A perfect outdoor hot spring bath in the mountains just a stone’s throw from Kyoto.
What a difference a 30 minute train ride can make. At first you are in the heart of the city of Kyoto, then a quick stroll through the back streets past small parks and washing lines and suddenly you are in the mountains reaching the beautiful village of Kurama. Several degrees cooler than the city and with the scent of pine trees in the air, what better place could there be to slip into an outdoor steaming onsen bath?
There is nothing complicated about Kurama Onsen. You pay at a vending machine, then the men and women separate to undress in little log cabins, shower outside, and then sit in the large open-air bathroom (only one bathroom on each side). If you prefer to sweat before diving in, there is a lovely hike from a neighboring village over a mountain pass to Kurama so you can end at the onsen.