Hidden historic spot at the foot of Mt. Omine-san. The village is one of the homes of the ancient Japanese mountain religion, 'Shugendo,' and is registered as a World Heritage Site.
The village of Tenkawa is about a one-hour bus ride into the bosom of Yoshinoyama in the center of Nara, which is known for its cherry blossoms. It is at the heart of the Nara Prefecture side of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range," which is registered as a World Heritage. Tenkawa is located at the foot of Mt. Omine-san, one of the homes of the ancient Japanese mountain religion, 'Shugendo,' and it attracts throngs of ascetic practitioners in summer.
As Mt. Omine-san is still regarded as a place for rigid ascetic training, the stone marker at the foot of the mountain warns that females are not allowed beyond that point. The training entails climbing the steep mountain path up to Kumano while praying to the gods and lasts for one week each summer. Ryusen-ji Temple is the starting place to climb Mt. Omine-san. Nearby Dorogawa-onsen Hot Spring attracts tourists and ascetic practitioners alike.
Tenkawa Village is particularly known for its water, which says a lot, considering the abundance of water in Japan. The area contains a cluster of Dorogawa springs known as "gorogoro water," which literally means "rumbling water." Through the village flows the scenic Ten-no-kawa (Milky Way) mountain stream, from which the village gets its name. Nearby is Tenkawa Dai-Benzaiten Shrine, which enshrines Benzaiten, the God of water.
Benzaiten became famous as the Goddess of art when the Hindu Goddess Sarasvat was introduced to ancient Japan from India. Every year, tourists flock to Tenkawa Dai-Benzaiten Shrine, one of Japan's three largest Benzaiten shrines, to see various performing arts such as Noh drama dedicated to the shrine.
Blessed with a scenic natural landscape, delicious water, and sacred historic sites, the area has become popular among young people as spot for spiritual moorings.
[Rail] 2h 15 min from Tokyo to Kyoto by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line "Nozomi." 50 min from Kyoto to Kashihara-jingu-mae Station by Kintetsu Line (limited express) and 30 min from Kashihara-jingu-mae to Shimoichiguchi Station by Kintetsu Yoshino Line (limited express). 1h from Shimoichiguchi Station to Tenkawa Kawai by Nara Kotsu Bus.
[Rail] 1h from Abenobashi (Tennoji, Osaka) to Shimoichiguchi Station by Kintetsu Yoshino Line (limited express).