In this melting pot of Japanese civilization that is the Yamato Plain, there are numerous historical sites to discover off the beaten track.
Places to visit
The Hasedera Temple consists of numerous buildings in a vast area that spans the slopes of Mount Hase. From the temple gate in the main building (one of the largest wooden structures of all Nara temples), visitors climb 400 steps under a covered gallery. The temple attracts tourists, especially from late April to early May, when the peonies are in bloom, and in November for the autumn colors of the mountains.
- 20 minute walk from Hasedere Kintetsu Station; Mae Hasedera bus stop no. 55 from Kintetsu or JR Sakurai stations.
http://www.hasedera.or.jp/ (in Japanese)
The Yamanobe route
This route is mentioned in the Nihonshoki (8th century chronicle), thus becoming the oldest officially recorded road in Japan. It has been preserved as it was built more than 1,100 years ago. Today it is a wonderful 18 km journey through the countryside and mountains on the way through historical and archaeological sites.
- From Kintetsu or JR Sakurai Station.
According to ancient works, this Shinto shrine was maintained by the powerful Mononobe warrior clan since the mid-7th century. It has been used to store ancient weapons and swords, and daggers and shields are still preserved today. The main building dates from the 12th century, and offers one of the oldest examples of Shinto architecture in Japan.
- 30 minute walk from Tenri JR or Kintetsu station, 5 minute walk from Ishinokami Jingu Mae bus stop (bus # 20, 24 or 28 from Tenri JR or Kintetsu station).