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HEADS UP! Japan Consumer Tax is going up by 10% by 1st October 2019. As a result, JR Pass prices are going up then. We recommend buying your Japan Rail Pass before then to make use of the old cheaper prices. 

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR JAPAN RAIL PASS FROM THE OFFICIAL VENDOR

We are currently undergoing a few updates and housekeeping bits on the website until Sunday the 29th of Sept, so parts of the website will look odd/may not function as normal. We do apologise for the inconvenience. 

Kansai Local are doing private tours and adventures to places that tourists don't know about. If this sounds awesome, get in touch with us and we will get back to you! 

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A weekend in Tokyo - The best things to do
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The Kansai Local guide to Fushimi Inari - The Famous red gates in Kyoto
The polite and Sacred Deer in Nara Park
Things to do in Kyoto
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Tokyo

What to do in Tokyo

Welcome to the Kansai Local Guide on Tokyo. I love Tokyo. It has a special place in my heart as pretty much every time I have been here I have had an epic time. It's been a blur of lights, parties, clubs, alcohol and fun times, but with a pinch of culture and uniqueness. It's kind of like the Vegas of Asia in the fact that it comes alive at night and it never sleeps. If you find yourself in Tokyo for a few days, this page will give you tips on the best things to do.

In case you’re travelling around Japan, it is definitely worth getting a Japan Rail Pass. It makes train travel so much easier, affordable and simple, without having to mess around at busy stations getting tickets etc. Click here to check and buy your Japan Rail Pass from the official vendor.  

Asakusa area

Asakusa means ‘short grass’. Asakusa area is a great place to explore for a few hours. It was once one of the main entertainment districts of Tokyo during the Edo period (1603-1868), this was partly due to it neighbouring the Kuramae district which was a rice storing and trading district.

Today, it’s a fun tourist spot, with lots of fun shops and local wares, it's a good place to wander around with a camera. You’ve also got Sensō-ji which is Tokyo’s oldest and most significant temple. In Fact, it is THE most visited spiritual site in the world with around 30 million annual visitors. It is very impressive, and worth a cheeky visit while you’re in Asakusa.

Nakamise-dori

Nakamise-dori is an old street near Sensō-ji that has many shops selling traditional goods. Definitely worth an explore.

Nearest station is Asakusa station. Once you get to the station just follow the crowds.

Asakusa area

Asakusa area

Nakamise Dori - the shopping street that leads to Sensō-ji

Nakamise Dori - the shopping street that leads to Sensō-ji

Sensō-ji

Sensō-ji

Sensō-ji from the inside looking out. Pray for good health!

Sensō-ji from the inside looking out. Pray for good health!

Sensō-ji  has great architecture

Sensō-ji has great architecture

Make sure you explore the back streets of Asakusa, as you'll find loads of cool shops, markets and local restaurants.

Make sure you explore the back streets of Asakusa, as you'll find loads of cool shops, markets and local restaurants.

Akihabara

Akihabara is the buzzing, bustling and colourful electronics district of Tokyo. The area is famous for its electronics stores ranging from small little second-hand stores to massive department type stores dedicated entirely to electronics. If you’re into your cameras, electronics and indeed second-hand electronics, you should definitely explore Akihabara. Also, the area is famous for its manga, anime and maid culture.

►Nearest train station is Akihabara

Akihabara!!! Prepare for your senses to be overloaded

Akihabara!!! Prepare for your senses to be overloaded

Electronics, anime, manga, hobby stuff - the high energy of Akihabara

Electronics, anime, manga, hobby stuff - the high energy of Akihabara

Take a stroll on the main street. Also it's good fun to check out some of the game centres!

Take a stroll on the main street. Also it's good fun to check out some of the game centres!

Game centre fun in Akihabara

Game centre fun in Akihabara

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Harajuku

Harajuku is one of my favourite areas of Tokyo. Famous for its street and pop fashion, cult and modern art and crazy cosplay, it is definitely a must visit place when you're in Tokyo. Harajuku is a great shopping district as you have the quirky and edgy street fashion shops and outlets on Takeshita Dori, and the more upmarket designer brands in the glitzy glamour Omotesando Dori(street), just around the corner.

Takeshita Dori

Takeshita Dori is possibly the most popular street fashion area in Asia. People come from all over the world to experience and shop. Countless quirky and alternative street fashion shops rub shoulders with crazy crepe (pancake) and sweets stores. If you’re into fashion, you need to come here. Takeshita Dori is also famous for its cosplay culture, you’ll see a lot of this here.

Omotesando Dori

Omotesando Dori is one of the high fashion/Designer Fashion areas. It is fun to walk along here as it’s very beautiful, and you can do your shopping here. There are a lot of nice little restaurants in the back and side streets.

►Nearest station is Harajuku Station, which looks right down Takeshita Dori.

Takeshita Dori, in Harajuku

Takeshita Dori, in Harajuku

Cosplay and street fashion on Takeshita Dori.

Cosplay and street fashion on Takeshita Dori.

Do it for the gram!

Do it for the gram!

Harajuku main street, at the end of Takeshita Dori

Harajuku main street, at the end of Takeshita Dori

Omotesando Dori, the main shopping and fashion street in Harajuku and indeed Tokyo

Omotesando Dori, the main shopping and fashion street in Harajuku and indeed Tokyo

Yoyogi Park and Meiji Jingu

Right next to Harajuku is Yoyogi park, one of the main and biggest parks in Tokyo. It is a beautiful and historical park. At one end of Yoyogi park is the Meiji Jingu shrine, which is a beautiful shrine that is dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji, even though his body isn’t buried there. It is buried in Kyoto.

I highly recommend taking a stroll around Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine. It's a nice escape from the crazy city buzz, right in the middle of the city!

►You can walk here from Harajuku station!

One of the main entrance gates to Yoyogi Park. The Tori is huge and made entirely of wood.

One of the main entrance gates to Yoyogi Park. The Tori is huge and made entirely of wood.

The park walkways are stunning, almost Lord of the Ring like

The park walkways are stunning, almost Lord of the Ring like

Sake barrels donated to the shrine by local businesses

Sake barrels donated to the shrine by local businesses

Meiji Jingu Shrine

Meiji Jingu Shrine

Dont forget to write you wish on one of these little wooden boards! The monks burn them every morning and pray for them to come true.

Dont forget to write you wish on one of these little wooden boards! The monks burn them every morning and pray for them to come true.

Shibuya

Shibuya is one of the main attractions of Tokyo, and indeed probably the main ‘hub’ of Tokyo.

Shibuya station, along with Shinjuku Station, is the busiest stations in the world. When I’m in Tokyo and I plan to meet with friends and go out, we always agree to meet in Shibuya. You’ve probably seen photos and time-lapse videos of Shibuya crossing, also known as Shibuya Scramble. It is the world's busiest intersection, and when the lights turn green for the pedestrians, it is like nothing you’ve seen before. Thousands of people cross at a time at peak hours.

Shibuya is one of the main nightlife and ‘fun’ districts. There are LOADS of fun Izakaya (drinking and eating pubs), restaurants, shops, karaoke, game centres. It really is the most fun area, especially at night. Go there and have fun!

You should meet at the Hachiko statue. Shibuya station was the station which was the scene for one of the cutest true stories of a dog named Hachiko, who waited for his owner every day at the station. One day the owner died, yet Hachiko waited for 9 years. There have been many film adaptations including one with Richard Gere.

►Nearest station is Shibuya Station

Shibuya crossing, moments before the mass exodus!

Shibuya crossing, moments before the mass exodus!

Shibuya angles. It's prettier at night!

Shibuya angles. It's prettier at night!

The Hachiko statue, in the main crossing. A great meeting place!

The Hachiko statue, in the main crossing. A great meeting place!

A few of my favourite places to eat and drink in Shibuya

 

Torikizoku

Torikizoku is a fun chain of Izakaya all over Japan. There are several in Shibuya. It is a chicken grill place, and all the dishes and drinks are around 280 yen each. It's super cheap, super fun and a great place to go before a night out. 

♦Click here for google maps♦

Torikizoku in Shibuya

Torikizoku in Shibuya

Cheap food and beer, great atmosphere

Cheap food and beer, great atmosphere

They have an convenient ipad ordering system

They have an convenient ipad ordering system

Marukin - all you can drink

Fantastic place where you pay an amount and have unlimited drinks. You can order side dishes etc. This is a great place to get hammered with your friends before going out!

♦Click here for google maps♦

Poor quality photo, but I wasn't exactly sober when I took it

Poor quality photo, but I wasn't exactly sober when I took it

It's a good idea to order some food bits too, just to soak up the alcohol!

It's a good idea to order some food bits too, just to soak up the alcohol!

They have an automatic beer pouring machine - So Japanese!

They have an automatic beer pouring machine - So Japanese!

Shinjuku

Shinjuku is another district very similar to Shibuya and is actually right next to Shibuya. Equally as fun, but perhaps a bit more dark, gangsterish and local. Definitely worth checking out as it has great izakaya places and restaurants.

Shinjuku station is the busiest station in the world, along with Shibuya station. In Fact, the top 5 busiest stations in the world, are all in Japan!

►Nearest station is Shinjuku

The scenery of Shinjuku. I personally love Shinjuku, It's like a local version of Shibuya

The scenery of Shinjuku. I personally love Shinjuku, It's like a local version of Shibuya

Backstreets and lights of Shinjuku

Backstreets and lights of Shinjuku

There are lots of fun places to eat and drink in the backstreets of Shinjuku

There are lots of fun places to eat and drink in the backstreets of Shinjuku

Shinjuku has a great electronics area too for cameras etc. Just google 'Shinjuku Yodobashi Camera'

Shinjuku has a great electronics area too for cameras etc. Just google 'Shinjuku Yodobashi Camera'

Roppongi

Roppongi, along with Shibuya, is one of the main night time entertainment districts of Tokyo. It's loads of fun with great late night bars, clubs and Izakayas. Again, it's quite a gangster area with the Yakuza running pretty much all the establishments. But it's still safe and great fun to visit.

♦Click here for google maps♦

The lights of Roppongi

The lights of Roppongi

Roppongi colours and lights

Roppongi colours and lights

A weekend in Tokyo - The best things to do

A weekend in Tokyo - The best things to do

Best temples and shrines to visit in Kyoto

Best temples and shrines to visit in Kyoto

Explore Himeji and the most impressive castle in Japan

Explore Himeji and the most impressive castle in Japan

Explore the famous Geisha district of Gion!

Explore the famous Geisha district of Gion!

The Kansai Local guide to Fushimi Inari - The Famous red gates in Kyoto

The Kansai Local guide to Fushimi Inari - The Famous red gates in Kyoto

The polite and Sacred Deer in Nara Park

The polite and Sacred Deer in Nara Park

Things to do in Kyoto

Things to do in Kyoto

Visit Kobe for the day

Visit Kobe for the day