Osaka to Kyoto and Back in 24 Hours

What to do in Osaka, Japan with only 24 hours to soak in the beauty of this country? My intention was to explore Osaka and a few nearby must-see sites before embarking on an Azamara voyage. However, life happens and I only had two days to explore instead of five.

Being a port city, Osaka is filled with intrigue, history, and wonderful ancient and modern buildings. But I am so grateful I was able to make a day trip to explore Kyoto. Kyoto is a treasure chest of beauty and culture and the absolute must-see city in Japan.

I had the best excursion combo with Azamara. Our first Cruise Global, Connect LocalSM shore excursions tour was to see the colors of Asia at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, which was constructed in the 17th Century. I loved the vibrant hues and architectural details of Kiyomizu-dera.

Our second stop was Nijo Castle. The craftsmanship of the Nijo’s rooflines is jaw dropping, especially when you consider the castle was built in 1603.

If I’d had an extra day I would have strolled the gardens while enjoying the weather, nature's beauty, and the art created by man. The Golden Pavilion Temple was our last stop (official name is Rokuon-ji). It was built as a villa for a nobleman at the end of the 14th Century. Walking the Zen garden was such a treat and such a delightful contrast against glittering Rokuon-ji.

Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to take in the exquisiteness, and we missed the Cherry Blossoms by a week. On the bright side, I was able to photograph many charming images at all three locations without the crowds (not an easy feat in densely populated Japan). Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Nijo Castle, and Golden Pavilion Temple (Rokuon-ji) are must-see attractions. Beauty surrounds you in Kyoto, and the city is not to be missed. Some travelers go for the history lesson; some may be on a spiritual quest. Art appreciation and architectural study draw others. The reasons are not important. The important thing is to go to Kyoto.

Ann Tran

Ann Tran is a luxury travel writer located in Washington, DC. Ann has cruised with Azamara several times throughout Europe and Asia.

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