Koriyama Castle, famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms, and Yata-dera Temple, surrounded by magnificent hydrangeas.
Yamatokoriyama City, located in the northwestern part of the Nara Basin, prospered as a town of Koriyama Castle since the reign of Toyotomi Hidenaga (the younger brother of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the famous warrior of the 16th century).
Koriyama Castle, famed for its cherry blossoms, is where many stone Buddha images were used for the building of the fortress' stone walls. We can still see a variety of these stone images of Buddha and 'Jizo' (guardian deity of children) set upside down in the walls. You can enjoy a magnificent view of the Yamato Plain from the remains of the main citadel. The city is also famed for goldfish and ornamental carp production. Fish farms span a gross area of some 100 hectares and produce 80 million goldfish and 2 million Nishiki-goi carp each year, the largest yield of such fish in the country. During the Oshiro-matsuri Festival (Castle Festival) held in April every year, competitive exhibitions of fish are held among the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Also, every August, a goldfish catching championship, in which the best goldfish catcher in Japan is decided, and a goldfish examination take place.
The Yata-kyuryo Hills spread throughout the western part of the city and have a fertile and rich natural landscape. Kongosen-ji Temple, better known as Yata-dera Temple, is situated halfway up the hills and is famous for its gregarious hydrangeas. Some 8,000 hydrangeas, over 60 different kinds, are planted there. During the flower season between June and July the precincts are full of visitors and worshippers.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 2h 15 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line (Nozomi), and 30 min from Kyoto to Yamato-Saidai-ji Station by Kintetsu Kyoto Line (limited express). 6 min from Yamato-Saidai-ji to Kintetsu Koriyama Station by Kintetsu Kashihara Line.
*It takes 2h 45 min from Tokyo to Kyoto Station by Hikari Shinkansen.
From Osaka :
[Rail] 30 min from Tennoji to Koriyama Station by JR Yamato-ji Line (rapid service).