Kifune & Mt Kurama
Kifune was my last destination of the Kyoto prefecture, but this won't be the last Kyoto posting because I haven't been uploading them in any specific order. (I should have to be honest...)
Kifune was the furthest away from any of the Kyoto destinations and it was a destination that I had actually cancelled from my initial plans purely because of it's distance. Due to a scheduling change, mainly because I had time to spare, I had dedicated a time slot for Kifune. I actually traveled to Kifune from Nara, and it took a good two hours to get up there because of several train transfers. I took a JR train from Nara, which was ridiculously expensive (800 yen = 8 USD) compared to the usual train rides. Then I had to transfer from the JR transit into a small tram. After you get off the tram you can transfer into a small bus that will take you up the hill. I opted to walk, again. I must admit the walk up the hill was interesting because the nature surrounding this area was quite breathtaking.
Once I got to the actual temple stairwell, there were a couple of people taking selfies so a few minutes were spend on the stairwells just so I could get my people-less shot. Once you climb up the stairs there is a temple that you can pray in, but from the way things seemed, most people were visiting this area to take snaps of the stairwell area. I can believe this place being more beautiful at night, when the lanterns have been illuminated.
There isn't too much to do around this area, but if you want to get some exercise into your schedule you can opt to climb Mt Kurama. The entrance was not too far away from the Kifune shrine and the climb and descent took about an hour if you were quick. The peak of the mountain isn't anything special, and most of the view is covered by trees so there isn't a large sense of achievement. When you make the descent down the hill, there are a few interesting shrine areas to stop at. At the very bottom of the hill there is the train station conveniently located for your use.
It's not quite the Yosemite Park trees but they were very tall and majestic. This photo does not capture the sense of size that these trees had to offer.
There were a few cars that were passing by here and there but generally the road was pretty empty, allowing for an easy trek.
There were these Ryokans, basically traditional inns being serviced for those who were planning to stay over night.
These lit lanterns give you a taste for what a night view would look like around this area.
This was the popular stairwell that everyone had come for.
A few hundred meters past the Kifune shrine, there is another one that ends the road.
This is the temple that is in the peak of the mountain.
These were the best pics that I could take while I was at the peak.