Though it’s a little far from central Osaka, Mt. Ikoma (Ikoma-san) makes a fantastic day trip out to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether it’s hiking, thrill-seeking, cherry blossom-viewing or temple hopping, there’s something for everyone here!
Osaka and Kobe at dusk. View from an Observatory of Shigi-Ikoma Skyline
Mount Ikoma is a mountain straddling the border between Nara prefecture and Osaka prefecture, with a 16 century-old shrine on its east side. However, you’d be remiss to write it off as just another sacred mountain, since there’s so much more than just historical shrines here. The beauty of Mt. Ikoma is that there’s something for everyone.
For instance, those who like panoramic views and thrill-seeking will find both at Ikoma Sanjo, an amusement park on top of the mountain. You can pay individually for each ride, or purchase an unlimited access pass. Roller coasters are vastly improved by mountain views - that's a fact!
If that’s not your cup of tea, hit the Zushidani Hiking Course, which will take you past almost every attraction that the mountain has to offer, and delight your resident bird-watcher to boot. Have your fortune told at Ishikiri Shopping Street, or say a prayer at many of the temples around for success in business - entrepreneurs from around Japan make the pilgrimage here precisely for this. Don't forget to check out Hozan-ji Temple, home to Kagi-ten, the Japanese incarnation of the Hindu god Ganesh.
The night views from the mountain - particularly from Narukawa Pass along the Shigi-Ikoma Skyline - are spectacular and romantic. Mt. Ikoma is also one of Kansai’s most famous picnic spots, so when the cherry blossoms are out, head here for a special hanami experience like no other.
Ikoma town itself retains some of the atmosphere of traditional Japan, with narrow, winding roads and an old entertainment district. Since it’s a nice escape from the urban hustle and bustle, Ikoma is worth a day trip out from Osaka.
Getting To Mt Ikoma
Take the Kintetsu Nara Line from Osaka-Uehonmachi Station (three subways stops east of Namba Station). A quick journey of about 20 minutes will get you to Ikoma Station. Walk from there to the Tori-mae station on the Ikoma Ropeway (cable car) and take it to the Hozanji Station and then switch to the cable car to the top.
The one-way cable car journey from the base to the summit costs Y360. There’s a small amusement park near the summit of the mountain that you can enter for free (rides cost money). The views from the summit area are stunning.
If you feel like it, you can walk down or take the cable car down. You might consider stopping to check out Hozan-ji Temple on the way down.
Nabata-cho, Ikoma-shi, Nara-ken, 630-0231
Yamate-cho, Higashiosaka-shi, 579-8022
Funicular: Ikomasanjo Station on the Kintetsu Ikoma Cable Line.
Official Website (English) (Ikoma Journey)
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Inside Osaka Google map:
- Open the Osaka map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Osaka Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
- Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with the Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- Find out why travel insurance for Japan is essential – World Nomads is well-regarded