An Autumn day ride to Hase-dera Temple

Recently I made my first visit to Hase-dera Temple which is located in the city of Sakurai, Nara prefecture.  I had originally intended on riding to Muruo-ji Temple, however, after seeing a sign for Hase-dera along the way, I couldn’t resist.  I’m glad I finally did visit there as I found out the road that runs through helps get me back to Tenri dam, thus creating a nice little 65km loop back to Nara city.

The road leading up to Hase-dera runs through a small picturesque village full of small souvenir shops, several Miwa somen noodle restaurants, and places making and selling “yomogi mochi”. The temple itself, is tucked away in a mountainside along the eastern portion of Sakurai. It has been located there since the year 686, when it was built and dedicated to the Emperor Tenmu.  I can easily see why they chose that sight because the view from the mountainside is stunningly beautiful, especially in autumn.

This was one of two yomogi mochi shops that I visited. Yomogi is a Japanese wild plant also known as mugwort, and gives the mochi its natural green color and refreshing taste. It's definitely a nice treat for only ¥100 Yen!


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