By Bryan Baier
Asuka is a Japanese city relatively unknown to tourists but well-known and respected within Japan. Formerly the cultural and political center of the country (6th and 7th century Japan), today you can view the many palace ruins and burial mounds (kofun) – the last remains of a glorious past.
Places like the Asuka-dera temple, for example, attract a large number of Japanese tourists as one of few places where you can see history preserved from around 1,500 years ago. Inside the temple, an ancient bronze Buddha, created in 609, still stands. This is the oldest statue of this type in the country and has been designated an important cultural property of Japan.
Inside the temple, monks share information on this illustrious Buddha, its origin and history. Inside the temple is perhaps the only place where travelers may immerse in the atmosphere of the 6th century. There is also a planned augmented reality section which will soon be available to visitors.
Asuka offers countless vantage points from which to appreciate the surrounding nature, far away from any urban environment. Agriculture, rice fields and mandarin orchards are a leading part of the scenery. In front of some houses, you can see water wheels harnessing the natural power of the rivers. If you make a stop at the Chari Chari (茶 り ち ゃ り) restaurant to enjoy a traditional Japanese meal, you can also see a working water wheel from within the building.
Asuka City is also working hard to bring more foreigners to the city. A wdie range of accommodation exists including western and Japanese. For a special experience and to dive into the daily lives of people in the area, you can stay in a guest room (minpaku) too.
Inside these rooms, guests are often asked to participate in cooking workshops. Making tempura or udon is certainly a fun experience that everyone should try. The cost is around ¥8,000 for the night with dinner and breakfast in these type of rooms.
Asuka will also soon open its own guest house (Asuka Guest House), especially for foreign tourists. Currently under renovation, this charming, traditional home is expected to accommodate up to 30 people. It will house a Japanese garden, a dormitory and private rooms.
To get to Asuka take the Kintetsu limited express line, from Kintetsunara Station. This is about a 50 minute train ride. Getting around the city you can rent bicycles near the train station and electric cars in the Michimo rental agency.
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Depuis ma foudroyante rencontre il y a dix ans avec l'élégance japonaise (Femme se poudrant le cou d'Utamaro), ma soif de découvrir et comprendre chaque aspect de cette culture énigmatique ne se tarie pas. Mes études de japonais et mon séjour d’un an en tant que rédactrice web dans l’Archipel n’ont fait qu’accroître mon intérêt pour ce pays magnifique. Je suis ravie de pouvoir partager ici mes quelques expériences mais plus encore, de découvrir les vôtres !