On “culture day”, one of the many Japanese holidays, we traveled to the little farm village Ohara, north of Kyoto. There we wanted to hike the mountain ridges to mt. Konpira. But first, we visited the lovely temple Sanzen-in :-) This beautiful temple in the Ohara hills has a nice garden and very cute statues.
Kinda creepy maybe…
And since it’s autumn, the leaves were beautifully colored!
We then started our hike by crossing the farmlands of Ohara.
We peeked into one of the houses and discovered a Buddhist Statue workshop :-)
As we slowly but surely approached the trail we wanted to hike, we noticed it was not in such a good shape anymore…
And then there was the fence… The sign said to please not forget to close it when entering. There are bears in these mountains and the fence is there to keep them from entering the village.
Wait, what? Bears?
I knew we should have bought a Bear bell!! You hang these bells on your bag and the noise startles the bears and keeps them away from you. But we didn’t have one, and the trail was completely abandoned so the only thing to do was to sing and talk very loudly to scare them off…
The path was completely overgrown. I think it hasn’t been in use anymore since quite some time.
Not only did we get lost a couple of times, when we wanted to take a break on the top of the ridge, we heard a growl and something big moving in the bushes behind us…. We quickly packed up our food and got the hell out of there!! Next time I definitely will bring a bear bell!!!
After a while the views became more and more spectacular.
The dark forest opened up and the atmosphere was beautiful! We discovered an old overgrown temple where we made a coin offer and rang the bell (very loudly) ;-)
Konpira is well known for its excellent rock climbing spots. The mountain is covered in huge rocks. From there the view is amazing.
After a while we heard voices and encountered a group of rock climbers, very cool :)
From here, we descended back into the creepy dark forest. There was another abandoned temple there.
And finally, the way out of this bear territory!
The hike took about four hours, and the last part was very beautiful. But the first two hours were very creepy in the dark forest with overgrown trails and bears lurking around… I recommend avoiding this whole area and just climb up and down Konpira from the other side ;p We did enjoy this exciting trip though! We celebrated by -finally!- buying a bear bell and drinking some Hawaiian cocktails in Kyoto ;-)