Top things to do

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Kurama & Kibune

Kurama-dera

Located high on a thickly wooded mountain, Kurama-dera is one of the few temples in modern Japan that still manages to retain an air of real spirituality. This is a magical place that gains much of its power from it…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Ōhara

Sanzen-in

Famed for its autumn foliage, hydrangea garden and stunning Buddha images, this temple is deservedly popular with foreign and domestic tourists alike. The temple’s garden, Yūsei-en, is one of the most photographed s…
Top Choice Vegetarian in Kurama & Kibune

Yōshūji

Yōshūji serves superb shōjin-ryōri (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) in a delightful old Japanese farmhouse with an irori (open hearth). The house special, a sumptuous selection of vegetarian dishes served in red lacque…
Top Choice Steak in Kinosaki Onsen

Irori Dining Mikuni

If you want a break from Kinosaki seafood, this new, cosy, whitewashed spot-on Eki-dōri serves Tajima beef (both a cousin and a neighbour of Kōbe beef). Get yours atop donburi (rice bowl; our favourite), in croquett…
Village in Miyama-Chō

Kayabuki-no-Sato

Along Rte 38 in the village of Kitamura, you'll find Miyama-chō’s star attraction, a hamlet boasting a cluster of some 50 thatched-roof farmhouses, said to be the thickest concentration of these buildings in Japan. …
Noodles in Kinosaki Onsen

Masuya

This soba and udon specialist has been in business for half a century and shows it, with atmospheric woodwork and walls festooned with old farm and home implements. Go for dishes like kamozaru (chilled soba with duc…
Cave in Kinosaki Onsen

Genbudō

About 5km south of Kinosaki Onsen proper, Genbudō is a collection of five mysterious caves with otherworldly surfaces of pillar-like ripples formed by basalt lava 1.6 million years ago. The route there along the Mar…
Buddhist Temple in Ōhara

Jakkō-in

Jakkō-in is a small temple on the opposite side of Ōhara from Sanzen-in. It’s reached by a pleasant 15-minute walk from the bus station through an ‘old Japan’ village. Walk out of the bus stop to the traffic lights …
Temple in Miyama-Chō

Bujō-ji

Remote Bujō-ji is a Shugendo (mountain asceticism) temple that is also called ‘the Northern Omine’, a reference to Omine-san in Nara Prefecture, which is a centre for Japan’s yamabushi (mountain mystics). It’s a 430…
Seafood in Kinosaki Onsen

Okeshō

This restaurant above a fish market serves a varied menu: sushi, fried dishes, tempura, salads etc. In addition to its signature kaisendon (seafood rice bowl), deep-pocketed crab lovers can order a full-on kani menu…