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May 6, 2013 - Nara - Horyuji Temple & Koriyama Area
On Sunday, I visited two different areas in Nara. This is the second half day trip that can be taken in the South West. Horyuji Temple is seen as one of the most important temples in Japan ? along with being one of the most beautiful. One thing that is has going against it is public transport in the area. Most of the main attractions in Nara can be found on the Kintetsu line, which Horyuji Temple is on the JR line. A good suggestion is to catch the Kintetsu line to Kintetsu Koriyama and then walk the 10-15 minutes to JR Koriyama station. There are also a few nice smaller attractions between the two stations shown later in the post. Note that the train between JR Koriyama and JR Horyuji takes approximately 8 minutes.
Horyuji temple is a 30 minute walk or 10 minute bus ride from Horyuji station on the JR line. The bus costs 180 Yen one way and leaves around 3 times an hour on the weekends and twice an hour on weekdays. The correct bus to catch is well signed.
Horyuji temple is a little pricy to enter (1000 Yen) but you do get quite a bit a value for money. There are 2 main temple areas along with an impressive treasure house. Itfs also possible to pay individually for the different areas if you wish. Itfs mainly known as being the oldest temple in Japan, along with holding some of the most important Buddhist treasures found in the country.
Instead of walking directly to Kintetsu Koriyama station from JR Koriyama station, I suggest you spend 1 or 2 hours strolling back and visiting the side streets. The Moat Park (above) is a remnant from the old Koriyama castle nearby. There are also signposts in front of both stations and many smaller versions of the signpost that show a Japanese and English map of the area with suggested attractions.
Yakuonhachiman Shrine is along the main road to Kintetsu Koriyama station, and vaguely reminds me of Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara Park.
Tosenji Temple is nothing spectacular ? and can be easily missed.
Genkuro Inari Shrine is located close to Tosenji temple, and itfs entrance can be seem either by the large sign in English or the traditional buildings seen in the picture above.
Close to Kintetsu Koriyama station is the Koriyama Castle Pond. It is around a 10 minute walk from the station and is ironically located close to the castle. The castle is up a reasonable hill and was not visited on this occasion due to limited light. Leave 15 minutes one way to get to the castle which should look nice during the change of seasons. Note that the castle has been reconstructed.