When I commenced my research for this guide, I became aware that there is a substantial history in this area. Which presented me with ... more »a problem - where do I begin?
I will begin with introducing you to the main character, and an individual you will hear a lot of, as I explain the history of the Shrines and Temples in the Yamato district of Nara - Crown Prince Shotoku(573-621),second son of Emperor Yomei.
It was Prince Shotoku who was responsible for bringing Buddhism into Japan,as a fulfillment of a deathbed wish of his late father, Emperor Yomei(518-587).
Once departing the J.R.Yamatokoizumi Station, you soon find yourself weaving your way through narrow streets to your first destination - Koizumi-jinjya (Shrine).From here, you pass the homestead of Katagiri Sadamitsu (see P.O.I. for full details)before joining Route-123 and your ascent to Matsuo-dera Temple.Matsuo-dera is nestled amongst the forest of Matsuo-yama (Mt Matsuo)and overlooks the Yamato district and offers great views of the surrounding countryside, including Nara.After a stroll through the complex,you begin your descent through the forest exiting via a local golf-course (don't worry,your track is well fenced to protect you from any wayward golf-balls)where you will be greeted by some very-nice picturesque Japanese countryside.Soon you will exit this road, in favour of a cycle/pedestrian way that will take you to Horin-ji Temple.This is an ideal spot to take a bite-to-eat,but,the caretakers of the complex have asked that you don't consume your lunch within the complex.Not to worry,a hundred meters down the road is a sheltered seating area for you to relax, with a map of the area with your route to the next destination - Chugu-ji Temple.To get here you again have to weave your way through some narrow streets and some quaint Japanese houses.Adjacent to Chugu-ji is Horyu-ji Temple, the main attraction of this guide.To appreciate this huge complex, with it's many buildings and history, may I suggest you allow plenty of time to wander freely and not to rush the experience. There is so much to see/experience.After exiting Horyu-ji, you join a short boulevard (Route-146)lined with many Sakura (Cherry trees) and Willow, the perfect end (almost) to your day.A 20-minute walk from here takes you to the J.R. Horyu-ji Station, and home.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the assistance of my friend and guide,Motokazu Mishima.Motokazu-san is an experienced guide and has a great knowledge of Japan and it's history.I have attached a link to the organization he is associated with. less «