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Mount Kurama

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Mount Kurama, Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1111, Japan

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Natty
Local tour guide
"Visit Mt. Kurama in Kyoto during the weekdays if you can, as it's much less crowded, allowing for a peaceful hike and more space at the hot springs. Also, make sure to check out the small, family-owned restaurants at the foot of the mountain; they serve some of the most authentic and delicious local dishes that aren't usually found in tourist guides."

What is Mt. Kurama?

Mt. Kurama, known in Japanese as Kurama-yama, is a sacred mountain located to the north-west of Kyoto, Japan. It's often associated with natural beauty, spiritual significance, and a rich tapestry of folklore and tradition. The mountain is home to Kurama-dera, a Buddhist temple complex with roots that stretch back over a thousand years. It's a place where people seek both physical and spiritual rejuvenation, surrounded by towering cedar trees and the mountain's serene atmosphere.

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History of Mt. Kurama

The origins of Mt. Kurama are steeped in legend. It is said to be the abode of Sojobo, the king of the Tengu, mythological creatures found in Japanese folklore. The mountain itself has been held sacred since ancient times, but it was in the year 770 that the monk Gantei established Kurama-dera on its slopes, after he reportedly received a revelation from the deity Bishamonten. Kurama-dera has been a center of worship for both Shugendo practitioners, an integration of pre-Buddhist mountain worship and esoteric Buddhism, and those following Tendai Buddhism.

Over the centuries, Mt. Kurama has continued to be an important site for religious ceremonies and festivals. The most famous event is perhaps the Kurama Fire Festival, known as 'Kurama no Hi Matsuri,' which takes place annually on October 22nd. This vibrant and fiery festival is thought to trace back to the Heian period and continues to draw both locals and visitors seeking to experience one of Japan's most unique cultural celebrations.

Why is Mt. Kurama Important?

Mt. Kurama's importance stretches beyond just its natural beauty. It is a cornerstone of spiritual Japan, deeply interwoven with Japanese cultural and religious practices. Its significance is anchored in its role as a spiritual hotspot for the power spot believers and those practicing ascetic disciplines. The energy of the mountain, or 'Reiki,' is said to be particularly strong here—so much so that it is considered the birthplace of Reiki healing practices by some.

The significance of Mt. Kurama is also reflected in its influence on martial arts, with the legendary warrior and monk Usui Mikao meditating on this very mountain before founding Reiki. For many visitors, Mt. Kurama offers a chance to follow in the footsteps of ancient practitioners and seekers of enlightenment, and perhaps find some of their own spiritual awakening amidst its tranquil and mystical surroundings.

Things to Do & See at Mt. Kurama

Visitors to Mt. Kurama have a multitude of experiences available to them, each offering a chance to engage with both the area's natural splendor and its historical and spiritual essence. Embarking on the pilgrimage-style hike up the mountain's trails is a must—these paths wind through the lush forest and offer intermittent views of Kyoto below, culminating in the impressive temple complex of Kurama-dera.

At the mountain's base, the picturesque Kurama Onsen provides a well-deserved rest for those wishing to soak in its hot springs after a long hike. Exploring the temple grounds is like stepping back in time, with various halls and statues bearing witness to the centuries of worship that have shaped this place. Visitors can also delve into the mountain's more esoteric offerings, such as meditating in designated power spots, or even participating in guided spiritual experiences, for those inclined towards the mystical.

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Note: Always check local conditions and restrictions before planning your visit, as circumstances relating to access and festivals may change.

Frequently asked questions

What is Mt. Kurama?

Mt. Kurama is a sacred mountain located in the northern part of Kyoto, Japan. It is known for its rich history, spiritual significance, and natural beauty.

How do I get to Mt. Kurama from Kyoto city center?

You can get to Mt. Kurama from Kyoto city center by taking the Eizan Railway from Demachiyanagi Station to Kurama Station. The journey typically takes around 30 minutes.

What are the main attractions at Mt. Kurama?

The main attractions at Mt. Kurama include the Kurama-dera Temple, the Yuki Jinja Shrine, and the Kurama Onsen (hot springs). Visitors can also enjoy hiking trails and the natural scenic beauty of the mountain.

Is there an entry fee for Mt. Kurama?

There may be an entry fee for specific attractions on Mt. Kurama, such as Kurama-dera Temple. It is advisable to check the current fee structure and opening hours before visiting.

What is the best time of year to visit Mt. Kurama?

The best time to visit Mt. Kurama is during the autumn months when the foliage turns vibrant shades of red and yellow. The area is also popular during spring for cherry blossoms and during the Kurama Fire Festival in October.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Mount Kurama, Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1111, Japan

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps