We were finally done with our final test! Classes were already enjoyable but became really fun from day 16 as we were preparing for our final skit to be performed on the last day. We had decided to do a parody of the Japanese folk tale kasa jizo, which is about an old man who is blessed for doing a good deed (it’s a really cute story!)
After school my friend and I started making our way to mount Kurama, which was about 40 minutes away by train. It’s always nice to see the scenery from the trains, especially since this one took us through the trees straight into the mountain.
We were a bit disappointed by the lack of snow, but the mountain was beautiful nonetheless. The plan was to walk up to Kuramadera temple, and then walk across the mountain to Kifune shrine. The mountain has a wonderful peacefulness, and is just oozing with natural beauty.
There was barely anyone there that day, which is always a plus. The greenery in the area was just outstanding, surrounding the old architecture. It made me feel like I was suddenly transported back in time to olden Japan.
I know this is going to sound stupid considering that it’s a mountain, but I was not prepared for the amount of climbing I was about to do. We had to take (several) breaks in between the flights of stairs.
We then came across shrine there. Mount kurama is best known for a fire festival that takes place sometime in October, and the shrine had some posters about it.
The moss covered shrines were so beautiful, and this isn’t even the main part of the mountain. The winding road up was accompanied by rows of pretty lanterns. The higher grounds also gave great views of the forest below.
You can almost hear the theme song of Spirited Away
We then reached the main attraction, the Kurama-dera temple , which i forgot to take a picture of (what an idiot, I know). So here’s a picture of the cool hand washing area instead.
We took a short break before starting on the hiking trail towards Kifune shrine. That’s where we saw a large sign saying ‘BEAR SPOTTED’. This freaked me out but the sign said that the only time a bear was ever spotted in the area was about a year ago, so we decided it was fine to continue. There were also a few other people around, which gave a sense of comfort.
There was a remarkable lack of any animals, let alone bears. This created an extremely calming atmosphere shrouded in silence, except for the rustling beneath our feet.
The path down was a lot more relaxing (obviously), until we started hearing blaring sirens. To say that I started panicking was a bit of an understatement (my friend was probably annoyed as hell), and I basically started running down. The only thing I could think of was earthquake or bear warning – both cases were equally terrifying since we were in the middle of a forest in the hills. The sirens eventually stopped and we found out it was actually an ambulance (the logical explanation). Anyway, right at the Base of the path was a gorgeous river.
Next was Kifune shrine, which was right on the main road. And guess what- more stairs!
The shrine gave a wonderful view of the river and was really pretty. This shrine actually sells fortunes that appear once you place them in water. Quite fitting for a shrine dedicated to a water deity.
It was now starting to get dark so we decided to head towards the train station, which was about half an hour away, while taking in the scenery around us.
All in all Mount Kurama is definitely worth going to. I’m not sure if it’s because of the time period at which we visited, but the place was almost completely deserted and very, very beautiful. I walked 24326 steps, and we were really tired but decided to get dinner at Coco Ichibanya outlet near the train station where we were transferring. Curry rice with an onsen egg is always very satisfying at the end of a long day.