Hiking Mt. Ikoma (Again)

My apologies for the very long hiatus. Last year, I was not able to anything much during Spring because of my allergies but this year I’m back with a vengeance. My allergies is still here but it more manageable, or I have learned a trick or two to manage it and still enjoy Spring here in Kansai.

So back to the original topic of this post.

Mt. Ikoma. Another hiking event organize by “Hiking In Kansai” group and I got to see Mt. Ikoma in Spring Season. We met we everybody at Ishikiri Station at 9:30 am, but we were not able to start until 10 am. From the station we took the same route we used last time so we passed again the Watermill again but this time the Sakura were in bloom so it was really very pretty.
Sakura
The big Sakura tree gave a very nice backdrop to the watermill.

Sakura

Another one but just started blooming.

Watermill
The Watermill.

Sakura
The same tree, from a different side.

Stone Buddha
The little stone Buddha on road. Keeping a watch on us.

Last time we went all the way to the theme park but we never really found the peak of the mountain. This time we/I did and took a proper photo as a proof 🙂

The Peak of Mt. Ikoma

The reason we did not find the mountain peak last time is because it is hiding inside this ride.
Peak of Mt. Ikoma
The theme park staff will let you in to see the peak.

There were lots of Sakura Trees on top of Mt. Ikoma but unfortunately it was just starting to bloom. It was really a cold day when we started and by the time we got to the top, it was even colder. We had a quick lunch , a visit to the loo and we continued on our hike.

A few minutes later, just outside the theme park we found this strange looking edifice. There were no sign explaining what it was but there were new air conditioning system installed so I guess it was still currently in used.

A weird building

After passing the building we came out to this small skyline park and the view was marvelous. On the left side you can see Nara Prefecture and on the right side, you can see the East Side of Osaka Prefecture. Then, of course , we have to take our group picture here.
HIK
So can you find me? 😀

To continue :
Directions
Where to go? Back to Ikoma or Kuragaritouge ?

Japan's Highway ????
Kuragaritouge serves as the boundary between Osaka Prefecture on the East Side and Nara Prefecture.

Nara - Osaka Border
I am both on Nara and Osaka. 😀

Our hike continues but this time we are walking in one of Japan’s narrowest and steepest National Highway.
Probably the narrowest and steepest Highway in Japan

Rice field
Rice field on the side of the highway.

walking along the highway
Yes that is still part of the National Highway.

A few minutes of walking down we found these group of stones with a gate in front. We are not sure if this is somebody’s private graveyard, but it looks so old and then everybody just started snapping pictures of it 🙂

stone and gate

Then we found this small temple/shrine and I was able to get the permission of our leader to explore it for a few minutes.

a waterfall?

The waterfall
I guess this is the waterfall.

The Stone Buddha
More Stone Buddhas on the side .

The Main Deity

The Holy Stone
Power Stone?

where to go?
Directions !! Where to go this time.

Sakura
Sakura everywhere.

Shidare Sakuru
Picture is Edited. I enhance the color that is why it looks so pink.

Sakura
Up close and personal.

It was really a great day.We had lots of fun chatting and getting to know the members of the group. We ended up having a plate of Oden near Ishikiri Jinja before calling it a day.

Till the next hike.

Manhole : Another Higashi Osaka

The very first Higashi Osaka Manhole was posted in my last year entry and another one.

Let’s put them all together in one post.

From Wiki:

Higashiōsaka (東大阪市 Higashiōsaka-shi?, literally “East Osaka”) is a city located in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The city is known as one of the industrial cities of Japan and “the rugby football town”.

As of August 1, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 509,230 and a population density of 8,200 persons per km². The total area is 61.81 km

Higashi(east) Osaka , Osaka Japan
The design is based on the City’s Flower Symbol: Ume (Plum) and the City’s Flag.

Higashi(east) Osaka , Japan
This one indicates that it is known also as the “Ruby Town” of Osaka Prefecture.

Higashi(east) Osaka, Japan
Another one that says “Rugby Town” of Osaka.

And the latest one I found early this year during one my walk around Higashi Osaka
Hogashi Osaka , Osaka Japan

A very detailed depiction of men playing Rugby.

Around Ikoma

Some more random pictures during the hike to Mount Ikoma.

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The  hand that guides the way.

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Guardian of the mountain?

20131024-110243.jpgThe tree, the sunlight

20131024-110226.jpgA panoramic view of Osaka from Mount Ikoma.

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A temple in Nukata, Higashi Osaka.

20131024-110308.jpgOn our way home.

Kouhouji

After passing the watermill , we moved on and then we finally entered the dirt path. There were more trees and lesser houses now. We did found a couple of abandoned buildings near the river where we took a short break while K & C explored around it. Afterwards, we came across an intersection. One sign says to Kouhouji and other said somewhere in the mountain. All of us were inclined to take the other road but a few hikers coming down, told us that the road that will lead to the temple is the correct path to the top.

A few minutes later, we arrived in the temple. It was surrounded by trees making it mysterious. When we got inside, we saw no one was there and the temple looks like it has seen better days. There was a small explanation near the entrance but it was written in Japanese and lots of old Kanji that I have not encountered before. I tried to search for an English site for its history but I only found blogs of other hikers who have also found it but no explanation or any history. Even Japanese website was also scarce. I found a short description and tried to translate it.

Again I am not a professional translator so I apologize for any mistake whatsoever.

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鷲尾山 興法寺 所在地:大阪府東大阪市上石切町2丁目

Washioyama Kouhouji

最寄駅:近鉄奈良線「石切」下車、辻子谷越えを東へ、約2KM
Nearest Station: Kintetus Nara Line ; Ishikiri Station
2KM away to the east of Zushidani

徒歩約45分、OR生駒山頂より下る徒歩約20分
Estimated walk time : 45 Mins. or 20 minutes from the Top of Mt. Ikoma

当山の縁起は、約1360年前、舒明天皇の頃(629~41年)役行者小角が、堂宇を建立したのを開基とする。
This temple was built around 1360, during rule Emperor Jomei(629-41).

その後、元明天皇の頃(707~15年)行基菩薩が栴檀の香木により一刀三礼の千手観音像を刻み本尊とした。
Hereafter, around reign of Empress Gemmei Tenno (707-15), Gyoki Bodhisattva, carved a thousand armed Kannon from
a Sandalwood tree and it became the main deity of the temple.

815年(弘仁6年)には弘法大師が当山で修行し、歓喜天像を安置、後勧修寺宮の院となり、朝廷より金剛乗院の称を賜った。
In 815, Koubou Daishi trained in this mountain and installed a statue of Nandikesvara(Ganesh in the Buddhist Pantheon)
afterwards, it became a Kanshuji Palace and then later on the Imperial court bestowed the Coucil power of Kongo.

南北朝時代には南朝方の城塞となり、貞和~観応年間(1345~52年)高師直に寺領を没収され、一山焼失、その後河内国守護となった畠山基国が1393年(明徳4年)に再建するも、応仁の乱で再び焼失した。
In Nanbokucho Perio(1336-92) it became the stronghold of the Nanchou Lord, from Jouwa Era to Kan’ou Era, Kou No Moronao
sieze the temple’s estate, fire destroyed most of the mountain and it came under the control of Daimyo Hanoi, in 1393
Hatakeyama Motokuni rebuilt but was again destroyed by far during the Onin War.

永禄年間(1558~70年)大西丹後守が修復。
In Eiroku Era (1558-1570), Onishi Tango restored the place.

江戸時代の寛永年間(1624~44年)亮汰が中興、1916年(大正5年)諸堂宇の大修理が行われ、現在に至っている。
In Kan’ei era of Edo Perio (1624-1644) it was restored by Ryouta and since 1916 the temple has undergone several
restoration until it’s present state.

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20131022-211741.jpgThe main gate to Kouhouji

20131022-211640.jpgFor washing your hands and mouth before entering the temple.

20131022-211810.jpgThe tree and the temple.

20131022-211827.jpgThe big Kanji at the based is Osaka in reverse.

20131022-212007.jpgA small offering and my small snack before moving on.

The place looks like it has a great history with it. It’s sad to see it in its current state.

Zushi Valley Watermill

Before reaching Ikoma Theme Park, we passed by several interesting places on the way, one of which is a watermill. I search for an English description but unfortunately I could only find a Japanese one.

I am not a professional translator and my Kanji skill is still far from perfect, so I still need to use a translator every now and then but here is my rough translation of the page.

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生駒山の西側山腹の興法寺を経て、宝山寺に通じる辻子谷(ずしたに)越えの山道は、江戸時代以降、信仰の道として大いに利用された。

During the Edo Era, religious people have been using Zushi Valley pass located at the west side of Mt. Ikoma as the passageway going to Kouhouji and Houzanji.

この辻子谷を始め、生駒山麓の各谷では、当然のことながら谷川の水を利用して水車が設けられ、自家用として利用されていたが、江戸時代には大坂の商業発展とともに、水車を工業用として利用するようになり、昭和18年頃には生駒西麓一体では117輌の水車があったといわれる。

In the beginning , residents around the valley used watermill to used the mountain stream for daily used but starting Edo Era, local business around Osaka also started using the watermill for business purposes. Around the 1940’s , it was said that there were about 117 watermill around the area.

特に、ここ辻子谷では谷の奥深くまで水車小屋が並び、寛永年間(1624~44年)には胡粉製造が始まり、元禄年間(1688~1704年)以降は和漢薬種の細末加工が増え、明治から大正にかけての最盛期には最大44輌の水車が稼動していたという。
これらの水車は1914年(大正3年)大軌電車(現近鉄奈良線)が開通した後の電力普及とともに減少の憂き目にあったが、辻子谷では芳香成分を含む薬種加工が主であったため、他の谷より永く水車が残され1975年(昭和50年)頃まで細々と使われていた。

Even deep within the valley watermill were also constructed, in fact around 1624 to 1644 (Kan’ei era) they started the production of powdered calcium and in 1688-1704 (Genkoku Era) different varieties of Chinese Herb and Medicine were also manufactured. From Meiji to Taisho Era, around 44 watermill where said to be in operation and was considered the golden era of the time. In 1914, train was constructed around the area ( the current Kintentsu Nara Line), even though production slowly decreased and the hardship started, production of Chinese Herbs and other medicine were concentrated around Zushi Valley still continued until around 1975.

現在では、各種機械製粉機の発達にともない伝統産業として、香辛料や生薬の粉砕行が続いており、この地区を通り抜けるときは、漢方薬独特の匂いが漂っている。

Even the with development of mechanical mills, the traditional ways are still followed and the the smell of herbs and medicine is still evident around this area.

辻子谷の往時のよき時代を語り継ぐため、地元の有志が中心となり、2004年(平成16年)11月に実物大の直径6mの水車を復元完成させ、2007年(平成19年)秋に完成した1/4のミニチュアの水車小屋とともに、辻子谷で活躍していた当時の様子が感じることが出来る。

To preserve the local history, volunteers restored one of the watermill in November 2004 and was finished by autunm of 2007 including a minitaure version for the kids.

地球温暖化問題防止が叫ばれる現在、自然のエネルギーを利用した水車の復活も大いに検討すべきテーマだと考える。

With the current global warming , using natural energy like watermill is currently under consideration.

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Again, I am not a professional translator or have done any translation work before so if any body out there have some correction , please don’t hesitate to inform me.

It definitely a nice surprise to discover that the place we were currently hiking/walking holds a great history that not many people know about.

20131022-092612.jpgThe big wooden board that greeted us before going in. The place is free by the way, no need to pay anything.

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What a sight. It was beautiful and the water was really cold and refreshing too and no I did not drink it although I was really tempted too. There was nobody there to ask if the water was safe to drink or not.

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The miniature one.

20131022-092715.jpgInside the miniature mill.

We spent a good 20 minutes or so just exploring the around the mill. I love the sound of it too .

If you want to check this place out, the nearest station would Ishikiri Station. It’s about 15 minutes walk uphill on the Zushidani Hiking Course.