Home > Kyoto This Month >> Nara - Another Old Capital where Japan's heart is still alive



Discover more of Japan - Excursions from Kyoto
Nara - Another Old Capital where Japan's heart is still alive
Long before Kyoto started to flourish as Japan's national capital of Heian-kyo in 794, there was another place where, in fact, the foundation of Japan had already been established. That place is Nara, another ancient capital, which has so much to offer that have remained unchanged for over 1,300 years.


Totsukawa Village
Home of village life and spirits nestled deep in the mountains



Totsukawa Village, located deep in the southern mountains of Nara, is the largest village in Japan. About 96% of Totsukawa Village's area is covered by forests and mountains, making it is one of the most secluded areas in the country and one which offers a number of unique adventures to daring travelers. The only public transportation is a bus departing from Kintetsu Yamato Yagi Station. The 167-km long route is the single longest bus route in Japan and it takes over 6 hours to reach the village. However, when you finally arrive and see what Japan's largest village has to offer, you will surely feel rewarded for all the time and effort you took to get there!


Tanize Suspension Bridge



The longest and most famous suspension bridge in the area is the Tanize Suspension Bridge. It was built with donations from the local people in 1954 and is 297 meters long and 54 meters high. It used to be an essential feature of the area as it was the only walkway to connect both sides of the gorge for the local people. The bridge is more than 50 meters above the ground and you can see the gorge of Totsukawa River far below your feet! Walking on the bridge feels as though you are walking in the sky!.


Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trails
The Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Roads, one of Japan's World Heritage Sites, are the ancient trails that connect the three sacred shrines of the Kumano Area in the south of Japan's Kii Peninsula (Kumano Hongu, Kumano Nachi, and Kumano Hayatama Shrines). The roads have been used since ancient times as people in all social classes took part in religious rites and discipline on their shrine pilgrimage. The Kumano Kohechi Trail, which links Kumano Hongu Shrine (the central and most sacred shrine) with the beautiful and holy mountain of Koyasan, passes straight through Totsukawa Village, and hiking the route is a great way to experience the richness of the area's natural beauty, immersing oneself in the culture and ways of worship of Japan’s Shugendo Buddhist faith.


Onsen Hot Springs
There are three hot spring areas in the village: Kamiyu, Totsukawa Onsen and Tosenji Onsen. The water from some of its springs is fresh enough to drink, and the baths use water directly from the source without any reheating or recycling. Enjoy a soak at one of the public hot springs or try a free foot bath and cool drinking water.


Access
Take Kintetsu trains from Kyoto Station to Yagi Station (approx. 1 hour by direct express train), then, take the Nara Kotsu Bus bound for Shingu (three services a day at 9:15, 11:45, 13:45), for about 4-5 hours to get to the village's hot spring area. For more information about Totsukawa Village and entire Nara prefecture, visit: www.visitnara.jp


Access to Nara from Kyoto


By JR Train, take the Miyakoji Kaisoku Express (approx. 45 min.)
To learn more about Nara, visit official English websites
www.visitnara.jp
www.sarusawa.nara.jp


Google
kyotoguide.com