Day trips to Kibune and Kurama

Nov 27th, 2004, 07:04 AM
  #1  
emd
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Day trips to Kibune and Kurama

I am interested in doing a day trip from Kyoto to Kibune and Kurama. I am not finding much good info on these areas on this site, JNTO, or the rest of the web (aside from some great photos and a few blogs without much specific info). I have seen reference to hiking the mountain path between Kibune and Kurama, but no info on where to pick up the path. Any info you can share on that or these areas more generally?
Mealea: your recommendation to alan64 to do this day trip is what got me started, so if you are out there, I'd appreciate any embelishment you can offer.
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Nov 27th, 2004, 02:26 PM
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Have you already seen these?
http://www.2kyoto.net/eng/area/kuram...-sanzenin.html

http://www.kpic.or.jp/fieldtrip/index-e.html

http://www.aaronwilliamson.com/trave...ama/kurama.htm

http://www.kyotoguide.com/ - Kibune and Kurama are included in this excellent site, well worth exploring.

http://www.ab.cyberhome.ne.jp/~asano.../kuramamap.htm

Paths in tourist areas like this are seldom hard to find...they are usually well marked and well travelled. It looks like a really nice place....we'll have to go there too someday soon!
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Nov 28th, 2004, 04:25 AM
  #3  
emd
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Kim, it makes me feel good that I shared something w/you that you might use. It is always the other way around. Thanks very much for the sites. BTW, Kibune has some pretty unusual festivals, like the Fire Festival at end of Oct. and some others. The mountain at Kurama is where Reiki was founded, or I guess I should say where the inspiration for it was found. There is a vortex there; it isn't called that on the websites but that is what is described, and people go there for that as a sort of spiritual journey.
Still hoping for Mealea to see this to get first hand info.
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Nov 28th, 2004, 04:40 AM
  #4  
emd
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Kim, I had seen these, except I can't find where the Kibune/Kurama info is in the kyotoguide (there is no search function unfortunately; I scrolled through the sections and can't find it). Do you recall where it is?
I want to thank Florence and others for recommending the kyoto guide site over the years; it's very very good,
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Nov 28th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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http://www.2kyoto.net/eng/ariaguide.html there are a number of places in a list...Kibune and Kurama are the last choice at the bottom of the page.
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Nov 29th, 2004, 03:51 AM
  #6  
emd
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Thanks Kim.

Topping for mealea, hopefully...
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Nov 30th, 2004, 04:13 AM
  #7  
emd
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I am going out of town, but if anyone sees mealea post, would you top this again so he can hopefully have a look and reply? Thanks very much.
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Feb 12th, 2005, 05:51 PM
  #8  
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topping again, since Mealea is back around now...

Any more info, Mealea?
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Feb 13th, 2005, 12:21 AM
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Emd, I'll check into it. A friend is borrowing all of my favorite Japan travel books at the moment, but I'll see what I can find for you.
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Feb 13th, 2005, 03:27 AM
  #10  
emd
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That's ok, I do have the good book, "Exploring Kyoto, On Foot in the Ancient Capital" which has some pages on Kibune and Kurama. I thought you might have been there to hike or soak. It's funny how one person mentioning something in a post can lead another person to start researching and end up going to the place. I think it will give us a great break from the city and hopefully a break from the crowds.
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Feb 13th, 2005, 10:20 PM
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Hi emd. I called up my friend who has all my books last night. He's been travelling all over Japan for the last few months. Anyway, it turns out he and his girlfriend just recently did the Kibune and Kurama day trip and hike. They LOVED it.

You probably already know a lot of this already, but I'll just pass on what he told me. You basically have two options and either way, the hike takes about 1 to 1 .5 hours and is more like a walking trail than a hardcore hike. This is the very well known trail that many tourists take and there are plenty of signs and information at the stations. I think there are also longer hikes in the area and the Kyoto tourist office would have information on this.

Kibune and Kurama are two tiny mountain villages in the north-east part of Kyoto. They are on the same train line, just one stop apart. Kibune is the last stop and Kurama comes just before it. I've visited both places, but on separate trips to Kyoto and I didn't do the hike.

Kibune is famous for traditional restaurants and cafes right on the river. In the summer, there are platforms built right over the river so you can eat with the water rushing below you. Very scenic and peaceful. At other times of the year, you can still eat overlooking the river. I ate special soba noodles there and just enjoyed the scenery.

Kurama has a big mountain temple that is especially beautiful when lit up at night. There are many stairs to climb. Make sure you go up to the very top to the main temple. There is also the very nice day onsen, Kurama Onsen, which is really great to try. I understand how your son might be shy though. I tried the onsen and enjoyed it.

Option 1:
Go to the furthest station, Kibune. Have lunch by the river. Hike over the mountain. End up in Kurama and go to the temple and onsen there. This is the most popular route since most people want to end up at the onsen. A free shuttle bus runs from Kurama station to the onsen itself.

Option 2: Start in Kurama. See the temple and hike over the mountain. In Kibune, eat lunch or a snack at one of the restaurants or cafes by the river. My friend did this route and somehow thought this was better. Then, they took the train back one stop to go to the onsen at Kurama. He liked the idea of ending up at Kibune to relax at the cafes at the end of the hike, so he suggests this route, especially if you don't intend to go to the onsen anyway.

Since you'll be in Kyoto for a longer stay, you have to try to also visit Ohara, probably my very favorite place in Kyoto. It is a beautiful scenic place, also in the hills of Kyoto.. It is just a wonderful atmosphere with nice little traditional shops and ancient temples. This makes a perfect half-day trip from Kyoto. I highly recommend it.

Another day for Higashiyama and the Philosopher's Path area. Be sure to go off into the back streets up in the hills by the path. I especially like the temple Honen-in, It should be especially beautiful with camillas blooming when you are there. It's off the usual tourist radar, yet not far from the path.

I also highly recommend going to Gion to see the special "Cherry Blossom Dance" at the main theater in Gion. It is held only at this time of year. It's wonderful and I loved it. There's a beautiful old cherry blossom tree right outside of the theater which adds to the magical atmosphere.

I'd recommend calling the tourist office when you arrive and checking two things. One, what festivals will on while you're there. Two, what flowers are in full bloom at which temples. I think these are the secrets to geting off the usual tourist path and seeing the "real" Kyoto and feeling the seasons. There are always some minor festivals at small temples and these are interesting insights into the culture. If you go to a temple famous for a particular flower when its in full bloom, well, it's a fantastic experience.

I've been to Kyoto four times, once in each season, and I love it. I have other recommendations if you have other questions about anything, including Tokyo, where I live.
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Feb 14th, 2005, 05:16 AM
  #12  
emd
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Wow, great info, thanks Mealea. I am pritning out your post to take w/us. On the festivals, we are already looking forward to the Kyoto Illumination Fantasy (Hanatouro) which will be in it's final days in Higashiyama when we arrive in Kyoto. We are trying to fit Ohara in, but w/the other day trips I am not sure we will be able to on this trip. So many great places are accessible from Kyoto.

Thank you again for the trouble you went to to call your friend.
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Feb 14th, 2005, 09:22 AM
  #13  
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mealea: Did you know that Jakkoin, the nunnery in Ohara, burned down? It is reported to have been arson. What a shame. I am unclear on whether it has been rebuilt yet. One mention I saw on the web said it is supposed to be rebuilt by May 2005, but it seems they need $$ to rebuild it. I have been hoping to see a report here from anyone who has been there recently.
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Feb 16th, 2005, 07:56 PM
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I'm not sure if Jakkoin, the nunnery in Ohara, has been rebuilt. I visited before the fire and was sad to hear the news when it happened. It's a beautiful place and one of the highlights of a visit to Ohara. The walk there from the station/bus area is very tranquil, passing through green rice fields, small village houses, fields of flowers, and is a nice relaxing walk. Actually, everything is like this in Ohara. Even if Jakkoin isn't rebuilt yet, I'd still suggest going to Ohara. There are other nice temples (including the most famous one) and just the general atmosphere is really charming. You only need a half-day to visit and it's an easy trip from the downtown area. Maybe you call check with the tourist office about the latest news on Jakkoin when you get to Kyoto. I think if you go to Ohara, Kibune, and Kurama, you'll see some of the most beautiful places in Kyoto! These are my favorites.
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Feb 17th, 2005, 03:53 AM
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Bonjour emd and Mealea,

Here's some information about Ohara from the Kyoto city tourism office http://kaiwai.city.kyoto.jp/sightdb/.../list_spot.php

It seems Jakkoin is still under reconstruction but you can visit the gardens.
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Feb 17th, 2005, 03:56 AM
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seems my link is faulty. Here's another, you'll have to click on the map for the places you want info on

http://kaiwai.city.kyoto.jp/sightdb/...ref0_name=area
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Feb 17th, 2005, 04:11 AM
  #17  
emd
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Thanks Florence and Mealea. I really want to fit in Oahra too, it sounds so lovely from both your descriptions (I have Florence's earlier desciptions right here printed out too). It's the timing. We have 7 days in Kyoto. But we want to go to Hirshima one day (and maybe get a short trip to Miyajima in also that day, make it a long day), Osaka for the Koshien baseball tournament one day, sumo in Osaka one afternoon, Kibune and Kurama (which I am realizing now could be a half day), and then Ohara would be another half day. That leaves us 3 days in Kyoto (and one of those is the day we arrive from Tokyo, but we intend to leave Tokyo early and get to give us a full day in Kyoto that day. I guess that is ok, I was hoping for an extra half day in Kyoto. But I think we will return to Kyoto again anyway in the future since Kansai and Centrair airports are so near there and it is so centrally located, and there is so much there. So maybe 3 days is ok this time in Kyoto.
I am convincing myself here, I think we will indeed put in Ohara to the itinerary.
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Feb 17th, 2005, 04:15 AM
  #18  
emd
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and I forgot Iga-Ueno for the ninja house- my son wanted to do that along w/one of the half days in Osaka....
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Feb 17th, 2005, 04:16 AM
  #19  
emd
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yeah, and I left out Nara too. Ok, something has to give.
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Feb 17th, 2005, 04:45 AM
  #20  
emd
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Ok, maybe like this:

7 days and nights based in Kyoto:

-1 day combine morning at Koshien tournament in Osaka (at Koshien stadium) and afternoon at sumo tournament at Municipal gymnasium (close to Namba station)

-1 day early start to Nara and then Iga-Ueno

-1 day Hiroshima (and if we can get a really early start, a short trip to Miyajima- I know, it's a long day)

-1 half day in Kibune/Kurama

-1 half day in Ohara

- those two half days, spend rest of the day in Kyoto

- and 2 full days in Kyoto
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