Two years ago in mid-December when the good husband and I first visited Arashiyama, a district west of Kyoto that is famous for lush autumn foliage covering the mountains framing Oi River, we were met with a single shade of brown – we were too late and the trees had shed their leaves.
This year we planned our autumn vacation earlier to ensure we will not be disappointed again.
And we were rewarded with a better view of the mountains, although some trees along the river and streets were already bald.
Funnily, photos of the lush mountain sides did not turn out as beautiful as those I took of the bleaker parts along Oi River. The image immediately below is of Togetsukyo bridge, a landmark in Arashiyama. It was crowded the day we were there, making it tricky to stop on the bridge and take in the views. One just had to keep moving.
As Arashiyama is a hit with tourists, the area is filled with eateries and souvenir shops. There are even make-shift food stalls along the Oi River, selling popular Japanese snacks such as takoyaki, grilled octopuses and mochi balls. Great! The cold weather gets me hungry very quickly.
Arashiyama is also home to the impressive Tenryuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and beautiful bamboo grooves. We skipped these as we had already enjoyed them two years ago. We chose instead to explore areas that are farther away from the bustling marketplace, on the other end of Togetsukyo bridge.
When we were satisfied and exhausted, we trekked back to Arashiyama’s nerve centre and found yummy things to eat and warm our bodies.
It was a pretty decent way to spend an afternoon in Kyoto. :)