Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Ayabe – The City in Kyoto Filled with Hidden Gems

Because of other more renowned places in the region, Ayabe City (綾部市), almost in the center of Kyoto Prefecture, isn’t a famous destination in the Kansai region that receives much attention from the media. However, quite a few places in the city are worth your time in spring. What we are implying here isn’t cherry blossoms, but the flowers of other less known plants such as Oriental paper bush and Iris japonica!

Here is a list of attractions that might be of interest for you to consider when planning your visit to Kyoto next time (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Transportation in Ayabe City

Aya Bus (あやバス) is the name for the city’s community bus. The services will bring you closer to the attractions scattered around the city.

For a complete list of the bus routes of Aya Bus and the timetable, please refer to Ayabe City’s official website HERE. We will also include which bus route you should take to get there for the attractions below.

  • The cost per ride ranges from 100 to 500 yen for adults.
  • Elementary school students are charged 100 yen regardless of the distance traveled.

If you plan to utilize the bus services more than twice on any day, consider getting one of the discounted tickets below.

  • One-Day Bus Pass: there are several passes that you can get. The rule is you get unlimited rides for the section that costs half the price of the One-Day Pass.
    • For example, if you purchased a 200 yen One-Day Pass, you get unlimited rides in the 100 yen section.
  • Bus Coupons: choose from a range of books of coupons of different values. Each book comes with 11 coupons, all with the same value. You pay for the first 10, and the last coupon is free, effectively 10% off the bus fare.

Tip: If you have a 200 yen One-Day Pass and want to travel beyond the 100 yen section, you can just pay the difference. This allows you more flexibility in using your pass. For example, if you want to travel to the 500 yen section with a 200 yen One-Day Pass, you just need to pay another 400 yen instead of 500 yen.

Ayabe Tourist Information Center (あやべ観光案内所)

After arriving at JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅), we recommend heading to Ayabe Tourist Information Center at the south exit first.

The information center provides information such as hidden gems in the city and where to go for cherry blossoms and autumn foliage. Furthermore, it is one of the places where you can purchase discounted tickets for the Aya Bus (you can get tickets from most post offices in the city as well).

Also, you can rent out one of their rental bikes at the below prices from 9 am to 5:30 pm. Please remember to bring your ID if you plan to rent a bike from Ayabe Tourist Information Center.

  • Normal bikes: 300 yen for up to 4 hours or 500 yen for one day of rental
  • Electric-assisted bikes: 1,000 yen for up to 4 hours or 1,500 yen for one day of rental

Information Center’s opening hours are between 8:30 am and 6 pm daily except from the 30th of December to the 2nd of January.

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Tip: If you have too many belongings, you can also check your baggage at Ayabe Tourist Information Center.

Ayabe Gunze Square Rose Garden (綾部バラ園)

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If you are coming to Ayabe from late May to late June or between mid-October to mid-November, don’t rush off to other parts of Ayabe as soon as you get to JR Ayabe Station. The Ayabe Rose Garden, just a 10-minute walk from the station, will be holding rose festivals!

The garden opened in 2010, has 1,200 plants of roses of 120 different species, and will have a beauty competition twice a year. Thanks to the help of 150 local volunteers, it is free for us to admire the flowers when we visit Ayabe City.

Next to the garden, there is also a local specialty center, Ayabe Tokusankan (あやべ特産館), that boasts a range of local products that will make for a perfect souvenir for your families and friends or your stomach (^_-)-☆.

At the Gunze Museum (グンゼ博物苑), you can discover the history of the local silk industry, which supported the area’s local economy.

Ayabe Gunze Square Rose Garden’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Ayabe Gunze Square Rose Garden is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily except on Tuesdays.
    • If Tuesday is a public holiday, it will close the next business day.
  • The garden is just a 10-minute walk from JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅)’s north exit.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Ōmotoshinen Shrine (大本神苑)

In autumn, one of the spots close to JR Ayabe Station for autumn color hunting is the Ōmotoshinen Shrine.

Ōmoto (大本) is a new folk religion formed only in 1892. Originating in Ayabe, numerous worship halls were built around the city center. The worship hall – Chōseiden (長生殿), was completed in 1992 and is said to be the largest wooden architecture built in the 20th century.

Ⓒ 海の京都DMO
Ⓒ 海の京都DMO

The large garden of Ōmotoshinen sees flowers blooming throughout the year. And the best time to visit the shrine is mid to late November. But please note: there is no festival held here.

Ōmotoshinen Shrine’s Opening Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information

  • Ōmotoshinen Shrine is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
  • The garden is free to enter. But if you want to explore the shrine, the admission fee is 300 yen.
  • Ōmotoshinen Shrine is just a 15-minute walk away from JR Ayabe Station.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Ryōgonji Temple (楞厳寺)

Ryōgonji Temple probably doesn’t look like a hidden gem from the exterior, but it actually ranked 2nd amongst Kansai area’s Temple of Flowers (関西花の寺)!

The camellia will start decorating parts of the temple’s ground in late February as the cold winter ends, and the greenery replaces the white snow. The flowers usually reach full bloom between mid and late March each year.

Ⓒ 海の京都DMO
Ⓒ 海の京都DMO

What makes the temple ranked so high, though, is the Mitsuba tsutsuji, a kind of azalea commonly found in Japan.

The Mitsuba tsutsuji trees here have their branches stretching so long that they formed a tunnel. From mid to late April, the pink flowers added to the newly grown light green leaves will create this fanciful flower tunnel that enchants the pilgrims each year (*´ω`).

In summer, from early July to mid-August, the large pond in the precinct will be covered by lotus flowers. They may all look similar, but more than 20 different kinds of lotuses are in the pond!

Tip: To see the lotus flowers, we recommend arriving before noon. The lotus petals will start opening from dawn, but from late morning, they will gradually close again.

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Ryōgonji Temple is also known as Crow’s Temple. It isn’t because many crows live here, but because of the crows’ painting on the paper door in the worship hall. The painting is the work of the famous Ukiyo-e artist – Nagai Ikka (長井 一禾) in the late 19th century. If you would like to see the painting of crows in spring, summer, autumn, and winter, please kindly make some donations to the temple before you step into the worship hall.

How to Get to Ryōgonji Temple

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅), please take the Aya Bus’s Shiga-Namboku Line (志賀南北線) and get off at Tachi (舘). From there, it is approximately a 15-minute walk.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Ayabeshi Bairin Park (綾部市梅林公園)

After enjoying the camellia in Ryōgonji Temple, head to Ayabeshi Bairin Park, which has an impressive 450 plum blossom trees blooming from early March!

Walking along the 820 meters promenade in the 15,000 square meters park at this time of the year is just breathtaking. Not only will your eyes enjoy every moment you spend in the park, but so will your nose! With so many trees, the elegant fragrance of the plum flowers becomes so strong that you might leave the park with the plum’s pleasant scent(^_-)-☆.

If you are lucky, you might catch the rare sight of the plum blossoms covered in snow!

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Ⓒ 海の京都DMO

Each year, a Plum Festival is held in mid-March. In 2023, it was held on the 12th of March from 10 am to 2 pm.

On the 11th of March, the park is illuminated from sunset to 8 pm, allowing visitors to adore the plum blossoms at night. From 7 pm for around 10 minutes on the night the day before the festival, flowers will bloom around you and in the night sky!

That’s right. There will be fireworks to make your visit to Ayabeshi Bairin Park even more memorable!

Important: If you want to see the fireworks, make sure to arrive before 6:30 pm as entry will be restricted after this time until the fireworks event is finished.

How to Get to Ayabeshi Bairin Park

  • From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅), please take the Aya Bus Shiga-Namboku Line (志賀南北線) and get off at Tachi (舘). From there, it is approximately a 20-minute walk.
  • From Ryōgonji Temple, it is around a 7-minute walk

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Tachi-iwa Rock (立岩)

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From afar, the Tachi-iwa Rock may seem like a 20-meter cliff, but it is actually one gigantic rock!

Standing at the bank of the Yura River (由良川) with plants growing in the upper parts of the rock, it blends in with the surrounding landscape perfectly.

If you would like to view this rock from the bottom, you will need to trek through some less-maintained nature trails.

From JR Yamaga Station (山家駅), please don’t cross the Yura River as Google Maps might suggest. The rock is on the same side of the river as the station.

Firstly, you will walk on the expressway’s side before seeing a small Tachi-iwa (立岩) directory sign. That is where you start trekking through nature.

Tachi-iwa is also a popular destination amongst experienced rock climbers. But please note: take on the challenge at your own risk.

How to Get to Tachi-iwa Rock

From Yamaga Station (山家駅), it is around a 20-minute walk/trek. Crossing the Yamaga Bridge (山家大橋), you will get to see the rock from the other side of the river. If you stay on the same side, you will be looking up at the rock from the bottom.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Kisaichi Maruyama Burial Mounds Park (私市円山古墳公園)

If you are coming to Ayabe by using the Maizuru Wakasa Expressway (舞鶴若狭自動車道), you might be driving through a tunnel with a giant ancient tomb on its top!

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Above the hill with the expressway penetrating the bottom, there is a 10-meter tall, doom-shaped tumulus with a diameter of 81 meters.

From what was excavated, it was determined that it was probably the tomb of the king of the province back in the 5th century Σ(゚Д゚). And thanks to this tomb, the hill escaped the fate of being flattened for the construction of the expressway (´▽`*).

The tumulus that was discovered in 1988 is the biggest in Kyoto Prefecture. The National Important Cultural Property is currently maintained as a historical park. If you visit it at night on the weekends and public holidays, you can get a few photos of it being illuminated!

What to Do in Kisaichi Maruyama Burial Mounds Park

Getting to the top of the hill for a closer look at the tomb’s exterior is possible.

If you are hiking up, it would be relatively easier to climb up the stairs in a clockwise direction. To get to the top, it will take around 10 minutes. If you don’t exercise much, you might need to take a break or two in between.

In spring, you can also snap a few selfies with the cherry trees at the bottom of the hill. If you love what you saw at the top, the toilet is also shaped like the tomb (^_-)-☆.

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Ⓒ 海の京都DMO

You will get a wide view of Ayabe City from where the tumulus is. If you get there in the early morning of late autumn, you might be just in time to catch the scenery of the Sea of Clouds!

On the 3rd of November each year, the Ancient Tomb Festival (古墳祭り) is held. From 6 am to 9 am on weekends, you can get fresh produce and local specialties from the Kisaichi Maruyama Burial Mounds Park Morning Markets (私市円山古墳公園朝市).

How to Get to Kisaichi Maruyama Burial Mounds Park

  • From JR Takatsu Station (高津駅), it is around a 25-minute walk.
  • You can also take the Aya Bus from JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅)’s south exit – Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Nishizaka Line (西坂線) and get off at Yuduno Kisaiichimaruyama-kōfun Kōen-mae (湯殿[私市円山古墳公園前]). The park is then just a 5-minute walk away.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Ankokuji Temple (安国寺)

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Ankokuji Temple was originally called Kōfukuji (光福寺) when it was first erected in 1993. It was renamed ‘Ankokuji’ due to the birth of Ashikaga Takauji (足利 尊氏), the founder and the first shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate.

Before Ashikaga Takauji was born, his mother prayed to the Jizo Bodhisattva (地蔵菩薩) for a baby boy here. With his birth, the temple started to receive more support from the Ashikaga Clan.

When Ashikaga Takauji became the country’s leader in 1338, a pagoda was built to comfort the spirits of those who had passed away in civil wars. The temple was then transformed into Tamba Province’s leading temple and renamed Ankokuji.

Nowadays, women hoping for a baby boy also pray to the Jizō Bodhisattva here. Whereas for tourists, we are here for the scenery of the rural Japanese landscape, which is extra stunning in autumn (^_-)-☆. The color usually peaks from mid to late November.

From late March to early April, the weeping cherry blossom with the thatched-roofed worship hall is another picturesque view in spring.

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In mid-November, the Ankokuji Autumn Festival (安国寺もみじ祭り) is held, which is when the temple is most lively during the year.

Ankokuji Temple’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The opening hours of Ankokuji Temple are:
    • 8 am to 6 pm from April to September
    • 8:30 am to 5 pm from October to March
  • To get to Ankokuji Temple, you can take the Aya Bus’s Kurotani Line (黒谷線) from JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅) and get off at Ankokuji-mae (安国寺前).
  • You can also get off the train at JR Umezako Station (梅迫駅). From there, it will be a 15-minute walk.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Kurotani Washi Paper Company (黒谷和紙会館)

Have you ever wondered why the paper sliding doors or lanterns in Japanese castles and ryokans could last so long? If they were made with the paper used in our printers, they would have surely been damaged by now.

To find the answer, visit Kurotani Washi Paper Company which still makes its paper products manually with the traditional techniques from 800 years ago. The whole process started with planting thousands of paper mulberries. Step after step, the washi paper that is hard to be torn is born!

Ⓒ 黒谷和紙協同組合

The village where the Kurotani Washi Paper Company is was formed by samurai and/or subjects of the Taira Clan (平家), which lost the national civil war – Genpei War (源平合戦), back in the late 12th century. To earn a living, they started to make paper which eventually gained such an exceptional reputation that the paper was used to make the paper slider doors in Nijō Castle (二条城)!

While there are days that they don’t do live washi papermaking demonstrations, you can still check out their workshops. There is also a small museum on the second floor about washi paper.

As the demand for washi paper for building materials or umbrellas has decreased, they now focus on adorable washi crafts, which you can grab from their souvenir shop (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Washi Papermaking Experience

Ⓒ 黒谷和紙協同組合

If you have some time to spare and haven’t made paper in your life, we recommend you book the Washi Papermaking Experience. You will have so much fun; it will be a lifelong memory!

The experience takes around 10 – 15 minutes for each person. To reserve the experience, please fill in the form HERE. You can translate the page to English using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.

  • Please note you will need to make a reservation at least a week in advance.
  • The washi papermaking experience is held from 10 am to 5 pm from Wednesday to Saturday from March to November.
  • The cost is 7,200 yen per 1 to 4-people group. Then from the 5th participant, an additional charge of 1,800 yen per person will be charged.

Tips: If you don’t live in Japan, please check with them to see if you can send the final product to your hotel when you book.

Kurotani Washi Paper Company’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Kurotani Washi Paper Company is open from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays, except on public holidays and from the end of December to the beginning of January.
  • From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅)’s south exit – Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Kurotani Line (黒谷線) and get off at Kurotaniwashi Kaikan-mae (黒谷和紙会館前).

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Fireflies at Kambayashi (上林のほたる)

The fresh stream flowing through the Kambayashi River (上林川) is home to hundreds and thousands of fireflies.

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From early June to early July, if you come to Ayabe City, remember to drop by the tributary of Kambayashi River, named Hotaru-gawa (ほたる川), or Firefly River at night. Don’t forget to turn off your flashlight for their butts to light up the river bank!

In mid-June, when the summer event – Hoteru-no-Yūbe (ほたるの夕べ), is held, the normally quiet village will become energetic. Temporary stalls, small concerts, and many more visitors come to admire the amazing scenery that can no longer be seen in our daily lives (*´ω`).

Where to See the Fireflies at Kambayashi

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅), take Aya Bus’s Kambayashi Line (上林線) and get off at Teramachi (寺町). Hotaru River is just a 2-minute walk away.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Kiminōsan (君尾山)

Kiminōsan or Mt. Kiminoo in Ayabe City is mostly known for the only National Treasure – Niōmon Gate (二王門) in northern Kyoto Prefecture and the Great Japanese Horse Chestnut Tree that is more than 2,000 years old. However, the mountain with an altitude of 582 meters also has something else to offer in the early morning from October to early December!

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From autumn to early winter, when the temperature difference between day and night is significant, you will likely see the fantastic view of the Sea of Clouds.

Because cars can get to a point close to the summit, Mt. Kiminoo has become quite a popular spot for the Sea of Clouds’ fans recently (=゚ω゚)ノ.

☛ The road is narrow, so drive carefully, especially if heading up before dawn.
☛ Beyond the Kōmyōji Temple (光明寺), there are no car parks, so you may have a hard time finding a spot that is suitable for parking.
☛ There is no clear mountain trail close to the summit. You will have to rely on the red ribbons tied on the trunk and/or small pillars colored in red for guidance.

Tip: If you aren’t a morning person, you can aim for the amazing view at sunset.

How to Get to Kiminoosan

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅) south exit – Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Kambayashi Line (上林線) and get off at Kiminoosanguchi (君尾山口). Please note you may need to change bus at Ōmachi Bus Terminal (大町バスタミナール). From Kiminoosanguchi, it will be approximately a 60-minute hike.

Just note that there will be no bus service running around dawn. So if you are aiming to get to the summit in the early morning, check with your accommodation provider to see if they have a Sea of Clouds Tour that you can join, or you will have to take a taxi.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Kōmyōji Temple (光明寺)

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Whether you are aiming for the Sea of Clouds scenery or not, the Niōmon Gate (二王門) is worth your time if you love traditional architecture. Although the worship halls beyond it had gone through repeated destruction and reconstruction, the gate completed in 1253 remains standing until today.

The heavy gate with a two-story roof doesn’t really have a practical purpose. Instead, it is to show the high status of the temple at the time. So if you ever get to the second floor to the gate, there won’t be any rooms/halls for you to explore.

The two red statuses of King Kong Warrior (金剛力士像) at the two sides of the gate are called Niō (仁王). They are stationed at the mountain gate to prevent anything terrible from coming into the temple’s precinct. While they can’t stop anyone physically from passing the gate, we do hope the Niō can block out some of our bad thoughts/ideas in our minds!

In November, the fall foliage around the temple is also what people come to the temple for.

How to Get to Kōmyōji Temple

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅) south exit, Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Kambayashi Line (上林線) and get off at Ayabe Onsen-mae (あやべ温泉前バス停). Please note that you may need to change bus at Ōmachi Bus Terminal (大町バスタミナール).

From Ayabe Onsen-mae, it will be around a 40-minute hike.

If you plan to drive, please note the car park close to the temple might not be accessible in winter due to heavy snow.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

The Great Japanese Horse Chestnut Tree (大トチ)

Ⓒ 綾部市観光協会

From the road that continues from the side of Kōmyōji Temple, if you trek for another 30 minutes or so, this gigantic horse chestnut tree growing out of a slope will be there, producing chestnuts for us to pick in autumn.

The 23-meter tall tree that is at least 2,000 years old has a trunk as thick as 10.4 meters! Due to thunder, the trunk is hollow in the middle now. But surprisingly, it is still alive with leaves and fruit growing!

Important: The area around the tree is a steep slope full of fallen leaves. Be extra careful as you get closer to observing the tree.

How to Get to the Great Japanese Horse Chestnut Tree

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅)’s south exit – Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Kambayashi Line (上林線) and get off at Kiminoosanguchi (君尾山口). Please note that you may need to change bus at Ōmachi Bus Terminal (大町バスタミナール).

From Kiminoosanguchi, it will be approximately a 90-minute hike.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Ayabe Onsen (あやべ温泉)

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If you are going to hike Mt. Kiminō, how about basing yourself at Ayabe Onsen the night before?

The unique thing about Ayabe Onsen is its medicated bath. Each month, they have a theme where they put different kinds of herbs into the bathing pool.

Apart from the normal hotel rooms, you can also camp here and enjoy the barbeque!

The only thing about Ayabe Onsen is they don’t have a private bathtub that you can book.

While it probably doesn’t mean much to some, some people aren’t comfortable sharing their bath time with strangers. However, their shower facility is booth-style, giving you a bit of privacy.

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Besides enjoying the hot spring here to rejuvenate for another day of exploration, if you ever get bored of your room/tent, an enormous 1,300 square meter maze was only opened in March 2021! Although it isn’t free to get into the maze, it will surely be a lot of fun!

  • The current costs are:
    • Adults: 600 yen
    • Elementary school 4th grade to junior high school students: 300 yen

Tip: To our vegetarian friends, remember to tell the hotel what you can’t eat when you book your stay. We have confirmed with them that they can accommodate vegetarian diets.

For more information about the hotel, please refer to their official website HERE and translate it using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.

How to Get to Ayabe Onsen

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅)’s south exit – Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Kambayashi Line (上林線) and get off at Ayabe Onsen-mae (あやべ温泉前バス停). Please note that you may need to change bus at Ōmachi Bus Terminal (大町バスタミナール).

Or, if you are a group of 6 or more, they will be able to pick you up from JR Ayabe Station.

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Satoyama Guest House COUTURE (里山ゲストハウス クチュール)

On the other side of Mt. Kiminō, there is a great guest house for anyone who fancies mingling with other travelers!

The couple who are running the guest house is really friendly and are experienced tour guides. So if you want a guide to the summit of Mt. Kiminō, staying with them for a night would be a great idea, especially if you are eyeing that Sea of Clouds View in the early morning!

While there is no onsen in the guesthouse, you can check with them to see if they can take you to and from Ayabe Onsen (=゚ω゚)ノ.

For more information, please refer to their website HERE!

How to Get to Satoyama Guest House COUTURE

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅) south exit, Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Kambayashi Line (上林線) and get off at Ōmachi Bus Terminal (大町バスタミナール).

Please let them know which bus you will take for them to pick you up from the bus terminal. You can refer to the timetable link at the beginning of this article.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Shaga Forest (ミツマタとシャガの群生地)

Ⓒ 海の京都DMO

If you are driving and visiting Ayabe in spring, head to the forest in Oitomi (老富) in the north of Ayabe City for a secret garden newly discovered in 2015!

The spot was discovered by a photographer hunting for some scenic landscape. So if this guy didn’t head into the cedar forest, even the locals wouldn’t know the beauty concealed in their back garden!

In the cedar forest, there is a hidden garden formed naturally. From late March to early April, the lower parts of the cedars’ trunks are covered by cute yellow flowers of Oriental paper bush. And from late April to late May, it is Iris japonica‘s turn to color the scenery with its little white flowers!

So how come no one knew about this astonishing place?

The area was originally thriving with the forestry industry. As the demand dropped in the last century, the cedar trees in the forest without logging have grown happily ever since. This had blocked the sunlight for the Oriental paperbush and Iris japonicas growing at the bottom of the trees.

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However, a snowstorm in early 2000 damaged the cedar forest that brought in enough sunlight for the little plants at the cedars’ feet. So the number of Oriental paperbush and Iris japonica increased exponentially, bringing us this fairy-tale-like scenery each spring (*´ω`).

The flowers of Oriental paperbush don’t just form a golden carpet if seen from afar. When you are in the middle of them, you will fall in love with their sweet scent that helps you relax!

We recommend coming after 3 pm for the Iris japonica for a fantastic view of the sun shining through the cedar trees onto the white flowers.

Cafe Hanayadori (花やどり)

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Each year, when the flowers bloom, a temporary cafe is set up that serves drinks and a traditional dessert, Tochimochi Zenzai.

Tochimochi is a horse chestnut rice cake that has been the area’s main food source in winter. Unlike the normal rice cake that can be bought everywhere in Japan, Tochimochi has a nice chestnut smell and taste, making it harder to stop eating every time you bite into it (´▽`*).

How to Get to Shaga Forest

From JR Ayabe Station (綾部駅) south exit, Ayabe Eki Minamiguchi (綾部駅南口), take Aya Bus’s Kambayashi Line (上林線) and get off at Oomi (於見). Note that you may need to change buses at Ōmachi Bus Terminal (大町バスタミナール). From the Oomi, it will be around a 60-minute hike.

From mid-March to late May, free shuttle buses depart from Ōmachi Bus Terminal (大町バスタミナール), which is a bus stop on the way to Oomi. But note reservation is required by emailing [email protected]. If you read Japanese, refer to the official website HERE.

Click HERE to return to a list of attractions in Ayabe City.

Discover the Beauty of Japanese Demon’s Hometown – Fukuchiyama

Click the photo to find out how to get to this stunning spot!

Fukuchiyama, next to Ayabe, is blessed with abundant nature, many hidden cherry blossoms, and autumn foliage destinations. The town, known for its connection with the famous samurai – Akechi Mitsuhide, also has the best spot to visit for hydrangeas in early May and a mountain where demons used to reside.

For more information, please refer to our article on Fukuchiyama City!

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