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Kyoto Tour Vol. 11

COOL JAPANESE SCENE / Kansai & Kyoto (45) / Kansai & Kyoto (47)

This time pick up herewith Kyoto Travel Spot which is located in Northern Part of Kyoto.
In Northern Part of Kyoto, we are able to enjoy Hieizan which being Mountain temple complex of the Tendai sect., Kurama which being Rural town with temple and hot spring and etc.
Hieizan / Mountain temple complex of the Tendai sect.

(Amida Hall (Todo))

Located in Kyoto's eastern mountain range on Mount Hieizan, Enryakuji is one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history. It is the headquarters of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism, which served as the foundation for a number of later sects including the Pure Land (Jodo), Zen and Nichiren sects.
Enryakuji was founded in 788 by Saicho, the monk who used his learnings of Chinese Buddhism to found the Tendai sect. At its peak, Enryakuji had as many as 3000 subtemples and a powerful army of warrior monks who often engaged in power struggles with other monasteries and political leaders.

Main Hall (Todo)
Shaka Hall (Saito)

On his way to remove all potential rivals and unite the country, Oda Nobunaga attacked and destroyed most of Enryakuji's buildings in 1571. Therefore, most of today's temple buildings date back to the early Edo Period, when Enryakuji was rebuilt by the new rulers.
Enryakuji's attractions are concentrated in three areas: Todo (east area), Saito (west area) and Yokawa. The main area is the Todo area, where the temple was founded and where most of the main buildings are located, including the Main Hall (Kompon Chudo) and the Amida Hall, which was added to the complex in 1937.

Ninai Hall (Saito)
Yokawa Central Hall (Yokawa)

A pleasant walking trail through the forest connects the Todo with the Saito area, whose main building is the Shaka Hall, the oldest building on the mountain. Not far away stands the Ninai Hall, two halls connected to each other by a central corridor. A monk named Benkei, known for his legendary strength, is said to once have carried the hall on his shoulders.

(Monjuro Gate (Todo))

The third main area, the Yokawa area, is located several kilometers north of the other two areas, and is visited by fewer people. Its main building, the Yokawa Central Hall, is partially built on a slope using pillars.
Enryakuji is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the protected areas under the designated "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto". The temple is a significant site in Japan's cultural history. Many influential monks studied at Enryakuji, and the temple is mentioned in works of art such as The Tale of Genji.

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Kurama / Rural town with temple and hot spring.

Kurama 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.
Guests, who are staying at the ryokan, can use the baths for free, while daytrippers pay 2500 Yen per person to use all of them or 1100 Yen per person to use the outdoor pool (rotemburo) only.

Kurama Town
Kurama Onsen

Kurama's main attraction, Kurama-dera, is a Buddhist temple located in the wooded slopes above the town. From its main gate in the town's center, the main buildings can be reached in a 30-45 minute climb up the mountain. A cablecar (200 Yen one way) leads halfway up.
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's slope, overlooking the wooded valley.

(Along the hiking trail from Kurama to Kibune )

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 is steep at times and takes about one hour.

(Kibune Town)

Kibune offers several ryokan and restaurants, which serve meals on terraces built along the river during the warmer months of the year. At Kibune Shrine you can obtain a unique type of omikuji (fortune telling paper slips) that displays your fortune after it has been dipped into the water.

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By T.S. on Jul 12, 2009

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Author:T. SATOH