The most notable feature of Hase-dera, a Shingon temple founded in the 8th century, is its 11th-century, 399-step noborirō (climbing corridor); it measures 108 ken (an old Japanese unit of length), believed to correspond to the number of earthly desires (which fade with each step). At the top, the main hall, perched at the edge of a cliff, enshrines a large wooden statue of Kannon (the Buddhist goddess of mercy) carved in 1538; there are fantastic views from the hall's terrace.

The temple grounds are quite large and there's almost always something in bloom here – the reason Hase-dera is nicknamed hana no mitera (flower-viewing temple).

Hase-dera Station is two stops east of Sakurai on the Kintetsu Osaka line (¥210, six minutes). It's about a 20-minute walk to the temple; walk through the archway and down several flights of steps, then turn left, cross the river, and turn right onto the main street towards the temple.

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