Hiking to Somewhere : The Continuation

The Saga continues … ( sounds dramatic eh 🙂 )

Anyways, after we left Iwafune Jinja , we noticed that we are no longer within Osaka Prefecture but within Nara Prefecture, specifically Ikoma City.
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Here is the proof. The sign says it all.

Since this is the first time I joined a hike organized by Mr. R, I was surprised that when we slowly enter into the mountain there were no visible trail. It feels like we are entering into this jungle where you can barely see where you are walking. It was either we turn back or we can trust Mr. R to lead us, but nobody complained and I think we are all excited.

As we were walking we noticed this little ponds and it looks so freshly green :).
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I got captivated by one these ponds that I was not looking in front of me and had a big bump on a piece of fallen tree blocking the way. Thankfully my head is thick enough, no damage felt so far (as of this writing).

We got to a higher ground and saw this
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Everybody was blocking my view :p

After a few hours of walking, we finally reach Kurondo Pond

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It looks really green and peaceful.

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A warning for people like me 😀

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Enjoying a moment of peace away from the lady folk ? ;p

We took a long relaxing break here.

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These two decided to check out the mini boats.

Some of us were a bit tired already so we decided to call it a day and head home.

But not before we pass this interesting waterfall.

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Noticed that little Buddha statue on the side. We had a theory that this might be one of the meditation spots for monks.

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If you can read it, it’s a description and name of the mini-waterfalls.

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Say hi to this awesome hikers 😀

It was definitely a lovely day with equally amazing group. A great hike , another great adventure for me 🙂

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.

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.

The Theme Park on the moutain top

I knew that there was an amusement park on top of Mt. Ikoma and I knew that during our hike we will be passing it , just passing it . It was a nice hike, lots of greens, old temples along the day so it was a bit disappointing that when we reach the top we were greeted by the parking area of the amusement park.

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The View that greeted us when we came out of the mountain.

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Taking the cable car to top of the amusement park or going down to the parking lot.

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we decided to use the stairs instead.

20131021-114017.jpgWelcome to the Ikoma Theme Park. There are no entrance to the park. You pay as you ride. So if you are just looking for a place to hang out with friends , there are several seats and chairs located at the side of the park.

20131021-114032.jpgManual Roller Coaster?

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Go Cart. I got excited when I saw this one, so I might go back there one day and ride on it 🙂

There are several more interesting areas to explore, like the different types of bicycle, dog park and so on. I must say though, on a sunny clear day, it has a great view of Osaka , which I will be posting next time 🙂

Here are some information to reach Ikoma Theme Park.