Ise-Shima-A breathtaking view and a new perspective-Yokoyama Observatory, breathtaking views of Ago Bay from atop the impressive Mount Yokoyama!

Ise-Shima-A breathtaking view and a new perspective-Yokoyama Observatory, breathtaking views of Ago Bay from atop the impressive Mount Yokoyama!

Come along with me on a journey to the top of one of the most famed lookouts in west-ern Japan. I will make my way to the top of Mount Yokoyama and take in the view of the spectacular Ago bay. The observation deck atop the mountain has been revamped and I can’t wait to see why the view from the atop deck is so special.

Written by Kevin Jackson

-Author's Introduction
California, USA, 14 years in Japan. I love Japan! I naturally have an interest in history and geography, and try to spend a fair amount of my free time exploring Japan and delving into those aforementioned interests to find out what makes this country so interesting. The more curious you are the more interesting life becomes. I have spent the last 14 years here doing just that, and plan to continue to explore.

Ago Bay, dotted with approximately 64 different islands and distinct in feature given its deeply indented coastline. I’m sure it’s possible to navigate the coastline and see each individual island, enjoy the natural beauty of the bay, and discover hidden treasures scattered across the topography of the area.

This however is very ambitious and time consuming. Although you may not be able to get your hands dirty turning over rocks on the individual islands, you can enjoy an unbroken view of the bay in its entirety from atop Mount Yokoyama at the Mount Yokoyama Observation Deck. 

The view atop the mountain is said to be one of the best in all of Japan. I couldn’t pass up the chance to hike up to the top and experi-ence the view from the observation deck.

Access to the base of the trail that leads up to the observation deck is easily accessible by car and 10 minutes by taxi from Kintetsu Ogata station(Ugata eki). If you prefer to walk, you can do so in about 40 minutes or so from Kintetsu Shima Yokoyama station.

Unfortunately, this time around I was unaware of this small detail regarding cars and taxis and ended up going a third of the way up the hill on a bicycle. If you choose to go by bike or foot you will have to walk a bit. For me, I parked the bike at the Yokoyama Visitor Center and completed the last leg of the hike up on foot.

The last leg is a fairly steep incline and I wouldn’t suggest trying to complete it by bike.

After a few hundred steps and fresh layer of sweat added to my tshirt I finally reached the parking lot where I was met by a few visitors removed from the pain of walking all the way up the last leg of the climb from the visitor center. 

Seeing their smiles however renewed my spirit and encouraged me to push through to the end of the trail. Now flanked on all sides by two elderly couples, a visiting Chinese family, and a young couple on a date my feeling of exhaustion quickly turned into a sense of anticipation.

A wooden walkway connects the parking lot with the observation deck. The actual observation deck is only a couple minutes away from the parking lot.

Finally! The observation deck. It’s a lot bigger than I expected and before you can actually see out onto Ago Bay, you must walk across the length of the deck.

Was the bike ride and long slog up worth it? I must say that the view from atop the observation deck is amazing. I can’t make sense of the coastline, but that is the beauty of Ago Bay.

My view out onto the bay is a cluster of small islands, waterways, and beautiful structures hidden amongst the green lushly covered land masses that seem to just pop out randomly. The trip up to the top was definitely worth it. After quietly surveying the bay for a few minutes I turn around and realize that the deck extends upwards.

I start to walk up the stairway and I realize that there is a cafe on the observation deck. The weather was not bad, but being that it’s February it was still a bit chilly outside. Today is the perfect day for a coffee or hot chocolate I thought to myself.

I entered the cafe and scrolled down the menu looking for something to warm me up, and yet something else grabs my attention.

Soft serve ice cream! Yes, it’s cold somewhat cold outside, but the soft serve ice cream was tempting. After a few minutes of heated debate I decided to go with the soft serve. A mix of strawberry and vanilla looked too good to pass up. It was warm inside the cafe so I figured it would be okay to indulge in the cold treat. In the summer months I recommend sitting out on the deck while enjoying your soft serve.

There are also other drinks and snacks available at the cafe. Feel free to use the seats indoors and a sitting area directly above the cafe to rest while you eat and drink. Before I leave to head back down to the bottom of Mount Yokoyama to collect my bicycle and continue on to my next journey I decided to sit quietly and reflect for a few minutes. 

The grandness of nature can sometimes put things into perspective. As I began to think about the hustle and bustle of my day to day life, I found that the cha-otic scattered nature of my schedule can at times resemble the islands scattered in Ago bay.

Although seemingly scattered and disconnected, they somehow come together to form a beautiful scene. As I made my way back down towards the Yokoyama Visitor Center I made a promise to myself to be more appreciative of the things that at times may seem like a burden, but are really essential to my well being and happiness.

 If you have the chance I highly recommend that you visit the Mount Yokoyama observation deck and gain a new perspective from atop one of the best views in Japan.

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