[S-series] Autumn in Osaka-Kyoto-Nara Day 5: Hike Day – Kurama Dera, Daimonjiyama, Kyoto.

Hi folks,

This post.. is going to be 1 year late. Well, if you’re still following our blog..


For your patience and love for Claire, obviously. I haven’t been blessed in the looks department, but I’m perfectly happy to stay on the sidelines. Give me a corner for me to hide and I will get comfy, where there will be no eye contacts and conversations to hold up..

Ok, enough of the ramblings of my introverted perversions. (It’s a sign of old age.)

On route to Kurama Dera

Skipped all the boring travelling thing. Oh but I guess I should list the information on how we get ourselves to Kurama town:

  1. Walked to Kyoto Station, took JR Nara Line to Tofukuji Station.
  2. Changed to Keihan Line, to Demachiyanagi Station
  3. Changed to Eizan Line, look for the direct train to Kurama.

And there you have it, we arrived at Kurama! Greeted by this giant head of a Tengu.


Not exactly welcoming, but real deep in the cultural immersion department.

And so from Kurama Station, we start our adventure to Kurama Dera… and back. Well at the time we went there, there was a landslide/fallen tree that destroyed part of the path linking Kurama to Kibune, bummer. Was looking forward to this trail where we will go deep into the forest and pass by interesting sights like the Okunoin-Mao-Den which is said to enshrine the spirit of Mao-Son. The legend was a little hard to find, maybe because its not as famous as the other sights in and around Kyoto. It is said that some 6 million years ago, a meteorite from Venus broke into 3 pieces, one of which landed on Mt Kurama. It later came to be known as Mao-Son, the great conqueror of evil and earth spirits.

Well say so much also no use, I can’t visit the shrine anyways, so me and Claire we’ll just go to wherever we can access and then backtrack to the station again. Pictures coming right up:

Day5-4From the Station to the Main gateDay5-5

Main gate to another small shrine: Yuki Jinja, within the shrine is the gigantic Japanese cedar.


Then we crossed a little bridge and start going uphill for some time before arriving at the main hall of Kurama Dera.


We were a little winded by the time we got to the top. It was kinda cold with that persistent drizzling of rain and the air was thin. I don’t know, we were usually fitter than this. I couldn’t find a good angle to take a photo up in front of the main hall, and Claire isn’t looking good with the cold over here. I mean, I am feeling darn cold too so I’m sure Claire is getting it worse. So we just left and head back to the station.


On our way back, we alighted at Chayama station because we’re going to take a bus from there to Ginkaku-ji. And no, we’re not gonna visit the temple. No more temples!


This area seems like a really nice neighbourhood, I liked the laid back vibes and all the low buildings gave me the open skies view wherever we are. Living in Singapore surrounded by all our high-rise buildings is really suffocating.


And this Bnb with cafe looks really inviting to me, I don’t know, the anonymity appeals to me. This was also where we hop on the bus that brought us to the stop near Ginkaku-ji.

Passing by the Tourist Attraction to climb Daimonji-yama

Over here, we can see the crowd showing up everywhere. It’s like a pilgrimage of tourist attractions. They follow the route on whichever tourist map they were referring to like the path of a pilgrim. One shalt not stray from the Pilgrim’s Path.

That’s a good thing for me, because I will do my best to avoid those routes.

We ate our late lunch here along the canal, in a family restaurant that has got nothing to offer in the taste department but lots in terms of the casual vibe. Can’t help but downed a bottle of Asahi even though it’s daytime.


Skirting from the left of the Ginkaku-ji gate, we found ourselves in a residential area and a little carpark where we find the a information board about the World Heritage forest in this area. Wow, didn’t know that…


From that board, its a constant uphill trail all the way up to where that ‘Daimonji’ or literally ‘the word “big”‘ is. What I meant was, from afar, when you look at Daimonji-yama, you would see a Kanji word ‘big’ near the top of the mountain.

A good thing about being Chinese in Japan is that all the Kanji are really Chinese characters and they usually mean the same thing in Chinese as it is in Japanese.


Although it wasn’t a difficult climb, Claire was exhausted thanks to the accumulated fatigue from following her husband around. Trust me, following exactly where I stepped foot on is no easy task. I tend to go ‘off-road’ while walking. Kudos to Claire! That’s why she’s my wife LOL.


Please click to expand the above image. That’s the panorama I stitched from a number of pictures, and it was awesome. Absolutely worth the climb.


And this is where we take our break, eat some cold onigiri and hot coffee from my thermos. Claire is tired.


This spot is also where the word is, there are lots of fire pits here that traced the kanji word big “大” here. If you want to catch the lighting up of the letter, then this is not the right season to visit Kyoto.. There are actually more letters or symbols that will be lit up, check out the Wikipedia page of the ritual: Gozan no Okuribi.

Head Back down to Ginkaku-ji

Say goodbye to this awesome vantage point because we’re going back to town…


I’m not sure about the other people, but Claire to me is always this wacky girl who is spontaneous, spontaneously come out with some random outburst so lame that never fails to make my day. Over here, she’s making this weird look because she’s scared she’ll slip and fall but still want to pose for the photo, hence the weird posture.


But she always wants to show the general public this below image. Like one demure.


I like the real Claire better, that’s why she’s my wife! Oh ok I better stop saying that here.


Then we head into Ginkaku-ji grounds, but didn’t visit the Zen Garden because you need to queue and pay a fee. Nope, we’re just  gonna go around the ‘free’ grounds taking random autumn-themed photos.


And that’s all folks, after that we were just wandering aimlessly avoiding the tourists, losing our way in the meantime until the skies turn dark. We don’t care though, walking around having no aim has become some sort of therapy from our hectic life back home. It’s a luxury to have so much time to spare.

Till next time folks, cheers.

Simon Tey


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