The quiet residential area leading to Taimadera Temple is a must-see for garden-lovers, with its grand, traditional houses and formal walled gardens. The temple boasts classic strolling gardens and an exquisite woven mandala, which legend says was woven by Bodhisattvas from lotus fibres. Cultural experiences at the temple offer deeper insights into Buddhist beliefs.
Taimadera Temple is just over an hour from Kintetsu-Nara Station, making for an easy half day visit. The road leading from Taimadera Station to the temple is dotted with confectionery stores selling freshly made yomogi mochi, rice cakes filled with sweet bean paste. A few stops away from Taimadera Station is Mt. Katsuragi, covered in bright azaleas in spring and red amaryllis in autumn and easily reached from Kintetsu-Gose Station.
Taimadera Temple offers many cultural activities, from yoga classes and tea ceremony to copying the figures from its famous mandala. Shabutsu, or copying Buddhist images, is one of the most popular activities. Relaxing in a beautiful room decorated with delicately gilded panels, tracing the images with a brush and ink becomes a meditation. Afterwards, you have a unique memento to take home.
In front of Taimadera Temple, there are some excellent lunch options. Yakuan, a traditional soba restaurant takes its soba seriously, sourcing buckwheat flour from around Japan. Even the desserts are made with soba. Kamameshi Tamaya specializes in kamameshi, a dish of rice and other ingredients cooked together in a small pot. For a special experience, Sukiyaki Ogawatei offers the famous dish of simmered beef in elegant private rooms. There are also several casual restaurants offering traditional Nara dishes such as kakinohazushi and Miwa somen, tea and sweets.
For another unique cultural experience, drop in at Katsuragi City Sumo Museum Kehayaza, back down towards the station. The area is believed to be the birthplace of Sumo, and this interesting museum documents the sport. Visitors to the museum can try on sumo belts and even step inside the ring.
On the other side of Taimadera Station, Pizzeria Trattoria Magazzino attracts pizza lovers from near and far. The large Italian restaurant, winner of the Naples Pizza Olympics, offers authentic Neapolitan pizzas with plenty of vegetarian options and an extensive selection of Italian wines.