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A date to remember

Kamo River, Kyoto. Image: Aussie Assault, Flickr
Written by Meghan Bridges

What will you do on 14th February this year?

These ideas work well for new romances, established couples or just a trip out with friends. The night for romance has arrived once again and Japan is buzzing with the thought of love. After all the chocolates and gifts are exchanged on Valentine’s Day one final question remains: where do we go on our date? With the Kansai region stretching over such a large area and providing such a huge variety of options, let’s take a look at some of this year’s recommended hot spots!


Kyoto is a beautiful spot for traditional Japanese- themed dates. If you are in the mood for sharing some wafū experiences as a couple, why not rent a kimono and take a walk around the historical Gion district?You could even visit a green tea café and share some Japanese-style wagashi sweets. If the traditional style is not quite for you, consider visiting Kyoto Tower at Kyoto Station. Arriving right before the sun sets is highly recommended. The tower gives you a unique bird’s-eye view of modern Kyoto with traditional temples visible in the distance. After enjoying the view, head downstairs to the restaurants and share some delicious Kyoto-style cuisine together.

Kyoto Tower. Image: Michael Elleray, Flickr.

Kyoto Tower. Image: Michael Elleray, Flickr.


The city of Kobe boasts many fantastic sites, but this year’s recommended spot is the mountains. Take a cable car up Mt Rokko or the ropeway to Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens in the afternoon. Both spots have areas to wander around at the top of the mountains with eateries and stunning views. As night- time approaches, head for the lookout points and watch as Kobe and the Osaka Bay area light up below you. The view is breathtaking and provides a superb natural getaway just a stone’s throw from the city. If you aren’t one for nature, head to the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art. This February you can find two excellent exhibitions. Discover the world of fantasy and visual poetry through woodblock prints by Taninaka Yasunori or catch the last day of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi’s exhibition. Afterwards, stroll over to Sannomiya for some Kobe beef for the perfect end to this classy date.

Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden. Image: Manish Prabhune, Flickr.

Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden. Image: Manish Prabhune, Flickr.


Osaka is a busy city teeming with life, but finding the right spot for a date is not always easy. This year Abeno Harukas is the place to be, giving you a chance to see the skyline of Osaka from the highest building in Japan. Meander through the mall with your date, and then venture upwards to the top of the building. The view of the sunset is always recommended, but with long waiting times it’s best to go up early. After enjoying the skyline, head downstairs to the restaurant levels for an impressive selection of food. If you want to keep it simple, head towards Namba Parks for a modern combination of cafés, rooftop parks and shops. Namba Parks is seen as one of the more popular spots for romance in Osaka. Chill with your date as you wander around the wide variety of shops, and then perhaps catch a movie together at the on-site cinema. Whichever setting you choose, enjoy your time with your loved one this Valentine’s Day!

Abeno Harukas, Osaka. Image: Guilhem Vellut, Flickr.

Abeno Harukas, Osaka. Image: Guilhem Vellut, Flickr.

Your favourite Kansai dating spots…

Top choices for a romantic evening from Life in Kansai readers.
“You can’t go wrong with dinner and a movie around Namba.” (Eriko)
“Go up and see the hyakuman doru no yakei (million-dollar night view) from Mt Rokko in Kobe.” (Julia)
“Meriken Park in Kobe or USJ [Universal Studios Japan] in Osaka are excellent date spots!” (Huyen)
“Definitely Osaka’s Kaiyukan (aquarium).” (Makiko)
“I was once taken by a date to Shijo in Kyoto, where there’s a walkway along the Kamo River lined with
restaurants. There was a lovely view and my date produced a bottle of wine from his backpack.” (Reylia)

By Meghan Bridges

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Meghan Bridges

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