Declare your love against the background of the breathtaking night views of Osaka and Nara
At night on Mount Ikoma, providing one of the most famous night views in the Kansai region, you will be surrounded by a carpet of light, with the shining city of Osaka to one side, and the sparkling treasures of Nara on the other.
The Kane-no-Naru-Tenbodai (the observation platform with the bell) is a popular date spot for couples that is located 30 minutes by car from Kintetsu Ikoma Station.
It is said that lovers who ring the Kibo no Kane (Bell of Hope) together will become happy, and many couples leave padlocks here which represent their declarations of love for each other. The sound of the bell ringing in the romantic nighttime air will bring you to the attention of the stars above to watch over you.
The Hozan-ji temple is reached via this nostalgic stone staircase and a path lined with stone lanterns.
Hozan-ji Temple, located on the slopes of Mount Ikoma, enshrines the god of business prosperity, and is one of Japan’s top three temples dedicated to the god.
The temple is located 30 minute walk from Kintetsu Ikoma Station, or 10 minute walk from Hozan-ji Station. The atmosphere of the long stone staircase leading to the temple make it easy to imagine that this was once a place for Buddhist ascetic training.
Many gift shops and ryokan inns were built in the area, brining great prosperity, roughly 100 years ago when a cable car line was opened. Visitors today can still experience the nostalgic mood of those times, with many venerable buildings fronted with antique signs greeting them as they walk by.
The same visitors will eventually come upon a wonderful scene of the stone steps lined on both sides with stone lanterns and pine groves, which is the entrance to the Hozan-ji temple.
Those knowledgeable of Japanese history may find it odd that there is a Torii gate in the temple, normally seen only at Shinto shrines, and this is because a god predating the establishment of Buddhism in Japan is enshrined here. This god dislikes impurity, so worshipers purify themselves by passing through the gate before worshiping.
A holy land filled with spiritual sites, colored in myth and tradition, where Buddhist priest En no Gyoja drove out the demons.
Roughly 1,400 years ago, En no Gyoja, a famed Buddhist priest, described as having even been able to fly, is said to have driven the demons out of Mount Ikoma by converting them.
The demons later became the spirits known as zenki and goki, who did En no Gyoja’s bidding. There is also a myth called “Jimmu Tosei” about the creation of Japan and involving Japan’s first Emperor Jimmu that dates from a much earlier time.
En no Gyoja established Mount Ikoma, surrounded in myth and legend, as a place of Buddhist training, and another extremely famous Buddhist priest called Kukai is said to have trained here as well in the 8th century.
Today, Mount Ikoma is known as a holy mountain, filled with numerous spiritual sites such as Hozan-ji Temple, places of ascetic training where priests stand under waterfalls, and tiny shrines.