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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in kansai
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Kansai (??) is the western region of the main Japanese island of Honshu, second only to Tokyo's Kanto in population. The area is also known as Kinki (??), literally "near the capital" (referring to former capital Kyoto).
Differences between Kansai and Kanto (the eastern region dominated by Tokyo) are slight but numerous. Kansai people speak a distinctive dialect of Japanese, use less dark soy in their cooking, ride on the other side of escalators and are renowned for humor and their love of food.
The Kansai dialect (??? Kansai-ben) is Japan's largest and liveliest dialect group after Kanto's standard Japanese. There are many subdialects, ranging from the effete Kyo-kotoba (???) of Kyoto's courtiers to the gruff but imaginative gangster slang of Osaka, much favored by Japanese comedians. Some notable features include the negative ending -hen instead of the normal -nai and the use of akan instead of dame for "No way!".
That said, most Kansaites are perfectly conversant in standard Japanese, so knowledge of the local dialect is by no means necessary — but even a few words will be appreciated. The canonical Osakan greeting is M?karimakka? ("Making money?"), to which the canonical reply is Botchi botchi denna ("Well, so-so"); trying this out on a friend or acquaintance is guaranteed to produce a surprised smile.
Most of Kansai's regional transportation companies have tied up to offer the Kansai Thru Pass (http://www.surutto.com/conts/ticket/3dayeng/index.html) (?????? Surutto Kansai), which can be used on pretty much any train, subway, monorail, cable car or bus in the region, except JR trains. The Nankai trains from Kansai Airport are also included, and you can buy your card or pass at the airport's train station.
Kansai cooking is subtly different from the Kanto style, although the average short-term visitor is unlikely to spot many differences. Perhaps the most visible difference is a tendency to use light-colored soy instead of dark, especially in soups, and to prefer thick wheat udon noodles over the buckwheat soba favored in Tokyo.
Some classic Kansai dishes include sobameshi (???), a concoction of fried rice and noodles mixed together, and okonomiyaki (?????), variously described as Japanese pizza or pancakes (although Hiroshima also makes a strong claim for this).
Kansai is sake country, with Nada (in Kobe) and Fushimi (in Kyoto) alone accounting for 45% of the country's production. Kobe in particular is a good place to tour sake breweries, many of which are open to visitors.