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How best to tackle Sakurai 2019/7/10 04:05
Hello everybody,

I will be visiting Japan in late September and my itinerary is mostly set, though I would like to fit Sakurai into it. Now I have two time slots left:
1) On Fri, Sep 13th: I will be staying at a temple lodging on Koyasan the night before and it seems that the train ride from Gokurakubashi station to Asuka takes around 1:40h.
2) On Fri, Sep 20th: I will be travelling via night bus from Hiroshima to Kyoto, which is scheduled to arrive at Kyoto station on Sep 20th, 6:25 a.m.

I would definitely want to see Tanzan Jinja, Hasedera and Muroji as well as do the Yamanobe-no-michi trail.
Assuming I arrive at 6:25 in Kyoto, is it possible(/sensible) to cover all of the above on a single day?
If I am to split this up and do part of it on Sep 13th, how would you guys split it up?
I am thinking of going from Koyasan to Asuka (if I leave the temple lodging by around 8:30, can I hope to be in Asuka before midday?), maybe squeezing the Ishibutai Tomb in, then simply hiking to the Tanzan Shrine and then, if time permits, visit either the Hasedera-Muroji-leg or walk the Yamanobe-no-ichi from Omiwa Jinja up to Isonokami Shrine (which I think is more likely as Hasedera and Muroji both close their gates at 17:00)
On Sep 20th, I would then (obviously) do whatever I couldn't fit in Sep 13th.
So, to sum up what seems reasonable to me:
Plan A (if doable): Whole thing (except Ishibutai Tomb) on Sep 20th
Plan B: - Sep 13th: Ishibutai Tomb -> Tanzan Jinja -> (maybe) Yamanobe no michi
- Sep 20th: (Yamanobe no michi), Hasedera -> Muro-ji
Does any of this make sense to you guys? If not, do you have any better ideas?

Thanks a lot for your patience with this lengthy question as well as in advance for your input.
by Bastor (guest)  

Re: How best to tackle Sakurai 2019/7/10 12:28
Hi!

I actually just spent some time in the Sakurai area on my last trip.

Personally, unless you are renting a car I think it would be pretty impossible to do everything you want to do in one day even if you start early, and even with a rental car I'm not sure how well it would work because you would need to figure out parking and backtrack everything you walked.

You're looking at a 45 minute trip down to Yamato-Yagi via limited express and then need to get to the Nabari line to head to Muroji and Hasedera. I found the Kintetsu from Yamato-Yagi ran more often than I would have thought, but the bus from Muroguchiono to Muro-ji is not all that frequent and it's not something you can walk. I guess there are cabs, but I've no idea what it would cost. Also I found that the train line from Sakurai to Tenri was only running about once an hour, or at least that was the case when we got to Miwa Station. So you could easily get to Sakurai via Kintetsu, but you will need to walk about 15-20 minutes from there to get to Omiwa or time well for the JR train to get to Miwa Station.

I can see doing Hasedera and Muroji in one day even with public transport, but I think trying to add in the Yamanobe no michi is more problematic.

I think if you've never traveled by night bus before you also shouldn't discount how tired you may or may not feel.

When I was there in mid to late June Sakurai and Asuka were scorching. It was extremely hot, humid and sunny and I got a bad sunburn walking from Sakurai Station to Omiwa. Mid September, might still be a bit warm.

You are also going to be in Japan during the start of the World Rugby Cup. I don't know if it will have the same affect as the G20, but for at least 5-6 days around the G-20 all station lockers in every area I went in Japan were unavailable. (and the same is true for garbage cans and recycling) This included Tokyo Station and Koriyama Station in Fukushima-ken even though Koriyama is nowhere near Osaka and Intex. It's something to think about as the Rugby Cup starts on the 20th.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: How best to tackle Sakurai 2019/7/10 15:23
I agree with everything @rkold was saying.

I very much like that entire area and stayed in Yamatoyagi already about 5 days. My mode of transport normally is a bicycle which is slower than train... but no waiting for it. And yes, this is a rural area, trains arenft frequent.

Also the places you want to visit, eg Ishibutai is nowhere even close to a train station and going up to Tanzan shrine is a hike. I went in the assumption that as a shrine it would be open 24/7 , but that wasnft the case. Do Ifll need to climb up that mountain some day again. There are busses though from Sakurai. But youfll need to time it well.

Here a link to my trips in that region:
http://bicycletraveljapan.blogspot.com/search/label/Nara?m=1

Regarding leaving Koyasan in the early morning, if you are staying only 1 night I think this would be a shame. You did all this trip to get to Koyasan only to leave early in the morning? I think if staying only one night you should use as much if your arrival and departure day actually being in Koyasan. Otherwise whatfs the point of even going there?

Regarding the rugby World Cup, I havenft yet heard anything that there will be restrictions while for G20 there were months earlier already organizations to allow people to work from home. Emails in my company going around to not travel on those days. I canft promise that all will be gnormal g but I would not expect the same kind of disruption as for the G20. However if you plan to leave your luggage at a station, not that except Yamatoyagi all the other stations in the area are pretty minor. So some will have lockers, but only a few. And it seems that with the WC a lot of tourists are coming to Japan and might have the same idea.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: How best to tackle Sakurai 2019/7/11 00:43
Hi rkold, LikeBike,

thank you both so much for the prompt and detailed answers! As for Koyasan, I will basically be spending all of Sep 12th there, so that should be ok. And yeah, I will definitely need to split Sakurai up.
So what I'll probably do is travel from Koyasan to Okadera station, then hike to Tanzan-Jinja via the Ishibutai tomb, visiting the latter if time permits.
On Sep 20th, I am now actually thinking of travelling directly from Kyoto station to Muroguchiono station (using Kintetsu it would apparently take just about 1,5h), so I should actually be able to get to Muro-ji by 9-10 am (depending on how long I'll have to wait for the bus) or so, then work my way back to Hasedera.
Should I still find the time on any of those two days, I would then tackle the Yamanobe no michi on my way back to Osaka/Kyoto.
The good news is that starting Sep 20th, I will have a 5-day-stay in Kyoto, so doing the trail later is still an option if all else fails.
The Rugby Cup is an interesting plot twist, of course - didn't have that on the radar at all! Regarding luggage, my hostel in Osaka kindly allows me to store my suitcase there the day before check-in, so I'll be able to drop it on Sep 12th in the morning and then it's on to Koyasan with only light baggage (backpack). On Sep 20th, I just hope the rugby fans will leave a free locker at Kyoto station for me. I've been to Kyoto before and know there's also this luggage storage office thing, so hopefully luck will be on my side.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice, can't wait for september!
by Bastor (guest) rate this post as useful

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