Hiking Behind the Ninna-ji
What is it?
The Ninna-ji is one of Kyoto’s famous temples, although its proximity with super stars Ryoan-ji and Kinkaku-ji tends to overshadow it.
Unfortunately when I got there the first time, it was closed because of the Coronavirus. However rather than giving up, I noticed on Google Maps a small pond nearby and decided to check it out. The place was under renovation so there wasn’t much to see, until an old man suddenly popped out of the nearby forest. Wondering where he had come from, I traced back his steps and discovered a well-marked path passing by old buildings that looked like sanctuaries or resting places.
Since I had nothing better to do, I followed that trail and embarked on one of the most beautiful hikes I have done, with breathtaking views over Kyoto. I discovered afterwards that I had accidentally found a well-known trail, dedicated to taking whoever walked it past 88 temples (though they look more like resting spots).
The easiest way to access this trail is to search “Ryozen-ji” on Google Maps. Once you get there, follow the little brook north until you reach the pond; that’s the beginning and end of the trail.
While facing the pond, I personally find it easier to go left inside the forest and catch the trail there (it’s pretty obvious once we’re among the trees), compared to trying to find its other end.