Arashiyama   嵐山

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Arashiyama

Walk under the red maple.

Arashiyama

Bridge Arashiyama.

Arashiyama

Bamboo in Arashiyama

Bamboo groves and a river under the moonlight

Arashiyama's name does not do it justice, literally meaning "Storm Mountain". But the area is a sweet ode to Nature. The river running through is called the Oi river, and meets Togetsukyo bridge, or "bridge under the moon", where it ten changes its name to the famous Katsura River. The Togetsukyo offers a breathtaking panorama of this Eden in western Kyoto. Every year, cherry blossoms and then fiery red leaves descend the tawny hills planted with cherry trees and maple trees to speckle the dark waters of Katsura. Visitors strolling on the bridge will have their breath taken away.

Since the early years of the Heian period (794-1192), emperors and members of the nobility flocked to Arashiyama to celebrate hanami. This contemplation of cherry blossoms (sakura) and plum (ume) is a tradition dear to the Japanese. The leaf viewing (momiji) in November was quite a new concept to Japan.

Many lords had their palaces and villas built here. A success that did not just end there over the centuries, as evidenced by the splendid Okochi Sanso of the great silent film actor Okochi Denjiro (1898-1962).

The garden of Tenryuji delights its visitors who then go on to explore the nearby bamboo forest, a walk which is reminiscent of ancient Japan. Right next to the bamboo forest reside the monkeys in Iwatayama Monkey Park, who never fail to brighten up your day, while the climb required to get there rewards the brave with a magnificent view of the old capital.


Dream of a winter night

After the night has fallen and the colors have vanished, Arashiyama still offers new delights to visitors. The refined cuisine served at Nishiki, luxurious restaurant on an island in the Oi River, awakens the taste buds. In December, the Hanatoro festival, or "Lantern Festival", envelops the neighborhood with sublime flutes. Living a dream with open eyes.

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