Deep Dive Into Nara Part 2 – Gojo City

Previously, we explored the rice terraces of Inabuchi, local restaurant Sarara, and saw the massive tomb of Ishibutai Tumulus. The journey from there continues south to Gojo city.

Gojo City 五條市 has a modest population of around 30,000 residents and sits on the west side of Nara prefecture. It is mostly surrounded by mountains and permission is a major fruit being grown here. Yoshino river also flows through Gojo city, providing abundance of fish as well as a clean water source.

Persimmon picking at Izutani Tourist Farm

Driving through Gojo city, you’ll see in the distance hills a sea of orange. Don’t be mistaken, they’re not autumn foliage. In fact they are persimmon trees.


Each year during the month of November, Izutani Tourist Farm is open for persimmon picking. They specialize in “Fuyu” which is a breed of sweet persimmons which are large and soft. You can pick as many persimmons as you want, so long as you can finish eating them at the farm. You can also bring them back home at an extra fee. No reservations are required in advance, and you can even pick on rainy days.

Other than persimmons, you can also pick plums in June and blue berries in late July to August.

A Historical Stay at ANOU Old Imperial Palace KANAU

After a fruitful first day exploring Asuka Village and Gojo City, we found ourselves deep in the mountains at Hotel Kanau. As everything goes in Nara, this place is deep with historical ties, dating back to the early 1300s. It was a turbulent time as Japan was transitioning between Emperors. There were wars fought and this location deep within the mountains of Nara acted as a safe haven for the emperor on the run from danger in year 1348.


It is one of the oldest houses in Japan and is appointed as an important cultural asset. One part of the structure of the house is said to be the same as Kinkakuji Temple (est. 1397) in Kyoto which also date back to a similar period. As you enter, you’ll first see the old kitchen on the far left inside corner. There’s a row of old furnaces no longer in use, and upon seeing it you really feel the historical significance of the place immediately. Up several steps on the right-hand side, you head into the living and dining area. The floors are covered in tatami, and dark wood furniture decorate the rooms.


The living space for the guests is in a separate house from the dining area. While the exterior remain as is, the interior has been newly renovated for a very comfortable and modern stay. There are 2 bedrooms and a large living space that even has piano and TV for you to watch. The hotel is also dog friendly so you can travel with your furry friend.

Dinner is served back at the main building, with a lavish multi-course meal featuring truffles, venison, and steak. There’s also delicious fruits and fresh smoothies at to top everything off at the end.


After a good night’s rest, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise, with Japanese maple just outside our window. We went back to the cozy dining hall for breakfast, and finally met the resident sheep, Daikoku. He was enjoying his breakfast and snack happily in the autumn sun!


We’d continue further south to Totsukawa village, which is at the southern edge of Nara boarding Wakayama and Mie prefecture. Continue reading about it in part 3 of our deep dive into Nara series.

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