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Newer Page 395 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
Japan Kyoto Hiking Mount Hiei

27 October 2016

Canyon mountain

Hiking Mount Hiei in Kyoto using public transport

After spending some time researching I had selected my Kyoto mountain. There are not huge mountains near Kyoto but there are mountains, I chose what is supposed to be the most challenging mountain near a train, Mount Hiei. I like to say mountain a lot.
This is to the north east of Kyoto, and you have to walk to the train, then change train lines, then walk an hour to the start of the trail. Sounds good to me.

I am not sure what else goes on along this train line, but the station has a series of small decorated single carriages, and school kids were lined up to board. There were also school kids on my train as you will see below.
The good news is Kyoto has embraced the IC cards, and my ICOCA worked fine on these small railways, preventing further embarrassing incidents where my pants full down due the weight of change needed to purchase tickets, drinks, calorie mate bars, pokemon trading cards etc.

Once on the trail, I was surprised to find myself scrambling up deep canyons. Water will find a way. Hopefully it does not find its way down these canyons today. This unique ascent was not too challenging, just over 2 hours to the summit (no resting!), but because of the canyon there is not a lot to see on your way up.
I did however see monkeys, lots of them, but they would not stop for a photo. One particularly dense area of monkey activity smelt like a zoo. So there you go, I know that monkeys are the main form of stench in a zoo.

The summit area is the usual conglomeration of tv towers, mobile phone towers but also bus parking! You can take the bus up, or 2 different cable cars. This mountain is exactly in between Kyoto and Lake Biwa, and there is an extortionate mountain garden museum outdoor arboretum with additional indoor seating for appreciation of the seasons with special focus on view area. Extortionate due to the $15 entry fee!
Having explained to the ticket lady that the reason she has no customers is because of the fee, I went to the summit proper, which has no view, then appreciated the view of Lake Biwa through smog, then had to decide which way to go back down.
I was not going to take the cable car, I was going to walk. After some extended consideration, I decided to go back the way I had come rather than down the Lake Biwa side, I could not identify there was a definite path and it seemed a long way. Now looking at google maps it does not look anywhere near as far as the path I took from the station.
On the way up, I met no one until I met a tour group of old folks very near the top. They had taken the cable car and were hiking around the summit. On the way down I passed maybe 5 people coming up. This is still very surprising to me, where are all these huge crowds I keep reading about?

Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - It was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel to my first train, which is on a line that does not go through the main Kyoto station. I had to cross a r

It was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel to my first train, which is on a line that does not go through the main Kyoto station. I had to cross a raging open sewer river to get to the train.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - Changing from train 1 to 2, it seems theres a few different lines that shoot off from here with single carriage trains of school kids. It was very con

Changing from train 1 to 2, it seems theres a few different lines that shoot off from here with single carriage trains of school kids. It was very confusing and there was no English, but they take IC cards.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - I took a photo of school kids. This is the pink hat gang. There was also a yellow hat gang. Along with their hats they all have a drink bottle slung o

I took a photo of school kids. This is the pink hat gang. There was also a yellow hat gang. Along with their hats they all have a drink bottle slung over their shoulders.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - The walk from the train station to the start of the trail was quite far, and up hill, nice views started to appear.

The walk from the train station to the start of the trail was quite far, and up hill, nice views started to appear.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - Now I am in a canyon, thinking about flash flooding. Unlikely during blue sky.

Now I am in a canyon, thinking about flash flooding. Unlikely during blue sky.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - The canyon got deeper and rocky. Made for slow going but was fun. Monkeys were watching me.

The canyon got deeper and rocky. Made for slow going but was fun. Monkeys were watching me.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - One of the few opportunities for a view on the way up. Still quite hazey. Nice powerlines.

One of the few opportunities for a view on the way up. Still quite hazey. Nice powerlines.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - The canyon eventually became a path with the tall cedars. No terrifying wind today.

The canyon eventually became a path with the tall cedars. No terrifying wind today.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - This is not the actual top, but it might have the best view. It is where you change from one cable car to another. Or if you are me, continue walking

This is not the actual top, but it might have the best view. It is where you change from one cable car to another. Or if you are me, continue walking because thats what I do and I do not pay for expensive cable cars if I can walk instead.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - Time for one of these. Not good light for it.

Time for one of these. Not good light for it.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - More view, this is Kyoto.

More view, this is Kyoto.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - A different kind of selfie. Cant see my awesome stance.

A different kind of selfie. Cant see my awesome stance.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - Looking further up the valley.

Looking further up the valley.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - Very near the top, I ran into this group of old folks who had taken the cable car up. Despite having only half a kilometre of hiking to complete, they

Very near the top, I ran into this group of old folks who had taken the cable car up. Despite having only half a kilometre of hiking to complete, they have come ready to traverse the alps.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - Lake Biwa, and pollution.

Lake Biwa, and pollution.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - The top has a bus stop, and some vending machines, and lots of parking with no cars.

The top has a bus stop, and some vending machines, and lots of parking with no cars.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - And a little bit more view before I head to the real summit with no view.

And a little bit more view before I head to the real summit with no view.


Japan-Kyoto-Hiking-Mount Hiei - This is the $15 garden. I think the top cable car station is up there as well. No thanks.

This is the $15 garden. I think the top cable car station is up there as well. No thanks.


NewerPage 395 of 968OlderFull Trip Report