21 places on the mainroute where
we can experience Japanese history

 The basic concept of the Main Route of Rekishi Kaido is a "time trip". A long stretch of approx. 300km, the Main Route passes through Ise, Asuka, Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe as Japan's representative historic cultural cities, allowing tourists to trace the footsteps of past eras in the time sequence of occurrence.
 Japan has amalgamated its unique culture, stimulated by exchange with different cultures for over 2000 years. The Main Route is divided into five areas according to time period, through which one can trace Japanese culture to its sources.

The Ancient Time Area(before the 7th century)
 This is the first area of Rekishi Kaido, reaching from Ise to Asuka. It includes the Horyu-ji Temple, the oldest wooden temple in the world and the Grand Shrines of Ise, the largest in Japan, both of which were built before the 7th century.
 Bruno Taut(1880-1938), a world-renowned architect, gave his highest praise of the Grand Shrines of Ise for their architectural value, referring to it as the ultimate work fo art with ultimate simplicity. The Grand Shrines are made of natural (unvarnished) wood. Every 20 years, in a big ceremony called Shikinen Sengu, a new shrine is built, and costumes and sacred objects are remade. This ceremony conveys the Japanese prefecture for raw, natural materials which an be called the culture of kinari
 Located in the south of Nara prefecture, Asuka is a place where Buddhism and other aspects of culture were introduced from the Asian Continent. Here are a number of relics deriving from China and Korea, such as the Takamatsuzuka old tomb mound, the wall paintings of which astonished the world with their splendor, and the elegant Buddhist image statues at Asuka Temple.
 It was in the 6th and 7th centuries, when Asuka was the capital of ancient Japan, that Buddhism and Shintoism began to coexist in the hearts of Japanese people.

1 Ise
2 Asuka 3 Yamanobe-no-miti trail 4 Ikaruga

The Nara Period Area (8th century)
 The second historical area is Nara, a city which has many vestiges of exchange with Greece, Persia, India and other contries on the continent through the Silk Road.
 In Nara, a large-scale capital modeled after the Chinese city of Changan built under the Tang Dynasty was erected in the 8th century, The extensive remains of the old capital have been preserved, and excavation work continues.
 The world's largest wooden architecture, Daibutsuden, which houses one of the world's largest images of Buddha, is located here in Nara.

5 Nishinokyo 6 The site of Heijokyu 7 Around Nara-park

The Heian Period to Muromachi Period Area
(8th to 16th centuries)
 The third historical area is Kyoto, a city which entertains a constant stream of tourists from abroad . It was when Kyoto was the capital of Japan that the culture particularly suited to the climate and human nature of Japan developed.
In Kyoto, which became the capital in the 8th century, flourished the glorious culture of the aristocracy as illustrated in historical picture scrolls.
 A phonetic alphabet for the Japanese language, kana, which was created between the 9th and 11th centuries, is an excellent example of Japanese cultural originality . A number of novels, essays and poems were written in this kana alphabet, including "The Tale of Genji"-Japan's most famous epic novel by a woman writer, which has been introduced to the world through translations such as the one by the British author Mr. Willis.
 From the 15th to the 16th century, Ikebana (flower arrangement) and Chanoyu (tea ceremony) became popular. The brilliance of the golden temple Kinkaku-ji, the magnificence of grand Buddhist architectures such as Daitoku-ji Temple and the profundity of Zen temples such as Ryoan-ji Temple, famous for its rock garden-all these are close to the heart of even modern Japanese culture.

8 Uji 9 Higashiyama 10 Okazaki
11 Kinukake-no-michi 12 Arashiyama/Sagano

The Warring Period to Edo Period Area(16th to 19th centuries)
 The leading players during this period were samurai warriors. The central power collapsed late in the 15th century, followed by an era of power struggles and civil wars. During this Warring Period, the introduction of guns from abroad substantially changed the methods of war and of fortress construction.
 This period also saw surging waves of popular culture in a variety of forms: performing arts such as Kabuki and Bunraku (puppet show); such literature as Haiku and Ezoshi (picture books); and new styles of fashion and food.
 Osaka, as the country's largest commercial city, has many spots of historical interest such as Osakajo Castle, Tekijyuku-a school for Western sciences which educated many talented people such as Yukichi Fukuzawa who contributed to the modernization of Japan-and a special theater for Bunraku.

13 Nijojo Castle 14 Tennozan 15 Osakajo Castle
16 Dotonbori 17 Tekijuku

The modern Period Area (19th century onward)
 Spanning from Osaka to Kobe, the fifth area has been a center for Japan's modernization.
 Historically Kobe became a major doorway to the world late in the 19th century when Japan re-opened itself to foreign contact. Since then, Kobe has been a leading port for foreign trade in Japan. After three hundred years of seclusion, Japan allowed Western civilization to pour in. The antique Western style buildings in Kobe convey the atmosphere of Meiji's early days of modernization.

18 Takarazuka
19 Arima Hot springs 20 Kitano-Ijinkan 21 Kobe Harbor