Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice Fields in Shinshiro City is a spot where you can encounter the traditional landscapes of Japan all year round. Mt. Horaiji is another famous place, home to the mountaintop Horaiji Temple said to have been founded 1,300 years ago. After taking your time trekking along the mountain paths, take a leisurely bath at the well-known Yuya Onsen to soak away your everyday fatigue.
Visit Point No.1
- Route Inn Shinshiro
- Route Inn is a business hotel chain that has 300 locations (as of 2019) in Japan. Its hotels have a communal bath with an artificial hot spring—a rare amenity for a business hotel—free parking, a free breakfast buffet, free WOWOW streaming, and free Wi-Fi. They provide affordability and comfort for guests who are looking for a simple place to stay. Route Inn Shinshiro recently opened in January 2019.
Visit Point No.2
- Roadside Station Mokkulu Shinshiro
- Eat up this "Japanese sword!" At Mokkulu Shinshiro, there's a traditional Japanese food that's just like a Japanese sword. The name of that food is the giant gohei-mochi. Gohei-mochi is rice put on a wooden stick, slathered with sauce, and baked to ready-to-eat perfection. The average size is approximately 120 grams, but this giant gohei-mochi is a whopping 1,600. You can take on the challenge of trying to eat it all by yourself, or it's perfect to share with family and friends. It's a special treat that will surely make your trip memorable. Mokkulu Station has other enticing wares that you won't see anywhere else, like 50-centimeter roll cakes, and 65-centimeter giant melon bread.
With a farmers' market that sells local vegetables and produce, a tourist information center, a footbath run with Yuya Onsen hot spring water, and a host of other things to enjoy, Mokkulu Station bustles with crowds just like an expressway service area.
Visit Point No.3
- Mt. Horaiji
- Mt. Horaiji (with an altitude of 695 meters) is a mountain that was created by volcanic activity approximately 20 million years ago. The mountain's surface has been exposed in places, giving it a beautiful appearance, and the mountain itself has been an object of worship since ancient times.
It is home to Horaiji Temple, which was once a holy place for Buddhist ascetic monks who underwent strict ascetic training on the mountain. If you want to get a taste of what their ascetic training was like, why not take the stone stairway's 1,425 steps up to the temple from the temple's approach? Also, stop by and take a look at Horaisan Togoshu Shrine which is dedicated to the first shogun of a long-ruling government, Tokugawa Ieyasu. There, you can see a splendid stone wall with a gorgeous shrine building built who knows how. Together with Nikko Toshogu Shrine, it is recognized as one of Japan's three great Toshogu shrines.
Visit Point No.4
- Yuya Onsen
- If you want to attain enlightenment and live a long life, Yuya Onsen is the place for you. Extolled for its famous hot springs, Yuya Onsen was discovered by Rishu Sennin, who founded Horaiji Temple 1,300 years ago. There is a legend that still remains today in which the effects of the springs allowed him to attain enlightenment and live until he was 309 years old. In this area, seven ryokans have been built along both sides of the Ure River, and it has become a quaint hot spring town. If you want to enjoy this pleasant spring water at home, you can buy it from the hot spring stand (Water sold from a vending machine: 100 yen per 100 liters) at the entrance to the town.
Visit Point No.5
- Atera no Nanataki Waterfall
- Walk through a forest filled with cool air, and head for the waterfall. At the end of a path under moss-covered trees, there's a beautiful, seven-tiered waterfall that spans 62 meters. The water crashing down from up high has created a hole (pothole) called a moulin.
There's a legend that Abe no Seimei, an expert in Japanese sorcery and divination, underwent ascetic training here around the year 1,000. The place is famous for being a spiritual spot that houses a power not visible to the eye. Atera no Nanataki has also been selected as one of Japan's Top 100 Waterfalls and is a veritable oasis of nature trails.
Visit Point No.6
- Forest Adventure SHINSHIRO
- Transform into a flying squirrel as you explore the forest! Among the trees at Forest Adventure SHINSHIRO, there are five courses consisting of wooden platforms, stairs, wires, suspension bridges, and more. Starting from a platform set above a natural stand of trees, fly on a zip line across a canopy of leaves that reaches more than 10 meters above the ground, and whizz across to finish on the other side of the road. You can just go around the difficult activities if you're not sure you'll be fit enough for them, so please explore the delights free of worry. Participation is restricted to children aged nine years or above, or whose height is 140 centimeters or above. It takes about two hours to finish a course.