Kurama is a beautiful mountain in the north of Kyoto, with gorgeous views as far as the eye can see. The cedar forests are known for bringing peace and calm to those around them, there are also onsens to relax your body after a long day's hike. Hiking in spring gives you views of cherry blossoms sprinkled through the mountains, but the view during autumn is said to be the most beautiful, looking onto a sea of reds and oranges.
Mt.Kurama is said to be the birth of the reiki, a type of spiritual meditation (Rei - Spiritual / Divine wisdom. Ki - Spirit / Life force.) and we can see why! Nature is the best place to calm the mind, and during the stress of the past year, why not relieve your stress with a stunning hike though Kurama. Listen to the wind blow through the trees, watch the komorebi - the dappling of the sun though the leaves - as you walk through the forest.
How to get there?
There are multiple routes that you can hike - either starting at Kurama Station or Kibuneguchi Station. For this article I am going to take you through the Kurama Station route.
The easiest way to get there is by Demachiyanage station to Ichihara station, sadly due to a landslide the Kibuneguchi station is closed, however there is a bus that takes you to the start of the route. The journey takes around 40 minutes. Once off the bus head towards the gate, the entrance fee to the temple is 300 yen and there is a cable car for 200 yen if you only want to hike one way or just enjoy the views. Make sure to keep an eye on the time as there are only a few buses a day.
Sites to see
Kurama-dera is the most popular site to see. It is a stunning and secluded temple along the forest on top of the mountain giving you a beautiful view of the mountains around you! The hike takes around 30-40 minutes starting at the temple gate in the village. But don't worry! If you don’t want to hike up the mountain there is a cable car to take you near the top for 200-300¥ one way.
Kifune Shrine, the shrine where the water is so pure you can drink it! It is said that green tea connoisseurs travel to the shrine and collect water to brew their tea. So please bring your own container to enjoy a refreshing sip! Don’t worry if you have forgotten your bottle as you can buy a container for 300¥. If you continue walking along the main road north, you will arrive at Oku-miya. I recommend it as you walk along the river under the leaves of the giant evergreens you feel engulfed by nature and at peace with the world. It's a perfect getaway from all of the rush of the city!
Nagashi Somen - Bamboo shoot noodles! Hirobun is a famous restaurant near Kifune Shrine, we recommend you arrive for early lunch to miss the queues. It's a perfect calming start before the hike! (if starting at Kifune and ending at Kurama)
If you are not stopping at one of the traditional restaurants, remember to bring a small bento with you. You can buy from convenience stores or shops near demachiyanagi station!
Sadly the onsen is currently closed due to covid, but once it is back open we highly recommend it to rest your muscles after a long days hike! Luckily Kyoto is home to many onsens and sentos so please go enjoy one of our many bath houses!