Toyota / AichiExplore beautiful scenery, centuries-old crafts in Toyota

Asuke is a popular sightseeing spot not far from central Toyota,

Located a one-hour train ride from Nagoya in the center of Japan, the city of Toyota is a modern industrial hub at the forefront of Japan's automobile industry. Despite its modern amenities and industrial base, the city is complimented by a natural environment and vibrant history. Much like its ubiquitous automobiles, Toyota also boasts a competitive local agricultural industry, producing substantial volumes of rice, pears, and peaches every year. From its forests and lakes to its rich cultural heritage, a trip to Toyota rewards visitors with a diverse range of experiences throughout the seasons. Meanwhile, in fall, head to nearby Asuke for the beautiful, crimson autumn leaves.

Visit the idyllic and historic town of Asuke and the nearby Korankei Valley

Many buildings in town maintain their appearance from the Edo period

The town of Asuke is about 35 minutes by car from Toyotashi Station. This well-maintained town boasts many traditional homes, storefronts, temples, and scenic parks, making it perfect for a trip, year-round. Designated as an Important Preservation District due to its many historic buildings, the town is dotted with charming buildings from the end of the Edo period (1603-1867) and Meiji period (1868-1912.) Meanwhile, the surrounding mountains are home to some of the most beautiful sights in the region, particularly during the autumn season, when the trees collectively turn crimson red. Numerous inns, guesthouses, and hotels in the area cater to all variety of guests, whether you're looking for resort-style amenities, or Edo-period (1603–1868) Japanese hospitality.

Korankei Valley lights up during the autumn season

Kojakuji Temple and the surrounding Korankei Valley are can't-miss Asuke destinations. The expansive grounds of the temple stretch across scenic terrain, with dense maple trees draping the temple paths. The stunning riverside path makes this a top choice for outdoor-oriented travelers. The red Taigetsukyo Bridge, meanwhile, is one of the most-photographed points in all of Aichi Prefecture. From mid- to late-November, these trees turn a vivid shade of red, making for a stunning sight, and attracting visitors from across the country. Standing above the temple is Mt. Iimori, a small 254-meter-tall peak accessible via two main trails near the temple. The grounds are dotted with old restaurants and candy shops, too, allowing you to enjoy a rejuvenating break during your journey.

Visitors to Kojakuji Temple cross the famous Taigetsukyo Bridge

Toyota is located approximately one hour away from Nagoya by train. Once in Toyota, most major destinations can be reached by train or bus. To enjoy more scenic sights, consider renting a car or hiring a taxi.

Watch master artisans at work in Sanshu Asuke Yashiki

The refined skill of the artisans is enhanced by the authentic architecture of the village

Learn about the region's rich artisanal heritage at Sanshu Asuke Yashiki. Located in the scenic Korankei Valley, a short walk from the Korankei Bus Stop, this open-air museum offers visitors the chance to see how people lived and survived centuries ago. Walking through the village, you'll feel like you've been transported back to another era. Peer inside the numerous traditional thatched-roof buildings to find skilled artisans hard at work.

Workshops take place in traditional thatched-roof dwellings

Modeled after a self-sustaining village, these craftsmen are involved in everything from straw work, weaving, bucket making, basket making, umbrella making, dying, paper milling, charcoal making, blacksmithing, and woodworking. The craft workers will answer any questions you may have, and you are welcome to participate in workshops and try your hand at making something of your very own.

Witness the art of traditional umbrella making

Available activities include making straw sandals, paper postcards, or sweet rice cakes. The paper knife-making lesson is particularly rewarding. Note that reservations are required, and the cost of lessons ranges from around 300 yen to 16,200 yen.

Stay in a 19th-century home that retains its traditional splendour

The Ninja Mansion has all the amenities of a traditional home

Get a glimpse into nineteenth-century Japan with a stay at the Ninja Mansion, located in the countryside approximately 25 minutes from Toyotashi Station by car. Despite its somewhat dynamic name, the home is the perfect place to relax with the family. Accommodating up to nine guests in three bedrooms, the charming property maintains its traditional design. Constructed in 1872, the seven rooms of the house are home to decorative tokonoma walls, a traditional irori hearth, a tea room, and a sunken kotatsu (a heated table arranged on the floor). True to its name, you will also find a secret ninja door hidden in the house, along with a rack for storing swords.

The tokonoma doors, tatami mats, and lacquered tables conjure up a previous age

The owner, Michiko, who lives next door, is an accomplished cook. Savor her homemade dishes, which are heated on the irori stove. Her gohei mochi (grilled rice cake skewers) are a must-try delicacy for first-time visitors.

The exterior is complemented by an immaculately kept garden

Reaching the Ninja Mansion requires a vehicle, so consider renting a car or taking a taxi.

Access information

Getting to Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture:

The journey takes around 80 minutes by bus from Chubu Centrair International Airport, and around one hour by train from Nagoya Station.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change. Unless stated otherwise, prices do not include tax.
*Unauthorized reproduction of material in this article is strictly prohibited.

About “Countryside Stays“

If you’re looking for a new way to experience Japan, sign up for a farm-stay experience through the Countryside Stays Japan program and participate in traditional rural-lifestyle activities in recommended countryside locations.

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