Feb. 08, 2019 UPDATE

Emperor Uda’s mausoleum in Kyoto near Ninna-ji Temple

A truly off-the-beaten-path hiking destination in Kyoto that is sure to leave you in awe.
Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

The mausoleum of Emperor Uda was one of the places I was looking forward to visiting just because it is so remote. Climbing up the mountain I only met two Americans and a Japanese gentleman who has probably retired and thus has time to go hiking to places like this. But the mausoleum and the view from up the mountain are definitely worth it. 

In northwest Kyoto, close to the World Heritage Site of Ninna-ji Temple, you can go up a winding narrow road and find the mausoleum of emperor Uda (宇多天皇大内山陵). Emperor Uda is actually the ruler who founded Ninna-ji Temple over 1100 years ago. 

Though be very careful when climbing up the road, as the road is very narrow, and a surprising number of cars drive on it! There seems to be a hiking route from the top of the mountain down to the grave, though I haven’t walked this route yet. 

hiking route

The hiking route up to the mausoleum does not promise much, in fact it makes you think is there a mausoleum up here? 

surrounded by the forest

But after walking a bit you get to some stairs that are in really good shape, and you will know you are in the right place. Here you are surrounded by the forest and the temperature drops quite a bit compared to being under the sun. It is also really quiet, and the feeling is solemn. 

The sign is by Kunaicho

And then there is the sign basically saying please behave and don’t litter. The sign is by Kunaicho, the Imperial Household Agency, who is also responsible for upholding this mausoleum. This is also the reason why the mausoleum is in really good shape even if it is really hard to access. The sign looks almost new. 

the mausoleum of emperor Uda

And here it is: the mausoleum of emperor Uda. This mausoleum is rare in that you actually look down on it, not up like is the more usual way. 

torii gate

Looking at this torii gate makes you feel like all this hiking was worth it. 

 great view

Going back down, you can see this great view of Kyoto city. After seeing this I was truly glad I had hiked up here. 

A comment from the staff
There are many other mausoleums some hiking away from this one, near Ryoan-ji Temple, so next, I’d like to go there and of course also to the hiking course near Ninna-ji Temple where you can see tens of mini temples along the route. I’m looking forward to going to this area around Ninna-ji Temple and Kinukake no Michi again, as it is quickly becoming one of my favorite areas in Kyoto.

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