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鞍馬寺Kurama Temple

  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
  • Ohara / Kibune Area
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  • ClosedOpen every day, Reihou Place is mouth to December 12 from the end of February

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Maps are rarely carried out with accessing from mainland China.

Ohara / Kibune Area
1074 Kurama Hommachi, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 601-1111, Japan
  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
Opening Hours
Open every day, Reihou Place is mouth to December 12 from the end of February
Date of post:2015/04/23

A trip to meet the long-nosed goblin

  • Historic / Cultural Experiences

Your trip begins at Demachiyanagi-station. A local train will take you from an urban area to a mysterious mountain area. Approaching the last station, you will see many trees along the railway. Cherry trees bloom in spring and the leaves of maple trees turn red in autumn. Your train goes into Kurama station soon, which situate at the foot of Kurama mountain. Getting out of the station, you will find a big face of the famous long-nosed goblin, Tengu.

There are some shops along the way from the station to the main gate of Kurama-dera. You can buy some Japanese sweets there to get energy to climb the mountain. I recommend you to try Japanese herb rice cake, Kusamochi.

From the main gate, a mountain path will lead you to Kondo, main building of the temple. It takes about 20 minutes. You can also take the cable car to short cut the painstaking path. Getting out of breath, you will find Kondo after climbing up the stone steps. You can feel the calm mountain atmosphere here. This is the mountain where young Ushiwakamaru, later tragedy hero Yoshitsune Minamoto, used to train his sword battle art under the instruction of the legendary long-nosed goblin.

The origin of the temple goes back to the 8th century, but the buildings were lost in a fire several times and reconstructed rather recently.

From the place of the main building, you can go further into the mountain. Then you cross the mountain to the backside of it and arrive at Kibune, another famous place in this mountain area.

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Date of post:2015/04/23

A temple famous for its sacred mountain with legends

  • Historic / Cultural Experiences

Have you heard the name “Kurama-Tengu”?
Kuramadera temple is located on Mt. Kurama -- 584m (1916ft) in height.

Its origin dates back to 770 AD, when a Buddhist monk enshrined Bishamon-Ten here. Bishamon-Ten (Kubera in Sanskrit) is one of the seven Deities of Good Luck and one of the four kings of Heaven in Buddhism. He is a guardian deity of the north, clad in armor with a precious orb in one hand and a halberd in another, and has a frightening face.

Since ancient times the mountain has been regarded as the holy place fulfilled with an ethereal atmosphere and a sacred site of worship for mountaineering ascetics. And this is the place where “Kurama-Tengu” lives. Tengu is a legendary feature handed down in folk beliefs. He is said to have a red face and long nose, clad in mountain ascetic’s cloth, have a special fan and fly in the sky with wings. As folks say that Tengu is a demon who bewitches a person into the path of evil. However in Mt. Kurama, Tengu is regarded as the Prince of Darkness who defends Buddhism.

Today this mountain is referred to as one of the so-called power spots in Japan. Indeed this mountain gives us a power to be refreshed, be healed, be revived….

The temple has many small shrines along the way leading to inner sacred place which is in the heart of the mountain. The path climbs in a zigzag pattern through dense forest. In small huts you will see some followers chanting sutras. You will meet mountain ascetics practicing, too.

To go up to the main hall, there is a cable car available. This 191m (626.6ft) long, 2 minutes ride car takes you up to the Tahoto (treasure pagoda). From there you have to climb up stairs lined with red lanterns to the main hall. This cable car is the shortest and the only train system operated by a religious corporation in Japan. As the mountain is in the north of Kyoto, it is cool even in summer. Whole wood has been kept as a natural museum, walking around here is a good choice. Following the path there are historical sites, legendary places, natural spring, shrines and so on. After about 1.5 hours up and down the mountain you can get to another sacred place, Kibune Shrine.

If you walk up to the main hall of the Kuramadera without taking the cable car, you will go in an old shrine on the way-about 5 minutes from the main gate. This shrine, named Yuki Shrine, is famous for a night fire festival on Oct.22. Residents are running up the mountain to this shrine with torches in various sizes.

It takes about 45 minutes to get there from central Kyoto by train. The train runs through a tunnel of Japanese maple trees. In early summer, young green leaves give us the power of life. In autumn, colored leaves are illuminated at night, visitors can have an experience of the mysterious profundity of nature. It is always good to be in the heart of nature!

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