If you are ever been in Kyoto or Google with “sightseeing in Kyoto” before a visit there, you have already noticed the place called Daimonjiyama. Daimonji hill is a quite convenient place to escape into a deep forest ambience almost at the middle of the city. Strong leg and passion for hiking are all you need for it because though the steps will take you to the top of the mountain, however it is a little stip.
Let’s start climbing to Daimonjiyama
From different sides of Kyoto city the huge “大” character could be seen, apparently curved in a particular mountain, that to be ablaze for sending spirits of ancestors away on 16 August of every year. That very character is called “Dai” (meaning “big”), from which the hill got its name. To go to Daimonjiyama, get down from bus at Ginkakujimichi bus stop and take a straight way by “philosophers walk” towards Ginkakuji temple. From Ginkakuji entrance take left and walk two to three minutes before starting climbing to an elevated way at right side. Inevitably, the noticeable water dripping sound will guide you to a tiny bridge over a water passage from where the staircase begins. All you need to do is to follow the stairs to get lost into the wilderness.
It’s all green around with cedar and pine
After almost half an hour to forty five minutes of constant hiking, the beautiful Kyoto city will reveal herself in front of you. Believe me, it is an amazing view and worth the panting. Carrying a bottle of water is an absolute necessity and of course you may take rest as frequently as you want throughout the way. Enjoy the greenery, relish it… walk again!
Amazing experience of meeting Japanese people and culture
Along the way you will definitely meet lots of Japanese people, who will usually greet you in the local language: Ohayo gozaimasu in the morning or Konnichiwa the rest of the day. A few small stone structures of local deities (o-jizo-san) around the corners are beautifully decorated with flower, and red cloths make the way unique.
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Watch your step and a beautiful city
Finally, when you will reach the top you can figure out that the huge “大” character is made up of series of small barbeque-like structures. You can go little downhill by the steps along one stroke of “大”. Find all the strokes and walk down the character. It’s really fun; however walking with baby steps can fatigue your calf muscle.
Some tips for adventure lovers
Details mentioned above are a mere healthy description of the Daimonji recipe. You can easily take this with your family, even kids. However, for adventure lover or really romantic couple I will recommend to take this hiking at night. Trust me… it is really spicy. Start at midnight with beer and some chicken snacks (red wine would be my personal choice), spend the whole night under the sky, at the top of the town with a beautiful starry city beneath you. Don’t forget to take a torch light and enough charge in your mobile phone as the mountain way could be very dark or shady depending on the presence of moonlight. When the dawn breaks I am sure you will thank me for introducing a wonderful bird chirping morning!
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