Kurama (鞍馬) is a rural town in the northern mountains of Kyoto City, less than one hour from the city center. Kurama is best known for its temple Kurama-dera and its hot spring, one of the most easily accessible hot springs from Kyoto.
Outdoor and indoor baths can be enjoyed at Kurama Onsen, a ryokan located at the upper end of the town of Kurama. It can be reached in a 10 minute walk from the train station along the town’s only road or along a nature trail following the river. Staying guests can use the baths for free, while daytrippers pay 2500 yen to use all of the baths or 1000 yen for just the outdoor bath (rotemburo).
Kurama’s main attraction, Kurama-dera, is a Buddhist temple located along the steep wooded mountainside above the town. It takes about 30-45 minutes to climb up to the temple’s main buildings from the town below. A cablecar (200 yen one way) leads about halfway up the mountain.
Along the ascent to Kurama-dera stands Yuki Jinja, a shrine famous for its Fire Festival (Kurama Hi Matsuri), held annually on October 22. Kurama-dera’s main buildings stand on a terrace on the mountain slope, overlooking the wooded valley.
Behind the temple‘s main building, the hiking trail continues through the forest past several other temple structures to Kibune, a small town in the neighboring valley. The hike from Kurama-dera to Kibune takes about one hour and is steep at times.
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