Asago Wellness and Fitness Tourism
Finding treasures from the ancient past...
Once upon a time, Asago was a feudal era battlefield. With Takeda Castle, seeming to float among the clouds, it is a very mysterious place. Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu all vied to conquer Japan, and saw the importance of maintaining control of this area. Tajima, Harima, and Tamba, located nearby in Hyogo Prefecture, were important hubs of travel. They also had rich deposits of silver. Their mines made up 78% of all silver in Japan. This source of incredible wealth made it a target of these warlords. In Asago, you can get a colorful description of the events of the past. The reign of shoguns at Takeda Castle, the castle town with its ancient atmosphere, and Iku no Ginzan with its legendary horde of treasures, make for a city that is full of charm. Everytime I go to Asago, the time flies by too quickly, and I’m left wanting to return. I'll serve as your sempai and teach you about the Japanese history and culture which I love so much.
Takeda Castle was built in 1431. Now, it’s the most famous landmark in Asago. It’s the most beautiful of Japan’s “sky castles”. There’s little chance anyone would disagree with that. It really shows off its truest beauty during the spring and autumn, especially on crisp, clear early mornings. It really feels like the land of the sennin, the mythical, fog-eating wizards from Japanese legends. It’s not hard to imagine Toyotomi Hideyoshi looking down from the castle and deciding, “I must have these lands!”
From the castle, you can see the vast, magnificent landscape and experience Tenku Yoga, which is simply yoga at the castle itself. Seeing the sky and land melding together from an incredible vantage point is an unforgettable experience. The shogun and lords of yore would be jealous of the peaceful times in which we can relax and enjoy the scenery, without the imminent threat of war. To get a good workout, try nordic walking or mountain biking up to the castle. Any way you go, you’ll see some imposing, old stone walls along the way. They were made with the finest architectural techniques of the time. This particularly Japanese construction method allows the walls to remain in good condition and awe visitors to this day.
The castle town, once a bustling and important place of commerce, is very well-preserved and might seem like a movie set for a historical film. Be sure to take your time as you head down the streets, so that you don’t miss any of the authentic details. When I was there last, I asked a local for a recommendation in the town. One man told me to try the local beef, known for being very tender. A woman told me that the Ginzan Boys are really cool and handsome.
I’m a fanatic about Japanese culture, so when I heard about Kisshouzan Kannonji Temple yoga, or “Odou yoga”, I was really excited. If you’re also interested in Japanese culture, this is something you absolutely can’t miss. You can cleanse your body and mind in a very Japanese setting. On the temple grounds, there is a gorgeous weeping cherry tree. Think of a willow crossed with cherry tree. You’ll also see a zen garden inside the compound. Inside the temple is very solemn and beautiful, and you can see real Buddhist monks. They exude a strong warmth of spirit. Meditate as they chant, and experience the words grab hold of your soul. The monks will insist that destiny has brought you to the temple and that there is some deeper connection between the temple, this experience, and you life. The monks then prepare matcha and Japanese sweets. Afterward, you can begin your yoga experience inside the temple. Once you are centered, body and soul, enjoy a fresh lunch with local ingredients. I can’t stress enough how valuable this experience is. There are just so many aspects of Japanese culture in one place.
Finally, let’s talk about Iku no Ginzan, the silver mines. The three big shoguns saw it as a crucial resource. I was really curious, so I went to check it out. Inside the mines, it’s always 13 degrees Celsius (55.4 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s 350 meters long and 800 meters deep. More than seventy kinds of valuable minerals can be harvested from these mines. The Ginzan Boys demonstrate exactly how mining was done. But most importantly, you can vote for who is the most handsome of the sixty men! In the near future, there’s even gonna be a Ginzan Boys movie! I highly suggest looking them up on YouTube. You might be surprised...
It was heartwarming to see how much the locals really love their town and are proud of their history. There’s never enough time to do everything I want in Asago. I really need to go back yet again to enjoy its plethora of historical and gorgeous treasures.
*You can get to Asago in one hour by car from Himeji Castle or Kinosaki Hot Springs World Heritage Sites. You can also get there from Osaka or Kyoto.
*For making reservations for Takeda Castle yoga, visiting Kisshouzan Kannonji, Odou Yoga, nordic walking, mountain biking, using a shuttle car or tour guide, you can visit Asago Wellness Tourism’s official website:
*You can watch Ginzan Boys music videos at https://youtu.be/DZ0IbJFkFZg