Translated by Jay Issei Karslake
Prepare For Spring! A Sea Of Azaleas At Narukawa Garden, Mt. Ikoma
Written by Atsuko Yagura
Have you ever considered going to see azaleas? Even if you haven't, Mt. Ikoma offers you a breathtaking view that will change your opinions on these flowers!
Azaleas grow all around Japan from early spring to the start of summer, but they don't get as much attention as the cherry blossoms or plum trees. It's a familiar flower that grows in parks and hedges in urban areas. Since you see it so often without giving it any thought, you would think there's no need to go somewhere specifically to see azaleas, right?
No, no, no! It's an entirely different story when there's hundreds of thousands of azaleas all together. We're talking about Mt. Ikoma Narukawa Garden! Let's bring a lunchbox and go on a hike.
Walk the Fresh Green Hiking Course
When sunny blue skies spread out overhead, it's a waste to spend a day like this locked in your house. Let's bring a lunchbox, hop on the train, and go on a trip!
Arrive at Mt. Hyotan Station on the Kintetsu line and walk steadily towards the azalea garden. A day with weather warm enough to break out a light sweat is just perfect for a trip like this. You'll be walking for about an hour from the station, surrounded by fresh greenery.
As you walk amid the lush green plants, you'll soon become able to see white and pink azaleas here and there. As you walk in the direction of the darkening gradations,
..you will come to a road colored by azaleas. Here you will find closely packed azalea flowers growing in bushes that even reach higher than the average person's height.
Overwhelmed by the vivid hues, I was frozen in blank amazement and unable to move. I didn't take azaleas seriously before and just thought of them as flowers that grew anywhere. Surrounded 360 degrees by azaleas, though, it's like I'm being fully soaked in pink.
As I look around restlessly thinking what it would be like to look at this scenery from up top, I feel as though I'm being watched. I move my line of sight and see people over by an azalea fence.
That's right. There's a place up at the top where you can look down on everything. Let's take a seat and look at the beautiful scenery from here, after taking a lap around the garden.
I'm surprised that there's a secret flower garden in the middle of the mountain. An azalea is just an azalea, I thought, but for the first time in my life, I was excited to see azaleas. It was really beautiful.
An Observation Spot Where You Can Eat Lunch and Enjoy the View
After climbing 1.5 km up from azalea garden, you'll end up in Our Open Space, an open space close to the top of the mountain. This is the perfect place to relax and soak in the sun while eating lunch. It isn't the top of Mt. Ikoma, but the view that you can see from there makes you feel like you've conquered a mountain.
Eating lunch while looking down on Osaka plains, Osaka harbor, Awaji island, Rokko, or Mt. Katsuragi make lunch taste three times more delicious too.
This time we introduced to you Narukawa garden, but within Mt. Ikoma there are two other gardens, Nukata garden and Kusaka garden, too. They are nature parks that are called the forests of Osaka prefecture.
Depending on the season, there are cherry blossoms, azaleas, hydrangeas, and other beautiful flowers growing. Do come here for a hike on a day with good weather.
Mt. Ikoma Narukawa Azalea Garden
Address: Osaka, Higashi Osaka, Kamishiro
Access: Get off at Hyotan-yama Station, Kintetsu Nara line for the 60-minute hiking course of Narukawa valley or the 40-minute hiking course of Kyakubo valley
*If you're going to use the Ikoma ropeway, get off at Mt. Ikoma station, go through Nukata garden and walk 20 minutes to Redhouse Forest.
Price Range: Free
Phone number: +81-3-072-988-4184 (Raku Raku Center House)
Website: Narukawa Azalea Garden (Japanese)