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Great Sights, Great Food! Recommended Cable Car Trip Around Nara

The Ikoma Cable Line in Ikoma, Nara, which is about 25 minutes by train from Namba Station in Osaka, is a local train that runs through retro towns and scenic mountains. The surrounding area is great to walk around. Stroll through the cobblestone streets and pay your respects to Ikoma's Shoten-san, then enjoy a small hike to a cafe surrounded by greenery. Nara Ikaruga 1 Day Ticket (Osaka Municipal Transportation Bureau version) (1,650 JPY) is a 1-day discount ticket that allows you to ride freely on the Osaka Municipal Subway, New Tram, and all buses in Osaka, as well as designated areas on the Kintetsu Railway, Nara Kotsu bus lines, and Ikoma Cable. Purchase it from a subway station master's office and use it wisely. (You cannot start using it on a bus or Ikoma Cable)<The information is from KansaiWalker (published April 4, 2017)>

MAHO-ROBA Forest cafe. The terrace is raised so you can see the green leaves at eye level.

Ikoma Cable Line Has Cute Cat Carriages!

"Bull" and "Mike," two cutely decorated cars, run between Toriimae Station and Hozanjimae Station. *There may be other carriages

【To the next spot】Six minutes on Ikoma Cable to Hozanji Station

Luxurious 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles Made with Carefully Selected Ingredients

The soba restaurant Rockontei, located five minutes on foot from Hozanji Station, serves 100% buckwheat soba made with flour that is stone milled on site using carefully selected buckwheat procured from farmers around the country. The Kansai-style dashi stock made with ingredients such as top-quality dried bonito​, dried, smoked mackerel and round herring and no additives enhances the flavors of the soba noodles that go smoothly down the throat.

The Kinchaku Rockon Soba (pictured in front/1,000 JPY) has plenty of vegetables. Add 400 JPY to make it a soba lunch and select two items from the day's a la carte dishes (back).

Many of the vegetables served with soba are root vegetables. As a restaurant in a temple town, the food is almost like Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. The viscous sobayu water in which the soba was cooked is also tasty.

The restaurant, which stands on a mountain slope, has a panoramic view of Ikoma City. The soba is even better when eaten with the fabulous view!


1F Monzen Okagero, 16-3 Monzen-cho, Ikoma-shi, Nara

A Pizzeria in an Old Japanese House with Fabulous Views

Kumotei is a pizzeria serving pizza with a chewy texture baked in a wood fired stone oven in an old Japanese house overlooking the Nara basin. The original pizza made with a well-balanced combination of local ingredients has unique flavors. By reservation only.

Untei Original Pizza Lunch Set (2,700 JPY) includes an original pizza, appetizer of the day, salad and drink.

The view from the restaurant is fabulous.

It feels wonderful to eat out in a garden with fantastic views. There is a panoramic view that includes Mt. Wakakusa and Todaiji!


2-10 Monzen-cho, Ikoma-shi, Nara

Ikoma's Shoten-san, Beloved by the Masses

Hozan-ji is a temple that the Edo era monk, Tankai Hozan, restored 300 years ago. It is said that Kukai trained there, and it has numerous buildings such as the Hondo, Seitendo, and Tahodo, with a prajna cave dedicated to Maitreya in a large stone wall in the background. Hozan-ji is affectionately called Shoten-san and is said to benefit commerce as well as prayers made by giving up a food or drink.

The Hondo main building with the statue of Fudo Myoo is the oldest building on the grounds.

Walk the cobblestone path from the station to Hozan-ji.

The Sakuramochi and Mamedaifuku Set (300 JPY) at the tearoom on the temple grounds.


1-1 Monzen-machi, Ikoma-shi, Nara

【To the next spot】Walk 28 minutes on a mountain road to MAHO-ROBA Forest

There are some steep hills on the way to the cafe, but the roads are all paved and comfortable to walk on.

Relax on a Terrace in the Forest Shaded by Fresh Green Leaves

MAHO-ROBA Forest is a relaxing cafe surrounded by verdant trees. It serves drinks that are gentle on the body, such as home roasted organic coffee and herbal teas, together with the day's sweets selection to be enjoyed in the midst of nature. The terrace is built out into the forest, so it feels almost like being in a treehouse. Reservations are required for lunch.

The Organic Wa Black Tea from Tsukigase (photo left; 600 JPY) made with Tsukigase Tea Garden's Benifuki tea and Seasonal Syrup Juice (right; 600 JPY).

A simple cabin-style interior.

The owner took ten months to renovate a building that had been used as a studio.


569-5 Oguraji-cho, Ikoma-shi, Nara

Play Atop a Mountain with Fabulous Views!

Ikoma Sanjo Amusement Park, which is a short walk from Ikoma Sanjo Station, is an amusement park at the top of the 642m Mt. Ikoma. Its appeal is the various rides and attractions, and the observatory from which you can see the entire Nara basin and Osaka plain. Ride on the 30m-high Flying Tower (500 JPY) for an even grander view!

The Flying Tower with a sunset. The park sometimes stays open late during Golden Week, so you may be able to see a sunset with the western sky painted red.

Ikoma Sanjo Amusement Park

2312-1 Nabata-cho, Ikoma-shi, Nara

【Reprinted from Walkerplus, June 4, 2017】

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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