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Visiting shrines/temples and old homes - contrasting Heritage Sites

3nights,4days Departure from Osaka

Be sure to enjoy the mountain and rural scenery en route to your destination. This is a particularly appropriate trip for experiencing Japanese culture and the beauty of nature.

  • 3nights,4days

Nara

[Traveling]

Osaka -- <JR Osaka Loop Line 15 mins.> -- Tsuruhashi -- <Kintetsu Nara Line Express 35 mins.> -- Kintetsu Nara -- <strolling on foot> -- [Kofuku-ji Temple][Nara Park][Kasuga-taisha Shrine][Todai-ji Temple] -- <15 mins. by walk> -- [Great Buddha Hall] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Nara National Museum] -- [Gankou-ji Temple (Gokuraku-bo)]

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

Kofuku-ji Temple

In the Kokuhokan, there are many must-see precious Buddhist statues and sculptures including the Asura statue with 3 faces and 6 arms created about 1,300 years ago.

Nara Park

Take a walk in Nara Park for 20 minutes or so. The deer here are very well cared for as they are believed to be messengers of God.

Kasuga-taisha Shrine

Visit the Kasuga-taisha Shrine world heritage site for a great sense of ancient Japan. Its main hall, Honden, is very colorful and there are 300 varieties of plants in the garden - you can enjoy the beauty of each season whatever time of year you visit.

Todai-ji Temple

After walking for another 15 minutes you arrive at the Todai-ji Temple world heritage site, which is considered the pinnacle of Buddhist culture. It houses the Great Buddha that surprises everyone with its sheer size and other outstanding Buddha statues, so you will not be able to take everything in no matter how much time you have. In front of the temple gates are some souvenir shops with a very lively atmosphere.

Nara National Museum

Walk for 10 minutes to the "Nara National Museum" where many Buddhist art masterpieces are exhibited. The best collection of museum goods is found here. You can also take a short break at the museum's restaurant.

Gangou-ji Temple

Walk for about 20 minutes in the park to the Gangou-ji (Gokuraku-bo) Temple world heritage site. The oldest temple in Japan was moved and reconstructed at this location.

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1st Day

Kyoto

[Traveling]

Kintetsu Nara -- <Kintetsu Nara Line Express 50 mins.> -- Kyoto -- <15 mins. by bus> -- [Nijo Castle] -- <18 mins. by bus> -- [Kinkaku-ji Temple] -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Shijo Keihan -- <strolling on foot> -- [Yasaka-jinja Shrine][Maruyama Park][Chion-in Temple][Ninen-zaka Slope][Sannen-zaka Slope][Yasaka Pagoda][Kiyomizu-dera Temple] -- Kiyomizumichi -- <20 mins. by bus> -- [Shijokawara-machi] -- <8 mins. by walk> -- [Nishiki-koji Street]

Nijo Castle

A castle built on a flat plain by Ieyasu Tokugawa, who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1603, as the family residence in Kyoto. The gorgeous structure of the Ninomaru Palace and wall paintings are must-see sights. The garden has over two hundred cherry trees, which are beautifully lit during the cherry blossom season.

Kinkaku-ji Temple

Go to another world heritage site, the Kinkaku-ji Temple, on a No. 12 city bus. Be sure not to miss the incredible gardens and beautiful shape of the temple reflected in the pond. Souvenirs are also available inside.

Yasaka-jinja Shrine

Enjoy areas of green verdure such as the Maruyama Park and head to the nearby Yasaka-jinja Shrine. Yasaka-jinja Shrine is a very old shrine that is said to have been built in 656, and is affectionately referred to as "Gion-san" by the local people. This shrine becomes a hub of activity during the Gion Festival.

Chion-in Temple

Walk through Maruyama Park and visit the Chion-in Temple. There is plenty to see in this temple including one of the largest temple gates in the world, as well as gardens and a bell.

Yasaka-no-to pagoda

Then, walk up the Ninen-zaka slope and the Sannen-zaka slope while enjoying the view of the Yasaka-no-to pagoda.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Tour the Kiyomizu-dera Temple world heritage site. The view from the main hall built on the cliffs is exquisite.

Shijyokawara-machi

The most popular entertainment district in Kyoto. There are many first-class department stores in Kawara-machi town.

Nishiki-koji Street

A walk down Nishiki-koji Street, known as the kitchen of Kyoto, 400m shopping street where there are many shops specializing in foodstuff, or Shinkyogoku Street where many souvenir shops stand side by side, is also recommended.

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2nd Day

Shirakawa-go

[Traveling]

Kyoto -- <JR Limited Express 130 mins.> -- Kanazawa -- <90 mins. by bus> -- [Shirakawa-go]

Shirakawa-go

You will see a village of gassho-style houses such as the "Wada House", a 300-year-old traditional folk dwelling. The panorama of 113 such houses viewed from the observation deck of Hagimachi Town is splendid. Let's experience Japanese life as it was so long ago in the Minkaen or Gassho-style hamlet. The village of Gassho-style houses with sloped roofs in Shirakawa-go is a registered World Heritage site.

Jin Homura Museum of Art

Take time to see the "Jin Homura Museum of Art", the painter known internationally for his distinctive works based on red, blue and yellow, Homura's studio housed in a folk dwelling.

Doburoku-matsuri-no-yakata

Doburoku-matsuri-no-yakata that reproduces the atmosphere of a traditional festival.
The beauty of these folk dwellings lit up at night is indescribable.
Some of the Gassho-style folk houses also offer accommodation.

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3rd Day

Hida, Nagoya

[Traveling]Shirakawa-go -- <50 mins. by bus> -- Takayama -- <10 mins. by bus> -- [Hida Folk Village] -- <10 mins. by bus> -- [Festa Forest][Chanoyu-no-mori] -- <10 mins. by bus> -- Takayama -- <JR Limited Express (120 mins.)> -- Nagoya -- <10 mins. by bus> -- [Noritake Garden] -- <Subway Higashimaya Line 5 mins.> -- Sakae -- [Sakae]

Hida Folk Village

Takayama is a city that looks out over the mountains of the Japan Alps and still has old town streets. Visit the "Hida Folk Village" on the circular bus route inside the city and see the precious folk dwellings carefully preserved in the gassho-style.

Festa Forest

Take the bus again to get to "Festa Forest", the first underground dome in Japan where you can enjoy beautifully decorated "yatai" floats and the largest drum in the world. There is also a display of highly intricate clockwork dolls. In the adjacent "Chanoyu-no-mori", national treasure-class ceramics are on exhibit. You can drink tea from a cup made by a master craftsman.

Noritake Garden

A short distance from JR Nagoya Station is "Noritake Garden", where old Noritake ceramics are exhibited. You can observe the interesting manufacturing process, and also do some shopping or enjoy a bite to eat.

Sakae

In Sakae, the central area, there are many first-class department stores, and the TV tower that is lit up at night and Odori Park are very romantic.
Stay the night in Nagoya.
In case of returning to Osaka, it takes about 1 hour by JR Tokaido Shinkansen.

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4th Day