Explore spiritual power spots in ancient Yamato
The spirit of YAMATO
Explore Yamato region by visiting the oldest shrine and temple full of legends and traditions date back more than 2,000 years.
You will feel the presence of kami in nature and people’s heart.
Explore the oldest and the first ranking shrine in Yamato region, Ohmiwa shrine.
Drink the holy spring water of Sai shrine from sacred Mt. Miwa, believed to heal any diseases.
See the grand view of Yamato region with oldest tomb mound of a mysterious figure, shaman queen, Himiko.
Visit Hase temple deep in the mountain with seasonal beauty with flowers.
<Half Day course>
JR Line Nara station ➡Ohmiwa Shrine➡Hasedera Temple➡JR Nara station
We will meet at the JR Nara station.
Then, take a train of very local, one-man JR “Manyo Mahoroba” line that runs only 1 or 2 train every hour for about 30 minutes.
The railway is almost along the Yamanobe-no-michi, said to be the oldest road of Japan, where many historical sites and monuments lies, and you can enjoy the view of the countryside with rice fields.
From the Miwa station, within about a 10 minutes’ walk, we will get to a Shinto torii gate of Ohmiwa shrine. During the trip, I will explain the history of Japan, about Shintoism, origin and legends of Omiwa shrine, as well as the basic manners how to worship Shinto gods in shrines.
Please feel free to ask any questions about anything on the way.
●Omiwa shrine (大神神社)
It is also called “Miwa myojin”, and said to be the oldest shrine in Japan. The Miwa mountain is the object of worship and has been believed to be sacred as Omononushi no Kami placed his soul in it. He has been worshiped as the guardian of the people’s lives in general, such as; prosperity and development of agriculture, industries, and commerce, healing, and medicine, safe making, safe traveling, happy marriages, as well as increasing the happiness of the world.
Many legends and stories are written and told down through centuries, and many dedicated believers across the nation visit this shrine in many occasions. Many rituals and prayers, annual events, marriage ceremonies in traditional styles are held. Recently, Miwa mountain is gaining popularity as one of the leading power spots. It has a waterfall, old Japanese cedars and sacred rocks called “iwakura”, dwelling gods. In Sai shrine, 5 minutes’ walk from the Ohmiwa shrine, you can drink pure spring water, which has been believed to cure all kinds of diseases, and anyone can drink from the well.
From the nearby observatory, you can overlook the good view of Yamato area, including Yamato three mountains, the “Hashihaka tumulus” which is said to be Japan’s oldest, and believed to be of Himiko’s, a legendary shaman queen of Yamato in 3rd period.
After leaving the Omiwa shrine, we visit Hasedera temple by Kintetsu railway.
From the train station, you will walk through the old Pilgrimage routes with traditional inns and souvenir shops to the Niou gate, the entrance of Hasedera temple. Along the way, have a taste of a popular kusa mochi, a traditional Japanese sweet made from mochi rice with leaves o Japanese Mugwort (yomogi), filled with sweet red bean paste.
●Hase-dera Temple (長谷寺）
Surrounded by mountains in all directions, Hase dera temple is especially popular due to its seasonal flower beauties. The best times of year are in spring when Sakura, or cherry blossoms and Chinese peonies are in bloom. Autumn is another beautiful time with many maple trees have turned to stunning red. As located on the slope of the mountain, we will walk up the sloping corridor to get to the main hall.
Many important cultural properties include the main hall and the main statue, the Eleven-Faced Kannnon, or the Goddess of Mercy of 9.3 meters, said to be the largest wooden statue in Japan. The stage of the main hall is similar to that of famous Kiyomizu-temple in Kyoto, and has an amazing view! Why don’t you ask for a beautiful Shuin (朱印), or a seal stamp of the temple, handwritten by a priest or special staff with ink brush just in front of you.
<One Day Course>
JR Nara station ➡Ohmiwa Shrine➡Hasedera Temple➡Murouji Temple➡Murou Ryuketsu Temple
After finishing the half-day course, we take another train to “Murou-guchi-Ouno”, and visit “Murouji Temple by bus or taxi, further deep in nature.
This temple is a Buddhist temple of Shingon school, located between Nara and Mie prefectures. located deep in nature. Murouji has been called “Nyonin-Koya”(Mt Koya for women), since it has allowed women to visit, while famous Mount Koya in Wakayama Prefecture had not permitted women to visit to become nuns. You will walk up many stone steps to reach the symbolic, charming Five-story pagoda. Many old Buddhist statues are also the feature of this temple.
●Murou Ryuketsu Shrine
Close to Murouji Temple, but located further in the mountain. This shrine worship Ryujin, or Dragon god, in charge of water and rain. From ancient times, Imperial envoy was sent to this sacred site to do special rituals and prayers for rain. You will see many tall old Japanese cedars powerfully standing in the compound. You will also have access to a rocky mountain with a cave, believed the Dragon god dwells.
✴︎ For a Half day course, if we have lunch in between, it might take longer time according to the train schedule.
✴︎ If you want to shorten the time, we can take taxi rides.
<Half Day Course> 6 hours ¥7,500 / person ~
<One Day Course > 8.5 hours ¥20,000 (1-3 persons) ~