Photo/IllutrationKakogawa seen from Mount Takamikurayama, which straddles Takasago and Kakogawa in Hyogo Prefecture (From the guidebook)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Sitting on a mountain when the sun goes down can be a more illuminating experience than during daylight hours.

Gazing at pinpricks of light from a big city is just one example.

Enchanted by such beauty, photographer Toshinobu Hori and computer programmer Ryota Matsubara have published a guidebook to night hiking courses in the Kansai region.

Both were blown away by the magnificent scenery seen at night from Mount Ikomayama, which is situated on the border between Osaka and Nara prefectures.

Hori, 40, and Matsubara, 42, have hiked on more than 50 peaks at night during the past two years.

Matsubara, who had been mountain hiking for 16 years, served as a guide for Hori.

In 2000, Hori began shooting photos of night views because he could not forget “the breathtakingly beautiful carpet of light” he saw from Ikomayama when he was an elementary school student.

Hori released a photo book in 2014. But pictures in the collection were all taken from locations that are easily accessible by car or foot because he had not hiked on rugged mountain trails at that point.

Matsubara, also deeply moved by the night view from Ikomayama, started his own website 10 years ago to present hiking routes from which beautiful night views can be seen.

He has posted on the website images snapped from more than 100 mountains in the Kansai and Kanto regions.

“If I had not met Matsubara, I could not have made the guidebook,” said Hori, who left his company and became a photographer while creating the publication. “I will be happy if our book helps readers enjoy impressive experiences by going hiking by themselves.”

The guidebook, released in October, is titled “Yamayakei o Hajimete Tanoshimu Hito no Tame no Kansai Night Hiking” (Night hiking courses in Kansai for those who have never enjoyed night views from mountains). It is priced at 1,700 yen ($15), excluding tax.

The guidebook introduces a total of 27 routes in six prefectures with photos and maps.

While trails on popular mountains, such as Rokkosan, Kongosan and Daimonjiyama, are included in the book, eight locations accessible by car or ropeway are also presented in addition to the 27 hiking courses.