Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Today for the first time we were out of our house by 8:30 am and on our way to Mt Kurama. After finding that our children were not coping well with spending the whole day together we decided to divide and rule. My husband and son departed the train at Kibune Guchi station and walked over the mountain towards Kurama. My daughter and I continued one more stop to Kurama itself. In the main street of this mountain village I bought my daughter a pink rice and red bean ball wrapped in a leaf that she enjoyed eating. We walked past traditional wooden houses some with stunning gardens, roadside shrines, and to the edge of the village to visit Kurama Onsen.
At the Onsen we showered throughly then entered the outdoor pool that is a perfect temperature and has shaded and sunny sections. It was sublime!
We backtracked to the Nio-Mon gate and entered the temple complex of Mt Kurama. We took our time walking up the hill, pausing to wash our hands at purification baths, prey, and ring the shrine bells.
Kurama Temple was founded in 770 and is the head quarters of the Kurama-Kokyo sect. We enjoyed intersecting with the rest of our family as we climbed up and they climbed down. It was delightful passing under the falling cherry blossom petals and my daughter ran around as if playing with snow. Before entering the Honden we removed our shoes and were bemused when a monk rushed over to us with our shoes, insisting that we put them back on again!
We walked steadily to the ridge and took a rest there by reading our books so that my daughter could recover before the descent. Many people passed us, about half gaijin and half Japanese. We scurried over on the seat to encourage some puffing people to rest and one retirement aged Japanese man openly talked about us two gaijin but I have no idea of what he was saying. While we rested a cleaner arrived with a bucket and cloth, climbed into the shrine compound and systematically cleaned every part of it.
Kibune village is lovely but definitely geared towards visitors. Many restaurants line the road offering kaiseki (fine dining) at the prices you would expect. We had hoped to buy some cheap food but that wasn’t to be so we stopped at a tea house and had whipped matcha tea with cheese cake instead and it was really lovely.
We took our weary feet and travelled to Gion Shijo station via two different private railway lines and walked towards Shin-kyojoku covered arcade were by coincidence we encountered the rest of our family. We explored the Nishiki food market and tasted some strange and wonderful things. Afterwards we wandered down Pontocho pedestrian strip and by good fortune I was passed by 11 geisha on their way somewhere in small groups. They were silent and avoided eye contact.