Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Mountain Temple at Kurama-Yama


Mount Kurama or Kurama-Yama (鞍馬山) which is what they called it in Japan is located in the north-west of Kyoto city. Is well known for being the birthplace of the Reiki Practice and is the home of Sojobo who is the King of the Tengu

If you are sick of the city or love nature, going up to Kurma will be a refreshing trip.
As it is a mountain which is located at the edge of Kyoto city, taking a train to the area is necessary. 



One of the main points of Kurma-dera is that the Temple is located near the peak and when you reached the temple and then continue to make your way over the mountain, you will eventually reached the other side where the Kibune village is. 




When arrived at Kurama Station, you will need to walk a bit to reach the entrance of the Kurama-dera Mountain Temple. Once you see the gate and the red lanterns, you know you at the right path. 
Entrance fee is 200 Yen. 

It roughly takes around 30 - 45 minutes to hike up to the Mountain Temple. If you do not like to climb and think is too hard for you, there is a cable car which is 100 yen per trip that leads about halfway up. (However, do check if is open as when I was there, it was close for maintenance) 

Once you reached the top, you will see the temple with a wide entrance. You will first notice that on the floor, there is a hexagonal pave stone pattern that looks like a star and have a triangle in the middle. It is said to be the center of power and that when you stay in the middle, you will feel the power. 

I find it really interesting to look at how the people pray. You will notice that people will walk around the circle a few time and stand in the middle. They also politely wait for their turn to approach the temple. 





Once you are ready to leave the temple, do carry on climbing up to the other side where you can descend down to Kibune village. On the way to the village you will notice some hiking trails. Even thought it may take quite a while, like roughly an hour, there is many things to be seen. 

Another fascinating sight is the the roots on mount kurama. This place is called Ki-no Nemiti which means Trail of Wood Roots. It was said that a man named Yoshitsune used these roots for samurai training. 



When you reached the other side of the mountain and arrived at Kibune Village. Do take a stroll around the village is near a river and there is restaurants that give you the experience of dining at the river which is called kawadoko dining. One thing that Kibune is famous for is their soy and tofu skin.
This is an example of what to expect at a kawadoko dining . (part of the kaiseki meal, there is 3 parts to it.) I went in the summer for this lunch, the menu change according to the season so do try it when you are there. 



The restaurant name that we went to is 真々庵
(Link to their website)



The map of Mountain Temple at Mount Kurama.  


Things to note when going to Mount Kurama 



  Do take note when and which season you are going, different season give you a whole different view and experience of the mountain.
  Depending on which season you go, do take note of the time when the sunset.
  If you take to Kurma station and climb over the mountain, the nearest station then will be Kibuneguchi station.
  Do bring Water and some refreshments if you are going to hike the whole mountain. 
  The walk down to Kibuneguchi station from the end point of the hike is quite far. If you see the bus stop near you, I recommend to take the bus. The hike down can take roughly to 40 - 50 mins.  


Note : Im not well known for doing hikes or climbing mountain. This trip was my first few time climbing and I manage to finish it. Is consider really easy for hikers. If you want to start off something small, this is a good place.
The funny thing is that many senior citizen climb mount kurama to go to the temple. Seeing how so many senior citizen are more fit then me gives me more motivation to climb. (Well if they can do it, Im sure I can too XD)