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Kurama - Kyoto.

A Mountain Retreat.
Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 3.9 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  The Kurama/Kibune area has become a popular destination for visitors to Kyoto.

Set in the northern mountains, less than 1-hour from... more »

Tips:  Getting here is quite easy. The Eizan terminal commences at Demachiyagi station, which is connected to the "Keihan Main Line" from... more »

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Points of Interest

As-soon-as you alight your train, you will experience a very-different environment, from when you boarded it at Demachiyagi.
The air will feel so cleaner here, and you will experience different sounds. Take it all in, as it is a very-beautiful feeling.
There is a noticeboard with a map of the area, giving you details of your hike.

2. Landmark.

The next 2km to Kibune, is a nice stroll through a forested area. I will include some landmarks, like this rock, that will encourage you (I hope) to stop and take-in the environment/surroundings.

3. Landmark - Bridge.

In the distance, behind the bridge, is a small shrine that I found to be quite picturesque.

4. Tori, gate to Kibune Shrine.

To get to this point, you have to pass the bridge that is the commencement of the trail to Kurama. The shrine is just a 100m along the road.
The Tori is a very-beautiful sight, especially when looking up through it, to the top of the path.

5. Stairway to Kibune Shrine.

In winter, when there is snow on the ground, this makes for a great photo. But, even without the snow, at any-time of year this is a beautiful sight.

Kibune Shrine, also known as Kifune-jinja, is a Shinto Shrine.
The Shrines history dates-back to the Heian Period (794 to 1185).
Take a stroll through the complex, admittance is free, and take a break before your ascent of Kurama-yama.

7. Kibune Shrine, from Route 361.

As you arrive back onto route-361, and before you continue on the trail, wander-about the many traditional Japanese inns and restaurants, with their dining-platforms atop the Kibune-gawa. Also check-out the many souvenir shops.

8. Nishi-mon (Western Gate)

You have arrived at the start of your climb, and, before you commence, make sure you have adequate fluid, as you have a climb ahead.
There is a 200-yen admittance, payable at the gate,and then you are on your way.
I encourage you to take it easy, and stop along the way. Which is why I have included some landmarks......cont'

9. Landmark - Sekibutsu.

......like this collection of small statuettes.

10. Monuments amongst Giant Cedar.

Another opportunity to take-a-break.At this point you are amongst some giant Cedar.

11. Okunoin Mao-den (Inner Temple).

You have arrived at Oku-no-in Mao-den Temple. It was here that Mao-san descended.
It is also another good spot to take a break.

12. Exposed intertwining roots of Cedar trees.

These are not the intertwining roots that make the area famous, but I thought I would include them to give you another reason for a break.
You haven't got too far to go before your descent.

13. Soujouga-dani Fudou-dou.

Just a minute-or-two further along, you come-across Soujounga-dani Fudo-do. The complex is dedicated to Fudo, the conqueror of evil.
Don't forget to check-out the wee frogs.

14. Sekurabe Ishi.

Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159 to 1189), who was also known as Ushiwakamaru,was a general of the Minamoto Clan. When Ushiwakamaru was just 16, he came here to measure his height against the stone. Soon after he was to leave for the remote region of the Northern District.
At this point you commence your descent, but, before you do that, take the... More

15. Kinone Michi.

.....the path to the exposed intertwining roots of old Cedar trees. It is a unique and eerie sight.

16. Jizou-do.

Here is another opportunity for a break, and to look around and appreciate the environment/surroundings.

17. Iki-tsugo-no Mizu.

It was at this spring that Ushiwakamaru quenched his thirst. Take my word, when I say, the water is very-very refreshing.
Just behind you, you will get a view overlooking Kurama-dera Temple, and the hills of Kurama.

18. Shourou (Belfry)

Before you enter the complex of Kurama-dera, just take the track on your left to Shourou (Belfry). Please feel free to toll the bell.

I am at a loss as to how to explain Kurama-dera. It is such an awesome sight. Don't be in a hurry to move on. Wander about the many buildings that make-up this complex, there is a lot to see and take-in.

20. Landmark - Lanterns.

As you make your way down the path, from Kurama-dera, your trail will be lined with these lanterns. They make a beautiful sight.

21. Chu-mon (Second Gate).

Not far from your next stop - Yuki Shrine - is the Chu-mon, or Second Gate. It is a lovely wooden structure.

22. Monument to Yoshitsune.

It was here, at the site of Tokobo temple, that Yoshitsune dwelt for nearly 10-years.

Yuki Shrine, and the venue for the annual "Fire Festival of Kurama", held each 22nd October. It's quite a sight.

24. Sekibutsu (Stone carvings of Buddha).

I thought I would include these fellas as they make an impressive sight. From here you are a few steps away from the end of this segment of your hike.

25. Niou-mon (Gate of the Guardians).

Niou-mon (Gate of the Guardians), sometimes known as Sanmon Gate, makes an imposing sight, whether you are ending or beginning your hike to Kurama-dera.
From here, if you take my advice, you turn left and head to the Kurama Onsen, and relax and soak-away your aches & pains.
Or you can turn right for the Kurama Station.

About a 10-minute walk from the Sanmon Gate,past some typical Japanese houses, is the Kurama Onsen & Ryokan.
This is the only photo I was able to take, as the staff & customers don't appreciate people taking photos.

28. Tengu.

Before you board your train, don't forget to have your photo taken with the Tengu. Just pray he doesn't sneeze.

29. Train for Demachiyagi.

Time to say farewell to Kurama. Take my word, when I say, this is one of the most nicest areas of the region. I always have a tear in my eye when I leave here, as it is so peaceful and serene.