Backpackers Hostel "J-Hoppers" & "Hana Hostel"

The Hozu river

Iida-san has spoken the other day about Mt Atago (google map) which is little bit north of the well known Arashiyama, and you can read (in japanese) and see more about it on a former message too.
Actually this a very interesting area if you want to discover japanese nature while staying at Kyoto, and since I get back here from Hiroshima this is the first spot I felt like introducing to you. By the way, for my final best selection of places to hike and bike around Hiroshima, click here !

I recently discovered a very interesting connection between the Arashiyama "torokko" touristic train (also called sagano scenic railway) and the start point for mount Atago.

By foot
, first go to Arashiyama (bus #11 or #93, or train from Shijo-Omiya, both around 200 yen/30mn) (
google map), then walk few minutes to the torokko touristic train. Then enjoy this little railroad that goes along the river and get off at Torokko Hozukyo station (don't mistake with Hozukyo station) (google map). If you go farther you can get back on boat or raft, I may tell you about that another day.



Touristic boats going down the Hozu river.

There cross the bridge over the river and turn right. You will soon pass a tunnel. Just before entering you can walk up on its right on a very small pathway to a beautifull point of view. After the tunnel, another small bridge and right after the bridge, on your left side the entrance of the course to Kiyotaki (the "pure spring") (
google map).

By bicycle, go the road 187 which pass along the Nijo Castle (north side) (
google map) and ride until its end toward the west. Then turn right and follow the road 50 toward Mt Atago (google map). After few minutes you will reach a fork (can't be missed : in front there is a huge tori) from where you can go to Mt Atago if you keep straight forward (road 137) or take the direction of Hozu if you turn left staying on the road 50 (google map). Just before the fork the road 50 can easily be mistaken with a bigger one that goes along it. Both are the same with consideration of itinerary but the smallest one crosses a very little and typical village that would be a shame to miss !



Old traditional house's roof.

There is a lot of little shops here to take a rest or buy handycraft before entering the forest.
Then you will have a hard time climbing the pass in the wood, and be very careful while going down on the other side : it's extremely steeply !! But as soon you reach the top you understand that's a spot ! At the bottom of the slope you reach the entrance of the course of the kiyotaki. If you keep on forward you can have a very enjoyable piece of a ride for a very long time. I haven't went very far as it wasn't my goal of the day but will surely come back and speak about it later. I made a peaceful picnic on a top of a rock while looking at a funny pack of monkeys on the opposite side of the mountain, with the touristic train or laughing rafters interrupting regularly their games.



The pass of the road 50.

From the entrance of the hiking course it becomes common with walking course. By bicycle it may be a little bit tough but you will enjoy the challenge for sure. About the spring ... well I'm still looking for it !! I've seen a small one that I supposed afterward to be the kiyotaki spring but ... Maaa the rest of the course is enough anyway ! :-)



The course goes along a charming little river.



The wildlife is abundant and splendid...



... as well as the flora.
About this very beautiful flower, there is actually a little more to the north a village called Takao where a side of the mountain is completely covered. It's so beautiful to look at ! But let's talk about that later ;-)

The course is not so long and not very difficult by foot, and finally you will reach the small village at the beginning of the course for Mount Atago. Ah, There is also connection with others hiking course that goes directly to the mount Atago through the woods. This village seems well known as a spot for fireflies, though it'd better go there in summer. Except that you're in the middle of nowhere, but you may find opened a little restaurant of udon ...

Then if you're a crazy walker/rider you can keep on your way to the top of Atago, or come back to the road to Takao (there are bus going there if you're by foot), or come back to Kyoto with bus #62. By the way this bus is the best, and actually only, one to take from Kyoto if you want to go to Mt Atago. The bus stop is a little top of the village (google map). Just follow the road, it's one way, thus hard to get lost there. The bus #62 will bring you back over a long tunnel to the fork previously described (actually you are back on the road 137). If you pass the tunnel by bicycle take good care at you as it's so narrow that you can hardly pass with a car at the same time, and it's long and completely dark !! Either you may prefer the long and steep way over the tunnel. It would cut your legs off !

That's all for today folks ... !

Thanks to Kurokawa-san with who I found the idea of this itinerary while enjoying this wonderfull tool that is Google map ! :-)

2 Comment ::

It's interesting to see what you took in the mountain area of North-west Kyoto. I would enjoy swimming in Hozu and Kiyotaki River in my childhood. Let's go hiking together sometime !

Yes, lets hike again together like in Sandankyou gorge ! :-)
About swimming, there is a little paradise near Takao in the Kiyotaki river ... but, of course, there is a huge panel "Swimming Forbiden !" there. Can't figure out what's wrong with this perfect natural swimming pool... Disappointing ! :-(