Ikoma Nature Trail 2: Muroike Park to Takaida Station

Previously we walked on the first half of the Ikoma Nature Trail which spans about from Tsuda to Muroike Park., This time we will cover the last half of the trail that goes from Muroike Park to Takida Station (another 20km). Unlike the first half, this part is a lot smoother since there aren’t as many mountains, but it has many scenic spots!  

 See our post on the Osaka Circuit Nature Trail for other nature trails in Osaka!  

 

Ikoma Nature Trail 2

To Nukata Park

We resumed the trail at the Hanna Highway, right after Muroike Park. The trail is a bit hard to find, but all you have to do is to walk along the river and then the trail starts.

The road towards Mt. Ikoma on the Ikoma Nature Trail
Heading to Mt. Ikoma
Ikoma Nature Trail
The mountain path of the Ikoma Nature Trail starts here!
Wee, tunnel!
Toro in the middle of the mountain

As we approached Mt. Ikoma, the trail got a little rougher, but it wasn’t so bad.  After this point, the Ikoma Nature Trail goes near Ikomasanjo Amusement Park, Kusaka Park, and then Nukata Park. As the trail goes along the ridges of the mountains, you can enjoy a great view of Osaka!

Go up the stairs!
It is really nice hike up here.

Nukata Park is located near the top of  Mt. Ikoma but it’s important to know that the Ikoma Nature Trail does not go to the top of Mt. Ikoma. If you want to go to the top of the mountain, you will need to take a 30-minute detour from Ikoma Nature Trail. 

Following the Ikoma Nature Trail to the top of Mt. Ikoma
Turn left here and then you will be at the top of Mt. Ikoma
It is really nice to walk up in the mountain
Nukata Park on the Ikoma Nature Trail
End of Nukata Park

Kuragari Pass 

Right after Nukata Park, the trail merges with the Nara Kaido, an old road traditionally used to connect Nara and Osaka. Since nobody walks to Nara anymore, you wont see many other people here– if anyone.  Even still, it is the steepest national highway in Japan and is also a famous hiking road. The Kuragari Pass in this part of the trail is unpaved and preserves the atmosphere of what the Nara Kaido once looked and felt like. 

fork in the road for the Nara Kaido and the Ikoma Nature Trail
Left: Nara Kaido Right: Ikoma Nature Trail
Entrance of the Kuragari Pass of the Nara Kaido on the Ikoma Nature Trail
start of the Kuragari Pass
Narukawa Park on the Ikoma Nature Trail
Narukawa Park!

Just after entering Narukawa Park, make sure to drop by Bokura no Hiroba. This large open field is very famous for its observation deck. From there, you will have the best scenery along this trail or maybe the best in the entire Osaka Circuit Nature Trail. To get to Bokura no Hiroba, keep an eye out for the board just after you enter the park, It is about 20 minutes or so from the main gate. 

Narukawa Park

After Narukawa Pass, Narukawa Park is almost over. From there, it is possible to go down the mountain to Hyotanyama Station of Kintetsu Line.  

Stairs leading to Bokura no Hiroba in Nurakawa Park
Head up climb up the stairs to reach Bokura no Hiroba
Bokura no Hiroba in Nurakawa Park
Bokura no Hiroba
View of Osaka from Bokura no Hiroba. I think this is the best view on the entire Osaka Circuit Nature Trail
Narukawa Pass

 

Jusan Pass and Mt.Takayasu

After Narukawa Pass, the Ikoma Nature  Trail goes through Narukawa and Jyusan Pass. At this point, the trail follows along the Shigisan Highway, so it’s a pretty even hike. The last park near the trail is Mizunomi Park, but the trail doesn’t go into the park (the park is on the opposite side of the highway), so you will probably not even notice it.

Mizunomi Park is located in Yao City. I guess we have walked quite a lot from Shijonawata. 

Was there a playground here once I wonder…
Observation deck on the Ikoma Nature Trail
This is a really tall observation deck! It looks pretty old though…
The intersection of the Jusan Pass and the Jusan Kaido, where the famous poet, Ariwara no Narihira, once walked
Left: Ikoma Nature Trail. Right: Shigisan Highway

Just before the cablecar Takayasuyama Station is Takayasu Castle. According to the Nihon Shoki, this castle was built in order to protect the country from foreign invaders in the 7th century when Japan lost the war against Korea.  As this castle is really old, a lot of archeologists still do not know about it.  However, one thing we do know for sure is that they intentionally picked this location in order to keep an eye on the Kansai region.  

Ruins of a watchtower at Takayasu Castle along the Ikoma Nature Trail
Those stones are where pillars were. I think there was some sort of watchtower here.

Shortly after our run around the ruins, we were at Mt. Takaysu. From here, you can take a cable car down the mountain or you can continue the trail. However, after Mt. Takyasu the trail is mainly a paved roads, so some people consider this the end of Ikoma Nature Trail.  We decided to continue our journey all the way to the official end of the Ikoma Nature Trail, which goes through to Takaida Station via the Takayasuyama Graveyard. 

Mt. Shigi, where Chogosonshi-ji Temple is located, is 30 minutes away from Mt. Takayasu. Ikoma Nature Trail does not drop by Mt. Shigi.  

This cablecar will take you to Kintetsu Shigisanguchi Station.
Takayasuyama Graveyard on the Ikoma Nature Trail
Walking near the Takayasuyama Graveyard

To Takaida Station

After Takaysuyama Graveyard, the mountain path is over. From there, the trail becomes a paved road all the way to the end. It is about 5 km from this point to the end of the trail! As Kashiwara City is really famous for grapes, you will see many vineyards on your way to the station. Actually, we enjoyed grape picking several years ago. 

Road leading to Takaida Station
vineyards on the Ikoma Nature Trail
All those little greenhouses are growing grapes!
View of Takaida on the Ikoma Nature Trail
Almost to Takaida now! The river that runs through the city is the Yamatogawa River.

So finally, we reached Takida Station. 45k was quite a long trek from Tsuda but all in all, I think this trail was really relaxing and good for those who love mountains but don’t want to exhaust themselves.

Hungry for more? In fact, after Ikoma Nature Trail is an even bigger trail– the Diamond Trail, which crosses the entire Kongo Mountain Chain!

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