Written by Jameskyoto on 15 Mar, 2004
A hike of Oyamazaki’s Mt. Tennozan is a step back into Japan’s warring states history. Oyamazaki Town is situated around Mount Tennozan, in the center of the historical regions of Kyoto, Osaka. Japanese and world historians know the area as an important battleground where warlord…Read More
A hike of Oyamazaki’s Mt. Tennozan is a step back into Japan’s warring states history. Oyamazaki Town is situated around Mount Tennozan, in the center of the historical regions of Kyoto, Osaka. Japanese and world historians know the area as an important battleground where warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi revenged the murder of his master Oda Nobunaga in 1582. Hikers can see firsthand the principle sites of transition of power to the military situation of the period.
For many contemporary travelers, however, the well-marked hiking courses called "Hideyoshi Street" still is the real draw to the town. This hiking path leads past most of the area’s main attractions, which include Oyamazaki Sanso Villa, Kannon Temple, the Oyamazaki Historical Museum (which has videos, models, and a reconstruction of the famous Irori-an tea house).
Oyamazaki Sanso Villa, situated on the top of Mount Tennozan is a classical Taisho-period (1912-26) English-style mountain villa. The main wooden structure, surrounded by a large garden area, is well-preserved in its original elegance, with black wooden arched beams, high ceilings, and a huge fireplace. It is well worth visiting. The Oyamazaki Historical Museum houses many collections, including impressionist and Chinese works and a fine collection of Japanese tea ceramics. The museum, designed by world-famous architect Tadao Ando, has one of Monet's exquisite water lily paintings as a centerpiece art exhibit. The Oyamazaki Historical Museum is the only attraction in this journal that charges an entry fee/¥600. Hours 10:00-17:00, closed on Mondays.
The hike without stops will take about 90 minutes and can easily be tackled by a novice climber. The nearest station is JR Yamazaki station or Hankyu Oyamazaki station, and can easily be accessed from Osaka or Kyoto in about 30 minutes. Be aware, the only local train stop is at JR Oyamazaki Station.
A stop at The Suntory Yamazaki Whiskey Distillery is a recommended stop for anyone visiting Oyamazaki. The world famous Suntory Whisky brand got its start here, and in fact this is where the history of Japanese whiskey began. The tour of the facilities is very…Read More
A stop at The Suntory Yamazaki Whiskey Distillery is a recommended stop for anyone visiting Oyamazaki. The world famous Suntory Whisky brand got its start here, and in fact this is where the history of Japanese whiskey began. The tour of the facilities is very popular with Japanese weekend tourists, and the company advises reservations (tel: 075-962-1423). Though reservations are recommended, my partner and I were able to walk right in on a busy Saturday afternoon.
The tour is in Japanese, however even without understanding the guide the manicured grounds, tradition, history, and attention to detail are awe-inspiring. I recommend going on a weekend as overflow crowds cut the standard one-hour tour time to a quick-and-easy 30 minutes. Hey, if you can’t understand what the guide is saying anyway. . .
Following the tour guests are provided with high-quality, complimentary Yamazaki Whisky drinks and snacks. The real difference between this and just any other brewery or factory tour is the immaculate facilities. One quickly forgets they are in one of the most densely populated countries on the globe as the distillery’s wide open spaces and beautiful gardens quickly puts one at ease.
To reach the area, take a local Hankyu to Oyamazaki Station or JR train to Yamazaki Station (about 25 minutes) from either Osaka or Kyoto. The walk connects the two JR stations. There is a free shuttle bus from JR Yamazaki or Hankyu Oyamazaki station to the distillery, but if it is a nice day I recommend a lazy walk to the site. En-route travelers will be teased into taking lots of pictures by beautiful neighborhoods of old-world Japanese buildings.