Good Luck Trip, a magazine publisher, has put out a new issue of its free guide to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, and it's accessible online for free too. The guide is pretty long (over 50 pages) and full of stuff to do if you decide to leave Tokyo.
Osaka has historically been known as a town of commerce, and even today one of its major draws is shopping. The neighborhood of Tennoji is recommended as a shopping area, but the guide leaves out America-mura, a rather un-American area that's the center of the city's fashion. The guide also dedicates a page to basically advertise Yodobashi Camera, which is actually a national chain and not unique to Osaka at all.
Naturally, Kyoto is known for its cultural tourism. Options include the tea ceremony, Zen meditation, a Maiko dress-up session, and of course tons of temples. Don't miss the old-school Gion district.
Kobe is a great town for a mix of the above two environments. It's more relaxed than Osaka, but still has some big-city energy and lots of international cuisines. I can hardly recommend a better place to eat churrasco (aka Brazilian BBQ) than here.
Also in the guide
The guide is full of information on the local theme parks like Universal Studios Japan and other advertisers like high-end hotels.
Helpfully, the back pages have maps and instructions for how to use the trains in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, so definitely print those out if you're headed to the region.
All three cities are linked by the Shinkansen (bullet train) line that connects western Japan, so you can head there any time from Tokyo.
via Good Luck Trip
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