Exploration of Takao, full day

A breath of fresh air along the Kiyotaki river

The opinion of Japan Experience

The opportunity to explore a jewel which is listed as a heritage site yet free of crowd of tourists. A breath of fresh air alongside a fast-flowing river with crystal-clear waters, amidst unspoilt and rugged nature.

Your Travel Angel's plus

Jean-François has been hiking over mountains and through forests since he was very young. Living in Kyoto affords him the opportunity of strapping on his backpack as often as he likes and to be surrounded with untrammelled nature in less than an hour to explore new itineraries, each of which is more surprising than the last.


When you leave Kyoto, the road quickly becomes winding and the great cryptomerias alongside it cling on to the steep slopes and push their long, straight trunks towards the light. Houses become an ever rarer sight; Kyoto has changed status without us being aware of it. The noisy city out there on the plain with its 2 million inhabitants has become a mountain village in the space of minutes. 

The bus drops us off at a little car park at the foot of a mossy staircase. The shade of the great trees rapidly form an inpenetrable canopy high above our heads, imbuing the place with the mystical aura its founder, the celebrated monk Myoe, was precisely looking for.

Then we arrive at Kozan-ji. Of the many buildings which were constructed here shorly after th year 1200, on the Sekisui-in has survived: « stone and water ». Extremely sober. We are in the Kamakura era. Warriors are the maîsters of the land now. It is also in the hollow of these mountains and in this temple that these long picture scrolls called « chôjû giga »were designed.

Showing a satirical depiction using animals of the life led by monks during this period, they are considered by certain great names of Japanese animation as the first mangas.

The walk continues along the river which is bordered by maples where, through the pure green of the water and forests cuts the small arched bridge which leads to the second temple. Many charming little hostels provide refreshment and an apportunity to observe the water's current whil sitting on tatamis at the foot of the steps leading to the third temple, the Jingo-ji.

The latter is perched atop a plateau overlooking the course of the fast-flowing river and the many structures nestling beneath the foliage provide the whole picture with a vast and serene aspect. Beyond the last hut, the wilderness surrounds us. A series of waterfalls and pools with strange bluish green reflections constitute an invitation to bathe when the first hot days come along and it is anything but rare to come across a group of friendly students cooking fish upon a strip of sand...

After walking for around an hour and a half, the Kiyotaki joins the larger river Hozu, just before reaching the little station of the tourist train which will take us back towards Arashiyama.

For those who are not afraid of a final climb, a variation is available to reach the town on foot via Adashino and its magnificent shopping street bordered with very beautiful houses, some of which are still thatched.

At the end of this wonderful day, those who still have the energy can wander under the green shoots of the bamboo grove or sit and meditate before the remarkable zen garden of Tenryu-ji.

Total length of day: approximately 7 hours .
Walking time: approximately 4 hours.
Difficulty level of hike: Easy.

The price shown is not the price per person but the price for a visit for 4 people. Add 2 000 yen extra per extra participant above 4 people


Your Travel Angel will contact you by e-mail to decide the meeting point. A supplementary fee will apply to every extra person in groups of more than 4 people. Full price will also apply to children.
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