Top Ten Japan Classic Adventures

Head to the Hills Over Kyoto
By Brent Madison

Tramp the famous temple circuit of Kyoto, then head to the hills for a lesson in kanji—or Japanese characters—unlike any other. A stone torii (Shinto gate) behind the famed Ginkakuji Temple marks the trail that leads a spot to which all eyes in the city go when people want to get their bearings—to a giant Japanese kanji etched into the mountainside. Meaning "great," the character is pronounced "die" and shares its name with the mountain, Daimonji-yama. Follow the trail as it winds through the woods above the temple onto a steep dirt path that takes you along switchbacks and over steps to a bare spot over the kanji. Pick a clear day to fully enjoy the amazing views of the city and sunset or continue along the ridgeline, which eventually leads back down into the city. If you are lucky enough to be there on August 16, you'll catch one of the brightest festivals of Kyoto, when the character is piled with wood and set ablaze.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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