This home is near the summit of Ikoma Mountain and sits high above the road along one side of the ancient Kuragari Pass. It overlooks the scenic terraced rice fields, but what fascinated me more than the beauty of the location was the way the building seemed to be almost pieced together of rusted patchwork corrugated steel panels, mud walls, and stone. Perhaps at one time it was a majestic home rising above all that surrounds it and has since fallen into disarray, or maybe it was always like it is now. Either way, its haphazard construction is what made it such an intriguing subject.
Ikoma Mountain and the Kuragari Pass
Ikoma Mountain separates Nara and Osaka and is networked with ancient footpaths, statues, temples/shrines, and tombs. I’m not certain how old the Kuragari Mountain Pass is, but one of the statues I saw is dated at 1270, which is about as old as the Fabriano paper company, on which this scene is painted. The cobblestone streets wind along the steep incline on the Nara side, over the summit with the Suehiro tea house just on the border between Osaka and Nara, and down the even steeper road on the Osaka side. It’s not an easy walk, but it is rewarding for the amazing sights and history. Along the way there are many cafes and small restaurants to rest. One of my favorites is Lucky Garden.