Kyoto’s beautiful Autumn Leaves – 京都 の 紅葉

Japan has many seasons, probably more than other countries. The Japanese love to celebrate, there are many national holidays during the year, in compensation for the only 1 week of holiday they get.

While everybody now thinks of the Sakura Season, especially beautiful as well is the Koyo 紅葉 in Kyoto 京都. Kyoto 京都, with it’s majestic temples surrounded by woods, makes a stunning image. When you arrive at the train station to the temple area, there is a “Leaf” schedule showing which color the leaves have at which temple.

I visited Kyoto 京都 at the middle/end of November to see those beautiful sceneries.

These are some of the temples I’ve visited during my Koyo 紅葉 journey:
(You’ll also find my video at the end of this article, If you’re interested)

Kyoto in Autumn leaves (Koyo) 2017 京都 の 紅葉

Tenryu-ji Temple

 

Tofukuji Temple

 

Enko-Ji

 

Kodai-ji Temple

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Tanzen-ji Temple

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Last but not least, the above promised video of the trip:

「The Japanese Hospitality 日本のお持て成し」

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Shinjuku, Tokyo

You sure may have heard, that the Japanese hospitality is pretty warm. They love to show foreigners their country and are very proud of it.

I can confirm and the reason I can, is my letterfriend. I actually stayed in Tokyo 東京, but she lives in Kōbe 神戸(about 3 hours distance). Anyway, I travelled with the bullet train (Shinkansen 新幹線) from Tokyo to Kōbe. She waited at the Shin Osaka train station for me, and we went to her parent’s apartment together. Her parents were already excited to meet me, they even made a “Welcome to Japan, Sabrina” cake for me! I did’nt expect something like this!

I could spend the night there, it’s been such a dream to sleepover at a real Japanese family. The next morning, Mayo san’s (my letterfriend) mother made us some Onigiri. What a feeling, sitting at the table with a Japanese family, feets under the Kotatsu 炬燵 (low, wooden table frame covered by a futon or heavy blanket, upon which a table top sits. Underneath is a heat source which keeps you warm) and biting in to a still warm Onigiri おにぎり.

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Rikscha ride through Gion, the Geisha town in Kyōto 

We spent some days together, she showed me the best spots around Kyōto and even visited the Universal Studio Japan (USJ) together with me. During my stay in Japan, i had the best time while traveling with Mayo san. It’s so much easier to travel and enjoy, when you are with someone that speaks the language, in a country where not everyone speaks english.

On my last day, I could experience the Japanese hospitality one last time for my stay. My flight back home was in the morning. I had to take the shuttle from Shinjuku Station 新宿区駅 to the airport. When I arrived at the Shinjuku Station, the shuttle was already full. Luckily, I was early enough to wait for the next one. I thought “hey, I should go to a Japanese supermarket for one last time!” So I started looking for a Family Mart, Seven Eleven or Lawson. When I found one, there was a little stair to reach the store. As you can imagine, my suitcase was pretty heavy so I could’nt lift it up those stairs. On behalf of the low criminality rate in Japan, i thought I’ll just leave it outside for a min. Before I entered the store, i picked my wallet and sorted out my last coins… So, a young, 18 years old girl, no make up & hair done, wearing a training suit and holding a suitcase and looking for her last coins. Must have looked funny, anyway a Japanese lady walked out of the store, holding for a second, then walked away. But she came back and gave me a piece of bread with two hands (respectfully). I took it, also with 2 hands and whispered “Arigato Gozaimasu!”. As fast as she came, the fast she’s gone. This story still makes me smile, whenever I think of it!

Sorry for that long post, here’s a picture of my Mayo san & me in Kimonos.

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My letter friend Mayo san & me in Kimonos

「One day at the Fushimi Inari Shrine 伏見稲荷大社」

I spent some days at the house of my letterfriend Mayo san, in Kōbe 神戸. She made up a little plan to show me the culture of Japan, but it was a surprise. We woke up early in the morning to catch the train to Kyoto 京都. In the evening, after spending the day in Kyoto, our next destination was the “Fushimi Inari Shrine”.
The final stations name was “Inari” 稲荷. We walked out of this little train station and the entrance of the shrine was just in front of us! I was surprised how small this little district was, even though this shrine is so famous.

Mayo san booked a hotel near the shrine, so we could visit it the next day. I think it’s a japanese thing, she booked 2 rooms even though we were only 2 persons. But for me, it was Ok 🙂

The next morning, we finally headed out to the shrine. There were many statues of foxes “kitsune” 狐, which symbolize a “Kami 神” – a god.
While walking upstairs, there was a group of school girls that were watching me. As soon as I got closer to them, they asked me if I want to take a photo with them (if you’re a foreigner in Japan, this will happen to you pretty often)

Walking through those red “Tōris 鳥居”, is really a nice & calming thing. It looks so cool, and sometimes you get to a crossing where you have to choose which way to go, (it doesn’t matter which one you choose, all ways go to the top) some are faster, some take longer.

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One time, we reached a beautiful place where you get out of the tōri way and see some shrines. Then the tōri continue.

 

At the end we walked back down a little street next to the tōris.

 

 

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We spotted an old lady, selling something to eat, so we got a little hungry. When we got closer, I recognized that she was selling Mochi 餅! Mochi are little rice cakes, that usually are gummy on the outside and soft on the inside.

 

The Mimg_3100ochis had rosish color, so I could imagine what kind of taste they had – Sakura さくら!(Japanese cherry blossom) There were only 2 left so of course we took this chance and enjoyed the end of this day with a little bite of Sakura Mochi ( ^ω^ )