For a great view of Kyoto, be sure to hike Mt. Daimonji. This is part of the eastern mountain range in Kyoto and will not disappoint. The hike (scenic option) can be done by most anyone in relatively decent physical condition and includes both wooded and open areas, so we suggest wearing sunscreen and insect repellent. There are some additional stairs part way up, but we wanted to get more into the woods:)
This is not a post on how to actually hike, rather, it will explain how to get to the location to begin the hike. After asking a few questions at our guesthouse, this was a highly recommended activity, but something many people skip as they don’t even know it exists as an option. Hopefully the following steps help explain our route – enjoy!
Start at Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion)
Turn left before entering Ginkaku-ji Temple and proceed until you see the stone torii gate. (1 minute walk)
Turn right before the torii gate and proceed up the road until you reach the small shrine. (2 minute walk)
Turn right at the shrine and proceed up the hill.
You will come to a little water stream on your left. Fill your water bottle with cold refreshing mountain water! Once filled, continue up the hill where you will come to the base of the hike.
Turn right just past the base sign and cross the small bridge, then your hike begins. Be sure to stop at the sign pictured below and drink some water while taking in your first views of Kyoto. Note: All signs along the hike will appear in Japanese, so, if you can read Japanese you probably won’t have a problem getting to the top.
You have made it about half-way!
Continue straight by passing just to the right of the stones with red fabric.
Continue on until you see this sign on a tree to your left.
Continue on until you come to a V. You can go either way here but we suggest turning left as the trail is better maintained this way.
You have reached the bottom of the stairs for the scenic option!
Continue up the stairs until you reach this shrine.
You will be rewarded with amazing views of Kyoto. On clear days you can even see skyscrapers in Osaka. You are not done yet however, as you still need to climb the stairs to the right of the shrine.
Once at the top, turn around and enjoy the view!
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Great Big Globe Tip: Make a day of it. Start with a tour of Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion). Follow with a hike to the top of Mt. Daimonji and take in the breathtaking views and relax for a few minutes. After your hike down, rest your legs and cool off with some green tea ice cream. Finally, take a stroll down the Philosopher’s Walk and visit both Nanzen-ji and Eikan-Do Temples.