Mount Ikoma: Temples and Themeparks

From our apartment we have a beautiful view of the mountains that separate Osaka from Nara. So, why not climb those mountains and see our house from the other side??  Ikoma-1-2Only 20 minutes by train we arrived at the base station of mount Ikoma to start our climb!The trail starts at a beautiful old temple complex, “Houzanji”, which means something like Treasure Mountain Temple. The temple area is built on the mountainside and is absolutely amazing because of the magnificent views!!We slowly climbed up and came across some fantastic temples and shrines, the smell of incense everywhere.Ikoma-15

But the most spectacular view was halfway, when we entered a larger area and suddenly saw the Buddha-statue on the huge rocks in the mountain!

And the cool thing is, the temple doesn’t end there. From that point a long road of steps goes up the mountain with on both sides all kinds of statues with little silver plates in front of them to put your coins. The statues have a great variation in looks and meaning so you can specifically choose what you want to pray for.Ikoma-19
Ikoma-18Ikoma-21Ikoma-22There was an area dedicated to children, with statues carrying children’s toys:Ikoma-20Very mystical this temple. Who knew we live only 20 minutes away from such a beautiful place?Ikoma-23

Ikoma-16So cute that they are all wearing knitted scarfs and caps. This next statue has something to do with….feet?Ikoma-24

Ikoma-25Fantastic place! After we exited the temple grounds, we climbed for about another 30 minutes (actually we got lost in the woods first before we found the trail again haha) untill we reached the top. We came across some wildlife along the way :DIkoma-12 Ikoma-13

But then wooooooow that view!!

You know you can look 360 degrees around you on the top? You can see Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and even Kobe!! AND OUR HOUSE! Yes it’s somewhere between all the high buildings there behind the park! In the back you can see Kobe. Absolutely gorgeous. However, unfortunately, they decided to build one of the ugliest themeparks on top of this beautiful mountain. I’m not kidding! Really run-down, dirty, ugly and expensive theme park.

Ikoma-26…Yeah. So after we enjoyed are fantastic view, we quickly left this ugly place and wandered back into the woods and temples towards the train station.

I love it how Japan has all these hidden beautiful places for you to explore. We live in one of the biggest cities in the world, with more people living in this small area than in the whole of the Netherlands, yet we have the most beautiful and peaceful spots right around the corner!