My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Kyoto Trail.

   With all the books and maps available for the outdoor enthusiast, and believe me there are many, the series on the 'Kyoto Trail' seemed to have escaped my attention. But, with the help of the 'Kyoto Trail' website, I was to discover that copies were available in a nearby camping/hiking store. The maps have been put together by the 'Kyoto Alpine League' and the 'Kyoto Trail Association', and there are five maps, four of which cover the near 80km partial circumnavigation of the Kyoto Basin, and the fifth in the area around Shuzan in the North-West of Kyoto.     

   The first map covers the area commencing at the Fushimi-Inari Station and finishes at the Mt Hiei Cable Car Station. This course has many of the popular tourist sightseeing spots - Fushima-Inari Shrine, Tofuku-ji Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Mt Diamonjiyama, to name but a few - and is recommended for beginners. You also get to enjoy much of Kyoto's culture and nature along the way.  

   Map two takes the hiker from the Mt Hiei Cable-Car Station over the summit of Mt Hiei, where, on a clear day, the views are nothing short of breathtaking, then onto Enryaku-ji Temple . From here you descend into the settlement of Ohara, and more popular sightseeing spots. Shizuhara is the next settlement you experience then a hill-climb that brings you out at Kurama, and the Kurama-dera Temple. Another hill-climb and you arrive at the settlement of Kibune, and the famous Kibune-jinja Shrine. From here it's a nice stroll down the valley, past the Kibuneguchi Station, and onto Ninose Station, and the train back to Demachinagi Station.

   This next map covers the area from Ninose Station to Kiyotaki, at the base of Mt Atago, and is not recommended for the fainthearted, as it is very hilly in places. But the scenery along the way is nothing short of spectacular. And there is history abound, in the shape of Himura-jinja Shrine (you will need to scroll-down to the bottom of the page) Jingo-ji Temple, at Takao, then, if you have the energy, climb Mt Atago (924m) and check-out Atago-jinja Shrine while there. There is a bus, from the settlement of Kiyotaki, that will take you into Kyoto.

   The final map takes you from the settlement of Kiyotaki through Arashiyama and finishing at the Hankyu Kamikatsura Station. Along the way you will experience such sights as the Gio-ji Temple, the Togetsu-gyo Bridge, Mt Matsuoyama and the famous Moss Gardens of Koke-dera Temple. When you alight your bus, your path takes you to the Kiyotaki River which you follow to the junction of the Katsura River, and whence you ascend along a sealed lane (route-50) that brings you down to the Saga area of Arashiyama. This is an ideal opportunity to purchase those souvenirs for loved-ones back home.

   A fifth course requires you to travel out of the confines of Kyoto City and head West along route-162 (the Kyoto-to-Obama Road) to the settlement of Shuzan. There is very little I can tell you of this course as I have only driven through the area and never stopped to check-out the surrounding countryside. But, from what I have read & seen on 'Google Maps', a certain amount of fitness would be required.

   The above image is of the Kyoto basin, with the hills and mountains that surround the city. The red line is the full 'Kyoto Trail' course (I am sorry if it is not very clear). On the rear of each map are details of particular points-of-interest for where you are at the time, and are also written in English.

   I say this all the time, and this occasion is no different from the others - the public transport system in Japan is second-to-none, and access to-and-from each course is frequent, reliable and on time. Whether it is a bus you require, or a train or subway, you have no need to worry. The map on the right shows you what public transport is available to get you there-and-back. 




   Throughout the course, at particular junctions along the way, are marker posts showing your present location, and where to proceed to from there, and are numbered in conjunction with the numbers on your map. Also there are many trail-boards highlighting a point of interest in your vicinity, and again also in English.

   Over the coming months I plan to complete two of the courses, albeit not exactly to the map details - Kyotaki to Ohara - and do them over two days. I am also looking into checking-out the Shuzan course, and plan to make that a two day outing. When completed, I shall compose a blog with report, photos and video.

   To tempt your adventurous taste-buds, I shall finish here with a few images from a recent hiking trip into the Himuro-jinja Shrine area (from the Ninose-to-Kiyotaki Map). This is Japanese rural scenery at it's very best.

                                                           So, until next time,


   Further reading - Trail Course and Highlights.

   I would like to acknowledge 'Trans-word+'  for allowing me to use information from their website. 

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