Discovering charm of Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine and Ishikiri Sando in Ikoma

Jun 19, 2024

Discovering the Charm of Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine and Ishikiri Sando in Ikoma, Nara

Ikoma, a city in Nara Prefecture, is known for its blend of cultural heritage and serene natural beauty.

Among its many treasures, Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine stands out as a significant spiritual and historical site.

Adjacent to the shrine, Ishikiri Sando is a bustling street filled with traditional shops and eateries that offer a glimpse into local life.

This article explores the rich history and cultural significance of Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine, and the vibrant atmosphere of Ishikiri Sando, and provides tips on what to eat and where to shop in this charming area.


1.Access to Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine

Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine is conveniently accessible from both Osaka and Nara. From Osaka, take the Kintetsu Nara Line from Osaka-Namba Station to Ishikiri Station, which takes about 25 minutes.

If you’re coming from Nara, it’s a short 15-minute ride on the same line to Ishikiri Station. Once you arrive at Ishikiri Station, the shrine is a pleasant 10-minute walk away, following well-marked signs that guide you through the picturesque streets of Ikoma.

The walk from the station to the shrine is an experience in itself. As you approach, you’ll notice the gradual transition from an urban landscape to a more tranquil, traditional setting, highlighted by the sound of the nearby Ishikiri River and the sight of Mount Ikoma in the distance.

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2.Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine

Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine, also known as Ishikiri Shrine, is a sacred site with a rich history dating back over 1,300 years.

The shrine is dedicated to the deity Futsunushi no Mikoto, a god of martial valor and protector against evil spirits. It’s also known for its connection to health and healing, attracting visitors who come to pray for relief from ailments and diseases.

The approach to the shrine is marked by a large torii gate, leading to a stone-paved pathway lined with lanterns and ancient trees.

The atmosphere is serene, and the air is filled with the scent of pine and incense. As you enter the main grounds, you’ll see the impressive honden (main hall), characterized by its traditional Shinto architecture with a curved roof and intricate wooden carvings.

One of the unique features of Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine is its ema, or wooden prayer plaques. Visitors write their wishes or prayers on these plaques and hang them at the shrine in hopes that the deity will grant their requests.

Another significant feature is the Okunoin, a smaller shrine located behind the main hall, which is particularly revered for its healing powers.  

The shrine also hosts various festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Ishikiri Taisai, held annually in November.

This festival includes traditional music, dance performances, and a vibrant parade, attracting visitors from all over Japan.

Address :
  • 1-1-1 Higashiishikiri-cho, Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture


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3.Ishikiri Sando

Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine Ishikiri Sando

Adjacent to Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine is Ishikiri Sando, a lively shopping street that embodies the charm and spirit of traditional Japan.

This pedestrian-friendly street is lined with a variety of shops, stalls, and eateries, offering everything from local delicacies to handcrafted souvenirs.

Walking along Ishikiri Sando is like stepping back in time. The narrow street is adorned with colorful banners and lanterns, and the aroma of street food fills the air.

It’s a place where visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture, interact with friendly shopkeepers, and enjoy a leisurely stroll while discovering unique treasures.

Address :
  • 579-8011 Osaka, Higashiosaka, Higashiishikiricho, 3 Chome−3−34
Map :

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4.Food to Try at Ishikiri Sando

Ishikiri Sando is renowned for its local culinary offerings, each with its own story and tradition.

Here are some must-try foods when visiting this charming street:

  • Izumo Soba

Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine Ishikiri Sando

Izumo Soba is a type of soba noodle that originates from the Izumo region but has found a beloved place in Ishikiri Sando.

These buckwheat noodles are known for their robust flavor and slightly coarse texture.

Typically served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in a broth, Izumo Soba is a refreshing and nutritious meal.

At Ishikiri Sando, you’ll find several eateries specializing in this dish, offering it in traditional settings that enhance the dining experience.

  • Ishikiri Senbei

Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine Ishikiri Sando

Ishikiri Senbei is a type of rice cracker that is synonymous with the area.

These crispy snacks come in various flavors, including soy sauce, sesame, and even sweet varieties.

Made from locally sourced ingredients, Ishikiri Senbei is both a tasty and culturally significant treat.

Many shops along Ishikiri Sando offer freshly made senbei, allowing visitors to enjoy them warm and at their best.

  • Sansai Okowa

Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine Ishikiri Sando

Sansai Okowa is a traditional Japanese rice dish mixed with wild mountain vegetables, known as sansai.

This dish is particularly popular in the spring when these mountain vegetables are in season.

The flavors of the vegetables blend beautifully with the glutinous rice, creating a hearty and comforting meal.

Several food stalls along Ishikiri Sando serve Sansai Okowa, providing an authentic taste of rural Japanese cuisine.

  • Yomogi Tempura

Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine Ishikiri Sando

Yomogi Tempura is a unique and seasonal delicacy made from Japanese mugwort (yomogi) leaves.

These leaves are battered and deep-fried to create a light and crispy snack that is both aromatic and flavorful.

Yomogi is known for its health benefits, and its slightly bitter taste is perfectly balanced by the tempura batter.

This dish is a must-try for anyone visiting Ishikiri Sando, offering a distinct taste of Japanese culinary tradition.

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Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine and Ishikiri Sando offer a perfect blend of spiritual tranquility and cultural richness, making them essential stops for any traveler in Nara.

The shrine’s deep historical roots and unique rituals provide a fascinating glimpse into Japan’s spiritual heritage, while the lively sando street invites visitors to indulge in traditional crafts and culinary delights.

From the serene grounds of Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine to the bustling atmosphere of Ishikiri Sando, this area embodies the timeless charm and enduring appeal of rural Japan.

Whether you’re seeking spiritual solace, cultural enrichment, or simply a delightful day out, a visit to Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine and Ishikiri Sando promises an unforgettable experience.

So next time you find yourself in the Kansai region, make sure to include this enchanting destination in your itinerary.

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