Photo By: Ashley Owen
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Nara
Population
1,442,862

Hozan-ji Temple

Lose yourself in the beauty of this peaceful mountainside temple.

About halfway up the slopes of Mount Ikoma in Nara prefecture lies the beautiful temple complex of Hozan-ji, shrouded in incense smoke and intrigue. Dedicated to Kangiten, a Buddhist god of joy and prosperity, it’s particularly popular with those praying for success and luck in business.

Despite the ease of access from Osaka and Nara cities, Hozanji Temple remains firmly off the tourist track. This means it retains an air of tranquility even during the holiday season, giving visitors the time and space to fully explore all the small nooks and interesting features in the complex.

Photo by: Ashley Owen A mountainside place of peace in Nara.

These features include different halls and altars in the main area, several smaller shrines in the forest behind it, and a red pagoda that you can see peeping through the trees when you enter. In September the temple is host to a spectacular autumn lantern festival. Thousands of tiny glowing lanterns line the steps and paths, transforming the area into a scene that could be taken straight from a Studio Ghibli movie.

A cable car runs from Ikoma station up the mountainside to the temple, or you can make the short pilgrimage up the quiet streets on foot. A long set of steps takes you past traditional guesthouses and local restaurants before arriving at Hozan-ji.

Photo by: Ashley Owen Inside the tranquil temple.

Those eager to stretch their legs further can carry on up the hiking trail behind the temple to the summit of Mount Ikoma, which is also accessible using the cable car. At the top, there’s a small amusement park which is great for families with young children. The park is free to enter and the grounds are open year-round, but the rides only operate during the summer months.

Know before you go

The temple is free to enter and is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (4 p.m. from October-March). The cable car to Hozanji station costs ¥290. Alternatively, you can buy a ticket to Ikomasanjo station at the top of the mountain for ¥360, which enables you to get off at Hozanji and explore the temple before continuing to the summit.

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How To Get There

Address

1-1 Monzenchō, Ikoma-shi, Nara-ken 630-0266, Japan

By train

The nearest station is Ikoma, in Nara prefecture. It takes about 20 minutes on the Kintetsu line from both Osaka-Namba and Kintetsu Nara stations.

From Kyoto station, you will need to change at Yamato-Saidaiji station. The whole journey will take about an hour.

When you reach Ikoma station, you can take the cable car from Torii-Mae station just across from the south exit. The ride takes 5 minutes, and it’s roughly a 10-minute walk from Hozanji station to the temple itself.

If you prefer to walk, head up the road next to the cable car to reach the temple on foot in about 30 minutes.

Where To Stay

Monzen Okagero
  • Monzencho 16-3 Ikoma-Shi, Nara 630-0266
  • 8.6/10
  • 0.2 km
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Shiroyama Ryokan
  • Monzencho 15-12 Ikoma-Shi, Nara 630-0266
  • 8.2/10
  • 0.3 km
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Atelier Bee's Knees Bed & Breakfast
  • Koyodai 258-2 Ikoma-Shi, Nara 630-0247
  • 9.9/10
  • 1.6 km
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Stand up FF (Adult Only)
  • Tawaraguchicho1080 Ikoma-Shi, Nara 630-0243
  • 6.8/10
  • 2.3 km
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