Spots in Asuka / Kashihara / Sakurai Area

  • Omiwa Shrine
    rating-image
    4.5
    322 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Miwa 1422
    Omiwa Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and the site has been sacred ground for some of the earliest religious practices. The Miwa Torii (shrine gate), the gate marking the transition from the profane to the sacred, and the worship hall have been designated as important cultural assets of the country. Although we know from records that the worship hall was founded in the Kamakura period, the shrine as we know it now was rebuilt by Tokugawa Ietsuna, the fourth Tokugawa shogun. The enshrined deity is revered as a guardian deity of human life in the sense of building a nation. People are welcome to join the festivals held here throughout the year. Omiwa Shrine is approximately five minutes on foot from JR Miwa Station.

    We were so happy to visit this beautiful shrine in the early evening with lights lining the stairs up to the main shrine. As it was drizzling the monks immediately ran out to provide a canopy for us...

  • Kashihara Jingu Shrine
    rating-image
    4.0
    278 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Kashiharashi Kumechou 934
    This shrine is dedicated to Emperor Jimmu and his wife. The shrine was erected by Emperor Meiji in 1890 based on the Nihon Shoki, one of Japan’s oldest history books, which records that the Emperor Jimmu was enthroned at the site. Located at the foot of Mt. Unebi, the hinoki bark thatched, bare-wood main shrine and kagura hall harmonize perfectly with the thick and verdant forest which surround the shrine’s gravel path. The main shrine was a sanctuary in the Kyoto Imperial Palace that was moved here.

    Kashihara Jingu is a large shrine located in an area with other interesting paces, such as the tomb of the first emperor in Japan, Jimmu Tenno. Whether he actually existed or not is unclear, however...

  • Murouji Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    219 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Udashi Murou 78
    A temple of the Omoto school of Shingon Buddhism, unlike sacred Mt. Koya, this temple was open to women, thus resulting in its nickname, the Woman’s Mt. Koya. The temple was erected in the Nara period in prayer for the recovery from illness of Emperor Kammu. The rooves of buildings such as the main hall and nave are shingled and thatched with hinoki bark in place of clay tiles. The temple’s five-tier pagoda, a designated National Treasure, is Japan’s smallest outdoor five tier pagoda. The temple enshrines numerous Buddhist statues designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, such as the standing figure of Gautama Buddha that is the main object of worship as well as a standing image of Maitreya.

    Murou-Ji Temple is indeed a site to be marvelled at. I love how peacefull and how not touristy is the place. The Temple coexist with the forrest. And I could litetally hear how quiet the place is. If...

  • Asuka-dera Temple
    rating-image
    4.5
    185 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Takaichigunasukamura Asuka 682
    Japan’s first fully-fledged Buddhist temple, the Asuka-dera was completed in 596 by through the efforts of the samurai Soga no Umako, who promoted Buddhism in the nation. The temple’s principle object of worship, a bronze seated figure of Gautama Buddha popularly known as the “Asuka Great Buddha,” is Japan’s oldest Buddhist image and a designated Important Cultural Property. The Hana-eshiki Ceremony, which celebrates the birth of Gautama Buddha, is also famous for having first been conducted in Japan here. The temple was once quite large, with a central tower, three-sided main temple building, and encircling galleries, but most of the temple buildings were lost in fire due in the Kamakura period due to lightning strikes. The current main temple building was reconstructed in the Edo period.

    No need for me to emphasize “the oldest Budda statue” part of this temple. Some tips on driving there if you use Google map: This temple is in a small village and near quite large rice fields. While...

  • Tanzan Jinja
    rating-image
    4.5
    158 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Tounomine 319
    This Shinto shrine’s origin dates back to when statesman Fujiwara no Kamatari’s son, Fujiwara no Joe, had his father’s ashes moved here and built a 13-tier pagoda in 678. Prior to the official separation of Buddhism and Shintoism in the country, the shrine was a Buddhist temple called the Tonomine Temple. The pagoda, rebuilt in 1532 and a designated Important Cultural Property, is the only extant 13-tier pagoda in the world. Beyond the shrine stands a mountain said to be the location where Emperor Tenjin and Fujiwara no Kamatari discussed the Taika Reform. The mountain thus came to be called “Tanzan,” or the Mountain of Discussion, hence the shrine’s name. In the spring, a 600-year old usuzumi cherry tree and designated Natural Monument comes in to bloom, and the shrine is thus known as a beautiful site for cherry blossom viewing. In addition, in autumn, visitors can enjoy the shrine’s fall foliage when it is colored by over 3,000 maple trees.

    I cannot understand why the Tanzan Jinja and pagoda are not covered by the Nara coach tours. We first saw the 13 storey pagoda mentioned in a JR magazine, but the Nara tourist office had no...

  • Okadera Temple
    rating-image
    4.0
    96 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Takaichigunasukamura Oka 806
    A Shingon Buzan Buddhist temple located in Asuka Village, Takaichi County, Nara Prefecture and the seventh station on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. The temple is said to have been founded by the high priest Gien on the site of a hill palace he had received where Prince Kusakabe, son of Emperor Tenmu, once lived. The temple’s official name is the Ryugai-ji Temple. Long worshiped as sacred ground providing protection from evil and harm, the temple is visited by great numbers of worshippers seeking to ensure their safety during unlucky years. The temple has many highlights, including Nyoirin Kannon Zazo (seated figure of Cintamani-cakra, a designated Important Cultural Property and Japan’s oldest earthen image) and a crimson-lacquered Deva gate and. In mid-April, some 3,000 rhododendrons come into bloom on the temple’s grounds; the fall foliage in autumn is also spectacular.

    According to Oka Temples legend, its founder Gaien confronted and defeated a dragon that was making mischief in the 8th century town of Asuka. After its defeat the dragon was confined to a pond...

  • Tachibana-dera Temple
    rating-image
    4.0
    75 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Takaichigunasukamura Tachibana 532
    A Tendai Buddhist temple located in Asuka Village, Takaichi County, Nara Prefecture. According to legend, the temple was erected by Prince Shotoku himself on the site where he was born. The grounds were once quite large and hosted numerous halls and other structures; today, however, only a few structures rebuilt in 1864 such as the main temple building and the Kannon hall still stand. The temple’s principal object of worship, a designated Important Cultural Property, is a wooden seated statue of Prince Shotoku and is the oldest carving of the prince in existence. The Nimen-seki, or Two-Faced Stone, found on the temple grounds, represents good and evil; the Shoso-den hall, which houses the temple’s treasures, is specially opened to the public in spring and autumn.

    Tachibanadera Temple was one of the destinations on our Nara Kotsu coach trip from Nara. The birthplace of Crown Prince Shotoku in 572, this is a beautiful complex of buildings, including Ohjoin, a...

  • The Kitora Tumulus Mural Painting Interactive Museum (Shijin-no-Yakata)
    rating-image
    4.5
    65 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Takaichigunasukamura Abeyama 67
    This is a museum located near the Kitora burial mound in the Kitora Tumulus area of the Asuka Historical National Government Park in Asuka Village, which preserves materials and mural paintings excavated from the ancient tombs. The Shijin (Four Deities), Chinese zodiac and celestial map murals are open to the public for limited periods, requiring registration in advance.

    Kitora Tomb is said to have the oldest Astronomical Chart in existence and it was designated a national treasure in July 2019. The wall painting was not just excavated. Since it was too old and was...

  • Shorin-ji Temple
    rating-image
    4.0
    39 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Shimo 692
    This is a temple built in 712 by Jo-e, oldest son of Fujiwara no Kamatari, as a branch temple of Myoraku-ji Temple (Tanzan Shrine). The main enshrined deity is Jizo, god of childbirth and long life, and is believed to ensure safe childbirth. The eleven-faced Kannon (goddess of mercy) statue, which features dry lacquer on a wooden core, is a national treasure standing almost the same as it was when built, and is a particularly famous masterpiece of Tempyo-period (the first half of 8th century) carving that is one of the representative pieces among Japan's carving history. The scenery is fantastic, and from inside the temple grounds one can look out over Mt. Miwa and the Yamato Basin.

    Located a bit remote place and it makes this temple very quite and peaceful place. What makes this temple very attractive is its statue of Kwannon build in 6th century! It is truly a masterpiece and...

  • Nara Prefectural Umami Kyuryo Park
    rating-image
    4.0
    50 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Kitakatsuragi-gun
    A park sitting astride Koryo-cho and Kawai-cho, Kitakatsuragi County. The park is dotted with ancient burial mounds and equipped with large fields, large play areas, a botanical garden, and a cafe. A variety of flowers bloom throughout the seasons including plum trees, roses, and azaleas, and in April they hold the Umami Tulip Fair.

    馬見丘陵にある古墳群の保全も目的としている公園 なので園内には数多くの古墳があります ナガレ山古墳は葺石や埴輪など整備され墳丘部にも上ることができます

  • Oouda Onsen Akino no Yu
    rating-image
    4.0
    21 Reviews
    Accommodations / Hot Spring
    Nara Pref. Udashi Oudahirou 250-2
    This complex facility is located in the Kokoronomori Sogofukushi Park, in Odahiro, Uda City. Attached to the facility are an outdoor natural hot spring and a cypress bath using the water from the hot spring said to be one of the prefecture’s best “Beauty’s Spring.” Bathers must wear swimsuits. There is also a restaurant directly managed by the local farm and a BBQ garden (UDASUN), where customers can enjoy BBQ without bringing anything, allowing customers to bathe and enjoy a meal in the same visit.

    奈良の長谷寺に行ったついでにここの温泉に寄りました。PH値が高く前評判が良かったのですが、当日理由が不明だが、お風呂の入れ替えを行っており男湯が無料でした。入ってみて内湯と露天の1つがとてもぬるく、無料の意味を理解しました。一緒に行った女性湯は問題が無くとてもつるつるで良い良質の温泉であったとの事。また機会があればコンディションが良いときにもう1度行きたいと思いました。休憩室も広く、別室で映画も上...

  • Ohno-ji Temple
    rating-image
    4.0
    51 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Udashi Murouono 1680
    This old temple with a very long history was first founded by En no Gyoja (En no Ozuno), the founder of Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism incorporating Shinto and Buddhist concepts), and then Kobo Daishi had the main temple building built in 824. The standing statue of Jizo Bosatsu, an important cultural property which resides in the main hall, is called the Migawari Jizo (Scapegoat Jizo) because, according to legend, it saved an innocent girl from being burnt at the stake. The temple is famous for its small weeping cherry trees, said to be over 300 years old, and the 100 year old weeping cherry trees. Carved into the rock face across the Uda River is the Miroku Magaibutsu sculpture, the tallest Buddha carving in Japan.

    Onodera Temple is a small temple located right on the road from Muroguchi-ono train station to Muro-ji temple. The highlight is a 4 meter tall Buddha image carving, carved into the mountainside...

  • Uda Animal Park
    rating-image
    4.5
    26 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nara Pref. Udashi Oudakoutsuke 75-1
    Uda Animal Park contains not only a community plaza but also an animal study center and a scenic viewing area. Visitors (subject to certain age limits) can milk cows, ride ponies, feed goats or sheep, and have other encounters with animals, as well as practicing crafts such as churning butter. They can view panel displays about animals, participate in question and answer sessions with Park employees, and enjoy other fun activities that teach them about animals.

    土曜日で多分混んでるかと思いきや、コロナウイルスの影響で、人影はまばらです。餌やり、有料の体験も全て中止です。一応一回りは見れます。チョツト物足りないけどノンビリ出来ました。駐車、入場料の無料は家族連れには良いですよ。コロナが治まつたら再訪します。

  • Matabei Cherry Trees (Hongo no Taki Sakura)
    rating-image
    4.5
    41 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Udashi Oudahongou
    The Matabei Cherry Trees are “weeping” cherry trees, located in the city of Uda and said to be 300 years old. According to legend, Goto Matabei, a military commander in the Warring States period, came to live here, and since the trees are near the ruins of his manor house, the trees are referred to as “Matabei Cherry Trees.” They produce beautiful blossoms in early April, attracting tens of thousands of cherry blossom enthusiasts each year.

    In the month of April, usually for no more than one full week, you can enjoy this giant weeping cherry tree with millions of flowers. It is known as (Goto) Matabeis Weeping Cherry ((後藤)又兵衛桜), or...

  • Ofusa Kannon
    rating-image
    4.0
    27 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Kashiharashi Ousachou 6-22
    This temple is formally called Koyasan Shingon Sect Bekkaku-honzan Kannon-ji. The temple is said to have originated when a local girl known as Ofusa-san enshrined Kannon (Bodhisattva or Goddess of Mercy) during the Edo period, and is now informally known as Ofusa Kannon. Each spring and autumn 3,800 kinds of 4,000 roses bloom for the Rose Festival, and for two months of summer more than 2,500 wind chimes are suspended in the grounds for the Wind Chime Festival.

    薔薇の時期(春、秋)や風鈴(夏)はタイミングが合えば大勢の観光客で賑わいますが、基本静かに過ごせる場所。 大和八木駅から旧街道を通ってお参りすれば街並みも楽しめます。 駐車場もありますが、なんせ狭い生活道路なので少し気を使います。 拝観料もありませんのでちょっとしたお参りに利用しています。

  • Asuka Historical Museum
    rating-image
    4.0
    30 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Takaichigunasukamura Okuyama 601
    The village of Asuka, in the Takaichi District of Nara Prefecture, whose name was once written with the characters for “Soaring Bird,” is well-known as the ancient birthplace of the nation we now call Japan. The Asuka Historical Museum was opened in 1975 to investigate, research, and exhibit cultural properties from the area around Asuka Village. The museum has artifacts excavated from sites like the Takamatsuzuka Tomb on permanent display, teaching visitors about the history and culture of Asuka from the time Buddhism was conveyed to Japan in the sixth century up to the transition of the capital to Nara in the early eighth century. The museum also contains a recreation of the Yamada-dera Temple, an early Buddhist temple erected by Soga no Kurayamada no Ishikawa no Maro, who was accused of treason after the Taika Reforms of 645.

    This Museum focuses on some of the stone statues dating back to the 7th century discovered in the region. There are a few originals and some copies. A recently discovered tomb containing some...

  • Imai-machinami Koryu Center Hanairaka
    rating-image
    4.0
    30 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Kashiharashi Imaichou 2-3-5
    A museum in Imai Town, Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture which preserves and displays materials relating to the history and culture of the area. The building was originally built as the Takaichi County Education Museum in 1903. Later, the structure was also used as the Imai town hall and today is designated a Cultural Property by Nara Prefecture. The first floor hosts dioramas replicating how Imai once looked, a theater, library, and exhibition space, while the second floor is a lecture hall. The facility also serves as an information center for Imai Town, which retains an old-fashioned townscape dating back to the Edo period.

    こちらの右手奥の部屋にある 明治10年(1877)当時の今井町模型(添付 写真参照)と 現在の今井町を比較すると 150年弱 今井町の町並みが大きな変化もなく残っていることに素晴らしさを感じます。 なお 公共交通として[近鉄・八木西口]から来られ 観光資料だけが必要な場合 [今井まちなみ交流センター 華甍]を訪問しなくとも [蘇武橋]を渡り 目の前にある《北尊坊通り》を 少し歩くと[今井町観光情報...

  • Niji no Yu Nishiyamato Branch
    rating-image
    3.5
    17 Reviews
    Accommodations / Hot Spring
    Nara prefecture Kitatsukarijo District Kamakami-machi Sayuri Tables 3-1-1
    This hot spring spa, sourced by a natural hot spring 1500 meters underground, is popular for its kakureyu (hidden bath), clay pot baths, and cave bath. The spa's non-bathing facilities include a barber shop, massage parlor, akasuri (body scrub) parlor, and beauty salon, while their restaurant offers a broad selection of food options. The spa hosts monthly events, which is sure to make it your favorite hot spring destination.

    Hot Spring - or known as Onsen in Japanese - should definitely be in your bucket list. I traveled here last winter, and I personally think there is no problem with this onsen. The place is great, the...

  • Houkiin Temple
    rating-image
    3.5
    29 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Hase 776
    This temple located in Hase, Sakurai City is where Tokudo Shonin is believed to have spent his final years. Tokudo is thought to have created of the Juichimen (11-faced) Kannon Bosatsu enshrined at Hasedera Temple, and to have established the 33 sacred places on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. The temple features a statue of Tokudo Shonin, a 13-tier stone pagoda that serves as Shonin's mausoleum, and Shonin's stepping stone, which is said to grant wishes to people who touch it.

    黙っていても勝手に参拝者が第8番霊場の大寺院、長谷寺へ遍路に来たついでに立ち寄ってくれる、と云う恵まれた寺院です。寺院としては大して努力も必要ないのでしょうね、勝手に来てくれるから。従って参拝者やお遍路さんの有難味が解らなくなる。昔の時代ならお詣りした方が「有難い」として感謝していたが、今の時代に将来を見越して寺院としての継続性と云うか、継承性を考慮した時にはお詣りしてもらった側が「有難い」と感じ...

  • Hasedera Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nara Pref. Sakuraishi Hase 731-1
    This prosperous temple, the head temple of the Shingon-shu Buzan-ha sect of Buddhism, is the eight of 33 temples on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. It was said to have originated with the installation of the Douban Hokke Sessou Zu (a bronze plaque carved with the Hokke Sutra), a National Treasure, by Domyo Shonin for Emperor Tenmu in 686. It is famous for its large collection of cultural properties, including the Juichimen (11-headed Kanzeon Bodhisattva), the temple's principal object of worship. The temple has a number of historically and cultural significant points of interest, including the 399-step stone stairs (an Important Cultural Property) leading from the Deva gate to the main temple (a National Treasure), the hanging lanterns suspended from the ceiling, and more. In late April, more than 7,000 peonies bloom in the temple gardens.

Nara Areas

around-area-map

With a reputation almost as stellar as that of Kyoto, Nara is a must-visit for those searching for the remains of "traditional Japan." The largely green Nara city holds the majority of the prefecture’s treasures, such as the iconic Todai-ji Temple, in which a 15-meter tall Great Buddha sits, and Nara Park, where deer flock to befriend passersby. While mountains are by no means hard to come by in this area, for hiking with a reward, head to the Kii Mountains’ Yoshino district in spring, when the hillsides put on an impressive display of white and pink cherry blossoms.

Nara Photo Album

Browse Interests