Soni Kogen is a huge, open plateau renowned for its vast swaths of Japanese pampas grass, picturesque marshes, and stellar views.
From Uehommachi (上本町) station in Osaka, take a train bound for either Aoyamacho or Ise, and get off at Nabari station (名張駅). From there, change to a bus bound for Soni Kogen (曽爾高原) and get off at the last stop. The buses only run from October 1 to November 30, from the west exit of Nabari station. The first one departs at 9:35am and the second at 10:35am on weekends. In order to make the 10:35 bus, you should catch the train from Uehommachi at 8:53am. On weekdays there’s only 1 bus, leaving at 9:35am. If you want to go out of season, then take a bus bound for 山粕西 and get off at Tarouji (太郎路). The only convenient buses leave at 8am and 10:05am. From Tarouji you’ve got a 4km walk to Soni Kogen.
Route: From the parking lot, head up the windy, paved path behind the toilets. You’ll notice a metal basket and numbers at each switchback. Believe it or not, you’re actually walking up the middle of a frisbee golf course! Follow the path to the 18th hole and you’ll find the huge parking lot and start of the trail. Follow the trail that heads up to the ridge line, which should take about 20 minutes to reach. Once you hit the bare ridge, turn left and climb up towards Mt. Kuroso (倶留尊山). The trail will climb all the way to the end of the clear cut portion, with awesome views of Mie and Nara Prefectures.
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