Kurama-dera Temple is a mountain temple with a long history and a unique atmosphere. It is considered by some to contain special spiritual energy, and over the years many famous people have come here to meditate. There is a path from the main hall which circles the mountain through groves of towering cedar trees which scent the fresh air. Nearer to the temple buildings, the air is scented with incense. There are many places which afford you stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
The temple was founded in 770 by Gantei, a monk from Nara who was seeking a refuge in the wilderness for meditation. In the north of Kyoto, he happened across a white horse that he followed to what is now known as Kurama Valley. There, after experiencing a vision of a Buddhist deity, he established his temple. The teachings of Kurama-dera Temple have evolved over the years, and now comprise their own sect of Buddhism, in which the spirits of the local mountain play a part.
A visit to Kurama is well worth the effort. It is a chance to blend great hiking with time well spent investigating ancient and somewhat mysterious temple buildings.
* Address: 1074 Kurama-honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
* Access: Eizan Railway Kurama Station 5-minute walk
* Hours: 9:00-16:00 (9:00-16:30 Reihou-den only (Treasure Room))
* Open all year (12/12-February Reihou-den closed)
* Entrance Fee: Higher than high school student 200 yen