Looking for a way to de-stress, or just want to discover more places around Kyoto? Then, hike this awesome Daimonji trail. Although it’s not as clearly marked as trails in America, these pictures should help you find your way.
A friend and I left Kyoto University’s Main Campus near Hyakumanben around 10 am in the morning. We are both relatively fit, so we hiked all the way up in less than 1 hour. But then we spent the rest of the time enjoying the view, exploring some more areas behind Daimonji, and taking our time to get down.
After speaking with some locals, we learned that if you go past the Daimonji shrine, and keep hiking up the hill, you will actually be able to hike all day! The trail leads to a few other mountains, so we are planning to explore someday soon.
Just to be clear, there are two Daimonjis, but we went to the one near Kyoto University. Also, please keep in mind that there are no lavatories, except at the bottom of the Ginkaku-ji Temple. So if you need to use it, I would you that public restroom before you start.
How to Get to the Start of the Trail
Once you leave Kyoto University area, there are clearly marked signs to visit Ginakaku-ji Temple — a mere ~24 minute walk on one straight path. Of course, if you can’t figure it out, ask around. Anyone should be able to help you.
Once you’ve arrived at the foot of Ginkaku-ji, you will normally see thousands of tourists and food areas. But if you go slightly to the left, and walk down a narrow street, you can actually avoid all the tourists / school children, and walk on a more quiet, residential street.
Congratulations! You have now reached the top. As I have now done this hike 3 times, I’ve included some photos. The view is absolutely breathtaking and worth the ~30 minutes of stair master. And at this viewpoint, many locals pray to the shrine. You’ll see it as soon as you arrive.
One thing to note is it’s important to carefully down the hill. With my Nike Shoes, I actually tripped twice towards the very bottom, where there is an epic amount of gravel. When I switched into my Oasics, I had no trouble hiking downhill. Regardless, it’s better to take it slow and steady, as those rocks are surprisingly slippery, even when it hasn’t rained.
Overall, this is my favorite hike so far in Kyoto! Of course, I have many more hikes to explore, but this one is a must. Enjoy!