Apr. 18, 2017 UPDATE

Mt. Kurama

- 鞍馬山 -
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The Japanese healing art Reiki was born in Kurama on this mysterious mountain
Mount Kurama is a mountain in northern Kyoto where you can run into natural artworks. There are many primitive plants and the mountain looks almost like a jungle; a completely different sight from the hustle and bustle of the city. The roots of the trees are layered and entwined, there are fallen trees covered with moss, and it all looks like an artwork that will make you want to stop from time to time to take pictures of the scenery. Halfway up the mountain there is Kurama-dera Temple, the only temple in Japan to own its own railway. Kurama-dera Temple owns the cable railway that takes people up the mountain to the temple. The Mount Kuruma Cable Railway is the shortest railway line in Japan. So, there are two ways to go up the mountain, either by the cable railway or by walking. Hiking up the steep mountain takes some stamina, but the beautiful nature of Mount Kurama will make the hike seem shorter than it really is. Mount Kurama is also the place where the Buddhist monk Mikao Usui created the healing art reiki, so some of you may be able to feel something mysterious at the mountain.
A Maze of Roots
A Maze of Roots
The roots form geometric patterns on the ground. It is a natural phenomenon that is caused by the hard soil. This is actually one of the reasons why this mountain was a popular destination for Buddhist ascetic training; it is really hard to walk here!
Twisted Trees
Twisted Trees
These trees are said to be tangled because of the magnetic fields of the mountain. I am surely entitled to say that these trees are artworks in themselves. There are hiking routes, but otherwise the forest is left in its natural state.
Gaze at the Mountain Range
3Good Experiences
Gaze at the Mountain Range
When you get up to Kurama-dera Temple, you get to see this beautiful view of the Hiei mountain range that is sure to wipe away your fatigue. A moment of silence follows every gust of wind here; this makes you ponder existential questions.
Go Up a Winding Slope
4Good Experiences
Go Up a Winding Slope
On the way from Niomon Gate to Kurama-dera Temple there is a steep slope with eight tight curves. Walking here you can almost feel like an F1 driver in Monaco. The light coming through the leaves makes this a great place for portraits. Climbing up this slope does take some stamina so some of our readers might prefer to take the cable railway.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -
It might be a good idea to take a jacket with you since it can get quite chilly up in the mountains. Also, don’t go into the restricted areas that are marked with by rope.
3.3 experience3.5 access3.0 photogenic3.5
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
3.3 experience3.5 access3.0 photogenic3.5
When you go to Mt. Kurama, you get to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city; right when you step off the bus you see a huge red Tengu statue. There are many shops along the way up so you can snack while you head for Kurama-dera Temple. For those who like hiking, you can also continue from Kurama-dera Temple to Kifune Shrine. I recommend this hike to those who like the quietness of forests and nature, but remember to wear hiking shoes!
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Mt. Kurama / 鞍馬山
Category Scenery
Phone None
Address ・1047 Kurama-Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu 601-1111
Directions ・Nio-mon gate: 3-minute walk from Hiei Line Kurama Stn. ・Nishi-mon gate: 20 minute-walk from Hiei Line Kibuneguchi Stn.
Open Hours 9am-5pm (enter by 4:30pm)
Reservations Not accepted
Closed None
Price range
Credit cards Not accepted
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
It is slippery, so a stick can be borrowed from entrance. English guide map is free.
Information Information board is available in Japanese and some English.
Lanuages spoken Japanese only

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