Once upon a time there stood an isolated shrine buried deep in the forest.
Ancient stone steps carved a path through said forest to the doorstep of the sanctuary.
A weary hiker dripping with sweat arrived one late June morning and sat transposed, admiring the scenery and contemplating the meaning of life. Nearby, a secluded grotto offered an even better place for reflection.
Higher up in the hills, the hydrangea serrata offered fresh patches of brilliant blue among a crowd of verdant green.
Still higher the traveler pushed, out of the cultivated cedar farms and onto a ridge untouched by the claws of development.
The path curved a spiral through the bush and onto a narrow summit plateau punctuated by a large shrine. The trespasser paused, offering a rice ball to the kami sama churning inside his empty stomach before documenting the proof on a 12.1 megapixel rectangular digitized contraption.
Further along the undisturbed ridge, beech trees presented themselves among the thick village of hardwoods.
Claw marks provided a reminder that the solo traveler was never truly alone in these pristine highlands.
A few turns down a seldom used path spit our hero onto a forest road bereft of traffic, which eventually funneled into a sleepy hamlet of traditional homes.
Children splashed around in the trickling flow of the creek bed as the road grew in size. Manicured flowerbeds gave the eyes a visual break from the mountain of concrete engulfing the constricted valley.
The narrow lane expanded into a dual-laned monstrosity, cars zipping by on the centimeter wide shoulder. Refuge was sought and delivered a few kilometers along the death trap, and eventually our star arrived at the doorstep of the JR Maizuru line, just in time to find the next available train a mere 90 minutes away.
Reinforcements were called in, arriving disguised as a Nihon Kotsu taxi cab. Speeding through the back roads to Ayabe station, the explorer found yet another obstacle delivered as a one-hour layover until the next Kyoto bound train.
Dejected yet undetermined, a visit to the local Family Mart revealed a hot spring bath located adjacent to the train tracks. Relief was gratefully delivered, as the squeaky-clean mountaineer finally boarded that train back to Osaka beaming with confidence that only one unscaled peak remained in Kyoto Prefecture. Unfortunately that peak would also require a monumental access headache on the same train line that gave our victor so much trouble this time around.