Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hiking Kongo-san (Mt.Kongo Hike)

Kongo-san (Mt. Kongo) is the highest mountain in Osaka.  We looked through various blogs and links to find maps and directions for the course, and in the end it worked very well.  We took a trail that went up to the peak of the mountain and exited on the other side.  There are many trails and trailheads but ours began with Kawachinagano Station and a bus to the Kongo Tozan Guchi(金剛登山口) stop.  

The day began with an early morning train to Osaka and a very unhike-like scene of commuting Japan.  

Hankyu Train Ori 

From there we took a series of trains and buses to get to the hiking trailhead.  The trail had many stairs, several shrines, and a beautiful view at the top.

Our Itinerary (for others interested):
In Osaka:  Go to Shinimamiya Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line; transfer to the Nankai Line.
At the Nankai Station at Shinimamiya:  Go to Platform 1;  take the Koya Line (any train will work) towards Mikkaichicho;  get off at Kawachinagano Station

At Kawachinagano Station:  Go outside  the gates and turn right, then left down thee stairs (follow signs for taxis and buses in English); at the bottom of the stairs go to stop number 1 and take bus 8 or 11; here is a timetable for the departing buses:
Middle Section are times for the 8 and 11 toward Kongo-san Ropeway Mae
(Saturday/Sunday and Holidays)

Again, middle section for bus 8 and 11 to Kongo-san Ropeway Mae; Weekdays
 (There is also a Tourist Information Office by the bus stop with bus schedules and maps.  It is possible to buy a day transit pass at a machine under the stairs near the office, which may save you a hundred yen or so, depending on which bus stop and trailhead you choose to use; the further distance you ride, the more expensive and therefore the greater the savings you get using the pass.  For our itinerary, it was worth it.)

Take the Nakai Bus (8 or 11) to the Kongo Tozan Guchi (金剛登山口).   You can look at the front of the bus as you ride to see the kanji displayed for the next stop.  It will take about 35 minutes to get to this stop.  

Get off the bus and turn left to walk in the direction that the bus came from.  At a green map (about 2 minutes), turn right onto a small road to go up the hill and being the hike.  After a series of shops, there is a fork; turn right to go up the mountain.  

After this there are various trails that lead to the top and there are maps throughout and plenty of people to help.  We took a side trail to go to a shrine on the way up and after many stairs, we made it to the top in about 90 minutes.  At the top there is a restaurant and restrooms.  Another 25 minutes (or less) got us to the ropeway but we decided to take the path down instead.  In finding our way down, we looked for the arrows towards Kongo-san Ropeway Mae ( 金剛山ロープウェイ前), the bus stop on the other side of the mountain that returns to the stations.  You can use this kanji to identify it on way-finding signs.  The descent was a long cement service road with a steep incline that went along a small stream.  Very beautiful but a bit dangerous when wet.  

The bus stop was at the bottom and the bus (on a weekday) only stops about every hour.  Go to the far bus stop and take the 8 or 11 Nakai bus towards Kawachinagano Station (河内長野駅).  This Kanji should be written on the outside display of the bus, as well as the bus schedule at the stop and you can confirm with the driver by simply saying "Kawachi nagano eki?"    

It's a beautiful hike and not too difficult.  The course we took was about 7.4 km and may take about 3 hours to complete.  

Here are some other links that were helpful:

Short narrative and itinerary:  

Another group's itinerary: 

Map of the hike in Japanese:

And here are some more pictures of the hike:

at the restaurant at the peak

frog of frogs (outside the restaurant) 

view from the top

hiking buddies for the day

shrines in the woods near the top

one of the side trails at the top with beautiful woods to explore

two loving cedar trees

the path to another shrine

another view on the descent

another shrine in the woods

woods and mist 
fortunes at the shrine

the bus stop at the bottom
(I took this picture while sitting at the desired bus stop)

bus ride back to the station

bus ride back to the station

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrea, We plan to visit KongoSan in April. I am in my 60’s, have had recent knee surgery, so a full hike os problematic. But we do walk heaps in Japan.....Can you please advise how steep/difficult the section from the top of the Ropeway, to the top of KongoSan (where the webcam is located) might actually be? Many thanks from Down Under!