Kurama and Kibune offer a great chance to get out of the city, see some nature and enjoy the fresh air of the mountains.
Kurama also boasts the onsen (volcanic hot spring bath) closest to the city of Kyoto, and is therefore a prime attraction for Kyotoites.
Although it was a little dodgy bringing my camera into the bathing area, I felt I had to try to capture the breathtaking view one gets to take in while soaking in the hot spring.
Set high in the mountains North of Kyoto, the Kurama Onsen is nestled in amongst the lush foliage around Kurama town. Sitting in the steaming hot spring bath and watching the liquid motion of the evergreens swaying in the wind is utter bliss. The open air bath looks out directly at the face of the opposite mountain, which is home to Kurama-dera.
Luckily, as a result of my well honed knowledge of Japanese customs (thanks to watching Mr. Baseball), I remembered to bathe before plunging into the main bath. Armed only
with a microscopic towel supplied for the sake of modesty, I boldly faced my first communal bath (separated by sex, at least). Luckily, Japanese are even better than Torontonians at pretending they don't notice you, so I was able to escape the affair with pride intact.
After soaking for as long as we could bear, we suited ourselves up for the hike up the mountain.
Kurama is home to Kurama-dera, a temple which is now the sole home of a bizarre Buddhist sect/cult which worships Sonten, a many armed deity from Venus (of course).
The trek to Kibune from Kurama spans about two kilometers as the crow flies, but goes directly over a mountain in the process. Kurama-dera is on the peak of the mountain, at an elevation of about 850m.
The mountains are packed with gorgeous temples, shrines, and ancient cedars. Check out more pictures below for all the sights along to hike over the mountain.
From here we came out of the other side to Kibune town...check it out!