Kibune to Kurama Walk & Gion

Today, Gaik (my new Malaysian walking buddy) and I took on Mt Kurama starting at Kibune and finishing at Kurama.  We then decided to talk around Gion to see if we could spot any Geisha...

So we headed out by train...Gaik and I were busy talking and totally missed the Kibuneguchi Station train stop for our walk!  We could have walked this route in reverse, howver all my walk instructions were for walking this walk in reverse so we decided to catch the next train back lol.

Once we reached the correct train stop, we decided to be lazy and catch the bus up to Kibune itself.  Kibune is famous for the summer restaurants that have platforms out over the river providing natural cooling whilst sitting outdoors eating lunch.  We would have loved to sit there for lunch, however we did not have time.  

Resturant over the river  Resturant over the water with waterful in background
 

We also visited the Kifine Jinga Shrine in Kibune, which is accessed by climbing this lovely lantern lined stairway. 

laterns on the staris to Kifine Jinga Shrine  Kifine Jinga Shrine

Here you could pay for a what looks like a blank piece of paper which has your fortune on it.  You then place it in water and the fortune is displayed in Japanese.  To translate it into English you needed to have a QR reader installed on your phone nd WIFI access….whoops something that I have not loaded on my new phone so could not try it out ☹

Invisible fortune instructions
 

We started the long climb up the hill stopping to take in the views and rest from the climb.  There are a number of simple but beautiful small shrines alone the way.  

Small shrine

We saw a detour which I had read about and we decided we should take it.  Within minutes we were at another small shrine where people were sitting and meditating or hugging a tree.  This place felt very peaceful and special.  Returning back to the track, we had to pass over these amazing tree roots.

Tree roots
 

We were now at the top and began our trip back down the other side.  It wasn’t long before we were using the beautiful laid steps which made it really easy and quick to descend.  When we were almost at the bottom we came across a large beautiful shrine called Kurama-dera which has a wonderful view out over the mountains.  It is really beautiful inside Honden which is the main hall.  The whole area has a sense of spirituality and many people can be seem meditating here as well.

View from Kurama-dera  Hoden - Main Hall

On leaving the shrine, we passed down through this beautiful lantern lined walkway.  So colourful and perfect...I would love to check this place out at night to see if it is all lit up.

lanterns lining the stairs
 

Observation:  You can complete this walk in either direction, however we were pleased we started at Kibune.  At the Kibune end there is a steep climb over rough terrain and at the Kurama end there are loads of steps.  I find it easier to keep my footing going uphill when there is rough terrain than downhill.  Also there is an Onsen at Kurama which is a good way to relax after your walk.  We did not visit as the day was so hot and a swim in a cool pool would have been a better option for me. 

On the way back to town we had to get off at Gion station, so we thought we would take a walk around Gion to see if we could spot any Geisha's and to check out the area.  We strolled down Hanami-koji (road) in the Gion district and could not help but notice all the girls in their lovely kimono's. 

Girls in Kimonos

There were no Geisha's in sight, so we decided to take a stoll in some of the lovely back streets in the area.  Once again we find someone making use of evry inch of their property with many potted plants.

back street in Gion area  small garden outside of home

We were lucky enough to spot two!  They looked amazing ... so perfect....almost like a new doll that had just been taken out of the box!    I loved the beautiful obi's on their backs!  They looked very expensive. 

Geisha or Miako?Geisha or Maiko

I have just done some reading and now thinking we have seen one Maiko and one Geisha (details on how to tell the difference)....what do you think?  If you want to look at better photos check out the photos in my gallery.

Another observation:  Everywhere you look everything is left to grow.  The grass is not mowed, there are wild flowers everywhere and I even found ann area under a tree with heaps of clover

clover

The sun was going down and our feet were hurting ... it was time to find dinner, we strolled around the streets in the Pontocho area and discovered a little cheap noddle bar that was full of partrons.  We waited until some people left and entered.  We had to use a vending machine to order our meal which was different.  Once we had the voucher, you present it to the chef who then made your dinner.  I choose Udon noddles and Gyoza.  Very yummy in dead.

Udon noddle dinner

It was now time to head home exhausted from my wonderful days adventure with Gaik.  If you would like to check out more photos have a look in my photo gallery