English conversations at SSE Katsura during the last few weeks often lean towards the topics of weather, free-time activities and favourite summer spots. Summer is great and summer is hot. Japan is no exception. So it’s probably a little surprise that a lot of the student talking time is about places where we can cool down. This is how I found out about Makino and I’m very glad I listened to my student’s recommendation.
One spot that I can recommend to anyone is a place in the nort-eastern part of Kyoto city, called Yase . Yase lies at the foot of Mt Hiei with the beautiful Takano river running through. This is one of my favourite places to go to with my family every summer. A perfect location to cool down and spend some quiet time in the nature. River banks offer plenty of space to set up sheets and beach tents. This mountain river is clean with both shallow and deep areas. The stream isn’t strong and is safe for swimming and playing with kids. A perfect spot. To get to Yase, from Demachiyanagi station take the beautiful Eizan Main Line Local towards Yase-Hieizanguchi. It takes only 15 minutes.
For those who are not interested in spending time by the river, there is Mt Hiei. The top of the mountain (848m) offers cool breeze and spectacular views. Looking west there is a full view of Kyoto city and in the opposite direction we can see Othsu city and Lake Biwa. I can’t remember how many times I have been at the top of Mt Hiei but these views will certainly never get old. To reach the peak of the mountain from Yase-Hieizanguchi station, you can take Eizan cable car and then transfer to the rope way. These rides offer enjoyable route to observe local nature and mountain’s wild life.
The variety of activities available in Yase is the reason why it is my regular recommendation during English conversations about Kyoto. Anyone can find some way how to enjoy time in this lovely natural spot. Do you have any nice recommendations? Come see us at SSE Katsura and let’s talk about it.
Tom, SSE Katsura