Kurama   鞍馬

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Kurama

Osugi shrine-gongen to Kurama.

The funicular to reach effortlessly the summit of Mount Kuramayama near Kyoto.

The funicular to reach effortlessly the summit of Mount Kuramayama near Kyoto.

Kurama

Walk Kurama.

The great escape

"The day before in Kurama we rose up to the sky without uttering a word, hands tied, riveted to the huge trees, made drunk by the blue and light. "

Olivier Adam in Kyoto Express Limited.

The houses of the residential areas follow on one from the other and the city becomes further away. Behind the first reliefs, the mountain can be made out. Greener, grayer, the suburbs pass by along the Eizan Line that leads to Kurama, north of Kyoto. Half hike, half walk, the municipality, which is named after the Kuramayama, whose summit rise up to 542 meters, above all offers some temples and a nice hiking trail. At the foot of the famous mountain it is possible to visit the Kuramadera, which was built in 770 and formerly belonged to the Tendai Buddhist school, which became independent in the twentieth century under the wing of the Kurama kyo school. 

On leaving the station, the path, which is already sloping, can be seen and the micro-ascent begins straight away. If you prefer to save your strength, you can take a funicular to the summit of the hill for a hundred yen, but the hike is not very demanding. Half way along the route you will come to the Honden, the main building of the complex. After a one hour  invigorating walk in the midst of gigantic pines and small streams, a path leads to the little-known Osugi-gongen sanctuary, which is hidden by trees. Once there, the visit can be continued with a thirty-minute hike on the other side, to the hamlet of Kibune and its shrine, Kibune Jinja.

Relax, facing the mountain range

But after reaching the summit of Kuramayama, nothing is stopping you from making a descent and going to unwind in the magnificent Kurama onsen, a well kept hot spring, which also serves as a ryokan, located ten minutes by foot from the station. And if you by chance you are visiting the region in the fall, around the end of October, do not miss the spectacular - and warming - Kurama-no-hi Matsuri, a very impressive festival during which huge fires are lit all around the city and torchbearers parade around Yukijinja Shrine.

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