The southern area can be said to be the spring of Japanese culture. servation of traditional skills and nature. Each of the areas have long safeguarded their distinct their craft, festival and more!
Reputed throughout Japan as the most thrilling, daring, and exciting festival “Danjiri Matsuri” is held in September and October in Kishiwada. The carts called Danjiri are pulled by 500 to 1000 men, through the streets of Kishiwada and the "yarimawashi" (when the mikoshi turns the corner at full speed), it is the most powerful and exciting scene to watch. To be able to take part in such intense activity is a rarity nowadays, but with the men actually risking their lives in this annual ceremony, the power of the rite is a site not to be missed.
Sakai is known as the city of craftsmen with a long history of traditional handicrafts. Sakai has prospered as self-governing city by international trade between countries like China, Korea and East Asian countries since 16th century. Through these trades, merchants in Sakai have governed the city by themselves despite the era when Samurai has great power. Merchants also played a crucial role in cultural aspects by giving birth to the traditional tea ceremony and contributing construction of temples. Nanshu-ji Temple is the place where the great tea master Sen-no Rikyu had his spiritual training for the tea ceremony, and the garden of Kare-sansui using mainly stones from its vicinity, has a quiet atmosphere.
Japanese knives are said to be the very essence that allowed for the development of Washoku (Japanese cuisine), the intangible culture heritage, as we know it today. Sakai has for centuries been the leading sword and knife manufacturing centre of Japan. Around 90% of knives used by professional Chefs around the country are crafted in Sakai. Each knife is hammered into ultimate sharpness, and perfected to suit customised usage though mastery and techniques acquired throughout the long history of sword making. (picture shows the traditional process of knife making ) The Sakai knives have become an indispensable tool attracting world renowned chefs from afar to acquire them.
Also the oldest national highway (public route) in Japan “Takenouchi-kaido” road connects Sakai and Nagao of Katsuragi city in Nara. Constructed during the Asuka Period (538 to 710), the roads to this date retains echos of the past, surrounded with many old temples, shrines and relics. This area developed as post stations for travelers, and even today old Yamato style houses along the route creates the atmosphere of back then.
There also is a museum that provides an introduction of the ancient highway, along with providing historical references related to Taishido associated with Shotoku Taishi by categorizing them in themes of Asuka Period, medieval period, early modern period and the modern period.
[Rail] Take JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 2 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station. Then, take a subway for 14 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Namba Station, and take Nankai Dentetsu Line for 10 minutes from Nankai Namba Station to Sumiyoshi Taisha Staion.
[Rail] 38 min from Kansai Airport via Sakai to Sumiyoshi-Taisha Station by Nankai "Rapit" (limited-stop express) - change to a local train at Sakai Station.