Horaga-toge Pass (洞ヶ峠)

Horaga-toge Pass is the pass forming the boundary between Yawata Minamiyama - Yawata City - Kyoto Prefecture and Nagaotoge-cho - Koyamichi - Hirakata City - Osaka Prefecture. It used to be a relay station on Higashi Koya-Kaido Road (an ancient highway between Kyoto and Mt. Koya). Today, National Route 1 (Hirakata Bypass, Keihan-kokudo National Road) runs slightly east of the pass and Yawata-Horagatoge crossing (a crossing on Yamate Highway - Kyoto Prefecture) is located immediately north of the pass. Although it is a pass, it is a low-angled, good line-shaped four-lane roadway without a winding slope.

In Hirakata City, which is southwest of the pass, along the Hirakata Bypass is the area called 'Koyamichi' (the name of a former settlement). The name is considered to derive from the road, leading to Mt. Koya, through the settlement near the pass.

In 1582, soon after the Honnoji Incident (June 21, 1582), the army of Mitsuhide AKECHI (who killed his lord Nobunaga ODA in the incident) fought against the army of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI (a senior vassal of Nobunaga) at Yamazaki in Yamashiro Province (the Battle of Yamazaki, July 2, 1582). During this battle, Junkei TSUTSUI, a Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period), who was asked for support by both AKECHI and HASHIBA (TOYOTOMI), once took the side of Akechi and advanced to Horaga-toge Pass, which was located at south of Yamazaki. But according to a legend, Junkei was opportunistic, postponing the decision as to which side to support. Accordingly, being opportunistic is sometimes described as being at 'Horaga-toge Pass'.

However, this legend goes against historical evidence. It is said that Junkei TSUTSUI finally withdrew his army to Yamato to remain neutral, without reaching to Horaga-toge Pass. Additionally to the historical evidence, folktales related to this pass are many because the pass commands a panoramic view of Kyoto and Osaka.

Psychic spot
Until the early 1990s, the pass was a wooded area with sparsely placed lights, making people feel lonely even in the daytime as well as at night. Therefore, the pass was thought of as a haunted area, or a 'ghostly place', and the local public and the passersby created various legends. The pass has been often reported in magazines and on television.

The current situation
In 1966, Hirakata Bypass (Keihan-kokudo National Road) was opened, then in the 1990s, residential areas and schools were established, which greatly improved the pass's surroundings. The traffic was heavy there, which led to the continuous establishment of facilities including amusement facilities and restaurants for family dining. The north side of the pass became the entrance (Kyoto prefectural road 284, the Yawata Interchange Line) to a high class residential area 'Keihan East Rose Town' (which was developed on the eastern side of Yawata City and the western side of Kyotanabe City) and was properly developed into a road lighting-installed intersection.

Accordingly, the surroundings of the pass have been almost completely developed with only a little greenery is there. Now, there is no track can be found to trace the old Higashi Koya-Kaido Road. Since it is illuminated bright along the Keihan Kokudo (National Road) even late at night, there is no room for ghosts; besides, with the increase of new residents, ghost stories mentioned before have been completely gone.

[Original Japanese]