Kasugayama Primeval Forest

Description: 

Laying over hills, Kasugayama Primeval Forest together with Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara combine a part of the UNESCO World Heritage known as Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, side by side with the Nara Palace Site, the five Buddhist temples including the Todaiji, the Kofukuji, the Yakushiji, the Gangoji and the Toshodaiji. From the past of Japanese religion, a religious spot is often attached with a natural space to make an associative cultural landscape and Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Kasugayama Primeval Forest is a typical example of a vivid and comprehensive picture of religion life in Japanese capital of the period of profound political and cultural change like 8th century.

kasugayama_primeval_forest_welcomekansai

Source: Nara Park

More than a natural heritage, Kasugayama Primeval Forest is a cultural heritage rather than the natural heritage, the forest has been preserved as a sacred forest, no hunting, no tree cutting, staying as an independent body of spirit and feeling since 841. The hills lift the forest to the height of 497 meters on the eastern side and 283 meters on the western side, flowering over the area of about 250 hectares. There is a trail runs through several parts of the forest leading to the top of Wakakusayama mountain, ending right near Kasuga shrine. Tourists are requested not to step away from the designated walking trail but just enjoying relaxing and serene atmosphere surrounding the trail, breaking through splendid blocks of leaves changing color over seasons, running here and there with mountain deer.

kasugayama_primeval_forest_welcomekansai

Source: Nara Park

Starting from Kintetsu Nara Station for about 2km to the east, you will meet a promenade entrance. The Kasuga Okuyama road connecting the promenade entrance and the boardwalk entrance stretches about 9.4 kilometers. An other part is the waterfall slope, a stone-paved road along the old Yagyu highway leading to the Yagyu village of swordsmen with several stone Buddha of Middle Nebotoke, Sunset Kannon, Asahi Kannon scattered under little raindrops of birds chirping. A highlight of Kasugayama Primeval Forest is the waterfall of nightingale. The waterfall of about 10 meters high falls down to the headwaters of Sahogawa river, creating the limpid sound of nightingale which has power to heal the human soul. Ohara Bridge is the way they call a rest house along Okuyama road with a monument of Kasugayama Primeval Forest as a World Heritage beside.

kasugayama_primeval_forest_welcomekansai

Source: Nara Park

In the 16th century, the great Hideyoshi Toyotomi planted about 10000 of cedar but a huge part of them was destroyed significantly by typhoon disaster. Inside the forest, you can find many species of vine plants and fern plants along with evergreen broad-leaved trees from oak to massive Japanese cedar. Kasugayama Primeval Forest raises a special kind of sakura. Unlike the usual cherry, the flower is white with unique structure of petal, leaf and rachis.

Open time: 

All day

Admission: 

-Bike: 200 yen     

-Light car: 500 yen       

-Small car: 900 yen       

-Ordinary vehicles: 1000 yen  

-Bus: 1900 yen

How to access: 

-Take bus from JR Nara Station or Nara Station, get off at the terminal, walk north to the trail entrance for about 5 minutes.

-Take Nara Kotsu City Loop Bus from Kintetsu Nara Station, get off at Wariishi-cho bus stop then take a 20 minute walk from Wariishi-cho bus stop to Okuyama Yuhodo Iriguchi.

-Take a 12 kilometer drive from Horai Ramp of Daini Hanna Toll Road on National Route 308, 369 and Nara Okuyama driveway toward Wakakusa Sancho.