April 12, 2004
by MORIYA Tomomi
Recently hiking is in the spotlight because it is very good for our health, so many people enjoy hiking in Japan in their free time. By hiking we can get fresh air, called minus ion, and another good point is seeing the green of trees which is also very good for our eyes. For me, Kurama and Kibune are the best places to go hiking in Kyoto.
Especially I recommend hiking there in summer and autumn because these seasons are the best ones to see the scenery, and I am sure that everyone feels comfortable. Between Kurama and Kibune, there is a hiking course called “Kinone-michi” which takes about one hour to hike.
Kurama is a very famous place where we can see the beautiful red leaves of maple trees in autumn. In summer, we can enjoy ourselves there because Kurama, being in the mountains, is cooler than downtown Kyoto, and the green leaves will make you feel very relaxed.
At the same time, Kibune also has a pleasant environment in summer and autumn. Kibune has a clear river, called the Kibune River, and in summer, the air near the river is very moist and cool, so we will feel relaxed. Especially I like the sound of the gentle flow of the river, and I think that it helps purify our mind. At Kibune we can see not only beautiful red leaves in autumn, but also beautiful cherry blossoms in spring. I am sure that you will have a good time there.
While hiking between Kurama and Kibune, we can see several historical structures and places which are connected to legends, so that if you know the legends, hiking around there is more interesting.
When Japanese hear the word “Kurama,” most of us imagine “Kurama-Tengu.” “Tengu” is a long-nosed Japanese goblin, and it is said that Tengu have great spiritual power. According to legend, the Kurama-Tengu helped a boy named Ushiwakamaru, who later became Yoshitsune Minamoto, by teaching him how to use a sword well. There is also an interesting myth at Kurama. About 6,500,000 years ago, a Japanese god who is called “Maou” came to Kurama from the planet Venus. It is said that he would create and destroy everything. The spot where the god arrived on Earth is called “Oku-no-inn-maouden.” As you can see, Kurama has many interesting stories and mysteries.
Kibune is also famous because of Kibune shrine. A long time ago the shrine was built, but nobody knows when or who built it. Kibune shrine, however, is well-known because tradition says that a god of water (or rain) lives there. It means that people used to pray for rain at the shrine, and still now many people believe that the shrine houses a god of water.
In conclusion, Kurama and Kibune are very interesting places for not only Japanese, but also for visitors from other countries. I hope that you will go to Kurama and Kibune to enjoy hiking if you want to feel refreshed. Also you can recognize that history permeates Kyoto.