Ikoma lies east of Osaka City, a thirty minute train ride from Namba station. It's one of Osaka's suburb cities, known for its mountain of the same name that, on clear days, can be seen from most tall buildings in central Osaka. The view from my own office building reveals the mountain peak is home to a half-dozen huge telecom towers, but I had never been to Ikoma mountain until Sunday, when I decided to go on a whim.
And it became a whimsical day starting with the cable cars which go from Ikoma station to the half-way point up the mountain. One is decked out as a dog, and the other a cat!
From the mid-point another cable car goes up to the top, which is home, oddly enough, to an amusement park called Skyland Ikoma. It's situated right beside the red and white telecom towers. Although the amusement park closes for the winter break, the entrance gates are left open and you can stroll through the grounds. That's probably to cater to hikers, as there are hiking trails over the mountain that might otherwise be inaccessible. It felt a little eerie walking through an abandoned amusement park, with all the rides closed and no one else to be seen. But it lent me three things: clean air, uncrowded space, and some things to photograph.
In a corner of Skyland Ikoma, beside an empty jet coaster, was an area of benches with a view over northern Nara prefecture. In front of the benches there was a white wire fence and latched onto the fence were dozens of security locks, apparently left there by someone's sweetheart declaring a promise or two. Some locks were very new, others rusted and partly corroded, the inscriptions barely visible.