We did something a bit different on this day. By this point a lot of shops were shut for the new year holiday. As we had not gone to Mt Koya when we were in Osaka, I thought we could go up a different mountain. I wanted to take G to Kurama, a little tiny village that holds a bizarre fire festival in October. I have been to the fire festival twice, but never had much of a chance to see the village. The train there goes from a small station not connected to any other line.
To get there we ended up taking a subway to the same stop as the imperial palace and then walking several blocks and across the river to get to the little station. The walk was nice, a chance to see a more everyday side of kyoto. Then we came to the bridge over the river. It’s actually the point where two rivers merge. And we could cross on the bridge, or use giant stepping stones. Of course we chose the stones! Some were shaped like turtles
River with stepping stones
Every picture of me from this trip looks the same, because of the scarf and hat!
The train was small, only two carriages, and it would through the outer suburbs of Kyoto before starting to climb. Not a long ride, maybe 30 minutes.
Kurama was the last stop. We got out and wandered down the street- it is basically one street on the side of the mountain, houses on either side. We were looking for the cable car. We didn’t find it, but we found ice! Then we went back to the shrine near the station, climbed the stairs and found a tiny cable car- what I would call a funicular. Tiny, only one seat each side of the aisle. We took that up e side of the mountain, not very far. That part of the mountain is part of a temple complex, so there are buildings and paths, but also trees and calm. I liked being in the middle of the pine forest. It is very soothing for me (not so much for G). We didn’t follow the trail to the next valley, but walked down towards the village.
Then we took the train back down the mountain. Near the end station there was a bus that took us close to Ginkakuji- the silver temple. Unlike the gold temple, it isn’t actually silver. it has a beautiful garden though
Once we had finished at the temple we wandered down the philosophers path. This is a walkway along a little canal that runs between Ginkakuji and several other temples. In the spring it is lined with cherry blossom, in the fall with colourful leaves. We were on it on a chilly winter twilight. There are a of little shops and cafes along the path, catering to tourists. Not all of them were open, due to both the late time and the fact that the new year holidays were somewhat in effect. We did find a shop that lets you cast your own pottery piece!
We didn’t do the pottery thing- we bought a couple of premade cups though.
We kept going through the chilly evening. There are a lot of cats in this area. But my photos are not so great in the light. At the end of the path we headed back towards the bus route, and we found a coffee shop we went to back in 2010. This was the shop that introduced us to siphon coffee. So we stopped in and had a cup. It seems to be a bit of a taxi driver hangout in the evening.
Then we caught the bus back and ended up at a lovely Italian restaurant in the station.