Yagyu Kaido – Hidden Summer Flower Catching Gem of Nara City
Nara City, one of the ancient capitals of Japan back in 710, now most commonly known for its park with wild sacred deer roaming around the grounds of Todaiji Temple where the Great Buddha is enshrined, is in fact home to many lesser known historically significant sites and breathtaking scenery that are certainly underrated.
Approximately 11km east from Nara Park, lies an ancient trail called Yagyu Kaido. This track once served as pilgrimage for mountain Buddhists, a form of mountain asceticism during the Nara and Heian period, therefore many historical sites, monuments, and ruins of the time remain here barely touched.
Here are some recommended sites for you to visit around the Yagyu region!
This temple was founded by a disciple of Ganjin named Korou in 756. Although it once covered a very large area from The Heian until The Muromachi Period, many of the sites were lost or damaged during the Onin War (1467–1477).
The Dainichi Nyoraizou (Statue of Deity) enshrined in the two story pagoda is an initial work of Unkei (Japanese sculptor during the Kamakura period) and is designated a national treasure of Japan.
The Kasugado and Hakusando which symbolizes the Buddhism-Shinto Syncretism of Nara are also listed as national treasures of Japan as well.
On top of all the historical features which Enjo-ji possess, it is also worthwhile to note that its Jyodo sect style garden (garden which attempts to depict Pure land) and the seasonal flowers which colour its grounds are another special feature of this temple and is designated a place of scenic beauty in Japan.
Bellflowers and hydrangeas are in bloom during June and July. The beautiful colors of early summer gleam up the entire ground of this temple to another level during this time of the year and thus if you are looking for some beautiful scenery in a tranquil environment during the wet season this place is a recommend one.
Admission fee to Enjo-ji is 400 yen for adults, 300 yen for high school students, 100 yen for primary school students.
Along the trail to Enjo-ji Temple, a mass of wild water lilies fill the nearby lake and this is also a beautiful scenery of June and July to behold.
Yagyu Shobu En (Yagyu Iris Park)
Approximately 450 varieties and 800,000 irises inhabit within the premises and they are in full bloom until the end of June. Furthermore, 55 varieties of Hydrangeas along with water lilies inhabited here and are in bloom from mid-June to mid-July. Every second Sunday of the month visitors are welcomed with mochi made on the spot free of charge. The garden is filled with countless vibrant colors you’ll almost forget the damp rainy season!
The Admission fee for Yagyu Shobu En is 650 yen for adults and 350 yen for children.
If you are planning on taking public transport, buses from JR Nara station or Kintetsu Nara station will be your options. You can board the bus No. 100, 94 or 102 for both the venues. It will take approximately 50 mins to the Yagyu Shobu En and around 40 mins to Enjo-ji Temple. Nevertheless, please be aware that there are only few buses running a day thus it is strongly recommended that you check the bus timetables in advance.
If in case you are thinking of coming in by car, there are car parks adjacent to both the venues and it is available to visitors free of charge.