Perhaps it’s time to visit Japan’s Kansai region

By Angel Chan

DUBAI 16 December 2018: Kansai region is located in western Japan, and was the center for Japanese culture, government, religion and history for more than 1,000 years.

Co-existing with beautiful nature, Kansai is the heartland of Japan, where visitors can find the origins of Japanese culture and spirituality, not only through the 5 Unesco World Heritage Sites, but also in the traditional crafts, gastronomy and people themselves.

From the large commercial and modern entertainment city of Osaka, to the port city of Kobe with its exotic foreign influences, to the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto, to the spiritual heartlands of Wakayama and Mie, Kansai is where unique, different Japanese local cultures compactly exist within the one region, making Kansai the best destination for travellers to experience the true essence of both traditional and modern Japan.

Emirates flies daily from Dubai to Kansai/ Osaka International Airport, with the aircraft servicing the route upgraded to an A380 service from October 28th, 2018; thereby providing an additional 38% passenger capacity increase for visitors travelling from Dubai directly to Kansai.

Kansai is not only easily accessible, but open and welcoming to all international guests from all backgrounds. To make Muslim and Middle Eastern guests as welcome and comfortable as possible, many hotels, hospitality and restaurant partners throughout Kansai have made extensive efforts to learn the cultural and religious needs of Muslim guests, including making available various services and offerings that are Halal or Muslim-friendly.

Osaka Castle

Akihiko Shibahara, head of the Strategic Project Office at the Osaka Prefectural Government says, “The Kansai region has a long running connection with the UAE. Osaka City is a sister city of Dubai, and the Emirates direct flight to Kansai has been a great and valued partner in bringing the peoples of our two regions closer together…. we hope to make Kansai even more accessible and inviting to travellers from the UAE and Gulf Countries, especially for those seeking meaningful holiday experiences that highlight unique cultures and traditions, breath-taking natural and manmade landscapes, exquisite local cuisine, and ‘omotenashi’ authentic Japanese hospitality. We are confident that all who visit Kansai leave inspired, rejuvenated, enlivened and enchanted. That’s what Kansai offers.”

Visa Waiver

A visa-waiver arrangement for UAE nationals started in July 2017, so that UAE nationals possessing valid ordinary e-passports can apply at the Embassy of Japan in Abu Dhabi or Consulate General of Japan in Dubai to apply for visa-waiver registration. In general, such applicants receive their passport with the visa waiver registration seal the next working day.

As a centre for Japanese traditional arts, crafts, and design, Kansai is also a shopper’s delight, offering many unique fashions, accessories, and finely crafted items in both traditional and modern forms that can’t be found anywhere else. Many Kansai retailers, including department stores, also offer foreign visitors tax free shopping, whereby the tax is removed at the point of purchase, making for great savings.

Dotombori area in Osaka City
Dubai Gazette