We met each other in Kyoto few years ago and we love getting away from the crowds and do something different. Here's one of our not so ordinary day out in Kyoto.
Demachiyanagi - Let's play & eat some traditional sweets!
You must have heard of Kamogawa (鴨川) / Kamo River if you have been to Kyoto, it is a popular walking spot especially during spring for cherry blossom viewing and summer for riverside picnic. However, Takashi and I didn't do the usual riverside walk but took train up north to Demachiyanagi Station and walked over to Kamogawa Delta.
During summer you will see some parents bring their kids to this part of Kamo River. The water here is shallow, suitable to get in for summer splash. There are also huge rocks placed across the river, one of them is actually in turtle shape! It's a nice place to chill and snap some fun photo.
Demachi Futaba - for traditional sweets
Demachi Futaba is a very old Japanese sweets (wagashi) shop which is only available in Kyoto. When you are in this area, do stop by their original shop to get some very traditional style Japanese sweets!
Their most popular item is red bean rice cake which the texture is super soft but not sticky when you chew it up.
Aioi-sha Shrine - Pray for love
Coming from Kamogawa Delta, we walked across Tadasu-no-Mori Forest (糺の森), passed by Kawai Shrine (河合神社) which is famous for praying for good looks, and reached Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) which is one of the oldest shrines in Kyoto.
One of the highlights in Shimogamo Shrine is the Aioi-sha Shrine (相生社). There's an entwined holly trees in Aioi-sha which symbolise the love bond, many couples come here to pray for strong relationship or good marriage. 3 years after Takashi and I visited this place, we are married and have a baby! Do you believe that this place has love power?
Mount Kurama - Let's go hiking!
From Demachiyanagi Station, we took train to Kurama station. During summer, walking in the forest is definitely chiller than usual outdoor activities, that's why we decided to visit Kurama-dera Temple which is located in Mount Kurama.
To reach Kurama-dera Temple you will need to hike up Mount Kurama, enjoy the scenic forest view! You will feel great after inhaling the fresh air in the mountain forest. You can save some energy by taking the cable car after entering the Mount Kurama gate, but you will miss out some shrines that are on the path. We took the cable car because we wanted to save some energy for our next destination.
After visiting the Kurama-dera Temple and a few power spots in Mount Kurama, we continued on the hiking path. Summer in Kyoto is really hot, but in the mountain we din't feel that much of heat. However, we did sweat quite a bit because of the hiking exercise.
We took two hours for the hiking and temple visiting in Mount Kurama and finally arriving at Kibune, where the famous Kifune Shrine (貴船神社) is located in.
Kibune is also famous for the unique "kawadoko (川床)" dining experience. During summer, restaurants along the Kibune River will setup "kawadoko" dining area, which is on top of the river. You can enjoy delicious traditional Kyoto cuisine while enjoying the sound of the river and relaxing atmosphere.
Kifune Shrine - Romantic evening
Kifune Shrine is one of the most popular shrines in Kyoto, it is famous for the beautiful maple foliage view during autumn, and also the romantic atmosphere when the lantern path lights up.
If we didn't come by the rough way (hike over Mount Kurama), I would have worn yukata to Kifune Shrine for nice photo.
If you are visiting Kifune Shrine on the first week of July, you might be able to see the Tanabata (七夕) decoration. Tanabata is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese, which has a romantic tale about two lovers who can only meet once a year on the 7th day of 7th month of lunar calendar. We love the story, which we think very much represents us when we were still dating on long distance.
When visiting Kifune Shrine, you must wait for the light up when the sky turn dark. The lanterns along the entrance path will light up and bring up a romantic atmosphere.
Kyoto is a very special place for us, we met each other here when Takashi just moved back to Japan from overseas, and I bought a wrong flight ticket to Osaka (I have no idea how it happened) and decided to visit Kyoto during the trip. There are so many interesting things to do and see in Kyoto, I wish I can share more about it with you. Do share out this post if you like my sharing!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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