Kyoto Daytrips -Biking up to Kurama (鞍馬) - Vikingess Voyages

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kyoto Daytrips -Biking up to Kurama (鞍馬)

At the moment my mother and grandmother are here in Kyoto on a two-weeks visit! 
Of course I wanted to take them with me on sightseeing to let them see as much of Kyoto as possible during the few days they are here.
But mostly I am busy with school, so I don't really have as much time to show them around as I would like. Luckily their hotel is central, so they cover most of Kyoto on foot on their own.

On Sunday however, I decided we should do something really special. Back in October I went to a place called Kurama (鞍馬), which is situated in the mountains north of Kyoto, to see the annual Fire-festival (火祭り) Kurama is famous for. In October I went there by bike, and I felt it was such a nice trip that I wanted to do it again, but this time in daylight. What else can I say; it was a great opportunity.

The last time my grandmother went cycling was around 40 years ago according to her own calculations, so I was a bit uncertain of whether or not we would make it all the way there.. But from last time I remembered that the roads weren't too steep, and it only took us about 1 1/2 hours to get there back then.
So me, Yuma, my mother and my grandmother set of in the morning heading for the mountain roads.

My grandmother, Yuma and my mother biking up to Kurama.

As you get closer to the mountain the roads gets smaller, but the nature is beautiful and there aren't that much traffic on the roads either.

 Arriving in the village of Kurama. The first thing we did was to head from there to Niomon (The gate of the Guardians) which is the entrance to the temple area in Kurama.

From the bottom of the Kurama temple area there is an information centre where they have a cable car to take you up in the mountain ( but of course it is possible to walk as well, if you follow another route;))
The Tahou-Tou Pagoda
 The cherry flowers in Kurama blooms a bit later than the ones in Kyoto itself, so luckily we had the chance to do a last, little hanami by the Tahou-tou pagoda.

My family had brought me some Freia Melkesjokolade-chocolate all the way from Norway, in addition to some (local) beer. Eventually this probably was 2011's last Hanami, at least for us..!

The biggest temple in Kurama, Honden.
A video I took showing shamisen being performed by the Honden temple.

 Back in the village, where cozy Japanese houses lay side by side.

 In the north of the village there is an Onsen too (Kurama Onsen 鞍馬温泉). It costs 1000 yen to get in, and if you have forgotten towels they do that as well.

My grandmother and mom by the entrance to the hot-spring.
Leaving the Onsen.
It only took us about 1 1/2 hour to get to Kurama from the city centre by bike. Though it is possible to get there by train as well it kind of adds to the experience to go there by bike, since there is a lot to see on the way there as well. The roads aren't too steep, and even my grandmother who is 66 years old seemed to have a good time. Besides this it is easy to find the place; once you get on the road leading north up the mountain there aren't really anywhere you can get lost, mostly you just follow the road.
I would absolutely recommend this as a day trip from Kyoto.
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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  1. Excellent blog post as always. Very informative! Looks like it was a nice day =) The video was a nice detail, hope there will be more of those. I've of course subscribed to your YouTube-channel now, haha!

  2. Thanks a lot, I'm glad you liked it:D! We had a very nice trip:) !
    I'll try to post more videos in the future..! Besides I've got some older ones I might upload as well once I have time:p


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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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