Stroll the streets

of a post town along Senshu’s Kishu Kaido Road.

Experience Mountainous Hiking Trails of Yamanakadani along the Historic Kishu Highway

The road that runs through the village of Yamanakadani is part of the Kumano Highway. It is part of the Kumano pilgrimage, which first began in the Heian period (794-1185). The road also became part of the Kishu Highway during the Edo period (1603-1867), when it was used by lords traveling to and from their residences in Edo (present-day Tokyo), which kept the road quite active.


In 1930, Yamanakadani Station opened, serviced by the JR Hanwa Line. This resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of visitors seeking natural beauty such as the surrounding mountains and canyons. During its peak of popularity, five hot spring inns (ryokan) existed in the area. The town was bustling with travelers who stopped to eat, shop, and rest. Many of the historic buildings remain, making this area a fascinating place to enjoy the remnants of the good old days.

Cherry Blossoms of Yamanakadani

Rows of cherry blossoms bloom alongside the train tracks.

The area is incredibly popular with both domestic and international visitors during the spring cherry blossom season. On opening day, visitors are treated to a tremendous spectacle of striking pink and white blooms alongside the vibrant energy of bustling, food-filled street markets. After its heyday as a post town, travelers significantly decreased. A revitalization project saw a large number of cherry blossom trees planted along the Yamanaka River in 1965, and has led to visitors increasing in numbers again to view the roughly 1,000 cherry blossom trees in full bloom during spring. Every year, the trees are lit up at night, creating beautiful scenery for visitors to relax under the blossoms. Events are also held during the Yamanakadani Sakura Festival at the nearby Wanpaku Kingdom.


The area has plenty of other natural spectacles to offer throughout the year, with hydrangeas blossoming from mid-spring through late summer, a summer variety of cherry blossom, and Japanese bush clovers adorning the surface of rivers in autumn. Each hiking course in the area offers slightly different natural landscapes for visitors to see.

Hiking Courses

Nearby hiking courses are perfect for anyone who wants to stretch their legs.

A variety of hiking courses are available close to Yamanakadani Station and offer a range of challenge levels suitable for beginners to advanced hikers.


While there are plenty of undulating paths heading into Wakayama Prefecture for intermediate-to-advance hikers, the shorter Gin-no-Mine (Silver Peak) Hiking Course is highly recommended for visitors looking to complete their hike in under two hours—it also offers some spectacular views.

The entrance to the Gin-no-Mine Hiking Course.

Upon exiting the train station, turn right and cross the bridge over the railway tracks to find the road up into the mountains, and the entrance to the hiking path. Silver posts are located along the way to indicate the path, and a short walk up a cobbled path will eventually take hikers up to the large silver gate demarcating the entrance. From here, the path is relatively steep, lined with steps up to the first observatory. This first part of the course should take just under an hour to complete, and the efforts are certainly worth the view.

A great view of Osaka Bay stretches out from the Daiichi Panorama Observatory.

From the Daiichi Panorama Observatory, at a height of 308 meters above sea level, panoramic views of Osaka Bay and Kansai International Airport can be enjoyed and on a clear day. The Rokko Mountain Range near Kobe City, and the high-rise structures of Osaka City can also be viewed. This is an ideal resting point for hikers to enjoy a packed lunch and drinks.


After a refreshing rest, hikers can either take the same path back to the station or take the path onward, toward the Daini Panorama Observation Deck. Some sections of this path are also steep, and there are no stairs, so hikers should proceed with caution. Some chains and ropes are available for support, but should not be solely relied upon. Following this path for just over 30 minutes takes hikers to a second panoramic observation area, and eventually leads back to Yamanakadani. After exiting the hiking course, visitors can also walk through the local neighborhood and enjoy the views of local farms.

The Old Townscape of the Kishu Kaido

Weeping cherry blossoms on the grounds of Jifukuji Temple.

For an additional bonus, hikers should head through the short tunnel under the train tracks and follow the path to Jifukuji Temple. This temple was initially abandoned during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and was eventually relocated to its current location in 1885. A separate hall was built on the precincts to house the statue of a deity called Jizo Sanzon, which is dedicated to safe childbirth. Weeping cherry blossoms on the ground bloom from late March to mid-April, creating truly beautiful scenery. If you are lucky, you may have the chance to sip on amazake, a sweet drink made from sake lees that is typically sold on the opening day of the Yamanakadani Cherry Blossoms Festival.

Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the Kishu Kaido.

The temple is very close to the Kishu Kaido, which makes it a popular sightseeing spot. Just exit the temple grounds and turn left on the old Kishu Kaido road to walk along the historic highway, marveling at some of the centuries-old buildings that line up the street. Yamanakadani Station is located just at the end of the preserved Kishu Kaido road.


Yamanakadani Station is served by the JR Hanwa Line which provides easy access to Kansai International Airport, and other parts of Senshu, and Osaka city. For anyone visiting by car, parking is available for ¥500 per day at the Wanpaku Kingdom car park. Note that the parking area is located a short walk away from Wanpaku Kingdom. Please note that there are no restrooms on the Gin-no-Mine hiking course—please use the restrooms at Yamanakadani Station or Wanpaku Kingdom.


For Senshu tourist information inquiries, please contact the Senshu Japan Concierge Team.

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