Destinations

TAKE A ROAD TRIP TO NARA AND ENJOY!

There are still hidden treasures in Nara, Japan’s ancient capital. Read on for a road trip in Nara Prefecture’s northwestern part, rich in history and nature.

Route
Nishi-Meihan Expressway Horyu-ji Interchange
↓3 km, 12 min
Horyu-ji Temple
↓5 km, 20 min
Daruma-ji Temple
↓7 km, 25 min
Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple
↓8.5 km, 22 min
Nishi-Meihan Road Kashiba Interchange


Ikaruga Town

Home to Horyu-ji Temple that was built in the 7th century and other structures associated with Prince Shotoku (574-622), this is a town steeped in ancient history.

Horyu-ji Temple

The oldest surviving wooden structure in the world, Horyu-ji Temple was Japan’s first entry in the World Heritage list. Its vast site is home to many of the country’s National Treasures. Guided tours in several languages are available.

Tatsuta River

Tatsuta River has been known for its beautiful autumn leaves since time immemorial. Their exquisite colors were extolled in haiku poems as many as 1,000 years ago. There is even a legend that the popular dish tatsuta-age (deep-fried chicken flavored with soy sauce and sake) has taken its name from the leaves floating in this river.

Oji Town

Standing at Nara Prefecture’s northwestern side, Oji is an important transportation hub between Nara and Osaka. A visit to Oji is at the same time a dive into the historic past and a glimpse at the town’s modern development.

Daruma-ji Temple and Yukimaru

Another temple associated with Prince Shotoku, Daruma-ji’s main object of worship is the Thousand-armed Kannon (Bodhisattva of Mercy), which actually has 392 arms. Yukimaru is Oji’s mascot character, a white dog that is said to owe its name and look to the prince’s beloved pet!

Mt. Myojin

At 274 m in height, Mt. Myojin is perfect enough for a walk but what is truly exceptional is the view from its top. On a clear day you can see as far as the Akashi Kaikyo Strait

Hiking

Between Nara and Osaka there are many mountains, in essence in one continuous line. Since several mountains are accessible by car near the summit, this area is best for light trekking.

Mt. Katsuragi

Famous for its azaleas and its spectacular view.

Mt. Shigi

The mountain road from Mt. Shigi to Mt. Ikoma is best for driving. The night view is also great!

Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple

The temple located on the flank of Mt. Shigi is related to Prince Shotoku. And you’ll get to meet a giant tiger!

Mt. Kongo

Extending a little to the south is Mt. Kongo and its 1,000 m summit, overlooking the whole Kansai area.

Take a break at the service area!

At the Kashiba Service Area, try Kamukura ramen, about which is said that you’ll never forget its taste if you eat it three times, or the superbly thick cream Cremia soft serve ice cream, and search for souvenirs that can’t be found elsewhere in Japan. Breathe in the refreshing country air and take the road back filled with lasting memories!

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