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temples, cherry blossoms and climbing mount Daimonji

Kyoto Travel Blog

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under restoration gingakuji temple

Duration                        3 hours

Distance                       5.5 kilometres

Standard                      easy

Start/Finish                 Ginkakakuji/ Nanzenji

Nearest Town              Kyoto

Public Transport         bus number 5 from JR station, 220 yen get off at Ginkakuji michi mae bus stop

 

Basically just follow the crowd to Ginkakuji which is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto, if you happen to come on a day when not many people are there, then cross the street and turn right down the arcade souvenier shops to the entrance of Ginkakkuji.

gingakuji famous for its zen garden garden the sand represents the sea and the cone represents mount fuji
  Ginkakuji is a lovely temple which features a beautiful zen garden made from sand. The sand is raked to form the sea and there is a large circular cone that represents Mount Fuji. It has a beautiful stroll garden that covers the main focal points of the temple, including a beautiful pond and overhead views of the temple, the temple is currently overgoing restoration but it is still beautiful.

When you exit the temple turn right and walk 50 metres till you come to the stone Torri(shrine gate), then turn right and walk up hill past the car park and into the forest. Daimonji mountain peak is only 466 metres, so its not a very high mountain, the reason people hike this mountain is in August  the large  大 sign is set ablaze. The dai represents great. Walking up towards the dai mark you should stop to see the lifts used to transport the wood used in the Daimonji festival.

the kanji sign Dai which means great is lit up every August
Just past this you will come to the clearing with the dai mark.  Here is a great place to sit, rest and have lunch. From here there are beautiful views of Kyoto and we were fortunate to come on a clear day and had the pleasure of watching some eagles soaring high above us.

From here most people turn around and go back towards ginkakuji but we had other plans to get to the summitt ansd then go down the opposite way to visit Nanzenji. We climbed the steps to the top of the clearing. The trail onwards is indistinct aim for the crest of the hill. After the trails enters the forest it's a 15 minute hike along the ridge over 2 subsidiary peaks to the true 466metre summit of daimonji yama.

At the summit there were 3 locals who hike this mountain everyday, we talked for awhile and they gave me directions on how to get to Nanzenji.

the view from the daimonji sign
From here it's a 1 hour hike descent.  As you get closer to Nanzenji you will come to the upper sanctuary of Kotoku-an, which is a sub temple of Nanzenji. here if your lucky you can see pilgrims pray  while standing naked beneath a 7 metre waterfall.

Just past Kotuku-an  you pass under a most un Japanese piece of architecture- the suido -kaku  acqueduct, built in the early Meiji period to bring water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto. Walk under this and you enter the main prescent of Nanzenji, which was rather beautiful has there were many cherry blossom trees throughout the grounds. After looking around Nanzenji we stopped to ask a man and his son where the nearest bus station was. They were so nice that they offered to drive me back to the train station instead.  My opinion of Kyoto people has definately changed after this hike as people from Kyoto are known throughout Japan as being snobbish and not at all friendly but the people I met on this hike couldn't have been friendlier

bernard69 says:
thx for sharing this accessible ballade for us:)
Posted on: Apr 01, 2009
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under restoration gingakuji temple
under restoration gingakuji temple
gingakuji famous for its zen garde…
gingakuji famous for its zen gard…
the kanji sign Dai which means gre…
the kanji sign Dai which means gr…
the view from the daimonji sign
the view from the daimonji sign
the aquaduct msde in the meiji era…
the aquaduct msde in the meiji er…
view from the summit
view from the summit
the msrker that represents the sum…
the msrker that represents the su…
gingakuji from above
gingakuji from above
cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms
cherry blossoms at nanzenji
cherry blossoms at nanzenji
Kyoto Sights & Attractions review
strolling around ginkakuji
This temple dates back to 1482 when Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa constructed the villa here which he used as a retreat from the turmoil of the civil war.… read entire review
Kyoto
photo by: ys484