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 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

Nicolas has been hiking up mountains and through forests since he was very young. Living in Kyoto gives him the opportunity of heading out as often as he likes to be surrounded with untrammelled nature in less than an hour to explore new trails, each of which is more surprising than the last.


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

The bus drops you 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 looking for.

Then you'll arrive at Kozan-ji. Of the many buildings which were constructed here shorly after the year 1200, only Sekisui-in has survived. It's as if you have travelled to the Kamakura era, where warriors ruled the land. It's also in the hollow of these mountains and in this temple that "choju giga", long picture scrolls called 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 manga!

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 inns provide refreshment and an opportunity to observe the water's current while sitting on tatami at the foot of the steps leading to the third temple, 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 give the whole picture a vast and serene aspect. Beyond the last hut, the wilderness surrounds you. A series of waterfalls and pools with strange bluish-green reflections might tempt you to bathe when the first hot days come along, and you'll often come across groups 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 you back towards Arashiyama.

For those unafraid of a final climb, a route variation is possible, allowing you 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 trip: 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 group of 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 applies to every extra person in groups of more than 4 people. Full price also applies to children.