Kurama Yama (Mt. Kurama) and Kurama Dera (Kurama Temple)

Mt. Kurama is located twelve kilometers north of Kyoto. It has become an important mountain after the monk Gantei, a disciple of Ganjin, founded the temple in 770 and enshrined Bishamon-ten there. Bishamon-ten was regarded as a powerful protector of the capital, defending it from evil coming from the north. However, the mountain is more famous for its legendary Kurama Tengu, a human-like creatures with red faces and big noses who were highly proficient in martial disciplines.

In the twelve century Ushiwaka-maru was sent to Kurama temple to become a monk after his Minamoto clan was defeated by the Taira clan. The leader of the Taira clan, Taira no Kiyomori, ordered that the young Ushiwaka-maru be sent to Kurama temple and educated as a monk so that he will not pose a threat to the Taira later. Ushiwaka-maru, although spending time learning the Buddhist scriptures, also learned various martial skills. The legends say that he used to meet with the King Tengu of Kurama, and learned swordsmanship and had acquired unusual skills. According to these legends, the young warrior who received the adult name of Yoshitsune,s also mastered military strategy, which later helped him defeat the Taira clan and its supporters in the Genpei War (1180-85). The details of Minamoto no Yoshitsune's life on Mt. Kurama will always remain a legend because the sources for that period are highly unreliable, his mastery of military strategy and his tactics, as well as his ability to lead large forces, are evident in reliable sources of the Genpei War.

In any case, Mt. Kurama is considered a mystical mountain on which the spirit of the Kurama Tengu, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, Bishamon-ten and Mao-son still linger.

Nio-mon (Gate of the Guardians) at the entrance to Kurama temple. From here it takes a few minutes to reach the cable car that goes up to the temple.

Below is the path leading to the temple.



Minamoto no Yoshitsune Hall

Minamoto no Yoshitsune Hall is located some distance away from the Kurama temple, deep in the mountains above the temple. It is believed that Ushiwaka-maru (Yoshitsune) used to practice martial disciplines in the place where the Hall now stands. There is no evidence that this is indeed the place, but the small flat area near the hall is certainly one of the only flat surface areas near the temple, which would make it convenient for training.



Fudo-do (Fudo Hall)

The Fudo Hall is just adjacent to Minamoto no Yoshitsune Hall. As its name indicates, it enshrines the image of Fudo-myo O.


A view of the mountains surrounding Mt. Kurama


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