Enjoy the scenery of a gorgeous castle town which is known as the #1 place in Japan to revel in the beauty of goldfish! This tour is good to combine with your day in the Nara Deer Park.
Only a few minutes by train from the famous Nara deer park lies Yamato-Koriyama. Much less known, it is somewhat of a hidden gem. It has flourished as a castle town since ancient times, and offers a wide variety of attractions cultivated by the samurai class. Nowadays, it is a city rich in historic vibe and is also known as a major goldfish breeding town. Here we offer a walking tour which shows you the spots unique to Yamato-Koriyama. The tour is offered at 9am or 2pm. If you wish to change the time, or partake in a tea ceremony experience, please contact us.
① Meet at Kintetsu-Koriyama Station (9:00/14:00)
The group will meet the guide at the ticket gate of the station.
② Koriyama Castle (9:15-9:55/14:15-14:55)
We will first visit Koriyama Castle, the pride and symbol of the city. The castle was built in the 16th century, and is known as one of the most famous cherry blossoms viewing spots in Japan. Depending on the season, here you can enjoy cherry blossoms (spring) or vivid fall colors (autumn). Koriyama Castle will wow you not only in terms of the stunning stone walls and architecture, but also in terms of the spot’s glorious harmony with nature, as well as its splendid exterior gate that was relocated from Negoriji in Wakayama. And let’s not forget - a breathtaking view from the top that overlooks the town of Yamato-Koriyama.
③ Yanagi-cho Shopping Street (10:10-10:30/15:10-15:30)
Stroll along the retro shopping arcades of Yanagi-cho and immerse yourself in the old “downtown” atmosphere. Along the way we’ll pop into the 400-year-old Kikuya Sweets Shop. They sell many kinds of Japanese style sweets using their traditional recipes perfected over the last 400 years. While strolling this quaint narrow street, look for Kochikuya, a souvenir shop where one can try their hand at goldfish scooping, harking back to the days of childhood.
④ Hakomotokan Konya (10:35-10:50/15:35-15:50)
Pay a visit to this restored indigo dyer's house. Inside you'll find a small museum of art and antiques related to the city's heritage of goldfish breeding. You can also buy hand-dyed accessories should they take your fancy.
⑤ Koriyama Hachiman Shrine (10:55-11:10/15:55-16:10)
Just off the shopping street lies this Shinto shrine. Funnily enough, this shrine is popular with baseball fans all over Japan. When one local man donated baseball mitts for the shrine to give to the disadvantaged, it started somewhat of a trend, and more locals joined in. Eventually some famous pro-baseball players contributed, and now people visit to pray for good results in their games.
We will also stop at the iconic ‘K-coffee’ which features a quirky fish tank crafted from a phone booth. There you can take a break and take some interesting photos of the goldfish swimming in the phone booth while sipping freshly roasted coffee.
⑥ Goldfish culturing ponds and Koriyama Goldfish Museum (11:20-11:45/16:20-16:45)
At our final stop on the tour, we explore the goldfish production center known as "Kingyoda," just outside the center of the city. Yamato-Koriyama hosts one of Japan's leading goldfish production sites, distributing approximately 60 million goldfish nationwide, or about 40% of the national share. Here on the outskirts of the city, the Kingyoda facility maintains about 50 hectares of goldfish culturing ponds, and the visuals of seeing such great numbers of goldfish swimming about in such a large area is something unforgettable. You’ll also visit "Koriyama goldfish museum" where you will find goldfish-related memorabilia and reproductions of Edo-era prints, along with a garden area with tanks of rare goldfish.
⑦ Drop off at Kintetsu-Koriyama Station (12:00/17:00)
・Enjoy splendid views from atop Koriyama Castle.
・Marvel at the goldfish swimming in the phonebooth.
・Soak in the nostalgia while walking around the Yanagi-cho shopping district
・Be awe-struck at the largest goldfish farm in Japan.
・Please wear comfortable walking shoes.
・Solo travelers may also take this tour for a 2,000 yen supplement, payable directly to the guide.
・Tour duration can be extended at a rate of 1,000 yen per person, per half hour, payable in cash.
Private tour for 1 adult : ¥10,000
|Hours of availability||
Start Time 9:00 or 14:00
・English speaking guide
・Food & Drinks
※ Tour end st Kintetsu-Koriyama station
Fun time with Barbara
Nara is new to us. Our guide Barbara impressed us with Nara Park and Todaiji Temple site. But we loved the Deer Park best, really awesome.
Tolle Tour. Masako hat uns viele und tiefe Einblicke in das japanische Leben und Historie etwas Abseits der Touristenströme vermittelt.
Unique and memorable - not the normal Nara
I loved every part of this tour, a surprise at every stop. It was a great alternative to the normal Nara tour (which I did), and the UNESCO site hunts (which I did as well.) From the shrine that refurbishes baseball gloves - Koriyama Hachiman Shrine, to the talkative ladies at Machiya Monogatarikan who explained the history of their red-light district building. The omiyage I brought back from Kikuya were a hit, but know they use no preservatives so not for overseas gifts. If you want a unique tour where every place you visit will be so happy to see you and share their history - this is it. I would also recommend Barbara Inui as a guide anywhere in the Nara area.