Or, in English, “the mountainside trail”. This famous trail leads alongside the mountains of Nara, through farmlands and past old temples, it is one of the most beautiful daywalks to do if you want to experience a bit of Japan’s rural areas. We walked this trail a couple of years ago, but wanted to come back to see it during sakura, so we did!
The trail takes about 4 to 5 hours to complete and starts either at Tenri or Sakurai station (depending on what direction you’re waking it, north or south). This time we started in the south, and made or way north. The blossoms were already falling down, but I actually like that very much because of the beautiful clouds of whirling sakura and everything covered in pink petals :-) We passed a couple of temples at the beginning of the route.
Then we stumbled upon a temple ritual, only held once a year and we were very lucky to see it (said the Japanese old ladies that ran to us to explain what was going on :p). And it was really cool! The priests were carrying some mysterious box, everyone was bowing and they were chanting an eerie song; imagine the wind blowing through a drafty old mansion: that sound! It was very mysterious and supercool to stumble upon on such a hidden location in the mountains in Nara. We continued walking north and passed all kinds of awesome stuff like statues with winterhats, little funny statues on the roofs, and abandoned buses :p. There is soooo much to see on the yama no be no michi! Sometimes you walk through forest, then you pass through large fields with crops, or a small village. All the way you have beautiful views over Nara.
And the whole path is riddled with shrines and temples. Here we found a particulary nice temple, with a beautiful garden! The sakura were beautiful there! What’s with the dressing up of statues??
Farmers sell their goods on the trail everywhere. Here are some onions!
Then we suddenly saw this creature!!! Ward wanted to pick it up but it slithered away, luckily he didn’t because at home we found out this was actually a highly poisonous Tiger Keelback ….. whoops!!After about 4 hours we neared the end of the trail, marked by a huge gate. We bowed, and headed back to the train station.
The Nara mountainside trail is absolutely awesome!! It is a bit out of the way but so worth hiking when you are in Japan! You get to see all the beautiful things, old temples, bambooforests, emperor graveyards, farmlands, fresh strawberries, snakes, what more can I say :p