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Kurama-dera Temple

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

1074 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1111, Japan

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Wayne
Local tour guide
"Visit Kurama-dera Temple early in the morning to enjoy a serene atmosphere before the crowds arrive; the morning mist often shrouds the temple grounds in a mystical veil. Also, take the hike from Kurama to Kibune after your temple visit to discover a beautiful, less-traveled path where seasonal flora can be best appreciated in solitude."

What is Kurama-dera Temple?

Kurama-dera Temple is a serene religious site nestled in the northern mountains of Kyoto, Japan. The temple is perched on the slopes of Mount Kurama, offering visitors spiritual respite as well as breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty. Kurama-dera is not just a temple; it is a destination for those seeking both cultural enrichment and a touch of adventure. The path leading up to the temple is as much a part of the experience as the temple itself, winding through ancient forests and past smaller shrines. Known for its natural spring, which is believed to have healing properties, Kurama-dera is a place that harmoniously blends spiritual significance with the physical grandeur of its mountainous backdrop.

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History of Kurama-dera Temple

The history of Kurama-dera stretches back over a millennium, with its founding traditionally dated to the 8th century, during the Heian period. It was established under the Tendai sect of Buddhism and is said to be the protective site of a powerful spiritual energy. Over the centuries, Kurama-dera has seen its share of tribulations, including fires and reconstructions. Despite these challenges, the temple has retained its cultural importance and has served as a place of training for notable figures in Japanese spiritual history, including the legendary warrior and monk, Saito Musashibo Benkei. It is also enveloped in myths and legends, particularly those concerning the tengu—mythical creatures that are said to dwell in the mountains and forests surrounding the temple.

Why is Kurama-dera Temple Important?

The importance of Kurama-dera lies in its rich tapestry of history, religious significance, and folklore. It is revered as a power spot, a place of great spiritual energy, attracting pilgrims and spiritual seekers for centuries. This sacred energy is thought to emanate from the Earth itself, and many visitors come to meditate and pray, hoping to tap into this force for personal growth and healing. Furthermore, the temple's connection to the natural world, as it is embraced by the mountainous landscape, reflects the Japanese philosophy of living in harmony with nature. Its legendary association with tengu and the fabled warrior Benkei adds to its mystique, making it an essential piece of Japan's cultural and religious mosaic.

Things to Do & See at Kurama-dera Temple

Visiting Kurama-dera is a multifaceted experience. To begin with, the journey to the temple itself is a scenic hike through cedar-lined paths, with the option to take a cable car partway up the mountain. Once at the temple, you can explore the main hall and various sub-temples, each adorned with intricate carvings and statues that silently narrate stories of faith and perseverance. The lookout points along the way offer sweeping views of the verdant valleys below; a reward for those who ascend the mountain. Annually, the Kurama Fire Festival, known as Kurama no Hi Matsuri, is held in October; it's an event not to be missed, with villagers carrying torches and parading through the night in a vibrant display of local tradition and spirituality.

For nature enthusiasts, the hiking trails extend beyond the temple, leading to the summit of Mount Kurama and into the neighboring mountain, Mount Kibune. Along these trails, small, hidden spots invite quiet contemplation, and occasionally, one might encounter stone statues that have watched over travelers for centuries. During your visit, you might also wish to partake in a Shinto ritual at the Yuki Shrine, located further along the path from Kurama-dera, further enriching your understanding of Japan's religious tapestry.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the history of Kurama-dera Temple?

Kurama-dera Temple is a Buddhist temple located in the mountains of Kyoto, Japan. It was established in the 8th century and is known for its connection to the legendary warrior and monk, Minamoto no Yoshitsune. The temple is a revered spiritual spot and is associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism.

How do you get to Kurama-dera Temple?

To reach Kurama-dera Temple, visitors can take a train from Kyoto to Kurama Station via the Eizan Railway. From there, it's a scenic walk up the mountain or a cable car ride to the temple's gateway.

What can visitors expect to see at Kurama-dera Temple?

Visitors to Kurama-dera Temple can expect to see a range of historical buildings and statues, beautiful mountain views, and traditional temple architecture. The temple grounds also feature a variety of flora and are especially popular during the autumn foliage season.

Are there any special events or festivals at Kurama-dera Temple?

Kurama-dera Temple is famous for its annual Kurama Fire Festival, also known as 'Kurama no Hi Matsuri,' which takes place every October. The festival features a procession with large flaming torches, bringing the community together to celebrate local history and traditions.

What are the opening hours and admission fees for Kurama-dera Temple?

Kurama-dera Temple typically opens from early morning to late afternoon. There is a modest admission fee to enter the temple grounds. It's advisable to check the latest information on opening hours and fees before visiting, as they can change seasonally and during special events.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

1074 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1111, Japan

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps