Have have you been, my dear Friends? While I was almost away from my laptop for about three weeks, spending with my two two-year-olds and a four-year-old, not at the same time but one after another, the rainy season ended and the summer came with its full force. When it was sizzling hot, I went to Ikoma Mountaintop Amusement Park at an elevation of 642 to feel cool in the evening. When my children were young, there were three amusement parks in Nara: Dreamland, Ayame-ike, and this one. After the collapse of bubble economy (1991), the former two stopped operation; now the Dreamland is ruins, while a private school took over the site of Ayame-ike. Thanks to the benefit as one of the group companies of Kintetsu Railway, this amusement park has somehow thrived.
It was opened in 1929 following the opening of Ayame-ike Amusement Park of 1926. As one of the oldest amusement parks in Japan, it is home to the oldest (1929) but continuously operational ride, the 30 meters high airplane tower. The tower has an elevator to the top. During the WWII, almost all the metals were reused for building war airplanes but the Navy took this site as a vantage point to look over the sea, the tower was not demolished for metals and survived.
Since the amusement park strides on Osaka and Nara prefectures, people can have spectacular panoramic views of Nara basin and Osaka plains and as far as Awaji Island and Akashikaikyo Bridge.
There were energetic kids accompanied by their parents in the steamy summer evening.
As the sun set, the cool breeze slowly caressed my face. I was absorbed in the soft hues of the pinks and purples taking over the evening sky.
The funiculars "Bull (Puppy)" and "Mike (Kitty)" take people up and down between Mountain-foot Station and Hozan-ji Station respectively and then hand over to "Sweet" and "Do Re Mi"to and from the Mountaintop Station. At the same year of the opening of the amusement park, Ikoma Funicular Railway started its operation. It is the oldest funicular railway in Japan.
|Funicular "Do Re Mi" to the Hozanji Station|