Locations - Kyoto, Shiga, Nara

Teach in Japan

Kyoto, Shiga, Nara

Kyoto prefecture has a population of 2,663, 428, while Shiga prefecture has a population of 1, 402, 132 and Nara prefecture’s is 1, 396, 849. Shiga is famous for Lake Biwa, the largest in Japan, as well as several ski areas. Kyoto city is surrounded by mountains, most notably Mt. Hie and Mt. Daimonji. The northern part of the prefecture has a beautiful sand bank in the Sea of Japan. Nara has the beautiful Nara Park, full of deer, as well as several small mountains perfect for hiking. The area is in the center of Japan, so travelling around Japan is very convenient. It gets really hot in the summer, and usually gets a bit of snow in winter, so you get the best of both worlds.

"This area is perfect for me. There is no end to the sights to see in Kyoto. Shiga is the perfect place to escape to in summer and cool down in Lake Biwa, as well as hitting the slopes in winter. Nara offers a great mix of city and rural life, with deer freely wandering around town. And all of them are no more than an hour from the bright lights of Osaka."
-Dan, Instructor Support Manager

Steeped in culture, there is no better place to feel like you have gone back to the Edo period than Kyoto, which has some of the most iconic temples in Japan, such as Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Kiyomizu-dera, with its breath taking views of the city, and the architecturally complex Nijo castle. The 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites alone will keep even the most gung ho explorer busy for quite some time.

“You can’t turn around without hitting something cultural.”
-Stephen, instructor

Sneak a peek into the world of karyukai (the flower and willow world) as you meander around Gion and Pontocho in downtown Kyoto. Catch a glimpse of geisha and maiko (young geisha in training) as you admire the beautiful traditional town houses. Take a break and relax in one of the many tea houses.

“Kyoto is full of Japanese culture and a great place to meet new people because of all of the visitors from overseas and around Japan.”
-Carrie, instructor

Brighten up your night at the annual Toka-ye lantern festival in Nara, where thousands of lanterns decorate Nara Park and surrounding temples.

Take off at the Japan International Birdman Rally, where people make human-powered aircrafts and gliders and compete to fly the longest distance over Lake Biwa! A popular event since it was first held in 1977, any amateur engineer or spectator will be fascinated.

The tranquility of Nara is encapsulated in the beautiful Nara Park, famous for its docile deer. Located conveniently in the center of the city, it is the perfect place to relax with a picnic, view the cherry blossoms in season, or learn about Buddhist art at the Nara National Museum.

“Life here [in Shiga] is slower than that of Kyoto and Osaka, but there is still a lot to do. Especially if you like spending time outdoors, hiking, cycling, and so on.”
-Julie, instructor

“There are lots of university students which gives it a good energy. The mountains are easily accessible so it’s a perfect place for hiking”
-Jeffrey, instructor

Just because you’re landlocked doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some water in Shiga. The beach lined Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake, cuts through the prefecture offering swimming, jet skiing, fishing and much more.

Get out and hit the slopes at the Biwako Valley resort in Otsu. With five ski and snowboard areas, easy access by public transportation, and views of Lake Biwa, anyone would jump at the chance to be a ski bum here. Summertime at the resort also offers excellent views and a zip line course for those not afraid of heights.

Tokyo is known for fine dining but if you enjoy a fine piece of beef, Shiga is the place for you. No sukiyaki dinner would be complete without some excellently marbled Omi beef, starting at the dizzyingly high price of 8,500yen for 100 grams.

Indulge your taste buds with some of the best fine dining options in Kyoto and Nara. There are over 100 Michelin Guide restaurants scattered across the area, including several 3 star restaurants.

Dry off on the northern shores of Lake Biwa and head over to the Nagahama Roman Brewery to wet your whistle. The brewery features four different styles, including Nagahama Ale, winner of a gold medal at the Japan Cup.

“Living in Shiga lets you experience the ‘real’ Japan, and not just have the usual touristy experiences”
-Mark, instructor

Kyoto comes alive at night with a variety of nightclubs. Dance the night away at Taku Taku, a former sake factory or enjoy the packed dance floor at the stone arched World. Prominent artists regularly stop these clubs such as Fatboy Slim, DJ Krush, and Skrillex just

Kyoto offers a unique array of options for any shopaholic. In central Kyoto, Shijo Street is a patchwork of stores with a handful of department stores and specialty stores selling arts and crafts. Within this area is also Nishiki Market, where you can find people hawking culinary accessories and a variety of food. Around Kyoto station is a bevy of department stores and boutiques offering luxury goods, including “the cube”, a large shopping center.

“I love how well rounded it is as a city, it has a bit of everything, though not as much as big cities of course.”
-Roy, instructor
“I love that it has easy access to loads of cool cultural stuff, as well as mountains.”
-Daniel M, instructor
“I love the sense of community you feel living in a slightly smaller city.”
-Dan C, instructor