Follow the Locals to the Hidden Paradise in Osaka: Chihaya-akasaka Village
Have you ever heard about ‘Chihaya-akasaka mura'(千早赤阪村)? “Mura” means Village in Japanese, Chihaya-akasaka is the “only” village in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Chihayaakasa village located between the Mt.Kongo(金剛山) mountainside and the borders of Nara Prefecture. The village has no convenience stores or train stations but breathtaking spots and historic sites. Get away from the hustle and bustle, follow the locals and know more about this hidden gem in Osaka.
Follow the Locals : Recommended Spots
Mr.Suehisa is working in Chihaya-akasaka Village Hall for promoting the tourism of the village. He got attracted by the living style and moved to Chihaya-akasaka from the metropolis.
Compathy Magazine: When we search the hashtag #chihayaakasaka in Instagram, we found many nice pictures of natures and we cannot believe that those incredible views belong to Osaka!
Suehisa：Chihaya-akasaka kept the original nature scenery of Japan, it started to get known by foreign tourists recently.
Compathy Magazine: It’s easy to access from Kansai International Airport(KIX) as well, it’s cool if you want to visit something besides shopping and sightseeing spots.
Suehisa：We strongly recommend you visiting “Shimo-akasaka”(下赤阪) and “Mt. Kongo”(金剛山), it’s the best way to know the history and culture of Chihaya-akasaka.
Feel the nature scenery from early morning
See Chihaya-akasaka with different angles
Walked 10 mins by Chihaya-akasaka Village Hall, there is “Chihaya-akasaka Village Municipal Hometown Museum”(千早赤阪村立郷土資料館）, you may find important cultural properties and get to know the history of the village.
Suehisa：The museum displaying the materials about Lord Kusunoki, the famous warlord in the Northern and Southern dynasties who borned in Chihaya-akasaka. There is also displaying old equipment for making Koya-tofu (Beancurd) with the pure water of Kongo area.
You may meet the local guides in the museum, feel free to ask them if you want to know any about the village!
■Chihaya-akasaka Village Municipal Hometown Museum Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村水分266 Tel：0721-72-1588 Closed every Monday (will close by Tuesday when it's Public Holiday) Entrance Fee： Adult 200yen, Child 100yen Official Site
Visit the Power Spot from the warlord birthplace
The birthplace of Masashige Kusunoki楠木正成(Lord Kusunoki) is just next to the museum. Hideyoshi Toyotomi(豊臣秀吉) ordered to build a small shrine and the letters of memorial is built by the recommendation of Toshimichi Okubo(大久保利通). It’s a representative power spot and historic place of Osaka area.
Suehisa：What I surprised when I came to this village is, everyone living in this place is also respecting Lord Kusunoki very much. Love the place you’re living, keeping the traditional culture alive, shows friendly to visitors, those all are the charming point of the village.
■Masashige Kusunoki's Birthplace Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村水分266 Official Site
Eat like a local! Lunch at Roadside Station
The Smallest Roadside Station in Japan
“Roadside Station Chihaya-akasaka”(道の駅 ちはやあかさか) is the smallest roadside station in Japan just re-opened in 2018. Besides a cafe, there is also selling local vegetables and fruits.
The shop which selling local vegetables and fruits, is fresher than imagined! Don’t you like this warm-hearted shop comparing to a supermarket? When you visit here in the Winter, you have to try the local strawberries call ‘Chihaya-Hime'(ちはや姫, means ‘Chihaya Princess’), large and delicious.
The cafe inside serves meals using local vegetables, ‘Terraced Paddy Fields Curry Rice’ is inspired by Mt. Kongo and terraced paddy field, ‘Daily Lunch’ is prepared by the local ladies with a hometown atmosphere.
■Michinoeki Chihaya-Akasaka Address:Chihaya, Chihayaakasaka, Minamikawachi District, Osaka Prefecture 585-0051, Japan Phone number：0721-21-7557 Closed：3 days in August / New year days Official Site
The Local Farm Shop
The local farm shops sell local rice and vegetables, which grows by the water from Mt.Kongo. The farm operator says, in the Spring, Bamboo shoots is most fresh and popular. Tomatoes and Eggplants are in season in the Summer, they also sell flowers. To assure the freshness and luscious, The rice and vegetables are delivered to the shop when harvested.
■The Local Farm Shop Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村東阪18-1 Opening Hours: Sat, Sun, Public Holidays 05:00～14:00 (While stocks last) *Except Obon Holiday and New Year Holidays
Chihaya-akasaka No.1 Photogenic Spot
Terraced Paddy Fields of Shimo-akasaka
The stairway-like rice paddy fields built on slopes is just like a painting, best viewing time is May(New greenery) to October(Golden) every year. It was certified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Japan as “100 Selected Paddy Fields in Japan”. Not only tourists but professional photographer also in love with this incredible place.
Suehisa：We received many positive comments from the visitors, actually there are different kinds of flower are worth to see like Red Spider Lily and Cosmos.
■Terraced Paddy Fields of Shimo-akasaka Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村森屋 Official Site
Remains of Shimo-akasaka Castle
The Remains of Shimo-akasaka Castle is built by Masashige Kusunoki in Kamakura Period, designated as a national monument in 1934. There is a Chihaya Shrine built in the Honmaru Remains, it becomes popular to students and job hunting graduates because of the strong defencing power since ancient times and beautiful view.
■Remains of Shimo-akasaka Castle Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村千早 Official Site
The beauty of Freezing – Seasons of Chihaya-akasaka
You’ll see ‘Chihaya-enchi’ at the top of Mt.Kongo, remember to have a look through the observation deck! Here you can enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view from the mountain.
末久：Mt.Kongo’s best season is not only Summer and Autumn! You may see hoarfrost on the trees in Winter, it’s a dream-a-like scenery that you need to see!
■Chihaya Enchi（府民の森ちはや園地） Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村大字千早1313-2 Tel：0721-74-0056 Official Site
Mt. Kongo holds many festivals in the year like one of the three major festivals is ‘Mt. Kongo Cherry Blossom Festival’, there are vendors and special events, visitors can experience the local Japanese culture.
Renge Festival(れんげ祭り) will be very special for visitors, you may see monks walking through the fire and flames, it’s an asceticism of Buddhist. Worshippers pray for safety for themselves, their families and the health of feet, you may also try walking on the coals after the flames are fully extinguished.
■Mt. Kongo Year Schedule 3 May / Cherry Blossom Festival 7 July / Renge Festival The second Monday of October (Health-Sports Day) / Maple Festival
There is a live camera which takes pictures automatically every 30 mins on top of the Mt. Kongo, the pictures will be synchronized to the homepage of Mt. Kongo. Isn’t it interesting if you showing your pictures to friends on the website?
Mt.Kongo Accomodation Recommendation – Konanso
Feel tired after the whole day schedule? You may enjoy the public bath facilities in ‘Konanso’, enjoying the mountain view, relaxing your body and mind.
Don’t miss the local cuisine ‘Duck Hotpot’! The duck meat keeps juicy and tender, served with local vegetables and it’s good nutritious. Japanese loves to put a bowl of rice into the soup left and makes a rice porridge, it’s definitely a fabulous ending for a meal!
Suehisa：If you staying the Mt. Kongo, you may enjoy the breathtaking night view and starry sky of Mt. Kongo from the room. It’s definitely the best place to viewing stars in Osaka Prefecture.
■Konanso Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村大字千早1313-2 Tel：0721-74-0321 Official Site
Follow the locals to the nature
‘Chihaya Star and Nature Museum’ is organized by a group of tour guides that familiar with Mt. Kongo, you may see the local flowers and know more about the nature of Mt.Kongo!
If you’re lucky enough, you may meet the birds and seeing hoarfrost, which only can be seen in the winter!
■Chihaya Star and Nature Museum (ちはや星と自然のミュージアム) Address：大阪府南河内郡千早赤阪村千早１３１３－２ Tel：０７２１－７４－００５６ Official Site
Interview: The Visitor
Mr Lee is working in the film and television industry in China, after watching the movie ‘Little Forest’ (リトル・フォレスト) which enhanced him to homestay in the countryside of Japan. Which first impressed him is, when he visited the primary school in Chihaya-akasaka, there is girl students playing basketballs. For Mr Lee, it just likes entering an Anime scene.
For the homestay family, it’s quite different from what he expected. The house is a modern western-style designed house and a Japanese-style house which placed a Samurai Armor, two houses are separated by only a door.
Mr Lee says, which mosts impressed him in the journey is, the friendliness of the locals and the stunning nature view. Although they cannot communicated well with words, Mr Lee feels the warmness from the people.
“It just a real experience like Manga scenes! Surely it’s a memorable trip and I’ll treasure it.” Mr Lee said.
Suehisa: Of course that Osaka is full of famous sightseeing spots, you may visit the another side of Osaka only 1hr from the center of city.We are always welcome you to visit Chihaya-akasaka!