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Eizan Line 叡山電鉄沿い

Departing at Demachi Yanagi (出町柳), where the old capital of Kyōto historically ended, the Eizan train line connects the historic towns of Kurama (鞍馬), Iwakura (岩倉) and Yase (八瀬) — today a part of Sakyō ward — with the central city.

To me personally, the Ichijōji-Shūgakuin area is a somewhat still unknown highlight of Kyōto. If you make a trip to Kyōto and want to go somewhere else than the "usual" sights, visit this area! The temples and (marvelous!) gardens here include Shisen-dō (詩仙堂), Enkō-ji (圓光寺), Konpuku-ji (金福寺), Nobotoke-an (野仏庵), Tanukidani Fudō-in (狸谷不動院) and Hachidai Shrine (八大神社) in Upper Ichijōji; and Manshu-in (曼殊院門跡), Saginomori Shrine (鷺森神社), Sekizan Zen-in (赤山禅院) and Shūgaku-in Imperial Villa (修学院離宮) in nearby Shūgakuin. At the foot of Mt. Hiei (比叡山), this area is full of history and offers traditional Japan in a nutshell. In addition, Ichijōji today is well-known as a student town full with bars, pubs, and Ramen shops.

Further north, Iwakura, a village with protected houses and a long history, and the Takaragaike Area,  a modern, 1980s-style residential area with one of Kyōto's finest parks (Takaragaike Park 宝ヶ池公園), boasts temples such as Jissō-in (実相院), Entsū-ji (圓通寺), or Myōman-ji (妙満寺) are worth a visit, as is the Iwakura Hermitage.


Momiji season at Shisen-dō temple.

The final stops of the Eizan line, Kurama-dera (鞍馬寺) is a well-known mountain temple in the village of the same name. Kibune Shrine (貴船神社) is a Shintō shrine near Kurama in a valley that is Kyōto's best place to cool down in summer. Near Hakuryū-en (白龍園) is a splendid, privately-owned Japanese garden.​

In the east of this area, at the foot of Mt. Hiei, lies Yase (八瀬), a place to escape the heat of the city. Apart from the maple trees lining the river, the former luxury restaurant-turned-temple Rurikō-in (瑠璃光院) has become one of Kyōto’s most popular spots over the last decade. Another highlight in this area is nearby Rakuhoku Renge-ji (洛北蓮華寺), which features another garden by Ishikawa Jōzan. From there, walking along the hills towards Miyake Hachiman Shrine (三宅八幡宮), Sanmyō-in (三明院) with its view over Kyoto, and a number of other small local shrines (Sudō-jinja 崇道神社) is probably the only area in Kyōto where one will not meet any tourists.

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