Mt. Kurama

Before this trip, when we were making plans and exchanging emails with Miki, she wrote something that has stayed in my mind. "I believe that we can make nice memories!!", she said. We made a lot of nice memories on this trip, and our journey up Mt. Kurama is one of them.

The map on the left, scanned from the front of the tourist brochure, looks a lot like the map Sumi had to guide us, so we had no idea of the distance or topography involved. I had a sort of vague idea that we would be walking down a road lined with temples and shrines and shops much like Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto so I was a bit surprised when the view outside the train windows changed from crowded streets and houses to that of a forest. We disembarked at a tiny station surrounded by a small cluster of stores and headed up the first set of steps to the temple grounds.

Once inside we found several more steep flights of steps and the intriguing cascade of water in the picture on the right. We paused for some picture taking and headed upward.

We were soon in a forest of ancient cedar trees.

As we climbed through the forest,we came upon wondrous things - shrines, statues, and this bridge. This picture, taken by Walt, is one of my favorite pictures from this trip.

The thing about climbing Mt. Kurama is that you always feel like you must be near the top, but everytime you reach the top of a set of steps there is another set of steps or a trail climbing through the trees. When we did finally reach the top, we were drenched from the rain and our sweat. We might not have known we were at the summit if it weren't for the sign by the path informing us that we had arrived.


The path down was steeper and more slippery than the path up had been, but we passed several groups of sprightly old people moving enthusiastically towards the top. This is one of the larger shrines which we passed as we cautiously made our way down.

When we finally emerged from the forest in mid afternoon, we expected to see the train station, but, alas, what we saw was a sign informing us that the station was several kilometers away. This was a bit distressing because we had reservations on a train to Hiroshima in the late afternoon and we were some distance from Kyoto. We would have liked nothing better than to sit down and relax over a late lunch, but there was no food in sight and no transportation options other than our aching feet so we headed off down the narrow road in the direction of the station.

Our spirits were bolstered, however, by the beautiful stream that flowed beside the road.

We made it back to Kyoto Station with time to spare so we were able to purchase some food and drink to sustain us on the ride to Hiroshima. Our days in Kyoto had been everything we had hoped for, and we had made a lot of wonderful memories.