Japan: Ikoma Mountain– Serene Beauty of Japanese Countryside – VIDEO
Ikoma is quite a large city situated somewhere between Nara and Osaka (I mean the mountain above the city). Take cable car to Hozanji station and you will get into completely different world and more so if you manage to get some good Airbnb hosts. Mine were the best I have ever had and I have used Airbnb for long months.
It was an amazing experience to live at traditional house with glass wall giving you amazing vista to the valley stretching to Nara city and mountains on the other side. You feel like you travel dozens or hundreds of years back in time when in the village.
Near the cable car station, there is large Buddhist shrine compound 寳山寺 – it is one of the most beautiful places in Japan I have seen. Temples are not the largest, or the most opulent or the oldest but they emit this amazing peace and quiet and you can feel supernatural being around you. Have you seen some of Hayao Miyazaki movies such as My Neighbor Totoro, on Ikoma mountain you get the feeling that you are in the very magical Japan where the movies take place. Nor video neither photos or words can capture the atmosphere of this place. You need to draw it.
You can take another cable car from Hozanji station and get to the very top of the mountain - 642 meters. There is some sort of an amusement park and several other temples including a small waterfall. Make sure to not to miss beautiful Kōhō-ji temple. Many locals love to have picknic in the area so be like them and take something good to eat with you.
If you enjoy tea than the city of Ikoma should also be interesting for you. It is there where they make special bamboo whisks to stir Japanese tea of matcha. These whisks are called chasen.
I am certain that I will return to Japan at some point. This time I will spend more time on places which are mentioned in book guides only briefly. It is there where I can find the "true" Japan. I believe that I will find this "true" Japan on Hokkaido island, the Japanese Alps or somewhere far from large cities.
Text, photo, and video: Matouš Vinš
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