November 5, 2014

Autumn Colour Series (2): Kokubunji Temple and Higashiyama Walking Course

You really cannot turn your eyes away from the trees here during the autumn season as they just turn red and yellow almost stealthily. I remember one morning when I was riding my bicycle to work, the autumn colours just seemed to appear out of nowhere. I couldn't help asking myself questions like: Wasn't this tree just green yesterday? I even went as far as to question whether I have lost a week's worth of memory, so, to me, all the trees seemed to have turned red overnight.

Anyway, the sudden realization of the arrival of autumn colours sent me into a flurry of activity. On my next day off, I rode my bicycle around town, stopping over here and there, trying to catch whatever autumn colours that was around. Here are a few spots that caught my attention:

1. Kokubunji Temple

You don't have to walk far from the station or J-hoppers to get here so it is best to drop by in the early morning before heading off to Shirakawa-go, Kamiko-chi or whatever spot you plan to go for the day. As at Nov 5, the Ginko tree has not yet turned fully yellow, but the small maple tree with leaves in hues of yellow, orange and red will surely capture your imagination.

Just for your information, legend has it that when the Ginko tree is stripped of all its trees, first snow will fall in Takayama. Let's all see if this is true this year.

2. Higashiyama Walking Course 

As one of the most easily accessible walking course within the Takayama city, it takes you through a lot of temples which are home to a variety of trees showcasing their best face in autumn at present. The section that left a lasting impression on my memory was the slope leading up to the  youth hostel and temple called Tensho-ji, which is lined with trees that have put on their autumn clothes.

Another spot you shouldn't miss on the walking course is the Enago River, which offers spectacular views of autumn colours as well.    

3. Hida Folk Village 

A must-go spot for those who cannot spare any time to go to Shirakawa-go, Hida Folk Village transports you back to the ancient Japan where you can get a taste of what it must be like to live in those times. The village, of course, also offers its share of autumn colors set against the background of the Gassho houses. It is something you will not want to miss.

If you are blessed with a day of clear sky, I recommend that you stop by the Hida Takayama Museum of Art to get a clear view of the snow-capped mountains along with the maple leaves.

No comments:

Post a Comment