Over the Mountain & Through the Woods

I really want to be in a hostel two nights in a row so I can finally sleep in. Today is not that day. The sun is out and I’m eyeing a smaller mountain– Kitayama. The internet tells me there are two towns connected with a trail. I’m on way to Kurama where I’ll walk to Kibune.

Look who greets me at the train station.


Kurama seems to be a one road town with the usual shops leading up to a temple, Kurama-dera. There’s onsen, too, but I didn’t realize the trail started at the temple.

Kurama-dera is a sprawling temple complex with a lot of stairs. This shouldn’t bother me as much as it does; I’m an expert stair climber at this point. There’s a sign for a lift but it’s under maintenance, not that I need it.


I take a break to eat one of the snacks I brought– sushi. It’s one of my better breakfasts.

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Flowers are in bloom… It’s autumn, isn’t it?

The temple is littered with tiny shrines and sacred nature spots. A couple giant trees and a fountain for instance.

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With all these lanterns, it must be pretty cool to walk here at night.

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It’s also a hot spot for school field trips and adorable matching hats.

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Not sure what this is about… A story about the temple inhabitants?


The real adventure begins here. The sign has pictures of wild things to watch out for, the usual wasps and snakes.


I talked with this guy for a bit and rang the bell unintentionally loud like the American I am. It was obscene.


Naturally on the trail, it can’t be only a dirt path with trees. There’s shrines of course. Somewhere around this temple they host a Fire Festival, Kurama Hi Matsuri. I’m too late for cool events. This is also where the traffic starts.

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As the trail levels out and descends the mountain, I’m hoping I won’t have to walk back up this mountain. There must be a way to get back to Kyoto from Kibune.

Out of the woods, you run into the babbling brook and the onsen that line it.

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It’s at this point that I take my 9,999th photo with my camera. That’s some RPG level junk. The camera now has to start over, reusing numbers. That’ll be fun organizing my Japan photos. 🙂

Anyway, I’m going backwards here. Instead of entering the shrine, I follow the stream to the end, the end of the shrine called Okunomiya. It’s believed that a goddess traveled by boat from Osaka to this spot.

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It’s time for lunch. I buy a hot drink and find a nice spot near the stream to eat my sandwich (katsu onigirazu?).


in warmer months, they server meals at tables setup in the stream


Okay, now for the beginning of Kibune Shrine. The Shrine is for the god of water and is also a protector of those at sea.

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That’s it for Kibune! In my wanderings, I found a map that shows a bus leading to the train station. The station isn’t far so I walk there instead. A few other folk have the same idea. It’s a nice day after all.


The train arrives soon after I get there and this is what I find at the transfer point. Must be the fire festival.


It’s still light out so I go walking, maybe find some food. Not surprising, I end up in a bakery. I love bakeries.


I spotted this building and thought it didn’t fit in with Kyoto’s decor.


I continue downstream. I’ve never been along the river this far north. I wish cities back home put this much planning near rivers instead of building houses that flood.

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Yet again, it’s another backpack pick up and another hostel to check in to. There’s also talk of rain and I’m without an umbrella since I left mine behind at the onsen a few days ago. The department stores are still open. I pick out a cute one and walk through the kimono section, squealing with delight.



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