Hike up Mt. Kongo, a Sacred Mountain and Place of Shugendo Devotion | HIKES IN JAPAN

Hike up Mt. Kongo, a Sacred Mountain and Place of Shugendo Devotion

Breathe in the historical ambiance at the Kansai Region’s recreational mountain of choice.
  • Duration
    1Day / 3.5Hours
    Highest Point
    Elevation Gain
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level

Mt. Kongo (Kongo-zan) is located on the border of Osaka and Nara prefectures in Japan’s Kansai Region. The mountain is said to have be visited by En no Ozunu who founded Shugendo, an ascetic faith native to Japan and based on mountain worship. There are many temples and shrines as well as historical relics around the mountain.
With its spectacular view of Osaka Bay and easy access via public transportation, Mt. Kongo is very popular with mountain aficionados in the Kansai Region. The mountain has a unique system of recording the number of times people visit via stamp cards, leading many people to revisit the mountain top regularly.
The route introduced here begins with the Fushimi Rindo forest road with its many cryptomeria and other tall trees and concludes with the Chihaya Hondo trail where you will see a large number of stone Buddha statues.

From the Chihaya Ropeway Mae bus stop, walk along the concrete forest path alongside a stream and cross the bridge. Then hike up a steep slope through cryptomeria and go through the ropeway (currently not in service, as of November 2019) to reach a steep slope called Nenbutsuzaka, with a fence on the right side. After about an hour and ten minutes, you will arrive at the Fushimi-toge Pass.

As you continue northwest along the ridge, you will see toilets and a campground to your left. Hike up to the observation platform ahead. Then, continue hiking up through beech trees until you reach Ichinotorii in about 30 minutes from the Fushimi-toge. From here you can hike to the Mt. Yushutsu (Yushutsu-dake) peak and back in about 15 minutes.

From Ichinotorii, walk through a tree-lined path flanked by rows of giant cryptomeria variously known as Nio-sugi (two heavenly kings cedar), and the Meoto-sugi (the husband and wife cedar). Then, hike up a sloping path lined with stone lanterns and within about 20 minutes, you will arrive at the mountaintop park.

For the return hike, head southwest down the Chihaya Hondo trail. There are many stone statues along the ridgeline path which is fitted with steps. You will notice movie characters scattered among the statues, providing an additional source of interest.

Continue on past Chihaya-jo Castle ruins and descend the stone steps. About an hour after departing the mountaintop park, you will arrive at the Mt. Kongo trailhead.

Other Info

Chihaya-jo Castle was the site of a battle where the famed 14th century feudal lord, Kusunoki Masashige, successfully repelled a siege, helping to end the reign of the Kamakura Shogunate. You can see remnants of this period even today.

Season:All year around


The actual highest point on Mt. Kongo is Mt. Katsuragi (Katsuragi-dake) (1125 m). However, this area lies on sacred ground (a holy place where kami divinities are believed to dwell) within the precinct of Katsuragi–jinja Shrine, a shrine beneath the summit on the Nara side. For this reason, visitors may not hike up Mt. Katsuragi, and the mountaintop park (1081 m) is counted as the high point in its place.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)


1Day / 3.5Hours
Highest Point
1112m(Mt. Yushutsu)
Elevation Gain
Horizontal Distance
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail


Shop at the summit


Book & Spa uguisu




Mt. Kongo is located in the border of Osaka and Nara prefectures in Japan’s Kansai Region. From Umeda Station in downtown Osaka, take the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line subway to Namba Station (approx. 8 minutes). You can also access Namba by taking the Midosuji Line from The shinkansen station, Shin-Osaka (approx. 15 minutes). (Shin-Osaka is about 2.5 hours from Tokyo on the Tokaido Shinkansen).
From Namba Station, walk to Nankai Namba Station and take the Nankai Koya Line to Kawachinagano Station (approx. 30 minutes). Transfer to the Nankai Nagano Line and travel to Tondabayashi Station (approx. 10 minutes). From there, get on a Kongo Bus and travel to the Chihaya Ropeway bus stop (approx. 30 minutes).
From the Kongo trailhead, take a Kongo Bus back to Tondabayashi Station (approx. 30 minutes).



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