Kurama is a small picturesque village located high on thickly wooded mountains. It is mainly famous for its Buddhist temple Kurama-dera and a beautiful view across the valley. If you are willing to escape from a crowd of insufferable tourists clopping around with their selfie stick, it is a perfect place to be. And yes, one of the significant perks is a rare chance to see a Buddhist pilgrims walking through forest stretches.
My journey started from Kurama station from where I hiked to the temple grounds. Though not recommended for everyone, this short walk makes for a great opportunity to feel a reiki energy that utilizes sacred elements. According to the legend, Kurama-dera was found by a Buddhist monk Gantei, who searched for a way to please deities. The temple is accessible through Nio-mon Gate that serves as a border between the human and spiritual world. The stairs lined with traditional red lanterns took me over 15 minutes to climb up, stopping frequently to take photos of a breathtaking scenery.
Whenever you go, you will be surrounded by verdant mountain forests where it is easy to spot traditional elements. A beautiful small bridge painted in a deep red color and arching gracefully across the river is truly a photogenic place. Also, I never miss a chance to snap a pic or two of a dragon statue at the water-filled basin where pilgrims should wash your hands to purify before approaching sacred grounds.
The temple area is huge, bring some snacks with your to munch. There are no restaurants inside, except for a few eateries in the town. After solemnly making your prayers, sit down at the bench and enjoy a beautiful setting. Such a powerful, calm and authentic place, not to be missed!
Many travelers choose to continue their hike until Kibune, around 1-1.5 hours of steps and bushwalking. If you decide to go, wear decent shoes and allot yourself enough time! Keep in mind that it gets dark very early in wintertime, the path isn’t lit up and there is apparently some wildlife you better not to encounter. Trailing trough silent woods is not for fainthearted, but totally worth an effort!
If a mountain hike looks challenging, you can always go back to the city and soak in the hot onsen. The best known, Kurama onsen, is just a short walk from the station. A pleasant stay in an open-air bath will refresh your spirits and rejuvenate for a fresh start.
|Title||A Tranquil Beauty of Kurama|
|Address||601-1111 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Kuramahonmachi, 1074|
|Admission Fee||300 yen for adults|
|Opening hours||9:00 to 16:30, no closing days (treasure house closed on Mondays)|
|Access||30 min. by Eizan train from Demachiyamagi Station|