O my it is sakura time again!! The trees are bursting with flowers! This weekend, we traveled to Arashiyama, Kyoto and Osaka to see all the famous cherryblossom spots. First stop: Arashiyama, where we actually saw a whole lot more than just sakura.
Arashiyama is a beautiful mountain area west of Kyoto, and is famous for it’s bamboo grove and collection of small mysterious temples. After a nice lunch underneath the cherry trees, we headed out to the bambooforest.
Cherryblossoms cover the mountains, a temple is hidden between the trees, small boats with supplies gently float downstream and in the distance you can hear the deep sound of a temple bell to scare away mean spirits.
The bamboo grove of Arashiyama is so impressive. The long, slender stalks wave in the wind and create a beautiful pattern. Even the smell of bamboo is amazing! If there weren’t a thousand other tourists walking around here, this would be a place to truly relax and forget all worries.
If you walk a bit north from the bamboo grove, the tourists become less and less, and mysterious temples and shrines start to pop up.
We walked for about half an hour north when we stumbled across this magnificent temple. It is called the Otagi Nenbutsu-ji, and it is dedicated to Buddhas 1200 followers. Every follower has his own statue, depicting their personalities, often in a funny way.
A little south from this temple is another special one. Adashino Nenbutsu-ji is a temple dedicated to lost children and orphans. Its a very impressive sight, hundreds of small rocks line up in a huge garden, each of them symbolizing a child that has lost its family.
This temple also has a bamboogrove, but unlike the first one, there wasn’t a single tourist. The bambootrail leads to a secluded graveyard in the mountains, with a row of statues where you pour water over for good fortune.
It’s these mysterious, peaceful places I love about Kyoto and its surroundings. Also, when you stray from the well trodden paths and take the effort to explore a bit outside the tourist spots, you come across things that are even more impressive and beautiful.
Next up is the sakura madness in Kyoto and Osaka. This year, we really tried to capture the atmosphere of the yearly cherry blossom celebrations!