Kansai Region ー Autumn has finally arrived in Japan. The days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping, leaving a chill in the air. However, the most noticeable change is that of the leaves and the sight of thousands of tourists filling the streets to get a glimpse of the striking colours before they disappear for winter.
A few weeks ago, I made my way back to Minoh, where I lived last year, and walked up to the waterfall. It seems to be receiving more attention every year, and the number of tourists has gone up significantly. The path up the mountain was filled with families out for the weekend and the smell of fried maple leaves – a Minoh speciality.
The waterfall looked beautiful surrounded by shades of red and orange. I will admit, I was a little bit early to see it in its prime, but nonetheless it made for a wonderfully relaxing Saturday afternoon.
This past weekend, I made the brave decision to venture into Kyoto to visit the renowned Arayashiyama. I say brave because I was forewarned that there would be a ton of people and a ton of people there were. In fact, I had to line up for nearly 30 minutes to cross the bridge. Thankfully, my destination was a little bit off the beaten path and the crowd of people slowly dissipated.
The leaves at Jokkako Temple were at their prime – shining in brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow. There was a long path running up the mountain, twisting through the trees, that led to a lookout over the city. The view from the top was beautiful and the cool autumn breeze set the scene perfectly.
There seems to be a heightened sense of awareness of the changing of seasons in Japan. In spring, the streets of Kyoto are filled with people taking pictures of and appreciating the beauty of cherry blossom trees. In the fall, lenses shift toward maple trees, but the same appreciation for nature remains. These moments of calm are so welcome in the midst of life’s busy days.