Located in the west of Nara towards Osaka, this mountainous area has plenty for families: from thrilling Ikoma Sanjo Amusement Park to mountaintop temple Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji, fruit picking and amazing views. The area is also the centre of tea whisk making, and you can explore the bamboo forests dotted with tea gardens and craft workshops.

Local Insights

Shukubo

Shukubo or temple lodgings were originally for pilgrims visiting far-flung temples, but they are open to everyone and offer the chance to experience temple life. The rooms are spartan, meals generally vegetarian, and you will be invited to join the early morning prayers, though participation is optional.

Tea Whisks

Special whisks known as "chasen" originated in Nara during the Muromachi period. Used for Japanese tea ceremonies, there are dozens of varieties. Nara’s Takayama region produces approximately 90% of the chasen made in Japan. This is a great place to experience the tea ceremony or take a whisk-making workshop with a master. Read about tea in Nara.

Papier Mache Tigers

Believed to bring good fortune, tigers are extremely popular in Japan. They appear prominently in the grounds of Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple; the world’s largest papier-mache tiger crouches beside the walkway up to the shrine along with a menagerie of other figures. If you want a souvenir, shops in the area are stocked with miniature tigers and talisman bearing tiger images.

Good to Know

Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter
Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter

Best Time to Go

The mountainous area of Ikoma offers an escape from the heat during summer while hot spring ryokan entice visitors in the cooler seasons. Ikoma is also popular with families, especially in spring and autumn when comfortable temperatures make for relaxed outings to the various family-friendly attractions.

Train/Bus/Cable Car/Taxi
Train/Bus/Cable Car/Taxi

Getting Around

Seeing the various sights in the Ikoma area requires a combination of travel by train, cable car and bus. For Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple and Mt. Shigi, buses run from Oji Station. For Mt. Ikoma, a cable car runs from nearby Ikoma Station. Ikoma and Oji stations are connected by the Kintetsu Line and taxis are available at each location as a convenient alternative to other travel.

Travel Tips

Covering Ikoma in a day can be a push. A more relaxed and enjoyable option is to spend a night in the area. Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple is best visited in the morning when buses are more frequent. With various accommodation options and great night views, Mt. Ikoma is an ideal afternoon/evening destination. Takayama, the area famous for its tea whisks, can be visited the following morning.

Getting to Ikoma

With easy access to Takayama and the Mt. Ikoma attractions, Ikoma Station is the best base to explore the area. It is just 13 minutes from Kintetsu-Nara Station. For Shigisan Chogosonshi-ji Temple, Oji Station on the JR Line is most convenient.

From Kintestu-Nara Sta. to Ikoma Sta. : approx. 13 min
From Kintestu-Nara Sta. to Ikoma Sta. : approx. 13 min

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