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The modest hike starts in the town of Kibune, accessible by train from Kyoto. You can hop a bus that takes you to the town from the station, or walk along the narrow, rather steep road for about 20 minutes. This sign—warning of the dangers of fires—is posted at the edge of the forest along the road.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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A steep ravine flanks the right side of the road as you walk to Kibune, with a narrow river about 30 feet below. Restaurants bridge out over the waters.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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These restaurants are open on either side, with thatched roofs and paper lanterns elevated about 50 feet off the wooden floor, to fully immerse the diners in nature.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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Lanterns also line the roadside as you approach, promoting the restaurants.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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A statue at the Kifune Shrine, across from the trailhead.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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Before starting up the trail via a series of switchbacks, you pass massive trees that are sometimes adorned with Shide, a zigzag-shaped paper streamer used in Shinto rituals.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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After ascending to the top of the ridgeline, you wander for about three to four miles over the roots of ancient trees, passing a variety of shrines nestled in the woods.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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The hike ends at the Kurama Temple, positioned at the top of a mountain high above the surrounding countryside. The rock pictured here is believed to be where Mao-son, “The Great King of the Conquerors of Evil and the Spirit of the Earth”, stood when he descended from Venus for mankind’s salvation.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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Some believe that the “alien rock” radiates a kind of energy.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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A detail of the Kurama temple—the foot of a lion statue adjacent to the temple doors.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
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From Kurama you descend via a series of stone steps and bridges before reaching the town named after the temple. An outdoor onsen (a public bath fed by hot springs) makes a perfect stop after the hike.  
Credit: Nathan Borchelt 
 
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