SHIMOICHI AND SURROUNDS
After three major cities in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka an escape to the country was just what was needed. We stayed in the peaceful town of Saitani in Shimoichi, surrounded by forest and with the the amazing community guesthouse flanking a stream running through the town. It was a great base for day trips, particularly to Mount Yoshino and the significant religious area of Koyasan.
The small town of Saitani in the mountains and forests of the Nara region. Beautiful place!
I walked past this shed or workshop while walking through town and was taken with the gentle light and super organised equipment and timber.
One of the friendly locals Hiroki, who showed us the best way to get to the local shrine and then posed for a photo. His English is a lot better than our Japanese but communication still contained a lot of mime!
Akame 48 Falls is a river area that contains many waterfalls and small rapids. It was apparently a ninja training area in the past. It was quite a beautiful place and perfect for anyone wanting to practice their long exposure waterfall photography.
As the sun sets on Akame 48 falls area, fog and drizzle moves in quickly.
Mount Yoshino is a beautiful area. The breeze was causing cherry blossom petals to fly through the air at times, as captured here. When the cherry blossoms all start shedding towards the end of the sakura season it’s apparently quite beautiful and resembles the feeling of snow.
Yoshino is home to a large temple, as well as many restaurants and shops where you can take in the views of 30,000 cherry blossom trees.
RGB Colour Space Dressing.
Mount Yoshino has weed pickers that climb the hills to keep everything pristine.
There are a few ruins in the area of old restaurants and shops.
Shiba doesn’t quite understand its own popularity.
Mount Yoshino is a beautiful area in spring and well worth a visit. The guesthouse I listed is very convenient to the Mount Yoshino and one of the few places to stay nearby.
Pretty meets ugly as cherry blossom flower behind industry.
Mount Koya, or Koyasan is one of Japan’s most significant religious areas, as a place where Buddhism was taught, practiced, and where significant historical figures were buried.
In Japan sometimes people will leave items for the deceased that were their favorite things in life, in this case dried fruit, cigarettes and sake.
Okunoin is a sacred graveyard in Koyasan, well known for its lantern lit paths. There is no photography allowed past a certain point and we of course respected that, but it is well worth walking further down the path to take in the beauty of the forest and historical significance of the temples and graves.
I would encourage anyone coming to Japan for a decent amount of time to get to some of the more outlying areas of the country to take in the amazing natural beauty. Japan is still covered 67% by forest despite its massive population and natural beauty holds value here.
For more about Japan check out my article Ten ways traveling Japan surprised me, linked below.