Cycling around looking for tombs: Asuka, Nara Travel in Spring 2016

Date: 27 March 2016

I have arrived in Japan yet again, in which this time I will be touring the Kansai region in depth. The weather is still cold, or not. I get cold easily. Sakura were just starting to bloom here in Asuka.

Asuka would definitely ring a bell to anyone who knows a bit of Japanese history. After all, one period was named after this region, the Asuka period (538 – 710). 

Asuka promotes cycling as a means of touring its historical sites. Forgetting that I just got off a flight hours ago, I decided to cycle. The last time I ever cycled was 5 years ago while attending university. Bike rentals are offered right outside Asuka station. 

Asuka Station

Getting on the bike for the first time after 5 years, I was wobbly. The lady from the bike rental shop was nice enough to let me test-cycle around before I set off. Once I was steady, off I go – and then comes the second fear, the traffic. Well, it was not exactly a smooth ride, but nothing majorly bad happened.

The bicycle, with a map from the rental shop and a drink 🙂

Takamatsuzuka Tomb

First stop is the Takamatsuzuka Tomb, which is located in a park.

Nakaoyama Tumulus was also found here
Takamatsuzuka Tomb

Visitors can only view the tomb from outside. Nevertheless, the paintings within the tomb can be seen by visiting the Takamatsuzuka Mural Hall, which costs 250 yen.

Tachibanadera

Next was an unplanned visit to Tachibanadera, a temple I passed by on the way to the Ishibutai Tomb. 

How do you not stop, upon seeing this?

This temple is believed to be the birthplace of Prince Shotoku Taishi O_O

Some sakura trees have bloomed, some are just opening
The Main Hall
Kurokoma Statue, Shotoku Taishi’s horse
One of the entrance gates

Ishibutai Tomb

Cycling roughly another 1km, I finally arrived at Ishibutai Tomb. Again, this is located within a park. But the surrounding area is definitely more lively than Takamatsuzuka.

Ishibutai Tomb
Ishibutai Tomb

We can even walk inside the tomb!

Going inside the tomb
The view from inside the tomb

I have yet to visit sites around Sakurai which offers great temples to visit – Hasedera, Muroji and Tanzan Shrine, all of which are great to visit for their beautiful autumn leaves. Well, until next time.

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Author: Jennifer

Hi! I am Jennifer. I enjoy planning my own travels and love traveling in Japan - for the history, nature, temples, and the food! Read more for travel guides of places I have visited.

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