Field Report: Kyōto, Japan (20 November 2014)

20Nov14 023 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

After our relaxing daytime visit to the historic city of Uji, my parents were happy to retreat into the comfort of our Ōsaka hotel and prepare to turn in for the night. As far as I was concerned, however, the day was far from spent … so I dashed off on my own to Kyōto for a special evening light-up that only takes place when the city’s trees are enrobed in their autumn majesty.

From our base at the Hotel Granvia near Ōsaka Station (not to be confused with Shin-Ōsaka Station), I travelled northwards to Japan’s ancient capital of Kyōto. I’ve been to the city several times before, though not to the specific place that was my target for this evening.

That target was Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji, a temple compound nestled against the wooded hills bordering the eastern side of Kyōto. I’m no stranger to the neighbourhood – I visited the nearby Nanzen-ji complex on my very first trip to Japan – but what drew me back to the area on this occasion was Eikan-dō’s annual autumn light-up, when the temple’s many trees are illuminated after dark and their brilliant fall colours are spectacularly revealed to hordes of eager visitors.

The crowds were quite thick during the special illumination (and understandably so), with fierce but orderly competition for prime photo spots. My biggest regret: giving up on one particularly well-regarded vantage point that would have granted me a splendid view of the stone bridge in the middle of Eikan-dō’s central Hōjō Pond, simply because the line for that hallowed spot was too long.

No matter – it was still worth coming all the way out here to see these splendid vistas first-hand, even if I was unable to capture some of the very best of them on my camera (committing them to memory was the next best thing). As for those scenes that I did manage to photograph, here’s a sampling for our shared enjoyment.

20Nov14 001 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 002 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 003 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 004 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 005 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 006 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 007 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 008 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 009 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 010 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 012 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 015 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 016 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 017 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 018 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 019 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 020 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 021 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 022 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 023 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

In keeping with the festive atmosphere, a small area was set up with benches and decorative parasols where patrons could warm themselves up on hot beverages.

20Nov14 011 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 013 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

20Nov14 014 Autumn Leaves Eikando Zenrinji Kyoto Kansai Japan

On my way back, I spied a poster informing the public that IC cards would become usable on Kyōto City buses from the 24th of December 2014. Note that the announcement pertains specifically to Kyōto City buses (市バス), the green-coloured ones that ply routes in the city centre, so presumably the red Kyōto buses (note: no “City” in the name) that serve more outlying areas still aren’t covered.

20Nov14 024 IC Cards City Bus Poster Kyoto Kansai Japan

And just before boarding a train back to Ōsaka, I grabbed a quick shot of Kyōto Tower, standing proudly like a humongous daikon across the street from the city’s main railway hub. I’ve greeted this landmark many times over the past few years … hard to avoid it, after all, given how it’s probably the most prominent thing in sight for anyone walking out of the northern side of Kyōto Station.

20Nov14 025 Kyoto Tower Kansai Japan

Next on our autumn Kansai adventure: a day at one of Japan’s best-known theme parks.

Advertisements

One response to “Field Report: Kyōto, Japan (20 November 2014)

  1. Pingback: Field Report: Uji, Japan (20 November 2014) | Within striking distance·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s