Spring in Japan- day 7

According to the morning news the cherry blossoms were beginning to fall all around the Kansai region so with one “must see” location still to visit on this trip, today’s itinery kinda picked itself.

“The Philosophers Walk” in Kyoto is a pedestrian path that follows a cherry tree lined route alongside a canal between Ginkaku-ji and Nanzen-ji temples.

I’ve visited the walk in late autumn and winter but spring is the must see time due to the Sakura.

We travelled through to Kyoto, changing to the underground at Karasuma / Shigo before travelling on to Keage.

Our first stop was the Keage incline, a small railway siding dating back to 1891 which was closed in 1977, restored and re-opened as an important national historical site in 1996. Both sides of the incline are lined with cherry blossoms and the site is very popular with locals and visitors at this time of the year.

We watched another few weddings / photoshoots at the incline before heading down towards the Nanzen-ji temple to join the steady stream of walkers following the philosophers walk.

The walk is stunningly beautiful even though we were visiting as the blossom was on the wane.

Every little breeze lifted a new flurry of white and pink petals into the air that slowly settled back down onto visitors, the pathway and the canal. At times even the water seemed to flow white and pink as the gentle current swept the delicate petals along until they reached a barrier then spun in tiny pink whirlpools on the surface.

I was so wrapped up in trying to capture all this on camera that I forgot to take any shots on my mobile for the blog so all images of the philosophers walk are copyright H.Boardman. (Thanks!)

Once again if I’ve managed to capture even a fraction of the beauty of this walk in a single image then the whole trip has been worthwhile.

As you may know, I’m a Buddhist and I carry a small Buddha that I bought years ago in Thailand everywhere I go, so we decided that a photo of the statue in some blossom would make for a nice image so here is a preview of that shot…

After the Philosophers walk we returned to the underground at Keage then back to Kyoto for a light lunch on the banks of the Kamo River.

Initially the plan was to visit and climb Mount Inari again then head to Kiyomizu Dera for sunset but we delayed slightly too long on the river bank watching huge Kites (the birds not the manmade flying type) stealing food from crows and gulls. Back home Kites are quite rare and solitary but we counted six in the skies over the Gojo Dori bridge as they swooped and harassed the other birds into dropping their food before fighting over the scraps between themselves.

If you follow my blog regularly you’ll know I’m no expert on wildlife or wildlife photography but it was great to just watch as these huge birds dominated the sky above Kyoto, sweeping as low as 10-20ft above the crowds on the bridge.

From Gion-shijo station we travelled one stop to Kiyomizu-Gojo where I was brutally assaulted by a local!

I should probably explain the above statement before continuing…

On the way out of the station I noticed that Hayleys backpack was open so as we climbed the stairs out of the station I reached out to close the bag. A local man who was walking in the opposite direction saw what I was doing and with no hesitation alerted Hayley to what was happening then rattled me on the arm to get me to stop! He obviously assumed I was trying to steal from her and took it on himself to stop the crime! I was at least 25 years younger and over a foot taller than him but he didn’t even pause before setting about me. I laughed, then Hayley laughed as we tried to explain what was going on; then he laughed and hit me again anyway before walking off giggling to himself!! What a great guy, and what a great sense of community where someone would intervene so quickly to help a stranger. Even if it meant potentially putting yourself in danger.

Kiyomizu-dera is a Buddhist temple and world heritage site in the hills above Kyoto. The name comes from a sacred waterfall deep in the temple (Kiyomizu means pure water)

Probably one of the best locations for watching sunset in Kyoto we watched the sun set over the city last year from this site and vowed to return again as soon as possible.

The sunset wasn’t quite as dramatic as last winter but we had a lot more time to explore the temple and look for new angles so im hopeful that I’ve got some nice images to share when I get back.

As the sky darkened we walked back to the train station for the journey back to Osaka.

There won’t be a blog tomorrow as its a day off. A day filled with shopping, eating and no doubt a beer or two. If anyone would like anything specific from Japan let me know!

Day 9 will involve the long journey out to Wakayama and Mount Koya. Another location ive been lucky to visit in all four seasons.

I hope you’re all enjoying the blog!

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