Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Kyoto city is in an enviable position. The hubbub of the center can be easily escaped into a lush countryside, where you can really appreciate the tranquility and find the connection to nature that resonates from these wondrous walking sites.
After a long day of hiking, there's nothing more relaxing than a long soak to ease the aches and pains of tired muscles. What's best about Kyoto’s top trail-ways is that you can do just that at one of the mineral-rich natural hot springs, or ‘onsen’ as they're known in Japanese, that are perfectly poised en route to unwind weary travelers. You can head for the hills in any season and won't need any specialist equipment, just remember to take your camera as the views offer some incredible photo opportunities!
Ohara - Visit Amazing Temples
Ohara, a rural farming village, only an hour by train and bus from central Kyoto, has to be high on the list for an afternoon of hiking and hot springs. Famed for growing shiso and making the most delicious tsukemono (Japanese pickles), Ohara also has a number of stunning temple complexes.
Sanzen-in is the most acclaimed, particularly lovely in autumn when its grounds, a sea of maple trees whose leaves burn with a vermillion palette, are at their full glory. It’s also the perfect starting point for the two and a half to three hour Ohara to Kurama hiking trail
Begin in the morning with an hour or two wiling away in the grounds of Sanzen-in. From here head to Jakko-in, where you will enter the mountain trail passing in front of the Ebumi Shrine. Walk the Ebumi Ridge to the village of Shizuhara where you can slip into silent admiration for the stunning scenery.
From Shizuhara the path leads over another ridge to the old village of Kurama, including outdoor hot springs where you can sit back and relax in the hot, healing waters. The trail can be reversed and onsen enjoyed in Ohara as well. There are both overnight and dayspring options available and the outdoor bath at Kurama Day Spa is a particular highlight.
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