Technically, Kurama is not a real onsen since the water is artificially heated, but this excellent hot-water bath located 30 minutes from Kyoto
, is one very wise way to escape the crowds at the city's tourist-choked temples. Like many other onsen, sento, and hot water soaking baths in Japan
, a visit here is the best way to relax aching feet and legs, weary from sightseeing and really commune with nature. The outdoor pools are an excellent place to meditate while taking in the swaying bamboo stalks and surrounding mossy forests, and if you're lucky, witness some falling snow, heightening the experience.