Saturday, 2 July 2016

Kyoto Research Trip - The Kamo River and Mt. Kurama, Take 2

Today I spontaneously decided to take a 12 mile hike through the mountains.

Okay, only half spontaneous.  I was following the Kamo River north until it forked with the part of the Kurama River.  East had a sidewalk, west did not, so I followed the river east and at some point decided it would be easier to hike to Kurama and take a train back than to turn around and walk back down the way I'd come.  There were no more buses.  I was in the boondocks.

In retrospect, it would have been easier to just walk back the way I'd come, but less fun.  I pretty much stumbled across the Kyoto Circuit trailhead, which was nice because pedestrians weren't allowed in the tunnel that lead strait to Kurama.  I was excited at how nice and paved it was, until it wasn't and I was climbing on bare rock again.  It was just under a mile from where the two-track turned into mountain trail.  I was very definitely not prepared for that.  I was definitely glad I'd grabbed an extra bottle of water from a vending machine I found.

The map projection is a little off.  I'm working on fixing it, but it gives the gist of the path and the temple.  By the time I got to Kurama Station, I was tempted to just get on the train and head home, but then I sat down in a cafe and had the most amazing pile of shaved ice I think I've ever had.

Dessert spoon for scale.  Between that and the iced tea, I decided to see if the path to Kibune was open.  It was, so like a genius, I climbed up a second mountain.  Worth it to say I've made the hike, and it was easier since it's a pilgrimage route so it's well maintained.  One thing I noticed was the sacred trees.  There were a lot more between Kurama and Kibune than I've seen elsewhere.  This one is 800 years old according to the sign.

There were a few trees like this that were marked off as well.  Not sure what kind they are, but it's something I'll look into eventually.

Some neat things I saw today:
An egret catching his lunch.

A bird I haven't identified yet.

Cool flower.

A butterfly that actually landed so I could take a picture.

I would have hated my parents if they'd made me trek out to a cabin this far off of a road, but these were pretty neat to find.

Some of the Seven Dwarfs.

Bridge guardian?

A different take on the popular peeing statue.  Apologies for the crappy quality photo.

A cool little pond on Mt. Kurama.

So many waterfalls!

And monkeys!

Okay, not real monkeys.  Yet again I leave Japan without seeing wild monkeys.  But it's been a really productive trip.  I'm so grateful I was able to get the funding to come and explore the city and its mountains even though I'm in such an early stage of my research.  I closed out my wonderful trip with another visit to the river to watch the kites flying around.  It was definitely a good way to end this trip.

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