Amanda already wrote a bit about Kurama, but it’s worth a second mention because it’s great (and I took videos)! Less than an hour from Kyoto, you can get there via the JR Eizan line, which winds through lovely tree-covered mountains.
Once you get to Kurama Station, walk up the hill to the entrance and either hike 30 min to the top or pay 200 yen per person to ride the funky cable car. We rode up and hiked back down after.
The view at the top is lovely. One could continue on the trail to Kifune Shrine. We were lacking PB&Js (or rice triangles), so we opted to end at Kurama.
It turns out the trees are Japanese cedar, or Cryptomeria, which can reach 1,000 years old. We loved them. Reminded us of home in the PNW.
You’ll see relatively few gaijin in Kurama, which is a nice break from the touristy Kyoto madness. If you’ve got the extra half-day to spare, this place is worth your time.