Imagine the site as it was more than 2,500 years ago, when the first Emperor of Japan, Emperor Jimmu, ascended to the throne here. Situated at the base of Mt. Unebi, the Kashihara-jingu Shrine was built to commemorate this mythology, and its spacious grounds and gorgeous views make for a great picnic spot.
Kashihara-jingu Shrine is a 12-minute walk from Kashihara-jingu-mae Station.
Trains from Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo provide convenient access to Kashihara-jingu-mae.
The JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line takes around two and a half hours to get to the Kyoto Station. Change at the Kyoto Station for the Kintetsu Line. From there, the rapid express train reaches Kashihara-jingu-mae in about one hour.
From the Abenohashi Station in Osaka, it takes one hour on the Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line to the Kashihara-jingu-mae Station.
From the Kintetsu Nara Station, it takes about 50 minutes on the Kintetsu Line to the Kashihara-jingu-mae Station via Yamato-Saidaiji.
The first four Emperors of Japan have mausoleums in Kashihara-Jingu Shrine
National Foundation Day, celebrated on February 11, officially celebrates the ascension of Jimmu to becoming Japan's first Emperor
The shrine was built in 1990 by the Meiji Government
The life of Emperor Jimmu, enshrined at the Kashihara-jingu Shrine, transcends myth and reality. What we do know is that Jimmu conquered his enemies around the year 660 B.C. to become Japan's first emperor. He established a court at Yamato, in modern-day Kashihara. The earliest written history of Japan also notes him as a descendant of the Sun God, Amaterasu, the most important deity in the Shinto pantheon.
Surprisingly, while parts of the site are considered sacred remnants from Jimmu's reign, the shrine was entirely recreated during the rise of Imperial Japan during the Meiji era (1868-1912).
So it was that in 1889, when the Meiji government sought to elevate Shinto to a state doctrine, that Kashihara-jingu was built. As the site that Emperor Jimmu is supposed to have taken the throne, the government held annual ceremonies here until the end of the Second World War, when they were banned.
Leaving the station, you will find the grand precincts of Kashihara-jingu just a stone's throw away. It is a local favorite, with many visitors during the cherry blossom season and New Year in particular.
After visiting the impressive main hall and Kagura-den (stage for sacred dance)that were moved from Kyoto Imperial Palace, head over to the large lake, where you will find seating areas to enjoy the surroundings with a bento box lunch.