Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Kameoka – The Must-Visit City in Kyoto Next to Arashiyama

If Arashiyama is on your itinerary for your next trip to Japan, then we would suggest you consider visiting Kameoka as well. After all, it would be a shame if you didn’t get to board the Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道) at the end of the bamboo forest!

The sightseeing train only has four stations along the rail track. Alighting at the last stop, you will be stepping into a scenic city woven by nature. As Kameoka City (亀岡市) is situated within a basin, it is likely to be covered by a thick fog from late autumn to early spring. People usually refer to the fog here as “Tamba Fog” (丹波霧). And this fantastic scenery earned Kameoka its title of “The City of Fog” (霧の都)!

Here is a list of places to go and things to do in Kameoka City.

Bike Rental at Kameoka

At Kameoka, instead of renting a bike from a rental shop, there are rental bike ports where you may rent and return a bike at your own leisure. All you will need to do is download an app, change the language to English at the top right corner, open an account, and off you go!

For information regarding which app to download, the price table, and where the ports are located, please refer to HERE. Regarding how to rent, please refer to the manual HERE.

Sagano Scenic Railway (嵯峨野観光鉄道)

The mountains that span between Arashiyama and Kameoka exhibit some of the most spectacular scenery you can find in Kyoto. This scenery changes with the seasons and can best be admired on the seats offered aboard the Sagano Scenic Railway, which runs along the Hozu River (保津川).

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

This railway, also known as Sagano Romantic Train or Sagano Torokko Ressha (嵯峨野トロッコ列車), connects Arashiyama in Sagano with Kameoka. Throughout the 25-minute train ride, the amazing views of Hozugawa Valley (保津川渓谷) will unfold little by little in front of you.

For more information, please refer to our article on Sagano Scenic Railway HERE!

Hozugawa River Boat Ride (保津川下り)

Since we mentioned the Hozu River, some of you might be wondering if there are sightseeing boats you can hop onto.

The 16 km Hozugawa River Boat Ride, also known as Hozugawa River Cruises, has a long history going back more than 400 years. The Hozu River was once an important waterway to transport supplies to Kyoto and Osaka from the Tamba region (丹波地方) in northern Kyoto.

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

For more information, please refer to our article on the Hozugawa River Boat Ride!

Kyoto Sagano Sightseeing Carriage Tour (京馬車)

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

A novel way to get to the Hozugawa River Boat ride’s boarding wharf is via horse carriage!

A horse will drag the carriage along the riverbed of the Hozu River. Although it will take slightly longer to get to your next destination, the 25-minute one-way tour is a great way to enjoy the nature of Kameoka (=゚ω゚)ノ.

You might even be able to feed and/or pet the horses!

On the other hand, if you are planning to spend more time in Kameoka (which is also a great idea), you can take their excursion course, a cheaper 15-minute round trip course (^_-)-☆.

For more information, please refer to their website HERE. And to book your spot online instead of a phone call, you can do so HERE.

Boarding for the horse carriage is at Torokko Kameoka Station’s north exit.

Important: The horse carriage will not be operating during the winter, from mid-December to early March.

Tamba Kameyama Castle Ruins (亀山城跡)

If you are a Japanese history buff, you might want to drop by the ruins of the Tamba Kameyama Castle, built by Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀).

The castle was built in 1577. It was also the base from which he departed to take down Oda Nobunaga, which is what is now known as the Honnō-ji Incident (本能寺の変).

Although the Tamba Kameyama Castle was dismantled in 1877 by the decree ordered by the Meiji government to abandon castles around the country, the stone walls were gradually restored from 1919 after it was taken over by Oomoto Shinto Sect (宗教法人 大本).

Even though the castle ruins are now privately owned, a majority of the castle can be freely accessed.

Before you do so, please let the staff at the reception in Miroku-kaikan (みろく会館) know.

While there, you can also check with the staff to see where the Kameyama Castle’s exhibition is located. The location of this exhibition sometimes changes, but it should still be inside Miroku-kaikan.

You can refer to a map of the entire castle ruins HERE. There is a Japanese map in the article. If you are walking to Kameyama Castle Ruins, you will be entering from the bottom right where it says “正門”.

Please refrain from entering the areas that are marked by “禁足地”. They aren’t open to the public.

As a side note, after we learned about the history of Fukuchiyama City, we started to think that maybe Akechi Mitsuhide wasn’t a bad guy who betrayed Oda Nobunaga for his greed… To find out why, please refer to our article on Fukuchiyama Castle!

Tamba Kameyama Castle Ruins’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Tamba Kameyama Castle Ruins are open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • The admission fee is 300 yen for senior high school students and above
  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), it is around a 10-minute walk

Anao-ji Temple (穴太寺)

For those who are already bored of the ordinary temples and shrines in Kyoto, you will want to check out Anao-ji Temple, for the Buddha is covered in a Japanese futon!

Known as the 21st temple in the 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, Anao-ji Temple, boasting a history of more than 1,300 years, is one of the oldest temples in the Tamba (丹波) region. What is famous about the Kannon Bodhisattva at Anao-ji Temple is the legend of the Scapegoat Kannon Bodhisattva (身代わり観音).

A bit about the history of Anao-ji Temple

In 962, one of the more powerful officials of the Tamba Province requested a Kannon statue from the head monk of Anao-ji Temple. After spending three months, the statue was completed. The government official was pleased with the wonderful workmanship and gifted the monk his horse to express his appreciation.

This official later regretted giving his horse away and ordered his subject to kill the monk. Later, the official sent a messenger to check out how Anao-ji Temple was doing.

Catching the messenger by surprise, the monk that was thought to be dead was alive in the temple with the horse that the official reclaimed. After hearing the report, the official felt ashamed. Just as he was going to confess to the Kannon statue that the monk made, he noticed there was an arrow stuck in the Kannon statue’s chest with fresh blood shedding from the wound.

Having witnessed this scene, the official and his subject who fired the arrow at the monk deeply regretted what they had done and devoted themselves to Budhissim afterward.

Sadly, the Kannon statue that the monk made more than 1,000 years ago was stolen in 1968. So nowadays, when we visit Anao-ji Temple, we will instead see a statue made by a famous craftsman in the Showa era (1926 – 1989).

Most of the buildings of Anao-ji Temple were rebuilt in the mid-Edo period (1603 – 1867). Not many wooden structures can last for too long after all (´▽`*).

The Reclining Buddha in Futon Bed at Anao-ji Temple

At the back of the main worship hall, there is a wooden statue of a reclining Buddha that was made in the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333).

If any part of your body is unhealthy, you are welcome to turn over the futon and stroke the part of the Buddha. It is like a simple ritual of praying for your health.

To see the reclining Buddha, you will need to visit the Honbō Shoin (本坊書院) located just next to the main worship hall.

The admission fee to enter the main worship hall is 300 yen. But we would recommend you pay for your entry to Honbō Shoin (本坊書院) as well. Together, it will be just 500 yen. This is, so you get to see the gorgeous garden that was built in the Edo period. You should also be able to admire the traditional settings and paintings.

Anao-ji Temple’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Anao-ji Temple is open from 8 am to 5 pm
  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 34 or 59 and get off at Anaoji-mae (穴太寺前)
    • Please refer to pages 61 (weekdays) and 62 (weekends and public holidays) HERE for the service’s timetable
  • You can also take route 60 and get off at Anaoguchi (穴太口)
    • Please refer to pages 67 to 68 (weekdays) and 69 (weekends and public holidays) HERE for the timetable

Yume Cosmos Garden (夢コスモス園)

In October, while it is a bit too early to look for the fall foliage hunting, it is just in time for a large field of cosmos flowers. And when we said large, we meant 4 hectares!

In 2021, the garden was open from 9 am to 4 pm from October to the 3rd of November. On weekends and public holidays, you get to stay in the garden until 4:30 pm (^_-)-☆.

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

The garden’s opening period is announced on their website HERE. You can translate the webpage using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.

Yume Cosmos Garden’s Admission Fee and Access Information

The admission fee is as below.

  • Weekdays
    • Adults: 600 yen
    • Elementary and middle school students: 300 yen
  • Weekends and public holidays
    • Adults: 800 yen
    • Elementary and middle school students: 400 yen
  • To get to Kokushō-ji Temple from JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), you can take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 34 and 59 or 40 and 47 alighting at Undō Kōen-mae (運動公園前)
    • For routes 34 and 59, please refer to pages 61 (weekdays) and 62 (weekends and public holidays) of the pdf HERE for the service’s timetable
    • For routes 40 and 47, please refer to pages 72 (weekdays) and 73 (weekends and public holidays)
  • If you are getting off at Kameoka Torokko Station (トロッコ亀岡駅), you can board route 34 from JR Umahori Station (馬堀駅)

Yawaragi no Michi along the Nanatani River (七谷川 和らぎの道)

If you are coming to Kameoka during the cherry blossom season, the Nanatani River, with 1,500 cherry trees spread over 1 km along the banks, is definitely a place to visit!

The road, now called Yawaragi no Michi, originated with the establishment of the Nanatani Outdoor Activity Center (七谷川野外活動センター). At the time, 500 cherry trees were planted close to the center, which slowly expanded in scale to what we have today.

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

Photos taken along the cherry blossom tunnel will easily earn you numerous “likes” on social media!

Ⓒ 森の京都DMO

The cherry blossom season here is usually from late March to early April. While the flowers bloom, the Cherry Blossom Festival, featuring a nighttime light-up, will also be going on.

The Sakura Park (さくら公園) next to the river also has around 280 cherry trees of 28 different species. This is another place where you may snap some really stunning photos (^_-)-☆.

How to Get to Yawaragi no Michi

From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) along route F11 – Kawahigashi Course (川東コース), and get off at Nanatanigawa (七谷川). For this service’s timetable, please refer to the second timetable from the right in the pdf HERE

  • The services marked with ● won’t be operating on weekends and public holidays
  • The services marked with ▲ won’t be operating during school holidays

Izumo-Daijingū Shrine (出雲大神宮)

Izumo-Daijingū Shrine, established more than 1,300 years ago, is one of the oldest shrines in the region. The gods enshrined here also have storied titles.

Ookuninushi no Mikoto (大国主命), is the head of all the gods in Japan’s Shintoism. He is currently the main god of Izumo Ooyashiro Shrine (出雲大社) in Neshima Prefecture (島根県). According to the local historical documents, Izumo-Daijingū Shrine, built in 709, is actually the origin of the great Izumo Ooyashiro Shrine!

Up until today, the shrine still houses Ookuninushi no Mikoto (大国主命) and his wife, Mihotsuhime no Mikoto (三穂津姫命). Ookuninoshi no Mikoto is known as the god that connects one another. This includes not only marital ties but also relationships with those that come across our lives.

Note that currently, Izumo-Daijingū and Izumo Ooyashiro Shrine aren’t related to each other.

Tie a Five Yen Coin to the Meotoiwa Rock at Izumo-Daijingū Shrine for Great Relationships

So, if you want to establish fine relationships with those you care about, remember to head to the shrine’s office and get a Go-en Mamori charm (ご縁守).

Remove the red thread attached to the charm and tie the thread together with a five yen coin on the red rope in front of the Meotoiwa (夫婦岩). Remember to say your prayer as you do so (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Why five yen coins? This has to do with the pronunciation of five yen in Japanese. Five yen, pronounced as “go en”, can also mean “fate, destiny, and ties”. This is also why the Japanese toss a five yen coin into the donation box when visiting shrines and temples.

Other Parts of Izumo-Daijingū Shrine

The shrine is more than just the main worship hall and the Meotoiwa rock. The precinct is actually huge! HERE is the map of the shrine. If you don’t read Japanese, open it with Google Chrome and translate it with the Google Translate function.

Since time immemorial, Mt. Mikage (御蔭山), located at the back of the shrine, has been regarded as an object of worship. Nowadays, a couple of giant rocks close to the shrine are treated as the dwelling places of the gods.

As sacred as they are, visitors are usually prohibited from seeing these “Iwakura” (磐座) rocks. If you really want to pay your respect to them, please ask for permission from the shrine’s office first.

Chinkasai Festival (鎮花祭)

One of the most amazing festivals at Izumo-Daijingū is the Chinkasai, held on the 18th of April each year.

A long time ago, plagues were believed to spread as flowers scattered. So to appease the plagues, the shrine started performing a ritual when the cherry blossoms’ petals began to fall from the trees.

After the ritual in the worship hall, some gorgeous dancing is performed to pray for a good rainfall as the area used to suffer from drought.

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

How to Get to Izumo-Daijingū Shrine

From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) route F11 – Kawahigashi Course (川東コース), and get off at Izumo Jinja-mae (出雲神社前). For this service’s timetable, please refer to the second timetable from the right in the pdf HERE.

Kuwayama Shrine (鍬山神社)

If you are looking for autumn foliage in Kameoka, head to Kuwayama Shrine. It is a shrine with so many maple trees that you are guaranteed some stunning photo opportunities no matter where you are and from what angle!

This shrine is one of the few destinations in Kyoto that have the autumn color peak in early to mid-November.

So if you get to Kansai a bit too early and aren’t satisfied with the color elsewhere in the region, Kuwayama Shrine will not let you down (=゚ω゚)ノ.

According to the legend, Oonamuchi no Mikoto (大己貴命), the main god here, was the one who created the land of Kameoka. Originally, this part of the Tamba Province was a large lake. Oonamuchi no Mikoto descended from the sky and excavated the lake with hoes. The water in the lake was guided to flow out of the lake with the waterway created. With the water gone, the fertile and cultivated land suitable for habitation surfaced.

In 709, Kuwayama Shrine was built to enshrine the god as an appreciation from the locals for what was given to them. If you ever wonder why it is called Kuwayama, it is said that the hoes at the time piled up as tall as a mountain (^_-)-☆.

This previously hidden fall foliage spot has become more and more popular nowadays. So the shrine has asked visitors to refrain from bringing tripods and taking commercial shootings in the shrine’s precinct.

Selfie sticks are not allowed when the shrine is packed.

Tips:
☛ Come on the weekdays. You most likely won’t be surrounded by crowds.
☛ Depending on your preference, you might want to come after 10 am for the fog to clear up.

Kuwayama Shrine’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • Kuwayama Shrine is open from 8 am to 5 pm
  • During autumn foliage season, the admission fee is 300 yen
  • If you are driving, it will cost 500 yen to park your car
  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Community Bus (亀岡市コミュニティバス)’s East Course (東コース), and get off at Kuwayama Jinja-mae (鍬山神社前). For this service’s timetable, please refer HERE

Kameoka Fog Terrace (かめおか霧のテラス)

So, where is the best spot in Kameoka to see the amazing Sea of Clouds view that earned its nickname as the City of Fog (霧の都)?

That spot would be the Kameoka Fog Terrace, located south of Kameoka Station and situated close to the summit of Tatsugaoyama or Mt. Tatsugao (竜ヶ尾山).

When the weather condition is right, it will feel like the terrace is floating above the clouds when you are there!

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

The thick Tamba Fog (丹波霧) has the greatest chance of appearing when the below conditions are met.

  • From dawn to early morning between October to March
  • There is a large temperature difference between nighttime and daytime
  • When it is not windy or rainy
Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

As the sun rises higher, the temperature will too. This, in turn, causes the fog will start to disappear. So if you can, be there before at least 10 am!

If you accidentally overslept and are wondering if you should still head out, check out the live camera HERE to confirm (=゚ω゚)ノ.

But even without the clouds, the terrace that oversees Kameoka City will still give you a magnificent view of the area.

How to Get to the Kameoka Fog Terrace

The easiest way to access the Kameoka Fog Terrace will be via car – the alternative being hiking all the way up. If you are driving, note that the mountain road leading to the terrace is quite narrow and curvy. The visibility can be poor due to heavy fog as well, so drive slowly and carefully.

In winter, the road is likely frozen or covered by snow, so make sure you have the right tires before you head out.

To get to Kameoka Fog Terrace by public transport from JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū (京阪京都交通) along route 57 or 60 and get off at Nanjōkyoku-mae (南条局前).

  • Please refer to pages 67 – 69 HERE for the service’s timetable
  • 平日 means weekdays
  • 土休日 means weekends and public holidays

Fukukuru Wood-fired Bakery (薪窯パンふくくる)

If you fancy yourself a bread connoisseur, give Fukukuru Woodfire Bakery a try!

This bakery isn’t too far away from the Kameoka Fog Terrace. It was opened in 2015 by a couple who were particular about the ingredients used in their breadmaking.

Each of their bread contains homemade natural yeast and is filled with fresh, locally sourced seasonal produce. Baked in their handmade wood-fired kiln, the bread at the bakery is crispy outside and has a moist texture inside (*´ω`).

Their traditional shopfront also adds to the list of reasons you would want to visit them for. This type of shopfront was common up to the late 20th century but has become a lot more difficult to come across these days.

Although it isn’t currently open due to the pandemic, their eat-in areas are on traditional tatami mat rooms that you will normally find in ryokans in the country!

As a side note, the site where Akechi Mitsuhide and his forces turned back is relatively close to the bakery. The site is called Akechi no Modori-iwa (明智の戻り岩) because there is a big rock at the site.

Fukukuru Wood-Fired Bakery’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Fukukuru is open from 11:30 am to 4 pm from Thursday to Saturday
    • Before you go, please check their calendar HERE
  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) along route F21/F22 – Betsuin Loop Line (別院循環線), and get off at Green Hoki (法貴)
    • For this service’s timetable, please refer to the timetable in the middle of the pdf HERE
    • From the bus stop, it is just a one-minunte walk away

Hiranosawa Park (平の沢公園)

Another great place to admire the cherry blossoms during spring is Hiranosawa Park. The cherry blossom season here also spans from late March to early April. From late March to the end of the season, the park will be illuminated from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Ⓒ 森の京都DMO

From July to August, one of the ponds in the park will be filled with lotus flowers. August, in particular, is when you might be able to spot the flowers of prickly water lily, a plant rarely found in Japan.

Tip: To see the lotus flowers, come in the morning. The flowers will open up slowly from dawn. From late morning, it will slowly close up, waiting until the next morning to bloom again. For prickly water lily, the flowers blossom at midnight. The white-colored flowers will gradually darken up until the morning when they will scatter after having turned pink/purple in color.

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

The park is also a popular birdwatching destination in Kameoka.

Many waterfowls inhabit the park, making it an ideal spot to observe their ecology.

Also, the park is a favorite place for migratory birds to rest. So if you are a bird lover, don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars and/or a camera!

How to Get to Hiranosawa Park

From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) route F11 – Kawahigashi Course (川東コース), and get off at Ikejiri (池尻). For this service’s timetable, please refer to the second timetable from the right HERE

  • The services marked with ● won’t be operating on weekends and public holidays
  • The services marked with ▲ won’t be operating during the school holidays

Yu no Hana Onsen (湯の花温泉)

For those looking for luxurious ryokan experiences, a couple of ryokans can do their best to cater to a vegetarian diet. Most of them also have private onsen pools you can book for a little extra money.

Yu no Hana Onsen is a small hot spring village nestled in the mountains west of Kameoka. It is said that during the turbulent feudal era, many wounded samurais healed their injuries here.

Nowadays, citizens of Kyoto, Osaka, and Hyōgo Prefecture come here to escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities to rejuvenate in the fresh air and beautiful nature.

Most of the onsen facilities in the village allow for daytime use. If you are after their private onsen pools, please check with the facility in advance, as most of the time, the private onsen pools are for guests staying overnight in the ryokans only.

For more information, please refer to the official website HERE.

How to Get to Yu no Hana Onsen

To get to Kokushō-ji Temple from JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 40 and get off at Hana no Yu Onsen(湯の花温泉)

Please refer to pages 72 (weekdays) and 73 (weekends and public holidays) of the pdf HERE for the service’s timetable.

Kokushō-ji Temple (谷性寺)

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

Another place in Kameoka City that excites all the Akechi Mitsuhide fans is the Kokushō-ji Temple.

While Akechi was alive, Kokushō-ji is the temple where he worshiped. So just before he committed seppuku, he entrusted his vassals to bury his head in the temple. And so they did. With his head buried here, the temple is also called Mitsuhide Temple.

So when you visit Kokushō-ji, remember to pray for Akechi Mitsuhide in front of his tomb!

Kikyō no Sato (ききょうの里)

Because the family crest of the Akechi clan is a platycodon, in 2003, around 12,000 platycodon was planted in front of the temple. Kokushō-ji is therefore also known as the Platycodon Temple.

Nowadays, from late June to late July, a vast flower field of many different kinds of flowers (including 550 hydrangeas) will surround the temple. And the field is getting bigger each year!

How to Get to Kokushō-ji Temple and Kikyō no Sato’s Opening Hours

  • To get to Kokushō-ji Temple from JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 40 and get off at Inokura (猪倉)
    • It is then a 5-minute walk from the bus stop
    • Please refer to pages 72 (weekdays) and 73 (weekends and public holidays) of the pdf HERE for the service’s timetable
  • Kikyō no Sato is open from the 27th of Jun to the 25th of Jul from 9 am to 4 pm
  • The admission fee is 600 yen for middle school students and above

Kyoto Tamba KAMEOKA Yumenarie (京都丹波KAMEOKA夢ナリエ)

Before Christmas, instead of colorful flowers, Kikyō no Sato will turn into a winter wonderland filled with illuminations.

We all know that Japan has world-class illumination events. But usually, that means the event venues are crowded. So if you are looking for quieter spots, make some effort to go out of the city center.

This event takes place from late November to Christmas day from 5 pm to 9 pm, with final admission at 8:30 pm.

Ⓒ 亀岡市観光協会

The admission fee is 500 yen for middle school students and above. For elementary school students, it is 200 yen.

Note that if it rains, the venue will be closed.

Masahiro Tantoujou Sword Forge (将大鍛刀場)

For admirers of Japanese swords, this is an experience that you won’t want to miss out on!

Japanese Shintoism believes that a god resides in everything that we come across in our lives, whether it is a tree or a rock. And when the country suffered from continuous civil wars hundreds of years ago, swords were seen as an object of worship. Something close to people that can be used to protect them.

To us foreigners, swords are just weapons. But to the Japanese back then, there was a special bond between them and their swords. Sharpening the swords is considered a ritual that samurais performed for the god in the sword. It is believed that this god will be more willing to protect them the more they sharpened their sword.

Nowadays, Japanese swords are treated as artwork. Many of the buyers are either collectors or supporters of the bladesmiths. The country’s 300 or so bladesmiths share a common dream to reproduce the kind of swords that were made in the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333). Those techniques used to be passed down by word of mouth but have since been lost. These swordsmiths have been honing their craft, hoping to reclaim those lost techniques.

Although it takes at least five years to learn how to make a good Japanese sword, you can make something of a smaller scale here with Masahiro’s guidance. It isn’t cheap, as you can imagine, but if you are interested, reserve your spot in advance and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

For more information, please refer to the official website HERE.

How to Get to Masahiro Tantoujou Sword Forge

There is a free car park next to the sword forge if you are driving.

  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス) along route F31, F32, F33, or F34 – Hatano Course (畑野コース), and get off at Green Heights-guchi (グリーンハイツ口)
    • For this service’s timetable, please refer to the timetable at the bottom left HERE
    • From the bus stop, it is just a 5-minute walk

Jinzōji Temple (神蔵寺)

For a hidden gem in Kameoka to view the autumn foliage, Jinzōji Temple is the ideal choice.

The temple was established by the famous monk Saichō Daishi (最澄大師) in 790. The wooden statue of Yakushi Nyorai (薬師如来), or the healing Buddha, was carved by Saichō himself.

However, the temple was burnt down in 1575 during the invasion by Akechi Mitsuhide’s forces. Fortunately, the statue of Yakushi Nyorai was saved by the temple’s followers as they hid the statue at the river close to the temple.

The temple was then rebuilt in 1653. The Yakushi Nyorai statue was carved from the same tree as the Yakushi Nyorai in Enryakuji (延暦寺) in Mt. Hiei or Hieizan (比叡山) and was designated an Important Cultural Property in 1950.

In the precinct of Jinzōji, among the 200 maple trees, the one that draws the most attention is the Japanese maple under the stone steps in front of the main hall. The 400-year-old tree has a height of 13 meters with wide branches.

Under the tree, simple benches are set up, perfect for admiring this maple tree. During the autumn foliage season, there will even be traditional dishes available to warm you up (*´ω`).

Important: The broth of the savory dishes may contain meat/seafood.

When the colors peak, the big maple tree will also be illuminated at night!

The best time to see the autumn leaves here is from early to mid-November, earlier than in Kyoto City. This means you will be avoiding the massive crowds during the peak season in Kyoto. This is another reason why Jinzōji is an awesome place to visit in autumn!

Jinzōji Temple’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The temple is open from 9 am to 5 pm
  • The admission fee is 600 yen
  • Parking is free here
  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス)’s route F31, F32, F33, or F34 – Hatano Course (畑野コース), and get off at Green Heights-guchi (グリーンハイツ口)
    • For this service’s timetable, please refer to the timetable at the bottom left HERE
    • From the bus stop, it is around a 20-minute hike

Dreamton Village (ドゥリムトン村)

Dreamton Village buried deep in Kameoka’s mountain is a place that you might want to drop by if, all of a sudden, you start missing the atmosphere of an English rural town during your time in Japan (´▽`*).

The buildings in the entire village have a common theme. Everything here brings you back to how England used to look before the industrial revolution, from the menu in restaurants and cafes to shopfronts and even cottages for you to stay overnight.

Mobile reception won’t be able to reach Dreamton Village. So come here if you ever want some quiet time, disconnected from the rest of the world, to spend an afternoon here with their delicious scones and tea.

How to Get to Dreamton Village

  • From JR Kameoka Station (亀岡駅), take Keihan Kyoto Kotsū’s (京阪京都交通) route 57 or 60 and get off at Kyoto Sentankagaku Daigaku Kyoto Kameoka Campus (京都先端科学大学 京都亀岡キャンパス). Please refer to pages 67 to 69 HERE for the service’s timetable
    • 平日 means weekdays
    • 土休日 means weekends and public holidays
  • From there, change for Kameoka City’s Furusato Bus (亀岡市ふるさとバス), take route F21 – West Betsuin Loop Line (西別院循環線), and get off at Okuno (奥野). For this service’s timetable, please refer to the first timetable HERE
    • Please note the services marked with ● won’t be operating on weekends and public holidays

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