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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

OSAKA Sakai & Kishiwada Massive fifth century mausoleum so close to Osaka

Massive fifth century mausoleum so close to Osaka

If you are based in Osaka for any length of time, the neighboring cities of Sakai and Kishiwada on Osaka Bay make rewarding excursions.

Don't Miss

  • Daisenryo Kofun — one of the world's largest ancient mausoleums at Sakai
  • Sakai's world-renowned craft cutlery
  • The high-octane Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri festival

How to Get There

Sakai and Kishiwada lie southeast of Osaka en route to Kansai International Airport.

Both cities are within an hour of Osaka and easy to reach by train using the Nankai or JR Hanwa Line via Tennoji Station, or directly from the Airport. For Daisenryo Kofun, take the JR Hanwa Line to Mozu Station from where the mausoleum is a five-minute walk.

Sakai ancient and modern

The city of Sakai has a rich and colorful history. A prosperous merchant town and trading port in the 16th century, it is also the birthplace of revered tea master Sen no Rikyu. Today Sakai is renowned for its craft cutlery industry (Sakai knives are much sought after by chefs) and precision bicycle manufacture, and has museums devoted to both. Its most remarkable claim to fame, however, is the site of one of the largest mausoleums on the planet.

Tombs to rival the pyramids

Sakai's ancient burial mounds with their distinctive keyhole design were built on a scale that rivals the pyramids. The central mound, known in Japanese as Daisen Kofun, is believed to contain the remains of the legendary fourth century Emperor Nintoku. Dating from the fifth century, the tomb covers 1.3 million square feet (room for 12 baseball fields) and is reckoned to have taken at least 15 years and 2000 labourers to construct.

The mausoleum, set amidst the urban sprawl of 21st century Sakai, is enclosed by three moats and the burial mounds are now covered in lush vegetation. The site is considered sacred and visitors may venture no further than the outer moat. To make sense of the site, it is best viewed from the observation deck on the 21st floor of Sakai city hall. Back on the ground, you can walk around the peaceful outer moat (2.5 miles).

To learn more about the history and archaeology of Daisenryo Kofun, watch a short film in English provided by the Sakai City Museum in the park across the street.

Pedal power

Sakai is a pleasant city to tour by bike. You can rent cycles from the tourist office and routes are well signposted in English.

Kishiwada — serene castle and riotous festival

In addition to a delightful castle (less crowded than its more famous neighbor in Osaka), Kishiwada's annual Danjiri Matsuri festival is famous throughout Japan. A lively, noisy affair, it attracts 500,000 visitors during the third weekend of September.

Rocking and rolling

35 ornately crafted floats (danjiri) each weighing over four tons are hauled through the streets by hundreds of townspeople at breakneck speed. Hundreds more run alongside and behind while atop each float the Daiku-Gata, a wild and fearless master of ceremonies urges on his crew, performing feats of daring on the roof.

Like the bull runners of Pamplona, rival teams race their floats with little regard for their own safety. Stand well back as the floats pass by. It takes skill and experience to navigate tight corners along the route and accidents and injuries are not unusual (no wonder the festivities begin with prayers for the safety of the runners).

As evening sets in, the festival continues (though at a more leisurely pace) as revelers enjoy beers and street food and the rivalries of the day are forgotten.

Floats & Daiku-Gata on floats at the festival in Sakai-shi

Last minute shopping at Rinku Town

From Sakai and Kishiwada it's a short hop to Rinku Town (and one stop from the airport). Shopaholics can take advantage of tax free shopping at the discount outlet selling Japanese and international brand clothing and goods. If you are headed to the airport, luggage lockers are available.

Alternatively, if you have time to spare before your flight, take a ride on the waterfront ferris wheel for excellent views of the artificial island on which the airport is built.

Views of Rinku Town

Planning your visit

Sakai, Kishiwada and Rinku Town are within 60 minutes of Osaka city center. Their proximity to the airport makes them ideal stopping off points before a flight or during a long layover.

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