Thursday, November 24, 2005

fall colors in kyoto (part 1)

Today was a holiday, so we decided to check out some areas in Kyoto. The Hankyu train line had a one day pass to use the Hankyu train lines and the Keifuku lines. For about $13, you can get on and off the Hankyu train lines and also the Keifuku lines as many times as you wish for the whole day. Part of the Hankyu line runs from Kyoto to Umeda. The Keifuku line runs between Arashiyama and Kyoto city.

We got up REALLY early and went to Nagaokakyo. There is a temple called Aokomyoji. We visited this temple a few years ago and the leaves were bright red then. This year it was reddish-brown, pinkish and a bit orange. I made us a breakfast bento, so we enjoyed this while looking at the fall colors.

From Nagaokakyo, we went to Arashiyama. This area is known for its autumn colors, so it is always packed with people! Near the Hankyu Arashiyama station, I read that there was a little cafe called Gateau de Bigaro. It was REALLY little and the seating was outside. We enjoyed our tea break here with cheese cake (fromage) and chocolate truffle cake (namachoco cake) and then were off to Ookochi Sanso.

Gateau de Bigaro
Arashiyama Higashiichikawa-machi 3-19
Closed on Mondays Phone 075-872-3707

Ookochi Sanso is the garden area of the famous actor, Ookochi Denjiro. We also visited here a few years ago, here the colors were very nice, especially when the sunlight hit them! From Ookochi Sanso, we walked through the famous bamboo forest walkway to Tenryuji temple. Last year, I took my aunty and her friends to this temple, but we a bit early for the color change. This time, the Tenryuji temple's pond area was very nice.

After visiting Tenryuji, we caught the Keifuku line (or Randen line, as the locals call it) to Kurumazaki. There is a temple called Kurumazaki temple which has a god that helps people with the arts.

A lot of actors and actresses are said to come to pray for their talent and crafts here. There is an area where the actors and actresses pay for prayers and the temple displays their names on a plaque for 2 years.

A lot of Japanese dancers as well as some actors and actresses' names can be seen here. We were lucky to visit on the day of the Hitakisai. This is a prayer ceremony in which you write down your wish onto a stick. They make a fire using a "kama" (wood burning stove) to call the Gods--Okutsuhikogami & Okutsuhime. At the end of the prayers, they burn the "wish sticks" to ward off evil and to fulfill the prayers.

From Kurumazaki, there is a station called Katabiranotsuji where you can transfer to a line that goes to the Kitanohakubaicho area. (The thing you notice the most about the Randen line is that all the trains kind of go at their own pace.

If they want to pack more people into the train, they wait for another to bring more people.) As we were already packed with sardines, we ended up waiting for another train to pack in more people! While we were waiting to be squished even more, I noticed a sign advertising a Chinese restaurant at the next station, Tokiwa.

I told Satoshi we should get off and have lunch here especially since it was almost 2pm!! We arrived at Tokiwa and we made it just in time for the last order for lunchtime. (whew!) We must have been hungry because we ate REALLY fast. :)

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