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The Main Route and the Theme Routes

In the Rekishi Kaido projects, one main route and eight theme routes are designated.
The main route allows tourists to trace Japanese history through visits to various historic cities and each of the theme routes has a specific theme.

The Main Route of the Rekishi Kaido takes you on a journey through the scenes of Japanese history, period by period.

The Ancient Times Area includes Ise, home of Japan's kinari culture, or love for natural, unadorned materials, and Asuka, where the foundations of the state in ancient times were built. Then there is the Nara Period Area around Nara, the final destination of the Silk Road. The Heian Period to Muromachi Period Area is centered on Kyoto, the city in which Japan's unique culture came to maturity. Next comes the Warring Period to Edo Period Area which covers the time from the decisive battle at the Tenno-zan Hill to the flourishing of Genroku culture in Osaka. Finally, the Modern Period Area is represented by Kobe, which symbolizes the international exchanges which have taken place between Japan and the rest of the world since the Meiji Period ( 1868-). The journey is a 300 km trip through time from the Ancient Times to the Modern Period.

Ise -=- Meiwa -=- Nabari -=- Murou -=- Haibara -=- Sakurai -=- Asuka -=- Kashihara -=- Tenri -=- Ikaruga -=- Kashiba

Nara -=- Kizu

Yamashiro -=- Kamo -=- Kasagi -=- Ide -=- Joyo -=- Kyotanabe -=- Ujitawata -=- Uji -=- Yawata -=- Kyoto

Mukou -=- Nagaokakyo -=- Oyamazaki -=- Hirakata -=- Osaka -=- Amagasaki

Toyonaka -=- Minoh -=- Ikeda -=- Nishinomiya -=- Kawanishi -=- Itami -=- Takarazuka -=- Kobe

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Omi Warring Period Route

Kinomoto -=- Kohoku -=- Nagahama -=- Hikone -=- Azuchi -=- Omihachiman -=- Otsu
The Omi Warring Period Route, on the theme of the 16th century Warring Period, goes from Kyoto along the east coast of Lake Biwa and continues on to Fukui. The route follows the ambitions of the warlords who dreamed of conquering the whole of Japan.
This journey, steeped in history, passes the ruins of Azuchi Castle where Oda Nobunaga gave the order to subjugate Japan by force of arms. Nagahama Castle, the castle where Toyotomi Hideyoshi first became a feudal lord, and historic battlegrounds such as Shizuga-take, are also found along this route. An other highlight are the old merchants' houses in Omihachiman.

Echizen Warring Period Route

Kanazu -=- Maruoka -=- Eiheiji -=- Fukui -=- Nanjo -=- Imajo
The Echizen Warring Period Route crosses Fukui Prefecture, continuing from the Omi Warring Period Route on the 16th century Warring Period theme.
The journey takes you past historic battlefields such as Kanegasaki, Kinome-toge(ridge), and the ruins of Somayama Castle on the way. Other famous places on the journey include Ichijo-dani (valley), the power base of the Asakura clan, Maruoka Castle built by Shibata Katsutoyo, and the Eihei-ji Temple, the head temple of the Soto Sect of Zen Buddhism.

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Koya-Kumano Pilgrimage Route

Wakayama -=- Hashimoto -=- Koya -=- Katsuragi -=- Kudoyama -=- Nakaheji -=- Hongu -=- Shingu -=- Nachi-Katsuura
The Kumano Kodo (ancient road) was at its busiest from the middle of the Heian Period (8th-12th centuries) to the latter half of the Kamakura Period (12th-14th centuries) as countless pilgrims made their way to Kumano Sanzan (Three Shrines of Kumano). The Koya-Kumano Pilgrimage Route takes you along this ancient road and the road to Mount Koya, the most holy place in Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. Starting at Mount Koya, which is a treasure store of cultural properties including almost 5000 national treasures, the route travels through a number of interesting spots such as Tanabe, Nakaheji, Hongu, Shingu, and Nachi-Katsuura.

Oise-mairi Route

Misugi -=- Ueno
The Oise-mairi Route links the main pilgrimage route to the Grand Shrines of Ise, the eastern entrance to the Main Route.
The route travels past Misugi where there is a typical garden of the Muromachi Period, the garden around the ruins of the Kitabatake clan's house. It also passes Seki, famous from days of old as a strategic traffic and transportation point, Kuwana, which includes Shichiri-no-watashi (a ferry included in the route of the old-time Tokaido Highway), and Oniga-jo (a cave known for its curiously-shaped rock) facing the Kumano-nada (open sea).

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Shugenja Wilderness Route

Yoshino -=- Totsukawa -=- Tenkawa
The Shugenja Wilderness Route travels along the mecca of mountaineering asceticism, with its many associations with En-no-gyoja, a semilegendary sorcerer of the late 7th century. This route lies in an area of astounding natural beauty.
The route includes Yoshino, famous for its cherry blossoms and historically important as the political focal point for the Southern Dynasty during the Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties in the 14th century, as well as Odaigahara, called the roof of the Kansai region, and the village of Zenki where En-no-gyoja's disciple is said to have lived, at the foot of Mt. Omine.

Tango-Tamba Legendary Route

Kaya
With "legend" as its theme, this route takes you through some of the places which appear in Japanese legends such as Oni-taiji (slaying an ogre) on Mount Oe and the Sansho-dayu legend featuring a sister and brother Anju-hime and Zushi-o. The route passes Oni-no-sato (Ogres' Hometown), currently being built at Oe, Miyazu, with Anju-hime-zuka (mound) and the remains of the house of Sansho-dayu, Ama-no-hashidate, one of Japan's three most famous spots of scenic beauty, and Maizuru, a port city with its well-known red brick storehouses.

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Naniwa Historical Route

Sakai -=- Yao -=- Kishiwada -=- Habikino -=- Tondabayashi -=- Kawachinagano -=- Chihayaakasaka
This route is based on the theme of kodo or ancient roads and includes such ancient highways as the Takeuchi Kaido, Hiagashi-Koya Kaido, Kumano Kaido and Kishu Kaido. The route travels past the remains of Naniwakyo (a series of palaces in the city of Osaka), which was built about the time of the Taika Reform in the middle of the 7th century, and Emperor Nintoku's mausoleum, the largest mound in Japan. It also passes Sakai which thrived long ago as a free city.

Hyogo Symbol Route

Akashi -=- Kasai -=- Himeji -=- Tatsuno -=- Sasayama -=- Izushi
The Hyogo Symbol Route takes in places which are symbolic of various localities, such as castles, old bridges and other historic sites. Famous castles such as Himeji Castle, chosen for the World Heritage Treaty, and castle towns such as Sasayama and Izushi are found along this route. Bringing the journey up to the present day, you can also see the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge which is currently under construction.

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