An ascetic training site with an area barred to women has many spots registered as UNESCO World Heritage site
Photo credit: Nara Visitors Bureau Photo: Tatehiko YanoThis 1719-meter high sacred mountain is in the southern part of Nara. Its entire area is in the Yoshino Kumano National Park and some of its historic sites including Ominesan-ji temple and the Omine Okugake route were designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2004. The mountain was used as a training site of Shugendo (a religion of Japan where followers undergo harsh training in the mountains to achieve enlightenment) 1300 years ago. It has the only sacred area barred to women in all of Japan. Ominesan-ji at the top of the mountain is one of the best spots. However, this is another area forbidden to women. Ryusen-ji temple used to be barred to women in the past but is has been open to women since 1960.
The field of flowers at the summit is a spot with a wide and expansive view including Inamura-gadake and Dainichi-yama mountains. In summer a variety of flowers create a heavenly landscape. Near the mountaintop, the training sites of Omote-gyojo and Ura-gyojo surround dynamic rock cliffs and unique rocks make for a varied climbing course. There are several mountain lodges along the trail including a large lodge for 200 people and small ones which accommodate 10. The mountain is also dotted with many hot springs. Make plans in advance because the mountain is crowded from May 3 to September 23 when the temple is open.
Address: Dorogawa, Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara
Phone: 0747-64-0333 (Ominesan Dorogawa Spa Tourism Bureau)
Directions: Train: Take a bus for one hour and 10 minutes from Shimoichiguchi Station on the Kintetsu Yoshino Line (one hour and 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station) to the final stop, Dorogwa Onsen
Car: One hour and 30 minutes from Kashihara Interchange on the Nishi Meihan Expressway (car parking available)