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Experience Nature and Timeless History Along the Ancient Tatsuta Road and Surrounding Tourist Spots [PR]

Osaka Prefecture abounds in local gourmet delicacies and shopping hotspots, while Nara Prefecture’s main attractions are majestic shrines and temples and graceful natural landscapes. Both prefectures are linked by the historical highway Ancient Tatsuta Road. The area around the Ancient Tatsuta Road has many tourist spots where you can enjoy regional foods and places with real charm. Read on to find out about the Ancient Tatsuta Road and some of its tourist spots! Come experience a piece of history walked by many great people throughout Japan’s past, all while enjoying the sights of the natural landscape in the four seasons, from cherry blossoms to autumn leaves.

The Historical Highway That Even Appears in Classical Japanese Poetry Collections from Over 1,200 Years Ago

The Ancient Tatsuta Road that connects modern-day Sango in Nara Prefecture and Kashiwara in Osaka Prefecture was established as a government road in the Nara Period (710 - 794 AD) for use by the Emperor and Chinese and Korean envoys when visiting Yamato (the old name for Japan). In the Man’yoshu, the oldest existing collection of classical Japanese poetry compiled from the latter half of the 7th century until around the late 8th century, there are many poems that express longing for one’s hometown or sentiment towards family and friends in which the Ancient Tatsuta Road appears. It is also known as a famous spot for seeing cherry blossoms and autumn leaves, so this is an extremely important place for this region.

Name: Ancient Tatsuta Road
Official website: https://www.town.sango.nara.jp/kensetsukeizai/tatutakodoupurojekuto.html
Access: Around an 8-minute walk from Sango Station on the JR Yamatoji Line.

Sightseeing Locations to Visit Around the Ancient Tatsuta Road

The area around the Ancient Tatsuta Road abounds in places worth visiting, such as historical shrines and temples, picturesque scenery, and restaurants where you can enjoy regional specialties that make use of the region’s natural bounty. Be sure to stop by them when you visit the Ancient Tatsuta Road.

Sightseeing Spots

1. Taiheiji District

This historical streetscape on a small hill is located in the vicinity of central Kashiwara in the eastern part of Osaka Prefecture. On the side of the hill at Ishi Shrine, there are camphor trees that are around 800 years old and have been designated as natural monuments. Inside the temple grounds is the cornerstone of the eastern tower of the famous Nara period temple, Chishikiji. Even now, a natural spring known as Seijosen bubbles nearby.

Name: Taiheiji District, Kashiwara
Access: Around a 10-minute walk from Ando Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line; around a 20-minute walk from Katashimo Station; or around a 20-minute walk from Kashiwara Station on the JR Yamatoji Line.

2. Kamenose

The Yamato River flows from Nara Prefecture to Osaka Prefecture. At the border of the two prefectures is a section of the river known as “Kamenose” (turtle rapids). It’s called that because in the middle of the river is a giant stone that looks just like a turtle poking its head out of its shell. It’s also known as a famous spot for cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. Landslides have occurred here since old times, which you can learn about in detail at the Kamenose Landslide Museum of History.

Name: Kamenose Landslide Museum of History
Official website: https://www.kkr.mlit.go.jp/yamato/guide/landslide/index.html
Visiting hours: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (reservations required)
Closed: Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays
Address: 28-1 Toge, Kashiwara-shi, Osaka
Access: Around a 20-minute walk from Kawachi-Katakami Station on the JR Yamatoji Line.

3. Takaida Yokoana Kofun Group

Takaida Yokoana Park is a public park where the national historical landmark “Takaida Yokoana Kofun Group” is located. The Takaida Yokoana kofun are ancient graves made from digging caves out of volcanic bedrock. They were created from around the mid-6th century to the first half of the 7th century. In total, including those yet to be discovered, it's estimated that there are over 200 graves here. Inside the park grounds is the Kashiwara City Historical Museum where you can learn about the history and cultural treasures of Kashiwara.

Name: Takaida Yokoana Park
Official website: http://www.city.kashiwara.osaka.jp/docs/2014090900018/
Closed: None
Cost: Free
Address: 1598 Takaida, Kashiwara-shi, Osaka
Access: Around a 5-minute walk from Takaida Station on the JR Yamatoji Line or around a 15-minute walk from Kawachi-Kokubu Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line.

Name: Kashiwara City Historical Museum
Official website: http://www.city.kashiwara.osaka.jp/docs/2014082600049/
Visiting hours: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm)
Closed: Monday (open in case of national holidays), New Year period (December 29 - January 3)
Entry fee: Free
Address: 1598-1 Oaza Takaida, Kashiwara-shi, Osaka
Access: Around a 5-minute walk from Takaida Station on the JR Yamatoji Line or around a 15-minute walk from Kawachi-Kokubu Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line.

4. Tatsuta Shrine

This shrine is dedicated to Kaze no Kami (also known as Fujin), the Japanese deity of wind. Around 2,100 years ago during the reign of Emperor Sujin, bad harvests and plagues were prevalent. At the time, the Emperor was visited by a great deity with a divine message. The legend goes that when he did as he was told and erected a shrine, there were abundant crops and the pestilence subsided. This is thought to be that shrine. In recent years, because the temple protects against the severity of the wind, it has mustered beliefs that it has the miraculous ability to grant safe voyage, so worshipers visit to ask for safe flights and boat journeys.

Name: Tatsuta Shrine
Official website: http://www.tatsutataisha.jp/index.php
Visiting hours: Visit freely, amulet shop open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (prayer reception until 4:00 pm)
Address: 1-29-1 Tatsuno-minami, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around a 5-minute walk from Sango Station on the JR Yamatoji Line.

5. Kaiun Bridge

Kaiun Bridge is located in Sango, Ikoma District in Nara Prefecture. It’s a vermilion bridge that leads to Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple. The bridge spans Daimon Dam and is 106m long and 30m high. Construction was completed in 1931. Due to its historical value, it was registered as a Tangible Cultural Asset of Japan in 2007. Recently, a bungy platform was installed at the bridge, making it the only bungy jump in the entire Kansai region. Why not come experience the thrill while attaining a better fortune (“kaiun” means “better fortune” in Japanese) at the same time?

Name: Kaiun Bridge
Address: Shigisan-nishi, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around a 5-minute walk from Shigi Ohashi bus stop (take the Nara Kotsu Bus from Oji Station bound for Shigisanmon)

Name: Kaiun Bungy
Official website: http://www.bungyjapan.com/kaiun/?lang=en
Opening hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm)
Closed: Wednesday, Thursday *May also be closed due to typhoons, storms, or heavy snowfall
Cost: 1st jump costs 9,000 yen; 2nd jump on the same day costs 5,000 (subsequent jumps cost 7,000 yen per jump) (you will need to sign an authorization form and bring a form of ID)
*The following are the expected prices from January 1, 2020.
1st jump costs 10,000 yen; 2nd jump on the same day costs 6,000 (subsequent jumps cost 8,000 yen per jump) (you will need to sign an authorization form and bring a form of ID)

6. Heiryuji Temple

The famous politician and member of the royal family Prince Shotoku, who lived during the Asuka period (538 AD - 710 AD), encountered a deer that had been mauled by a dog while traveling. It is said that he established the temple in order to mourn the deer. Prince Shotoku also used to appear on the 10,000 yen bank note and contributed greatly to the foundation of Buddhism in Japan.

Name: Heiryuji Temple
Opening hours: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Address: 2-11-60 Seya-higashi, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around a 10-minute walk from Seya-Kitaguchi Station on the Kintetsu Ikoma Line.

Dining Spots

1. Katashimo Winery

This is the oldest winery in western Japan. It got its start when it began using Japanese sake brewing techniques to make wine. Fields of grapes spread out over a steep slope, and from the observation deck, you can see the streets of Osaka and the Yamato River. The grapes, which are produced by the winery's own farm with organic fertilizers and reduced agricultural chemicals, are certified eco produce from Osaka. At the adjoining cafe and bar, you can enjoy wine straight from the winery. Devices used in the making of the wine, which are actually acknowledged as cultural assets by the city, are on display here, and you can learn about the 100 years of history of Osakan wine.
About a 5-minute walk away, you can also purchase wine produced here at the wine shop which sells directly from the winery.

Name: Katashimo Wineries Museum Cafe & Bar
*No food is offered.
Official website: http://www.kashiwara-wine.com/
Opening hours: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Closed: Tuesday, Wednesday (and extra irregular holidays)
Cost: Museum entry free *Guided winery tours vary depending on the option chosen (several held throughout the month)
Address: 2-9-14 Taiheiji, Kashiwara-shi, Osaka
Access: Around a 15-minute walk from Kashiwara Station on the JR Yamatoji Line or around a 10-minute walk from Ando Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line.

2. Ange Blanc

This is a patisserie that’s popular with locals with a lineup of sweets that make the most of the Kashiwara region’s unique features. Inside you will find an assortment of cutely wrapped sweets. The popular freshly baked Kashiwara Kawachi Wine Castella that uses wine from the Katashimo Winery has a faint hint of a wine aroma and is so soft and moist that it practically melts in your mouth.

Name: Ange Blanc
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kashiwara.angeblanc
Opening hours: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Closed: No regular closing days
Address: 4-2-21 Hozenji, Kashiwara-shi, Osaka
Access: Around a 1 minute walk from Hozenji Station on the Kintetsu Osaka Line.

Activity Spots

1. Agricultural Park, Shigisan Nodokamura

This is a place to enjoy harvesting fruits and vegetables, having a barbecue, doing athletics, and experiencing jam making surrounded by nature. One of the attractive points is that you don’t need to make a reservation in advance to participate in the fruit and vegetable picking, as it is available all year round. Barbecue facilities are provided, so you can easily enjoy the flavor of food grilled over a charcoal flame.

Name: Agricultural Park, Shigisan Nodokamura
Official website: http://www.sigisan-nodokamura.com/index.html
Opening hours: [March - November] 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
[December - February] 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Closed: Thursday (open on national holidays), no closing days in May or October, Wednesday and Thursday during winter (December - February)
Cost: Adults (middle school students and over) 600 JPY, children (age 4 to elementary school age) 350 JPY
*December - February prices: Adults 300 JPY, children 100 JPY
Address: 1-7-1 Shigi-minamihata, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around 5 minutes by shuttle bus from Shigisanmon bus stop (take the Nara Kotsu bus from either Shigisanshita Station on the Kintetsu Ikoma Line or Oji Station on the JR Yamatoji Line)

Places to Stay Around the Ancient Tatsuta Road

After enjoying sightseeing at these various places, you should stay somewhere in the area around the Ancient Tatsuta Road. The area has plenty of highlights: bathe in an onsen (hot spring) while gazing at the majestic natural scenery, indulge in traditional Japanese kaiseki and hotpot-style cooking, and experience temple life at a temple priest’s quarters within an actual temple. Forget the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend a lavish time at an inn where time passes slowly.

Shigisan Tourist Hotel

This is an inn with a natural onsen that is surrounded by natural scenery. The inn has a reputation for its cuisine which incorporates local seasonal food.

Official website: https://www.shigisan-english.com/index.html
Cost for 1 adult per night: 7,920 JPY - 33,200 JPY
Address: 2-40 Shigisan-nishi, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around a 5-minute walk from Shigisanmon bus stop (take the bus for Shigisan from Shigisanshita Station on the Kintetsu Ikoma Line)

Kakimotoya

This is a well-established ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that stands on the heights of the Quasi-National Park Mt. Shigisan. From the popular guest rooms that include rotenburo (open-air bath), you can look out over the picturesque seasonal scenery.

Official website: https://www.kakimotoya-english.com/index.html
Cost for 1 adult per night: 5,520 JPY - 46,920 JPY
Address: 5-8 Shigisan-nishi, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around a 3-minute walk from Shigisan bus stop (take the bus for 10 minutes for Shigisanmon from Shigisanshita Station on the Kintetsu Ikoma Line)

Jyusouya Inn

This is a ryotei ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn with a restaurant) that has been in business in the historical Shigisan area for 90 years. The highlight of this traditional inn is experiencing its kaiseki and hotpot-style dishes in which you can really appreciate the seasons in a peaceful atmosphere.

Official website: http://www.jyusouya.jp/en/
Cost for 1 adult per night: 19,440 JPY - 28,600 JPY
Address: 3-27 Shigisan-nishi, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around a 10-minute taxi ride from Oji Station on the JR Yamatoji Line

Shigisan Gyokuzoin

This is the Shigisan priests’ quarters inside the Quasi-National Park. This is an experience that differs completely from a regular ryokan. Enjoy the uniqueness of the four seasons in the quiet stillness you could only expect to find in a temple’s lodgings.

Official website: http://www.gyokuzo.com/
Cost for 1 adult per night: 9,900 JPY - 14,300 JPY
Address: 2280 Shigisan-nishi, Sango-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara
Access: Around a 13-minute walk from the Shigi Ohashi bus stop (take the bus for Shigi Ohashi from Oji Station on the JR Yamatoji Line)

The places introduced in this article are full of high points that only people who have been there truly understand. Be sure to visit the Ancient Tatsuta Road and the area surrounding it to get a deep and authentic Japanese experience!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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