Area attractions

  • Dorogawa Onsen Hot Spring Village sightseeing spots
  • Sightseeing spots around Nara

Dorogawa Onsen Hot Spring Village sightseeing spots

1Ryusenji Temple

At the start of the ascetic path to Mt Omine, Shugendo practitioners have gathered at this temple for prayer and meditation since its founding around 645. The temple name translates as “Dragon Spring Temple” and there are many dragon and snake motifs around the complex along with a sacred pond and a sacred waterfall. The main hall is guarded by a striking pair of male and female demon figures. Some features are only available to men, such as the experience of standing in prayer under the waterfall and the Shukubo overnight lodgings. The temple has a legend that a local man met a woman here and they lived together and had a child. One day, he came home early and discovered she was actually a giant white snake. Entrusting him to care for the child, she retreated to the temple pond, asking him to ring a bell three times every morning and six times at night to help her pass the days. That temple bell is still rung every day.
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From the inn: 2 min. on foot.

2Menfudo Limestone Cave

High above Dorogawa town, this dome-shaped limestone cave complex has stalactites and stalagmites, illuminated by coloured lights. The path is a little slippery and has low overhangs, so the rental helmets are recommended. Access is by a quirky monorail train, shaped like a wooden log. The observatory near the cave entrance has sweeping views and a rest area with hot and cold drinks and toilets.
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From the inn: 8 min. on foot, 3 min. by tram
(30 min. to the limestone cave on foot)

3Godaimatsu Limestone Cave

The view here has been designated a prefectural natural monument. A tram takes visitors on an adventure into the cave, more than 200 m underground!
*Adult roundtrip fare by tram to the limestone cave: 500 yen
Admission to the limestone cave: 400 yen
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From the inn: 5 min. by car to the tram stop (20 min. on foot)

4Tenkawa Village Museum

This museum provides information about folklore and other subjects. Visitors also can experience copying the sutra (1000 yen).
For more information

From the inn: 5 min. on foot.

5Karigane Bridge

This large suspension bridge spanning between Mt. Ryusenji and Mt. Ohara on the Dorogawa Nature Trail is 120 m long and 50 m high. It offers a panoramic view of Dorogawa Onsen Hot Spring.
For more information

From the inn: 20 min. on foot.

6Mt. Ohara Observatory

Mt. Ohara Observatory, on the way along the Dorogawa Nature Trail, a nature trail circling the village of Dorogawa, offers an all-encompassing view of the village.
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From the inn: 30 min. on foot.

7Toro (Praying Mantis) Grotto

It’s said that this grotto’s name comes from the way the bowing ascetics resembled praying mantises as they trained inside the narrow cave.
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From the inn: 30 min. on foot.

8Komori (Bat) Grotto

It’s said that hermits underwent religious training in this cave. It’s also famous as the wintering ground of the house martin, a prefectural protected species.
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From the inn: 35 min. on foot.

9Gorogoro Mizu

Walking along Dorogawa’s main street, you see gourd-shaped pet bottles tied to some of the wooden houses. Townsfolk use these pet bottles to collect Gorogoro Mizu spring water from the local spring. Set in a cedar forest, the free spring is a popular tourist spot.
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From the inn: 5 min. by car, 20 min. on foot.

10Kajika Falls

These waterfalls are named after the kajika frogs who live in the clear stream and sing beautiful songs.
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From the inn: 45 min. on foot.


These are the ruins of a site where in the old days trainee monks undergoing training in service to Buddha on Mt. Omine would descend to greet their visiting mothers.
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From the inn: 9 min. by car, 40 min. on foot.

12Mt. Inamura

At an elevation of 1726 m, with an observatory on its summit, this mountain offers a panoramic view of the Omine Okugakemichi, a world heritage site.
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From the inn: 3 hr. and 30 min. on foot.

13Mt. Sanjo

At an elevation of 1719 m, Mt. Sanjo in the Omine range is famous as a site of mountaineering asceticism. It’s also known as the only mountain in Japan barred to women.
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From the inn: 2 hr. and 30 min. on foot.

Sightseeing spots around Nara

Nara city

Alongside Naramachi and Nishinokyo, Nara Park is one of the must-see areas in Nara City. The vast area covers 660 hectares and is renowned for its free-roaming deer and world famous temples.
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From the inn: 120 min. by car.


Though little is left of its original palaces and temples, Asuka is at the centre of Japan’s history as the home of the first emperor and the roots of Buddhism. Now, its natural assets draw visitors: rolling hills and terraced rice paddies that hark back to simpler times. Gazing across the rich green fields acts as an instant de-stressor.
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From the inn: 70 min. by car.

Totsukawa Village

In Totsukawa Village, located at the southernmost tip of Nara Prefecture, you can enjoy a stroll through the sky on the Tanize suspension bridge and experience the vastness of nature, including Sasa Waterfall, named one of the 100 most beautiful falls in Japan.
For more information

From the inn: 90 min. by car.

Sights in Kyoto

One of Japan’s most famous tourist destinations, Kyoto offers famous sightseeing spots such as Kiyomizudera, Kinkakuji, and Ginkakuji temples as well as opportunities to see geisha in Gion and a wide range of other experiences.
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From the inn: 120 min. by car.

Sights in Osaka

The main city in the Kansai region, Osaka offers a wealth of gourmet dining and sightseeing opportunities. Here you can savor the delicious tastes of Osaka in Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi, and Shinsekai along with various entertainment spots, including Universal Studios Japan©.
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From the inn: 120 min. by car.


Famous as a world heritage site, Koyasan is a place where you can visit numerous temples, including Kongobuji, the head temple of the Koyasan Shingon Sect, with wide-open views of the sky and the sea.
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From the inn: 80 min. by car.

Mt. Yoshino

A large area in southern Nara, Yoshino is best known for the mountain there of the same name. It is also renowned as a spring destination when over 30,000 cherry trees color the mountain and surrounding area pink. The best places to see cherry blossoms and bright autumn leaves are from Yoshimizu-jinja Shrine and Hanayagura Observatory, which offer sweeping vistas.
For more information

From the inn: 60 min. by car.

Mitarai Valley

The hiking trails, dramatic waterfalls and a suspension bridge make the Mitarai Valley one of the most spectacular scenic spots in the Dorogawa Onsen area. Famously inaccessible, it was used as a refuge during battles in the 14th century. Now, visitors flock to see the red autumn foliage, contrasting with the emerald green river.
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From the inn: 20 min. by car.

Tenkawa Daibenzaiten-sha Shrine

Founded around 700, this shrine is associated with Benzaiten, the deity of art, music and water and combines many elements of both Shinto and Buddhism. The temple is popular with Shugendo practitioners. This shrine has a Noh stage, and performances are usually held in July. It is also considered to be a “power spot” by many new age enthusiasts. The climb to the shrine involves several steep flights of stairs through a forest of cedar and oak trees.
For more information

From the inn: 20 min. by car.

Lower Niukawakami Shrine

This famous shrine is the oldest one in Japan dedicated to the god of the water. It’s also said to be the place where ema, votive wooden tablets painted with pictures of horses, got their start.
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From the inn: 25 min. by car.