Easily Accessible by a Cute Cable Car! Hiking Course at Nara’s Mt. Ikoma
Rising at the border of Nara and Osaka, Mt. Ikoma (“Ikoma-san” in Japanese) is a famous mountain in Japan that can be easily reached through a cable car that goes to the summit from Kintetsu Railway’s Ikoma Station. The hiking course that goes from the top of the mountain – through Hozanji Temple – to the front of the train station is rich in variety, as hikers will go through a forest, stone pavements and a bamboo forest, so you can enjoy the unspoiled nature and feel the true Japanese atmosphere. Another great thing is that there are no small peaks, and the entire trail is downhill. ＜※This information is from Kansai no Yamanobori & Hiking (issued July 28, 2017)＞
＜9:00 AM: Start＞ Ikoma Cable’s Toriimae Station
【Access from Osaka to Ikoma Cable’s Toriimae Station】
【Train】Approx. 16 minutes from Kintetsu Railway’s Tsuruhashi Station via Rapid Express, and then a 3-minute walk from Ikoma Station to Toriimae Station
【Car】Take the Daini-Hanna Toll Road from Hanshin Expressway’s Higashi-Osaka Route, get off the Ichibu Ramp, head north on the Japan National Route 168, then northwest on the Prefectural Route 104, and then north on the Prefectural Route 142. The distance is approximately 25km, with the drive taking about 30 minutes.
The train lines in operation that take you from Hozanji Temple to Ikoma-Sanjo Station are the fairytale-like Do-Re-Mi (seen in the photo) and Sweet. The fancy pastel-themed designs of these train cars are quite impressive.
Phone: 0743-74-1111 (Ikoma City Tourism Association)
Parking area: Use the pay parking lot nearby
＜9:15 AM＞ Ikoma Sanjo Amusement Park
Ikoma Sanjo Amusement Park is an amusement facility that is perched at the top of Mt. Ikoma. There is free admission. Inside this park that offers a view of the Osaka Plains and other sights, you will find around 30 types of attractions. You will feel like you are in an amusement park in the sky, where you can enjoy a grand panorama of the town below from anywhere inside the park. You just might forget about hiking when you get engrossed in the attractions here!
Look towards Osaka from Ikoma Sanjo Amusement Park. The view from Abeno Harukas – the tallest skyscraper in Japan – up to Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is like a diorama when seen from that height.
Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM ※Varies depending on the season
Closed: Thursdays ※Operating hours and holidays of the park change according to the season. The park is also open at night during summer.
Entrance fee: Free
＜11:35 AM＞ Hozanji
Hozanji is a temple that was reconstructed by Tankai Risshi, a Buddhist priest in the Edo period, around 300 years ago. Also known as Shoten-san, this temple is said to bring a whole host of benefits, such as profits for a thriving business. Inside its precinct are structures that were built at varying times over the years. The Hondo (main hall) that stands with a rock wall by its back enshrines Miroku Bosatsu (Buddha of the Future).
Hours: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Entrance fee: Free
＜12:35 PM＞ Road Approaching Hozanji
The distance between Hozanji Temple and Kintetsu Subway’s Ikoma Station is about 1.5km, and the road is lined with lodging facilities and inns that have a Showa era ambience to them. While it seems that many of them have already closed down, the area is still somehow filled with a nostalgic vibe. There are several cafes, restaurants, galleries and other facilities around Hozanji Station, where you can rest your tired body after hiking.
Walk on the omotesando (front or entrance path) to Hozanji. If you go through the first gate (“ichi no torii” in Japanese), the streets of Ikoma will appear in front of the stone pavement that is lined with lanterns.
＜1:00 PM: Finish＞ Ikoma Station
Altitude: Approx. 642m
Walking distance: Approx. 3km
Walking time: Approx. 1 hour
Toilets: Ikoma Cable’s Ikoma-Sanjo Station, Hozanji Temple, etc.
Convenience stores: Located around Ikoma Station
Restaurants: Located on the path to Hozanji Temple
■Cable Car Data
Rate: 360 JPY one-way
Time on train: Approx. 36 minutes (including transfers)
Hozanji Station: 9:09 AM – 6:09 PM
Sanjo Line: 6:15 AM – 11:40 PM (services may increase or decrease depending on the time)
Phone: 06-6771-3105 (Kintetsu Railway Passenger Information Telephone Center) ※8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Reward After Descending From the Mountain
The specialty of Ikuyoya is the Botamochi Set (810 JPY) that comes with matcha (powdered green tea) or some other drink. The botamochi (sticky rice cake covered in azuki beans) is made with freshly pounded sticky rice that is generously covered in azuki beans, and it is accented by the fragrant aroma of matcha green tea. You can gobble up this confectionery that is known to have a refined kind of sweetness. The takeaway set (680 JPY) has two types of botamochi: One covered in koshian (smooth bean paste), and another with coarse bean paste.
Hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM (last order: 5:30 PM)
Sundays: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (last order)
Seating capacity: 12 seats
Parking area: None
Ochiyasen concentrates all of Ikoma’s charms! It is a shop in Ikoma City that carries local merchandise, such as special regional products and goods made by companies that operate within the city. Check out this place, and search for fine items and gems that have yet to become famous, including rice, tea and sweets that locals love. It also gathers information on the traditional industries that Ikoma City boasts to the world, as well as information on Ikoma City itself.
Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Parking area: 200 slots (free for 30 minutes, 300 JPY for 30-60 minutes, and then 100 JPY per every 30 minutes afterwards)
※The information contained in this article is valid as of July 28, 2017.
※With certain exceptions: Some areas may be closed or not passable at the time of this article’s posting due to typhoons and heavy rains. Please check the condition of the mountain climbing or hiking trail before you go. Furthermore, the road surface condition on the route may change, so do not climb the mountain with light clothing or lightweight equipment. [This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 09.12.2017]
*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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