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Fumin no Mori Hori-goenchi (Prefecture Nature Center, Kisenwaiwai-mura)
Sennan City, Osaka Prefecture
The Nature Center is a wood-built, apex-roof lodging facility, located within the Kongo-Ikoma-Kisen Quasi-National Park. The facility offers experience of life in the country and farming activities in earlier days, with wood-burning kitchen stoves, the living room fireplace, and the goemon-buro (a bath with a fire beneath ? the bather stands or sits on a wooden pallet in the bath), etc. Camping facilities are also available.
Fukujusan Jigen-ji Temple (Common name: Nozaki Kannon)
Daito City, Osaka Prefecture
Nozaki Kannon is said to date from the middle of the 8th century, when the Buddhist priest Gyoki carved and dedicated the main image, a statue of the divinity, Eleven-Face Kannon. The temple later fell into ruin. It is believed that during the 12th century a wealthy woman, Eguchi-no-kimi, restored the temple upon transfer to its present site, in gratitude for recovery from a long and difficult illness. The temple grounds are surrounded by lush green nature and offer a wonderful view. The temple divinity is said to give blessings or protection to women in such areas as matchmaking, problem-free childbirth, fertility, illnesses affecting women, and other ailments. People worship here also for recovery from illness, and for overall physical health. Shops selling souvenirs and mementos are located nearby. Spend a leisurely time and recharge your spirit in a place thought to be filled with mystical energy.
Ishikiri Tsurugiya-jinja Shrine
Higashiosaka City, Osaka Prefecture
Ishikiri Tsurugiya-jinja is located in the east of the Osaka Plain at the base of Mt. Ikoma. Commonly known as Ishikiri-san (Cutting Through Stone-san), the shrine has long been said to give blessings in recovery from illness. There is a steady flow of worshippers undertaking a “100 times worship.” To prove their sincerity to the deities, they walk from the stone at the entrance to pray at the main hall for realization of their wishes, and back to the entrance, 100 times. The road leading up to the shrine is a shopping street with the nostalgic appeal of the mid-20th century. Businesses include long-established shops selling traditional herbal medicines, haberdasheries, general merchandise shops, Japanese-style confectioners, shops specializing in pickles, and much more.
Chihayaakasaka (Village), Osaka Prefecture
Mt. Kongo is visited by many hikers ? beginners and experienced. From late spring into summer, the region is enveloped in the cool freshness of new green growth. In autumn, everything is tinted with vivid autumn colors, whereas winter is the time to see trees flowering with hoarfrost. Take the Mt. Kongo Ropeway for a graceful trip through the sky to the top, and a view of Osaka Bay. Katsuragi-jinja Shrine and Tenporin-ji Temple are located at the top. The mountain is known as a place where Buddhism and Shintoism overlap, and is visited by many worshippers and Shugendo priests.
Fujiidera City, Osaka Prefecture
This shrine was originally established for the guardian deity of the ancient and powerful Haji clan. Today the shrine is dedicated to three deities, one of whom is Sugawara-no-Michizane, a descendant of the Haji clan. The Treasure Hall holds many priceless cultural assets, including items that belonged to Sugawara-no-Michizane and are listed as National Treasures. The shrine is renowned also for its plum blossoms, and the plum tree grove attracts many worshippers and visitors when the trees flower, in February and March.
Tondabayashi City Agriculture Park, Savor Farm
Tondabayashi City, Osaka Prefecture
Savor Farm, spreading out over an extensive 20 hectares, is an agriculture park where visitors can experience and enjoy the yields of the earth throughout the year. Lovely flowers bloom all over the place in each of the four seasons, and carefully tended seasonal fruits and vegetables await your approval. Try fresh juice made from fruits picked early on that day, dine on seasonal vegetables, join a workshop for hands-on experience in various crafts, and enjoy harvest festivals and other events. Bring the entire family. There is much to do and enjoy.
Ikegami Sone Archeological Site (A National Historic Site)
Izumi City, Osaka Prefecture
Ikegami Sone is the site of a ring-moated village dated to the middle of the Yayoi period, about 2,000 years ago. Measuring 1.5 km from north to south, 0.6 km from east to west, and covering some 600,000 m2, Ikegami Sone is one of the largest archeological sites in the country. An area of about 110,000 m2 at the center of the village is listed as a National Historic Site. A large-scale building measuring 7 meters north-south and 20 meters east-west, a large dug well with a diameter of more than 2 meters, pit-dwellings and other features of the site have been reconstructed. The Yayoi Cultural Workshop, offering a glimpse of life in the Yayoi period, and Osaka Prefectural Museum of Yayoi Culture, which specializes in the Yayoi period, are located nearby.
No-se (Town), Osaka Prefecture
Joruri is a type of dramatic narrative chanting, accompanied by shamisen, and usually associated with puppet theater. “No-se Joruri” is a regional performing art handed down here since the Edo period. The theater was built in 1993 primarily to support the joruri tradition. No-se Ningyo Joruri Rokkakuza, a theater group made up of local people, presents an annual performance of puppet joruri each June. Performing artists of diverse genres also give performances in the theater. The theater lobby screens video recordings and has a permanent exhibition. Please contact the theater beforehand if you wish to handle the puppets and have photographs taken.
Settsukyo ? Upper reaches of the Hokusetsu district
Takatsuki City, Osaka Prefecture
Each spring, some 3,000 cherry trees present a magnificent panorama of cherry blossoms. Summer offers fireflies and the chance to dip your toes in cool, clear streams, while autumn is a mellowing season with vivid autumn foliage. Walk along the hiking paths and enjoy the unique features of each of the four seasons. The Settsukyo area is also renowned for its hot springs. There are spa hotels, and spa facilities for day trippers, offering opportunities for thorough enjoyment of natural hot springs.