Off-the-Eaten Path Food Experience in Japan. "Meet the People and Places behind your Plates! "

Thursday 4 January 2018

Japan's oldest road, Yamanobe-no-michi ancient trail

Nara's charm is not only deers but also its traditional country lifestyle, which has been inherited from generations to generations.

Half a day off-the-beaten walk to an oldest road "Yamanobe no michi" will lead you to deep cultural understanding on satoyama villages. You will come across small farm stands and people's life.

a local cafe along the trail

It is also possible to have a full day experience, if you have time.

Yamanobe no michi, an oldest path

Yamanobe no michi is said to be an oldest road running north and south along the eastern edge of the Nara Basin, which connects between Nara city and Sakurai city, in the 15-kilometer long trail. It is first recorded in The Chronicles of Japan "Nihon Shoki" compiled in the 8th century. The ancient road is dotted with shrines, temples and ancient tombs "kofun", and also you will come across many cafes and small farm stands.

Yamanobe no michi is different from other hiking routes, it also goes through small villages. The local specialties of the village are fruits products such as dried kaki persimmon, mochi (sticky rice cake), processed daikon raddish, yuzu citrus, orange, tsukemono pickles, somen noodle, and so on. You will enjoy seasonal landscape, paddy in summer, orange and kaki in autumn, and dried vegetables and somen in winter season.

Spring season

Walking Yamanobe trail

The hike starts from JR Tenri station. 30-minute walk through a lively shopping mall and Tenri shinto shrine leads you to mystic Isono kami jingu shrine, where unpaved path begins.

Along the trail, there are a lot of orchards, and farm stands, selling fruits and farm products. Most of them are 100 JPY, put one coin and take a product by yourself.

Chogakuji Temple is a historic temple located halfway along the trail, where you can also taste local delicacies in the temple.

Suggested Itinerary

You can also select a full day tour, if you have enough time.

For a full day tour, you can also have a lunch at Chogakuji temple, and also visit a sake brewery in Miwa.

[Half a day tour 4.5 hours]

13:00 Depart from JR Nara station
13:30 Arrive at JR Yanagimoto station
13:50 Trail starts from Tenri Trail center
14:00 Chogakuji temple
15:00 Hinohara shrine
15:40 O-Miwa shrine
17:00 Depart from JR Miwa station
17:30 Back to JR Nara station

[A full day tour 8 hours]

9:00 Depart from JR Nara station
10:00 Ishigami shrine
11:00 Yotogi shrine
12:00 Tenri trail center
13:00 Lunch at Chogaku ji temple (miwa somen) or local cafe
14:00 Hinohara shrine
15:00 O-Miwa shrine
15:30 Imanishi shuzo (sake brewery)
16:30 Depart from JR Miwa station
17:00 Back to JR Nara station

It is also possible to combine with Nara city highlights tour in the morning.

[A full day Nara highlights 8 hours]

9:00 Meeting at Kintetsu Nara station
9:30 - 11:00 Todaiji temple and Nara park
11:00 - 12:00 Kasuga shrine
12:30 - 13:00 Travel from Nara to Miwa
13:00 Lunch at a local restaurant or at a temple
14:00-16:30 Walking Yamanobe trail
17:00 back to JR Nara station

Tour price

half a day tour

1-5 persons 15000JPY
6 persons 18000JPY
7 persons 20000JPY
8 persons 22000JPY

1 day tour 

1-5 persons 25000JPY
6 persons  30000JPY
7 persons 33000JPY
8 persons 36000JPY


  • guide fee
  • hotel pick-up in Nara city

Not included:

  • transportation fee (you and guide 530 JPY per person)
  • lunch (approximately 1000JPY per person)
  • entrance fee (Chogakuji 350JPY per person)