Take a ride through time in the Nara Basin
Let’s cut right to the chase, Japan is an excellent country to explore by bicycle and perhaps no place is better than the middle-south region of the Nara Basin. Famously known as the origin location of the modern country of Japan, this region is packed full of fascinating history which is truly old in origin (even for Japan) among a landscape of small to midsize towns and serene agricultural countryside. It is also a place where you can experience common everyday life in Japan in both urban and countryside settings instead of the more tourism-oriented areas that you may find in places like Nara City or Kyoto City.
So, what is the best way to access and explore this area? Well, look no further than Kashihara City’s Navi Plaza bicycle rental service!
Entrance to Kashihara Navi Plaza (Kashihara City Tourism Exchange Center).
Conveniently positioned right next to the transportation hub of Yamato-yagi Station, our bicycle rental service starts you off in a location where you can easily access all that this region has to offer, from the nearby Edo period traditional townscape of Imai-cho, to the ancient Omiwa Shinto Shrine located at the base of the mountains to the north.
How about some more examples of places you can visit easily from Kashihara Navi Plaza by bicycle? The following is a list made from popular destinations among previous patrons:
Fujiwara-kyo Ancient Capital ruins – the location of Japan’s first planned capital city (built in the Heian period) which is now a beautiful sprawling meadow located in the heart of the Kashihara area. It’s also famous for its various types of flora which bloom throughout the year.
Kashihara-jingu Shrine – A shrine built during the Meiji period that honors Japan’s first mythical emperor, who is said to have built the first imperial palace near here in prehistoric times. Includes a large park and a pond that is famous for bird-watching
Kofun Tomb Mounds of the Nara Basin – for most of Japan’s early history, Nara was the home of the country’s emperors and court royalty. These high-ranking figures were often buried under large tomb mounds which can still be found throughout the area. Many of them are popular locations to visit among history aficionados, especially along the Yamanobe-no-michi road on the north side of the Nara Basin.
Mt. Miminashi Park – Mount Miminashi is known as one of the 3 mountains of Yamato or the “Yamato-sanzan.” This mountain, along with the Mt. Unebi, and Mt. Amanokagu, forms a triangle shape which is supposedly the legendary origin area of Japanese civilization. The Park surrounding Miminashi is a popular spot for outdoor recreation and features a pond.
Inabuchi Tanada – Hidden in a shallow valley in the southeast of Asuka Village, Inabuchi Tanada is a picturesque area of terraced rice fields that is worth every minute of extra time it takes to get to. From the late spring to mid-fall you can catch a glimpse of the rice-growing cycle that has taken place here for centuries.
Imai-cho Edo period district in Kashihara City.
Fujiwara-kyo Ancient Capital Ruins in Kashihara City.
Inabuchi Tanada in Asuka Village.
Riding between destinations (or just simply wandering around) is also a breeze, as Japan is a very bicycle-friendly country and there are all sorts of small, interesting side-streets that wind through old neighborhoods and agricultural areas that will guide you along on your adventure. The relaxed atmosphere of Nara will make you feel extra safe when you ride, as people generally move slow here and are courteous to pedestrians; just be sure to be aware of your surroundings and return the same courtesy to others.
How to rent a bicycle
Bicycle rental reception area.
Renting is easy, just fill out a small application form upon arrival at Kashihara Navi Plaza and provide a contact phone number and a valid form of I.D. If you are visiting Japan from abroad, you will need to write down where you will be staying for the day(s) of your rental, show your passport and pay a 2,000 yen deposit fee (per bicycle), which will be refunded when you return your bicycle. The rental fee for a full day is currently either 700 yen for standard gear / cross bike and 1,000 yen for an electric. All bicycles need to be returned by 6pm, so renting as early as possible is best to get the most value for your money.
Kashihara Navi Plaza offers 3 types of bicycles to choose from which accommodate all experience and fitness levels: Standard gear “mamachari” bikes, lightweight cross bikes, and electric bikes with batteries that will last you a full day. There are also a few child-size standard gear bikes available as well.
New cross bike available for rent.
At the time of rental, our staff will happily offer you advice on where to go and how to get there, as well as supply you with maps and other materials which may prove useful. Many members of our staff can speak English, so don’t be shy to ask for assistance.
You may also reserve bicycles in advance via contacting us by phone (0744-47-3391) or use the following link: http://www.kashihara-naviplaza.com/contact.html. Just tell us the type of bicycle you want (standard gear, cross bike, or electric) and the amount you need. Please note we may not be able to accommodate everyone, as bikes are lent out on a first-come (or first reservation), first-serve basis and there is a limited supply of each type. Standard gear and cross bikes can also be rented out for a maximum of 3 nights (4 days) but the full rental fees must be paid at the time of rental.
So bring a friend and come on down to Kashihara Navi Plaza (located next to Yamato-yagi Station), rent a bicycle that suits you, and start exploring the fascinating and beautiful middle-south region of Nara Prefecture. We are looking forward to seeing you.