Finally Venturing Inside Northern Kyoto’s Kurama Temple
Entrance to the Kurama Temple a photo from this post a couple of years ago -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance to the Kurama Temple
a photo from this post a couple of years ago

I'd heard that the Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺), nestled on the side of a mountain in a northern suburb of Kyoto, made for a nice visit, but despite riding past it dozens of times since I got into cycling, I'd never actually entered it. This week I finally did.

The main part of this post is about this week's visit, but first let me recount my prior experiences with this temple...

Normally I just ride past and perhaps snap a photo along the way, such as the following shot from my first real bike ride 2½ years ago:

Flying By The Entrance not realizing I was about to enter a world of snow -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + 35mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/13, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Flying By The Entrance
not realizing I was about to enter a world of snow

Sometimes I stop at the entrance to take photos, such as the following shot from the two-year anniversary ride of my first real ride earlier this year:

Kurama Temple -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/2017-02-10/2773 -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42mm — 1/200 sec, f/10, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Kurama Temple

Apparently I had stopped by the entrance to this temple during a photo outing in 2012, with Paul and Damien, when I took this photo of the edge of the entrance stairs:

Entrance Detail Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kurama Shrine (鞍馬神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance Detail
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺)

I post this shot because I really like its richness, its vibe, and to contrast it with all the crappy iPhone photos we'll see below, from this week's visit.

On that same drive in 2012, I took these shots of a monkey harassing someone (for, I suppose, food of some kind):

No Luck Here... -- Kurama Shrine (鞍馬神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
No Luck Here...
... Nor Here -- Kurama Shrine (鞍馬神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
... Nor Here

That day-long outing five years ago, with Paul and Damien, was really great, and many blog posts resulted, including:

On that wonderful 2012 outing, I also took this slightly-overexposed shot of Damien:

from this blog post for Damien's parents -- Sourenji Temple (宗蓮寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 10000 — map & image datanearby photos
from this blog post for Damien's parents

And that photo brings me to the reason that I finally visited Kurama Temple this week.

Damien was about to start his fourth and last Hell Week course of chemotherapy, a week-long torture of nausea-inducing drugs that saps the will to live, so he wanted to get out into nature one last time before. He intended to hike from Kibune to Kurama, and then relax at the Kurama Onsen. I wasn't able to make it in time to join the start of the hike, so I went directly to Kurama, hiking up to meet him at the temple at the top of the mountain.

All the rest of the photos on today's blog post are from this recent trip, taken with an iPhone.

Entering The Temple Grounds Proper at only 300 yen (US$2.60), a bargain -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Entering The Temple Grounds Proper
at only 300 yen (US$2.60), a bargain
Theme For the Day lots of steps -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/25 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Theme For the Day
lots of steps

The path to the top has many different sections, both with steps and just a plain gravel path. The only thing that was consistent was the climb... whether steps or path, it kept going up and up.

A Road Diverged... you can take the gravel path to the right, or the steps up through a sub -temple -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
A Road Diverged...
you can take the gravel path to the right, or the steps up through a sub-temple
More “ Up ” -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
More Up
... and More -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
... and More
... and So Much More -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 80 — map & image datanearby photos
... and So Much More
Oh Hey, Steps! -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Oh Hey, Steps!

Finally, after 20 minutes of brisk climbing, I arrived at the lowest part of the temple proper.

Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/610 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

... where I found Damien waiting for me. I was tuckered out from the hike, but took a quick selfie...

Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus front camera 2.87mm f/2.2 at an effective 32mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.2, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
The View of the Mountains is “ Meh? ” -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/480 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
The View of the Mountains is Meh?

Apparently there's a huge multi-level complex to be explored, but we had neither the time nor the energy (nor the appropriate camera) to enjoy it, so we headed back down the way I had come.

Heading Down -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Down
Old Staircase -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/240 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Staircase
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

Even though we were taking the exact path I'd just come up on, the view was so much more interesting heading down. Time and again you could see much more splayed out before you. It was wonderful.

Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/460 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Side View of he landing seen in the previous photo -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/220 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Side View
of he landing seen in the previous photo
Disconnect it makes you wonder whether the two sides had ever been level with each other -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/310 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos
Disconnect
it makes you wonder whether the two sides had ever been level with each other
Down Down Down -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Down Down Down
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 6.6mm f/2.8 at an effective 57mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 32 — map & image datanearby photos
Hazy Side Area -- Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 64 — map & image datanearby photos
Hazy Side Area
Kurama Temple (鞍馬寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/95 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20 — map & image datanearby photos

All in all it whet my appetite to return with a real camera. Paul will likely be visiting next month, and by then Damien should be recovered from his chemo, so I hope the three of us can spend a day here with the camera. It will be glorious.

After we exited the shrine, we went to the Kurama Onsen, and I tried the outside bath for the first time. Until now, the Kurama Onsen for me was merely the start to one of Kyoto's hallmark tough cycling climbs, the 5km @ 9% climb to Hanase Pass.

In the evening, for his last meal before returning to the hospital for Hell Week, we indulged in American-style Pizza from Dai's Pizza Kitchen...

Picking up a Pizza -- Ichijoji Takatsukicho Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 at an effective 28mm — 1/30 sec, f/1.8, ISO 40 — map & image datanearby photos
Picking up a Pizza
Mmmmmm.... half “ Hawaiian ” , half “ Combo DX ” -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Mmmmmm....
half Hawaiian, half Combo DX

As I write this, it's the Friday at the end of his last Hell Week, so he's got light at the end of the tunnel. The week after Hell Week is usually filled with all kinds of side-effect problems, so that's still in the way, but he should hopefully be back to normal by the end of the month, just in time for some awesome fall-foliage photo outings.


All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

Thanks for all the support Jeffrey! It was a hell of a week but it would have been a hell of a lot worse without you by my side 🙂 🙂
Nest stop: Jidai matsuri!

— comment by Damien on October 7th, 2017 at 8:57am JST (2 weeks ago) comment permalink

All the best to Damien Douxchamps, whose wonderful photos I follow on Flickr with great admiration.

— comment by Janet Heineck on October 7th, 2017 at 4:26pm JST (2 weeks ago) comment permalink

Thanks Janet! ( ^^)v

— comment by Damien on October 8th, 2017 at 8:04pm JST (1 week, 5 days ago) comment permalink

I’m so sorry to hear that you have been sick, Damien. I had been wondering why your website hadn’t had any new photos for a while. Your photos have inspired many a trip to Kyoto and discovering lots of new places. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

— comment by Rebecca on October 10th, 2017 at 12:06pm JST (1 week, 4 days ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the pics of my brother, Jeffrey! 😉

— comment by Lou on October 15th, 2017 at 3:53am JST (6 days ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...


All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.


You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting