Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The amusement park at the mountain top

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.  

There were also people with household pets and the elderly. I think it is a nice place for the elderly to avoid the heat of the city and to feel relaxed to see innocent children having fun because entrance fee is free to this amusement park.  The owl below is not a runaway pet.

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


  1. Dear Yoko - what fun - so pleased that you have enjoyed such a happy time with your grandchildren. I love the photo of the three children in the chairs riding the skies, hanging on tightly whilst their legs dangly freely.

  2. こんばんは。 お孫さんと行かれたのでしょうか。日の入りがきれいですね。Sawako sama もブログに書かれていたような記憶があります。
     こちらの方面は全然分かりませんが、信貴山城、壷阪寺などを訪ねた事があります。壷阪寺では、「思う壺」というお守りを買いました。 お寺の思う壺にはまってしまいました。

  3. Good to see you back. These are some stunning images from the amusement park.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  4. I love all the color. Interesting place. I imagine the elderly on some of those rides and smile:)

  5. So festive and colourful!

  6. I like this blend of pure fantasy amid natural wonders. The photo of the children swinging in the clouds is inspiring. How nice to have a place where the elderly join in with the kids. I recently saw a show on television that featured a retirement home that included a preschool for the very young in the same building. The very old and very young spent time together to the benefit of both groups. Apparently, there is a five-year waiting list for parents wanting their children in this school. :)

  7. The amusement park is a fun place but more for the brave hearts. The garden and blooms will suit me more.

  8. I love your action shots of the rides. I think I would be on the ground watching :-) It is good that all have a place to find a bit of cooler air. Our summer can be hot, but usually not for more than a few days at a time. Then it gets very comfortable (low 20s C) Enjoy your grandchildren.

  9. It's so nice to have a good place to go when itvs too hot in the city. You have beautiful views from up there and seeing people enjoying rides and having fun brings smiles to my face.

  10. it looks like a charming place! glad it is preserved and still open!

  11. Oh wow, the view from this place is fantastic! I'm now seriously considering of putting this in our itinerary. I think I mentioned it to you before--my family and I are going to Osaka end of August! I'm really excited. When I first came there, it was near spring. So I'm looking forward to experiencing it in a different season.

  12. it was lovely to read about this place and how it has survived as well as the entrance being free.
    your photos are lively and fun to see. I am glad you found a cool place to enjoy. Sometimes I go into the mountains for the same reason. lovely late summer days and nights to you.

  13. Yokoさん こんにちは! ご無沙汰してしまいました。

    すっかり放り出していたブログですが、ちょっとしたきっかけで またやる気になりました。

    この度のお写真の数々に 遊園地で遊ぶ洋子さんの楽しいお気持ちが表れていて
    見ていて楽しいです。 また、どこかノスタルジックな印象を受ける色合いが 実に私好みです。
    大人が見る遊園地は、自分の幼い日々が重なるもので それがまたいいのでしょうね。

    楽しみですね。  どうご自愛ください。

  14. What a spectacular place! For kids! I'll bet you had a wonderful time. It's nice that at least one of these survived to continue to bring fun and excitement to the children in your country. I don't much like amusement parks anymore - I think I'm just too old. I don't like heights, either, so that's another problem! :)

    Sorry about the heat. We're always very hot in the summer, but this years seems a bit worse. Last year was the hottest in history. I think Climate Change is upon us with a vengeance! But we can look forward now to fall and a bit of coolness. We went on a day trip yesterday and it was cloudy and rainy, but cool. Great fun!

    Hope all is well. We're doing fine. I just needed a break. I even quite playing golf for awhile. I'll be back blogging, but don't know exactly when.

    Best wishes, always!


  15. I love your photos of this happy place. And such an interesting history of the three amusement parks, and only one surviving now for the children. My grandchildren would love this! If I ever get the chance to visit your beautiful country, I'd love to come up there in the mountain.


  16. お久しぶりです。 

    昔懐かしい、アナログ感満載の遊園地です。 あぁ、こんなシーンを見たなぁ・・・なんて、ぼんやりと思い出しそうな。

    撮影のアングルも絶妙です。 日に照らされながらお子さんたちが楽しそうです。

    まだまだ、沢山の被写体、テーマがありますね。 奈良や関西の素敵な景色をこれからも見せてください。

  17. I can imagine shouting and squealing enjoying one of those airplane rides, Yoko. Not that I would mind though, I love amusement parks in the company of so many children. Your motion shots are exquisite, and I really love the view from that cable car. What fun it is to be a child again!

    It is rainy season in India, which means most of the days are gloomy and wet. May be I can borrow some sunshine from you!

  18. Beautiful photos! This looks like such a fun place!!! :)

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  20. Hello, I have just discovered your beautiful blog. Your photography is stunning! It's so nice that this amusement park was able to remain. What amazing views!

  21. Conducted tour of your amazing blog, I have been fascinated with the fine publications that you give us.

    Thanks for sharing and a warm greeting from Gran Canaria - Canary Islands (Spain).

  22. ハワイから帰って1週間近くになります。 ハワイはこの数年温度が上昇しているそうで、大変暑かったです。子供たちは腕白で、元気いっぱいでしたので、体力が持たないかと思いました。 やっぱり自分の家がいいなと感謝の気持ちでいっぱいです。
    このポストの話は大変面白かったです。 この遊園地がまた残っていて、良かったですね。楽しそう! 

  23. Air of panda is cute. It's like flying in the sky.

    Have a good day. ruma ❀

  24. Such bright, happy photos. My Grands would love it there!

  25. 生駒の遊園地ですね!遊園地の写真はホント、楽しい絵のお写真になると思います。ピンクのケーブルカー可愛いわ!!

  26. cool... but omg, high above the ground, those high-up-in-the-air rides..... n♥


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