The Yamanobe no Michi is the oldest road in Japan. Throughout history, emperors, samurai, merchants, and monks alike all traveled this road. I used to hike this road between Tenri and Sakurai in the Nara basin with my friends when I was a college student nearby, in the city of Osaka. I sometimes imagined what it was like in 6 centuries ago or even further back to 14 centuries ago, as travelers hiked through the woods and ponds, passing temples, shrines, and rice fields, while admiring the verdant scenery. Many poems were written by poets of old who traveled this road. There are Japan’s oldest shrine and a holy mountain along this road. The mountain is believed to be a residence of gods.
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