Folklore says that Sojobo, an ancient mythological king who rules over minor deities, inhabits Kurama, a rural temple town in nestled in the northern Kyoto mountains. In the 11th century, Sojobo taught swordsmanship and magic to a famous Japanese general. Although the famous stories are still told, today Mt. Kurama is most famous for its natural hot springs, temples, and nature trails.
Visitors to the area flock to Kurama-dera, a Buddhist temple resting on a steep mountainside above the town. To reach it involves a 30-45 minute hike that can be cut in half by taking a cable car halfway up the mountain. A Shinto Shrine provides respite along the way; it has become famous for an annual Fire Festival that takes place in October. Nature enthusiasts can continue hiking past the temple to several others along a route to the small town of Kibune.
Mt. Kurama is located 30 minutes from Kyoto on the Eizan Kurama Line from Demachi-Yanagi Station. Trains depart every 15-20 minutes, and the ride costs 410 yen ($4USD). Entrance to the hot springs baths is 2500 yen ($25) for indoor and outdoor options; outdoor onlyu costs 1100 yen ($11USD). A day trip is easily possible from Kyoto, but are lodging options in Kurama for extended trips.