This is definetely not extensive enough but i still want to outline some of the sights in the cities Nagoya, Nara and Osaka.
I travelled through Nagoya on my Tokaido hike (see diary).
The Atsuta Shrine is a famous and important shrine with several millions low and high ranking visitors. The surrounding park area all reminds a bit of a smaller version of the Meiji Jingu in Tokyo. I am not too familiar with japanese religion but according to wikipedia (accessed:13.10.2019) many gods are enshrined here.
Osu Kannon Temple
There is quite a backstory of this temple but essentially a priest retreated for 100 days and prayed to know who he should enshrine in a newly built temple so that people would be rescued and blessed. On one day he received enlightenment which said “The great Compassion of Kannon offers compassion which is of infinite benefit and is therefore venerable to all people” and so he did. The Temple itself is quite big and centrally located next to a shopping street.
The castle site consist of a (recently rebuild) palace and several towers including one very remarkable castle tower. Nagoya castle used to be the residence of one of the three branches of the ruling Tokugawa family therefore ranking high in political and economical importance[efn_note] https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3300.html, accessed 24.08.201[/efn_note]. The castle site is big and includes some tea houses and a Japanese garden area. It is possible to spend several hours here but you should calculate with at least 1h. Especially the rebuild palace was amazing and reminded me a bit of the palace of Versailles. It also had several waiting rooms, was very spacious and luxurious. The entrance fee was 500 Yen.
Fun fact: The main castle tower was built with the help of several other feudal lords. To indicate their support and help they marked every building stone with their respective crest.
Oasis 21 area
This area’s theme is “Space Ship Alpha”. The ground level is the “Field of Green” and is a very well maintained park area with lights marking the path in the dark and many seating possibilities. The main attraction would be the “Galaxy Platform which is 14m above ground and freely accessible. On the glass deck is a pool like water area to create an interesting ripple pattern when seen from below. The changing lights keep the platoon interesting, it is not too crowded, quite high (sadly not high enough to see the city) and the distance to other buildings is far enough to not get a suffocating feeling. The nearby Aichi Arts museum provides a good overview on the Oasis 21 Area on the 11th floor.
I visited Nara on a half day trip. To be honest i only went to the Nara Park and surrounding area but felt it was enough already.
The Nara Park with it’s bowing Nara dears have always been subtily going around on social media. Besides the dears however the huge park also provides an almost forrest like hike feeling with many shrines and temples along the way. The station you want to aim for is Kintetsu station and is easily accessible directly from Kyoto by train.
This huge temple also shelters a huge buddha statue. In fact with 15 meters, it is the tallest bronze buddha statue in the world. You can see some windows above the front entrance. On specific festivals these windows are opened and you can see the head of the Buddha looking outside.
On my way back from the Kansai region to Tokyo i did a short detour to Osaka which i documented here.
Although the exterior looks kind of oldish, the interior has been completely renovated and now offers a very informative museum. One of the floors tells the story of Hideyoshi – the succesor of Nobunaga and almost uniter of Japan. On the top floor you are presented with a great view over the city feeling the wind blowing through the deck. The entrance fee is 600 Yen
Dotonbori is one of the downtown areas of Osaka. It is said, that you can have a great night life experience in Osaka, which is probably a reference to Dotonbori. It does remind of Shinjuku.