How to Hike Mount Daimonji

How to Hike Mount Daimonji in Japan

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)

Entrance to Ginkaku-ji Temple

Entrance to Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion)

Turn left before entering Ginkaku-ji Temple and proceed until you see the stone torii gate. (1 minute walk)

ToriI gate near Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion)

Torii gate near Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion)

Turn right before the torii gate and proceed up the road until you reach the small shrine. (2 minute walk)

small shrine near Mt Dainmonji

Small shrine, go to the right

Turn right at the shrine and proceed up the hill.

Fill your water bottle at the base of Mt Daimonji

This is your last chance for water before hiking to the top

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.

Sign at base of Mt Daimonji

Base of Mt. Daimonji

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.

Hiking Mt Daimonji

View from half-way up Mt. Daimonji

You have made it about half-way!

Hike Mt Daimonji

Signage and stones with red fabric

Continue straight by passing just to the right of the stones with red fabric.

Mt Daimonji climb

Turn left at this sign which has a purple tip on it. There are also purple markings on some of the tree stumps.

Continue on until you see this sign on a tree to your left.

Mt Daimonji Hike

Turn left at this V

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.

Stairs to the top of Mt Daimonji

Stairs to the top of Mt. Daimonji

You have reached the bottom of the stairs for the scenic option!

Shrine on Mt Daimonji

Shrine near top of Mt. Daimonji

Continue up the stairs until you reach this shrine.

View from Mount Daimonji

View from the top of Mt. Daimonji in Kyoto, Japan

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!



Hike Mount Daimonji in Kyoto, Japan

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. 

About Matt

Matt is one-half of Great Big Globe. He loves the Green Bay Packers, chips and salsa, a strong Americano and knows an incredible amount of useless sports trivia.


  1. Hi, thanks so much for posting this. Hiking maps were hard to come by in Kyoto so I was so pleased to find this! The walk was one of the highlights of my time in Japan.

  2. Hi guys, nice write-up… I love that view, how you can make out the castle & palace grounds and various temples, the rivers etc, and really see the layout if the city. Looks like ou had a great day for it too!

  3. Thanks for posting this. I did this hike and enjoyed it very much!

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