In the autumn of 2009 I hiked along the Yamanobe trail, a "road" that dates to at least the 8th century that meanders through rural villages and farms on the eastern edge of the Nara basin. It is considered to be one of Japan's oldest roads/trails. There are many shrines and burial mounds dating from the time that Nara was the centre of power in Japan. If you are looking for experiences outside the big cities this is one worth considering. It is about 40 m by train from Osaka and can be accessed from Tenri station on the Kintetsu line.