People say the most beautiful season in Japan is spring, with all the cherry blossoms in full bloom. I agree it’s quite a sight, but I also think there’s awe-inspiring beauty in seeing autumn leaves transform the landscape. We decided to head to one of the most famous places to see this year’s autumn colors: Kyoto. In particular, the west side of Kyoto in Arashiyama where Tenryu-ji temple resides. We had been planning to go for weeks, but with Michael working Saturdays and our Sundays being booked, we were finally able to make the trip last Sunday, hoping we weren’t too late. I figured we were still ok since the national fall foliage forecast showed late November, early December to be the peak. Yes, a portion of the news is dedicated to predicting the best days in which to view the fall colors. They also have the cherry blossom forecast in the spring.
We headed out in the morning, but since it was peak viewing season, the trains were completely packed on our 30 minute ride to Kyoto Station. It was even more crowded when we transferred to the local train to Arashiyama. I started to regret our decision to go knowing the temple grounds would inevitably be packed as well. I mean, could the views be worth the hassle? Let’s take a look.
We also headed towards the Arashiyama bamboo grove. Although the leaves of bamboo don’t change colors, it was still breath-taking to be surrounded by these giants.
One piece of advice if you plan to make a trip to Arashiyama: bring a bento lunch. The food options are slim. We ended up eating (previously frozen) burnt hot dogs and brown, mushy rice balls at one of the only street stalls set up just for tourists. It didn’t really matter, though. Nothing could eclipse the majestic beauty of nature.