Just one hour north of Kyoto is the tranquil mountainous town of Kurama. The area is known for its hiking trails, the temple Kurama-dera and the most easily accessible hot spring from Kyoto. The mountain is said to be protected by the strongest Tengu in Japan. In this article, we’ll discuss the area of Kurama, the mountain, and various things to see and do!
Showcasing Kurama Kyoto
When getting to Kurama, Kyoto is the best city to go through. Mt. Kurama is only an hour away from Kyoto via the Eizan Railway and the Keihan Main Line, and is worth the travel to see the villages nestled away in the forested mountains of northern Kyoto. The mountain is known as the birthplace of the holistic healing art Reiki after the founder, Mikao Usui, meditated on the mountain for over 20 days.
There are two lovely restaurants you can find in Kurama, Kyoto. One is the no-nonsense traditional Japanese eatery with the classic rice and starch staples at Aburaya Shokudo, and the other is Yoshuji, where you’re able to get a Buddhist vegetarian cuisine set or a bowl of noodles. If these don’t interest you, you can always eat at the Kurama Onsen Ryokan.
Soak in the Best Kurama Onsen Kyoto Has to Offer
The Kurama Onsen Kyoto is one of the closest places to Kyoto that has a natural hot spring. After trying out one of the hiking trails on Mt. Kurama, dipping yourself in a hot spring surrounded by the trees and views of Kurama is an amazing experience. It is said that during the winter time, the snow-covered mountains are even more spectacular.
You can gain access to the indoor bath and open-air bath for 2,500 yen for adults and 1,600 yen for children ages 4 to 12, which includes use of the lockers, a yukata, and your own towel. If you just want to relax in the open-air bath, then it’s only 1,000 yen for adults and 700 yen for children ages 4 to 12, and you have to pay extra for a locker and towels.
Attached to the onsen is the Kurama Ryokan, where you can stay overnight and have an authentic Japanese multi-course dinner, known as Kaiseki, overlooking the gorgeous mountain range. Service hours at the ryokan are from 10:30 am to 9:00 pm in summer and 8:00pm in winter.
- Spot name: Kurama Onsen Ryokan
- Street address: 520 Kurama Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto 601-1111
- Access: A 10-minute walk from Kurama Station up the mountain or via Shuttle Bus
Scaling Mt Kurama Kyoto
Mt. Kurama Kyoto is one of the nicest hiking tracks in the Kyoto area. The main trail takes around 2 and half hours and will take you from the other village in the area, Kibune, to the top of the mountain, passing through the Kurama-dera Temple. The luscious landscape will keep you in awe as your traverse the mountain and take in the natural beauty that can only be seen right here. The best time to visit Mt. Kurama is during the autumn time when all the leaves of the trees are a fiery red color, scorching the landscape in orange tones that can engulf the soul with its beauty.
Experiencing Kurama Temple Kyoto
Climbing the mountain, you’ll pass through the nicest Kurama Temple Kyoto has to showcase to the world. Named Kurama-dera Temple, this temple was constructed sometime around 770 and contains some of the National Treasures of Japan. Bouncing around different sects of Buddhism, the temple currently isn’t affiliated with any sects of the religion. This has caused the temple to become the focal point of many occulatic legends in the area, and thus a popular spot for Japanese tourists.
On the grounds of the temple is also the Shinto Shrine, Yuki-jinja, which was founded in the year 940. Admission to the temple’s grounds cost 300 yen per person, and is worth it to experience the beauty this temple has to offer. Operating Hours are from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Though please be aware that the cable cars depart start going up at 8:40 am and go down shortly after 4:30 pm.
- Spot name: Kurama-dera Temple
- Street address: 1074 Kurama Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto 601-1111
- Access: A 10-minute walk from Kurama Station up the mountain