Mt. Katsuragi – A Sacred Mountain of Nara, Wonderful Summer Spot
Mt. Katsuragi, part of a national park located south of Nara City is home to many primitive forests and beautiful scenery of Japan.
Japanese people are known to have followed Sangakushinko; a type of animism during ancient times which mountains are worshiped as gods, and Mt. Katsuragi was most certainly one of which people of Nara considered it as their sacred icon.
Mt. Katsuragi is 959.2m in height and thus boasts of its scenic view from its peak. Visitors are offered a panoramic view of Yamato (an ancient name which refers to Nara) once they reach the mountain top.
Visitors can either enjoy taking a hike or ride the ropeway up the mountain.
There are two hiking courses available for visitors, so that they can select which ones to go on depending on their level of fitness on the day. Beginner’s course (kujira no taki course) is approximately 3km and the estimated time duration is about 1 to 1.5 hours and the intermediate course (kitaone course) is approximately 3.7km and estimated to take around 1.5 hours to 2 hours to complete.
Although there are shops and restaurants located along the course or at the top of the mountain, visitors are to be warned that there are not too many facilities and thus stocks may become scarce during peak season. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that visitors, especially hikers make sure to pack their own food and water!
A ride on the ropeway takes about 6 minutes and it costs 950 yen one way or 1500 yen both ways.
However, in case of taking the ropeway during peak season, visitors may find themselves waiting in line for over an hour, thus planning an early morning visit or a trip during the weekday is highly recommended!
The intrinsic beauty of Mt. Katsuragi is unmistakably beautiful itself, but the additional colours from the azaleas create a magnificent view that is out of this world. The burst of red and pink flowers adds a beautiful contrast against the blue sky, white clouds and greens of the forests making the place look magical.
The azaleas are in bloom from early May to mid of May. If you are in the area during the time and looking for an outdoor adventure this is a recommended one!
If you are planning on taking public transport you will need to catch both the train and bus to reach Mt. Katsuragi. You will need to board on a train either on the Kintetsu or JR Wakayama line to Gose (御所) station and then catch the bus (80 or 88) which takes you to Katsuragi-san Ropeway-mae (葛城山ロープウェイ前) bus stop. The ride from the station takes about 19 minutes and it costs 290 yen one way.
On the other hand, if in case you are coming in by car, there is a huge parking space which accommodates around 120 vehicles and its 1000 yen for you to park your car for the whole day.