Kurama-dera Cable

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"Ushiwaka IV", funicular car on 24 May 2018
"Ushiwaka III", Kurama Cable funicular car
Kurama-dera Temple

The Kurama-dera Cable (鞍馬寺ケーブル, Kurama-dera Kēburu) is a funicular line operated by Kurama-dera, a famous Buddhist temple in Mount Kurama, Sakyō, Kyoto, Japan. The line is officially called Mount Kurama Cable Railway (鞍馬山鋼索鉄道, Kurama-yama Kōsaku Tetsudō).

Basic data[edit]

  • Distance: 0.2 km (0.12 mi)
  • Vertical interval: 96 ft (29 m)
  • Gauge: 800 mm (2 ft 7+12 in)
  • Stations: 2
  • Track: Single track


The funicular line serves for the visitors to Kurama-dera temple built in 770. As the temple resides in the heart of the Mount Kurama, it takes roughly 30 minutes on foot from the main gate (山門, Sanmon) while the funicular line links the same route in just 2 minutes. The temple, however, recommends its visitors not to use the funicular, but to walk on foot if possible to feel stronger impressions.

As a legally recognized Japanese railway line, this is the only one operated by a religious institution (宗教法人, Shūkyō Hōjin), as well as the only one that is nominally free of charge. This is also the shortest line in the country, if considered as a railway. The line has only single car, counterbalanced by a weight. The line opened on January 1, 1957, as an ordinary iron-wheeled funicular with two cars, 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) gauge, later changed in 1996 as the current rubber-tired system with 800 mm (2 ft 7+12 in) gauge.

The car in use as at March 2006 was nicknamed Ushiwaka-gō III, after Minamoto no Yoshitsune (called Ushiwakamaru in his childhood), who was put and got training in the temple. By May 2018 the car in use was "Ushiwaka IV".

As of March 2015, the fare to ride was 200 yen.


See also[edit]