If you want to visit Kansai region (including Osaka, Kyoto etc) and you want to get into the quiter part of Japan, I recommend Kurama.
Had a really nice day there yesterday. I took the train from Osaka, through Kyoto, to Kurama. It's only about 900 yen one way by train. The train, after Kyoto, weaves up through some mountains, forests and beside rivers. It was perfect weather. A bit overcast, but that made it nice as we walked up the mountains in the forest.
I met some young people and they were happy enough for me to join them. There are many shrines (Shinto) and temples (Buddhist). It's a very peaceful place and relaxing. It's a good walk up the mountain (don't wear high-heel shoes like one of my friends did!). I recommend it.
After the walk back down the mountain, we had a nice lunch in a small town by a river. Perfect way to end the walk. I said good-bye to the people I was with. They were very nice, friendly, and welcoming. I wish I could thank them more.
I after wards, walked back to Kurama along the road and up to the onsen (hot spring). A little expensive (2500 yen), but I think it was worth it. I got really, REALLY, clean. Tried out the very HOT sauna (110 degrees celcius), and the spa etc. Dried off and put on a yukata (Japanese bath robe). Relaxed and actually slept a little in the relaxing room.
Later went to the outside spa (rotenbura), met a couple of young Japanese guys there. We had a good chat, using my broken Japanese. Nice guys. They live in Kyoto. Then dried off, ate a little, caught the train back to Osaka and went to bed.
Now it's almost a day later and I still feel clean! :-) Four English teachers from Kyushu have joined us. They too the overnight bus from there. Another from Yokohama is coming soon. We'll all enjoy some good times together for Sabbath, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Good to hang out, catch up, sight-see Kyoto and Nara, do some cooking, worshipping God, sharing etc.
In conclusion, I say, "Go to Kurama."