Yesterday, I caught the train up to the mountains above Kyoto city and visited Kurama. Following the LP's advice I hiked over the mountain, passing some beautiful shrines on the way, to nearby Kibune. About half way there it becomes very clear to me why the Japanese are generally so thin, everything about their worship has them climbing some type of stairs, or hill, or mountain in order to pray, it ensures that if you are even slightly religious you are very fit.
On the other side of the mountain the LP had promised me, beautiful restaurants, serving delicate lunches, where the guests are seated on tatami-ed floors suspended above the river flowing over the feet of the mountain. I hiked for two hours dreaming of, nay savoring the meal that waited for me at the end of my journey. For the first time ever, the LP let me down.
Don't mistake me, the restaurants were there all right, in all their cool, delicious looking splendour, but if anything this only made the disappointment worse. None of them, not one, would admit single diners. Something that the LP had either not known or neglected to mention. Sulking, and feeling discriminated against, I did the only thing I could think to do, and walked back over the mountain, stopping outside a pretty stone shrine, to eat my well earned lunch of cold tea poppers and Soyjoys. The hike back was intense and invigorating, the humidity in the cypress forest carpeting the mountain though was stifling, soon I was drenched. Perspiration absolutely coating me, I no longer had sweat patches, it looked as though I had just jumped into a bath. So I decided to do exactly that.
Having returned to Kurama, I sought out the natural spring baths, the onsen, in the vicinity, got naked, showered off, and stepped in to soak. It was glorious, the pressure of the day on my muscles melting away, I gazed out over the view of the cypress laden mountains above me, and drifted away.