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Soni Highlands

Visit Soni Highlands for breathtaking pampas grass views and enjoy hiking on its well-kept trails.

By Bahanur Alisoglu

Bordering Mie and Nara Prefectures, Soni Highlands is a hidden paradise for everyone who wants to taste the natural beauty of this region. The area is famous for its pleasing gold-color pampas grass fields observed throughout fall.

You can enjoy the breathtaking views of the pampas grass swaying with the wind and walk close to the grass fields. If you visit the area in the fall, you cannot miss the evening lantern lights. The pampas grass fields of Soni Highland are illuminated on autumn evenings from mid-September to November.

Autumn in the highlands

Photo by: WikiCommons/ 663highland Soni Highlands is at its best during autumn.

November is the perfect time to view the grass, but the area has something to offer its visitors throughout the year. You can see many fireflies along Soni River and enjoy a nostalgic evening if you opt to visit Soni Highlands in the summer. The pampas grass fields will still be there but are lush green instead.

The hiking trails are well-kept and straightforward. They are also proper for people of all ages and families. Elementary and junior high school students can be spotted hiking during weekdays hinting at the easiness and safety of the hike. Because it is a popular hiking spot for locals and visitors, you can expect to see more people on the weekend.

Mount Kuroso

Photo by: WikiCommons/ Alpsdake Panoramic views of the highlands.

The hike from the start point to the summit of Mount Kuroso might take between an hour and a half to two hours, depending on your level and ability. If you opt-out of Mount Kuroso, you can still traverse the highland through a different trail and spend an hour enjoying it as much. The course starts and ends at the entrance regardless of your chosen path.

Soni Kogen Farm Garden is a nearby facility where visitors can eat meals and buy Soni Highlands beer and bread made of rice flour. There are also limited vendors and restaurants in the area, some of which can be found across from Soni Kogen Farm Garden. Okame-no-yu hot spring is at your service if you want to enjoy a relaxing indoor or outdoor bath after hiking.

Things To Know

Exploring Soni Highlands

Although the hike is relatively easy, the trails are rocky and sometimes challenging. You should wear comfortable hiking shoes and clothes and bring enough water for a safe and pleasant hike. 

The weather can be unpredictable and cold in high altitudes, so do not forget to bring a seasonal jacket. 

Getting Around

Beware that buses to Soni Highlands are limited and run only a couple of times a day. Make sure you have enough time to catch the last bus to Nabari station. 

Also, remember that you need to hike two kilometers from Soni Kogen Farm Garden to Soni Highlands. 

How To Get There


By train

You can depart from JR Nara station or Kintetsu Nara station to reach Sakurai station first. Then, you need to transfer to Ise-Nakagawa Line and get off at Nabari station. The bus bound for Yamagasu-Nishi departs from Nabari station and takes 45 minutes. Finally, you need to get off at Soni Kogen Farm Garden station. You will need to hike about two kilometers from Soni Kogen Farm Garden to Soni Highlands.

By bus

It takes 1.5 hours to reach Soni Highlands from Nara by car. There is a paid parking lot below the entrance.