A Buddhist ideal world atlas Mandala, woven from lotus threads. A god generous enough to grant one word wishes.
The Taima-Katsuragi area is situated at the eastern foot of the Nijo-Katsuragi-Kongo Mountains bordering Nara and Osaka prefectures. Many old shrines and temples full of legends, and Mt. Katsuragi-san's beauty add their inimitable touch to the primal scenery of Japan enjoyed by many hikers throughout the year.
Taima-dera Temple is known to have been founded in the 7th century. Enshrined in the main temple is the legendary Mandala. Woven with dyed lotus threads by Princess Chujo, it is a symbolic chart of paradise depicting the world of spiritual enlightenment and a variety of gods, goddesses and saints. You can try your hand at 'shakyo' (sutra copying) like the Princess who copied some 1,000 rolls of sutra and earned merit, or 'shabutsu' by drawing the Buddha found in the Taima Mandala. The three-storied pagoda there is believed to have been built in the 8th century.
Sekko-ji Temple at the north end of Taima-dera Temple is known for its peonies. There are some 7,000 plants, 400 different varieties, and during the flower season from April to May the precincts are filled with crowds of visitors and worshippers.
Hitokotonushi-jinja Shrine, at the southern foot of Mt. Katsuragi-san, is dedicated to Hitokotonushi-no-kami, revered as the god that grants wishes if they are spoken in just one single word. The lawn-covered hill near the top of the 960-meter-high Mt. Katsuragi-san is extremely famous for its azaleas in the spring, in addition to the dogtooth violets in early summer, pampas grass in fall and its snow-covered scenery in winter. The mountain covered in azaleas is a must-see attraction in May. From the viewing spot atop the mountain you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the Yamato San-zan (three major mountains in Yamato (present-day Nara)), the city of Osaka and Awaji-shima Island in the distance.
[Rail] To Taima:2h 30 min from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 20 min from Shin-Osaka to Tennoji Station by Subway Midosuji Line. 45 min from Abenobashi (Tennnoji) to Taima-dera Station by Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line.
To Katsuragi:30 min from Abenobashi to Shakudo Station by Kintetsu Line (regular express), and 8 min from Shakudo to Kintetsu Gose Station by Kintetsu Line. 7 min from Kintetsu Gose Station to Katsuragi Ropeway-mae by Nara Kotsu Bus.
[Rail] Take Kintetsu Kyoto/Kashihara Line and transfer at Kashihara-jingu-mae Station. 15 min from Kashihara-jingu-mae to Taima-dera Station by Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line (rapid service heading for Abenobashi Station).