Katsuragi - Mochio Hike
Katsuragi is one of the mountains that make up the ridge between Osaka and Nara prefectures. These are the mountains in the distance you see when crossing the bridge back to the mainland from Kansai International Airport. On this route I became aware of the Diamond Trail that runs down the spine of these mountains, found out about the lodges that offer overnight rooms to hikers, found a beautiful little neighborhood tucked in the mountains and really busted my ankle.
Getting to the trailhead is easy as there is a ropeway there so there are ample trains and busses. The route up the hill is very tough but the trail is well developed. Some areas suffer from water damage and require some high stepping and using your hands. At the top of the mountain are many vending machines, toilets, a restaurant and lodge. You can even use the bath up there on the mountain if needed. FYI: It's not a hot spring. Along the Diamond Trail on the ridge line the trail is well maintained. The Mochio Trail could be difficult if you are not used to finding your way, especially for the first half. I got spiderwebbed a few times at the start going through the bushes. The second half is along a forest road that is somewhat maintained near the end. Bus service to Tondabayashi Station at the end of the trail runs about once an hour till about 6pm. I had to wait a good 45 minutes for my bus to arrive.