Kyoto travel information of temples, shrines, museums and more.

Eastern routes : Green tours

Do you know that you can walk around the city of Kyoto through the mountains? The hiking routes are perfect for every generation to exercise and explore Kyoto. Let's get started on a green & healthy tour.

Honenin Temple Nanzen-ji Temple Himukai Daijingu Shrine

No.30 ~ No.52
The Second day of the Eastern routes

Kyoto is a city archived in temples, shrines and castles. History silently waits around every corner, down every street. Everyone knows; it is what Kyoto is world famous for. What many people do not appreciate, are the natural aspects of Kyoto, and we would like to introduce you to some of these. Here we would like to recommend a nice half day hike, just minutes from the subway.

The sign boards with the numbers lead you to the right way. KYOTO TRAIL GUIDE MAPS will help your safe and efficient trekking. (¥300~¥500)

Tozai subway to Keage station ~ Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)

The sign number is from No.30 to No.52

Keage Canal

The Tozai subway to Keage station

To get to the trail, take the Tozai subway to Keage station and leave from Exit 1. Walk down Sanjo Street and on the right you will see a tunnel leading to the Keage Canal. After heading through the tunnel, turn right and go up the incline.

The Tozai subway to Keage station

A side trip!

Nanzen-ji Temple

Nanzen-ji Temple

Open : 8:40-17:00 ¥500
After you pass through the tunnel of the trail starting point and veer away to the left, a famous Rinzai zen temple, Nanzen-ji appears. This temple is nestled into the higashiyama eastern mountains, which had been the villa of the Emperor Kameyama in the 13th century. Here you can see the sophisticated zen garden and enjoy a tofu set meal (yudofu) which is the specialty in this area.

Nanzen-ji Temple2

Keep going! The next numbered sign will appear.
Himukai Daijingu Shrine
Himukai Daijingu Shrine2

Himukai Daijingu Shrine

After 10 minutes cross a bridge and follow the road up until you reach a Himukai Daijingu Shrine with a fox deity guarding the entrance. Climb the steps and take the chance to amble through this wonderfully rustic shrine .The countrified atmosphere, and thatched roofs within are evidence that the bustle of Kyoto city is already behind you, as you ascend into the mountain proper.

Keep going! The next numbered sign will appear.
Taking you to Yamashina

View of the Yamashina area

After 20 minutes or so you will arrive at a junction 41, with the track down to the right taking you to Yamashina. Follow the track up, and you will come to some great lookout points; firstly of Yamashina to the right, and then Kyoto on the left a little later. You will be surprised how high you’ve come already!

Taking you to Yamashina2
Mt. Daimonji
Mt. Daimonji2

Mt. Daimonji

Continue through the sparse cedar groves, and after 30 minutes the undulating trail brings you to another junction 43, where you can continue the climb to the top of Mt. Daimonji for more views of Kyoto, or follow the mountain stream down past a Romon waterfall(a real highlight) to the Philosopher’s Path 48, and suburban Kyoto.

Honenin Temple

Honenin Temple

Back from the mountain, you walk into the quiet residential area and Philosopher's Path. Then you reach the thatched roof gate of Honenin Temple, and there you can enjoy the lush moss and all of the beautiful greenery in the garden. (free admission)

Honenin Temple2
Continues toward Enryaku-ji Temple

Continues toward Enryaku-ji Temple

Today's half day hike finishes here, the junction of Shirakawa Street and Imadegawa Street. The trail route continues toward Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei. You can visit a very famous temple Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) before heading for Enryaku-ji.

Jane's Report_ Mt.Daimonji climbing

Take an early morning walk up Daimonji – it’s a treat!


It is 7am! I arrive at the bottom of Daimonji and park my bike. Of course, every day is different but today it's the beginning of a cloudless day and the sun is just beginning to peak over the mountain. The air is fresh and it's quiet and peaceful. I start my walk.

The path that leads to the base of the mountain is a slow winding one that takes the walker gradually upwards. It is flanked by trees that soar upwards to the sky and as my gaze travels upwards I'm struck by their vivid green colour against the blue of the sky. The trees make the path very shady so it's refreshingly cool as I walk on and up. Beside the path I hear the sound of running water coming from a small stream. It is actually more like a series of mini waterfalls created by a stepped rocky bed. In places the rock steps are burnt red which glow as the sun bursts through. Elsewhere splashes of brightness shimmer on the tree trunks and pathway. In places the rays of sunlight become visible and force their way through the thick greenery, highlighting a network of spiders' webs. Birds chirp and sing and drown out the distant sounds of the early morning city. I pass by a mossy rock wall and breathe deeply before reaching the base of the mountain. Crossing a tiny bridge, I stop. It's a perfect place to pause, stretch and listen to the trickle of water. From here the climb begins.

Log-made steps stretch ahead, up and up and up. As I begin my climb, a victorious passerby greets me with a smile, happy in a way that comes from reaching the top and then leisurely strolling back down - goal achieved, refreshed and energised, their day can now begin with zest! I fleetingly think about my own victory soon to be but almost at that same moment bring myself back to the step by step climb. Enjoy the walk. Moving the legs, using the muscles, breathing and exercising the lungs. All the while feeling the breeze, seeing the glints of sunshine, listening to the songs of the birds. Now and again my attention is seized by the scuffling of a bird or small animal in the undergrowth…it's amazing how something so small can sound like a roaming big cat!


The last leg of the climb is a never-ending stone staircase. At least, that is how it appears after the already numerous steps this far. Still, almost there! One by one the steps are conquered as I reach closer to my goal. The trees begin to clear and glimpses of views can be spied through the leaves. To the left Mount Hiezan appears and reveals how small this hill really is! A few more steps…just a couple more….and finally…I begin my stroll across the horizontal stroke of the character that reads 'dai'. I reach the very centre of its design and look out across the city below. The victory is mine and I can rest, catch my breath and allow my mind to settle on the distant mountains. It's not quite 'the top' of Daimonji but it feels like the top and I, like most other climbers, feel genuine achievement and contentment in finishing my climb at this spot. Those of stronger will may carry on further still but my goal is complete. The view is fantastic and the spirit is free. Up here I feel closer to nature, happily removed from all that is not nature. I feel relaxed, refreshed and content. I sit and breathe.

I do this climb 3 or 4 times a week. I wake up early and create this time to recharge my body's battery. Some may think it is madness, or some kind of gruelling exercise plan. Me…I feel it's a luxury. I'm lucky to have such a place on my doorstep and to be able to do this whenever I please, it truly is a blessing. My day begins in peace and fresh air, the best nourishment the body can hope for. As much as I want to keep it all to myself I feel an urge to write it down and share it with whoever is listening….Go walk up Daimonji….give yourself a treat!

Directions from bus stop to Daimonji:

Get off the bus at Ginkakuji mae. Walk up the road towards Ginkakuji temple. At the temple entrance go left and just keep following the road. It goes up and to the right. As you continue along you will see a small parking area on the right and then a drink machine. From there just keep following the path on and up. At the bottom of Daimonji you will see a tiny bridge where you cross over the small stream and start climbing the steps. About half way up you will come to a kind of clearing where there is a kind of shrine. From here go to the left and continue to the top.