day walking with your family or friends.
If you’re interested in Japanese history, then this place is for you. Although the island is inhabited by a small number of people, there are still many scenic places, views, wildlife, beaches, fortresses, and lighthouses to check out.
You can reach Tomogashima by ferry from Kada (加太), Wakayama City (和歌山市). Once you reach the place, you will be greeted with several signs showing you different directions to follow, making it quite easy to navigate.
It is recommended that you bring a water bottle or two with you, as most of the time you will be trekking into fortress ruins and won’t be very close to shops or vending machines. It can also get very hot during the summertime, so you have to prevent yourself from getting dehydrated. It is best to always be prepared!
It is also advisable to go to the restroom before starting your adventure so you can fully enjoy your day without being bothered by nature’s call.
There are many courses for you to follow and a lot of dilapidated buildings and objects you can see. The area is also inhabited by varying flora and fauna, which makes it a fascinating spot for nature lovers.
While you are there, why not have a picnic over at the lighthouse? This spot gives you a magnificent view of the whole area and the ocean. It is also a great photo spot, as the colors of the greenery and the sea creates a nice contrast. This is one of the most amazing places to relax, completely isolated from the busy city. Take your time appreciating the scenery or pass the day exploring the ruins.
Amanohashidate is sometimes called “Kyoto by the Sea.” It is located in Miyazu Bay (宮津湾) in the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture (京都府). Although it is a little farther than the other places from Osaka, it is well worth a visit.
Amanohashidate is a sandbar which is three kilometers long and boasting over 8,000 pine trees. If you happen to view it from the mountains at either end of the bay, it looks like a pathway between heaven and earth. This scenery has been admired by many people for centuries and has continued to inspire and lure tourists to the place.
You can also check out other attractions nearby if you rent a bicycle. These are available from shops and hotels around the Amanohashidate Station. Some of the places you can visit include temples, shrines, observation decks, and an amusement park.
There are also sightseeing cruises which will give you a breathtaking picture of the whole area. You can actually see how beautiful the deep blue sea color matches with the lush green forest. This is an ideal way to relax.
If boats aren’t for you, you can also stay on the beach while enjoying the sandbar or walking along the shore. This is a popular spot during summertime. You can also stroll around while watching the different trees exhibiting unique shapes. Some of these have been given extra special names, such as Meoto Matsu (夫婦松; Couple’s Pine), Nakayoshi no Matsu (仲良しの松; Friendly Pine) and Chie no Matsu (知恵の松; Wisdom Pine). As a place counted as part of Japan’s three most scenic views, Amanohashidate is definitely a must-visit.
The observation deck is located at the Amanohashidate View Land. This place can be accessed by chairlift or monorail. Located on the bay’s opposite side is the Kasamatsu Park (傘松公園), which is also accessible by chairlift. Besides having a great view of the island, the park is also used as a departure point for travel. Here, you can find shuttle buses which go farther into the mountain. If you’d like to reach the southern end of the sandbar, it can be easily be reached by a five-minute walk from the Amanohashidate Station.
Engetsu Island, officially known as Takashima (高嶋), is a popular place for watching the sunset near Osaka. It is an uninhabited island measuring 130 meters from north to south, 35 meters from east to west and 25 meters in height. It was accidentally made by nature and is composed of sandstone, conglomerate and fine-grained sedimentary rocks.
This is located in Shirahama-cho (白浜町) in Wakayama (和歌山), which takes approximately two hours by car from Osaka. The kanji meaning of the word Engetsu is “perfect moon.” This name has been taken from the fact that the hole located in the island looks like a perfect full moon. Its shape is so attractive, especially during sunset, that many people come to visit. Many people just can’t forget it after they see it.
Some people come to Engetsu Island in the daytime in order to enjoy the rocky shores and spend time in this beautiful spot. The sea is almost transparent here, so you will definitely see many fish passing by. If you went deeper into the sea, you’d probably get the chance to see octopuses, squids, small abalones and so on.
As an island designated as another Place of Scenic Beauty in Japan, Engetsu Island is indeed a recommended spot to visit near Osaka.
There are so many scenic places to visit around Osaka that it can be difficult to decide where to go first. Most of the areas mentioned can be easily accessed within two hours or less. Take a relaxing vacation away from the noisy, crowded city and head to these peaceful destinations nearby!
Being a centrally located place, Osaka is an easy base to visit other locations for a day or half a day. Aside from the above-mentioned hotspots, you can head to the ancient capital, Kyoto, or head to the port city of Kobe (神戸). You can also visit temples and parks in Nara (奈良) or admire the famous Korakuen Garden (後楽園) in Okayama (岡山). These are enough reasons for you to have fun during the daytime around the area of Osaka. Have a great time!
・97 Things to Do in Osaka, the Japanese City of Street Food, Culture, and Comedy, in 2018
・30 of the Best Hotels in Osaka for a Fun and Fabulous Stay in 2018
・What to Buy in Osaka in 2018: 37 Souvenirs to Capture the Kansai Experience!