About Northern Kansai


Blessed with a wealth of precious natural scenery.

Nantan map

Nantan City has the Ashiu Forest Research Station, a mountain forest with the capacity for naturally cultivating water resources, the Miyama River which has been elected as one of the country’s “100 Best Water Locales”, and the Oigawa River which flows from northwest to southeast. Beginning with the “Rurikei” area, which is a small valley named after the lapis lazuli for its beautiful stream, the city is blessed with a wealth of precious natural scenery, and famous for its high quality agricultural produce, like Miyama milk and Kyoyasai (heirloom vegetables originating in Kyoto prefecture.) Many tourists from all over the world visit the wealth of tourist attractions here such as the onsen facilities on the outskirts of the Hiyoshi Dam, and the thatched roof huts of Miyama village, a remnant of the traditional landscape of Japan.

Ikimi Tenmangu Shrine

Ikimi Tenmangu Shrine in Nantan City is over one thousand years old, and is the oldest Tenmangu Shrine in Japan. There are about 12,000 Tenmangu shrines located throughout Japan. Tenmangu Shrines are all dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, a scholar and politician who was unfairly exiled by his political rivals and is associated with Tenjin, the Shinto God of education. What is unique about Ikimi Tenmangu Shrine is that it was built to worship Michizane while he was still alive. Ikimi in Japanese means “living body”. Most shrines were built and used to worship someone only after they had died.
A hokora or small wayside shrine was built in 901 by an officer by the name of Genzo who was asked to take care of and protect Michizane’s 8th son. Together, Genzo and the son waited for Michizane’s return, they prayed at the hokora for Michizane’s health and safety every day and night. Sadly, Michizane passed away 2 years after he was exiled. The hokora was then turned into a mausoleum and then into a shrine.
At Ikimi Tenmangu Shrine you will find a statue of a lying cow, this is the symbol of Tenmangu and is associated with Michizane. It is said that the cows wept as they said farewell to Michizane when he was banashed. As a result, cows were thought to be messangers of Tenjin or Michizane. It is said that rubbing the head will grant the person wisdom.
Many students come to the shrine to pray for success in passing tests and entrance exams.

STIHL Forest Outdoor Activities

STIHL Forest Kyoto is a "forest zone" in the Hiyoshi Dam area environmental maintenance plan (a dam maintenance plan open to the community), and provides a place to interact with nature, history and culture through experience, learning and practical activities. It features cabins and campsites that allow even people unfamiliar with camping to enjoy the outdoors. Visit the forestry museum to learn about the local forests, mountains and other natural environments.
There are 4 zones located in this huge site of 128 hectares, and walking paths that extend 7,260 meters in total.
Experience tree climbing using special ropes, saddles and safety equipment. A great activity that gives you a sense of unity with the trees, forests and nature.

Ruri Valley

Ruri Valley is located on a plateau about 500 meters above sea level in Sonobe, a town in the southwestern part of Nantan city. Visitors stroll through the valley during all four seasons, enjoying the delicate scenery created by the clear streams and natural forests all around.
The Sonobe River eroded the slopes of the plateau and created this 4km-long valley. The upper part consists of granite and lower part of rough quartz rock. Distinctive rocks, waterfalls and ravines are scattered along the stream, accenting the landscape. Broad-leaved trees and Japanese red pine found on either side of the streams add illustrious colors throughout the seasons. Sometimes you may also hear the beautiful calls of the black deer drinking from the clean waters or you might come across a Japanese giant salamander, a Special Natural Monument of Japan. This is a popular destination where people from the city come to spend a relaxing weekday or weekend.

Synesthesia Hills

Originally, the Synesthesia illuminations were something that could only be seen during the winter it has now been reborn as an illumination display to be enjoyed all year round.
Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense, such as hearing, is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight. Synesthesia Hills uses this concept to dazzle your senses and lets you “feel the color in the sound”. This is an interactive content that produces light and sound, with technology linked to the weather and temperature. This means that each performance is unique to that day.
Getting to Nantan via Sonobe Station
By car

You can rent a car from a major rental car company at any major train station or city.
From Kyoto City you will take Route 8 and Kyoto Jukanjidoshado Highway via Route 478.

By train & local bus

From JR Kyoto Station you can take a limited express train to Sonobe Station and it will take about 30 minutes.