It’s really no surprise that this little shrine has been passed over by travel guides (including Lonely Planet, Dorling Kindersley and Wikitravel) and even by that mother of all information aggregators, Wikipedia. Nara was once the capital of Japan, and by virtue of that distinction it was endowed with such a rich profusion of shrines and temples – including World Heritage listmakers like Tōdai-ji – that smaller attractions such as Himuro-jinja do tend to get overlooked. And I must admit, outside of the spring season there really isn’t much to gawk at here, so if it weren’t for the timely recommendation of a nice lady at the tourist information office I would have passed it by without a second thought.
As it turned out, it was the spring season when I was there on April first, and you know what that means.
I can say with little hesitation that this particular cherry tree is one of the finest bloomers I saw during my entire trip.
To be charitable, the shrine did have a number of other interesting features.
Nah, who am I kidding – it’s all about the cherry trees.
If you find yourself in Nara during the spring bloom, don’t forget to drop by Himuro-jinja for a quick photo shoot. It’s right next to the deer-filled heart of Nara Park and a short distance from Tōdai-ji, so it can’t hurt to swing by for just a few minutes and stare at those beautiful trees. (Here’s a Google Maps link to put you on the trail.)