Nara, which was an ancient capital, has many sacred power spots. Here are five spots that are especially recommended.
1. Omiwa Shrine
If you're looking for power spots in Nara, you can't miss this shrine that is dedicated to Mt. Miwa. It is among Japan's most famous ancient shrines, and is one of the 22 Shrines worshipped by the Imperial Family over the years. The vast grounds are filled with trees and has a solemn atmosphere. In addition to the main shrine, there are many shrines to visit such as the Kuehiko Shrine, dedicated to the deity of wisdom, and the Sai Shrine, dedicated to the deity of health and recovery from illness. It is thought to be the manner to first go to the Haraedo Shrine, the shrine to purify the body and soul, to the right of the main shrine. There are instructions there on how to pay your respects.
2. Mt. Miwa
This mountain, to which Omiwa Shrine is dedicated, is a noble mountain that appears in Japanese mythology. It is a sacred area where the spirits are said to reside in each tree and plant, and which people were not allowed to enter in the past. Today, you can register at Sai Shrine on the Omiwa Shrine grounds and enter the mountain to pay your respects. If you are visiting Omiwa Shrine, you will definitely want to go to the mountain as well. The entrance fee is 300 JPY (no group discounts) and it will take two to three hours to climb up and see the mountain. To enter, you will have to meet the criteria of a visiting foreign tourist.
(1) You must be accompanied by a Japanese guide or be proficient enough in Japanese to understand the shrine staff's explanations.
(2) You must have a mobile phone with service in Japan.
3. Isonokami Jingu Shrine
This is an old shrine where a legendary sword that appears in Japanese mythology is enshrined. Like Omiwa Shrine, it is one of the 22 Shrines revered by the Imperial Family. There is a sacred area surrounded by a fence behind the main shrine, to which entry is forbidden. The shrine grounds have long been beloved and read in waka poems. It is a refreshing place surrounded by trees. Chickens, which are considered to be sacred birds that announce the morning as messengers of the heavens, roam freely in the grounds so you can interact with them.
4. Ryuketsu Shrine / Myokissho Ryuketsu
Uda City in Nara is a place where legends of oni demons and mountain wizards have been handed down. It has many places to see, but two that are most worth seeing are the power spots, Ryuketsu Shrine, and the Myokissho Ryuketsu cave upriver of it. During the Nara Period (710-794) to the Heian Period (794-1185), sacred ceremonies to pray for rain were held at the shrine at the Imperial Family's command. The deity enshrined there is Ryujin, the deity of water, who is said to live in the Myokissho Ryuketsu cave. The Myokissho Ryuketsu is a cave that has been considered to be sacred from ancient times. It is dark and cool even during the day, giving it a mystic atmosphere.
5. Momonoo Fall
This is a waterfall that is about 23m high, located deep in a mountain forest. It is known as a place for aesthetic training in esoteric Buddhism and Shugendo (mountain asceticism). It is still considered to be a magical power spot, and many people still stand under the fall for their aesthetic training. It is also a beautiful spot that has long been read in waka poems, and offers seasonal nature to enjoy. It is a part of a hiking trail, so is recommended for those who want to immerse themselves in Nara's nature.
How was it? In the land of Nara, with its long history and rich nature, there are many power spots, including those that are well known, and others that are not. We hope you will find your favorite spot.
*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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