Arashiyama November 2014 Part 1 – Tenryuji

So the last 5 Japan posts were pretty much just warm-up for the next succeeding ones. The highlight of my trip last November was really Arashiyama! I’ve been hearing wonderful things about Arashiyama from my Japanese friends, and it definitely did not disappoint when I was finally able to go. It is officially one of my most favorite places, not only in Japan, but in the whole world. Words aren’t enough to describe its beauty, so here’s my attempt at giving it justice via still photography.

Arashiyama is Kyoto’s second most popular tourist destination that’s easily accessible from Kyoto Station JR Sagano Line to JR Saga Arashiyama Station. And I say easily accessible, because it only takes about 15-20 minutes to get there. There are absolutely no excuses for you not to drop by Arashiyama if you’re already in Kyoto!

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Early morning wait for the train to Arashiyama.

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I found Mikasa and her secret boyfriend as soon as I arrived in Saga-Arashiyama Station.

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On my way out, I thought, “Hey, this station looks really familiar.” On my left, I saw a long line to a certain “Sagano Romantic Train”. And then it hit me. I’ve actually been to this place before. But only for the Romantic Train, which I can now say is quite lackluster compared to most of the main sites in Arashiyama.

A long time ago, my family and I went on a Japan tourist crash course of sorts and traveled to Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Hakone, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara in only a span of 6-7 days. And while we were in Kyoto, our tour guide decided to take us to Arashiyama for the Sagano Romantic Train… and then back in Kyoto again, lol. Little did I know that Arashiyama had a lot more things in store.

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From the station, I just followed all the tourists (way to go, me) who were all rushing to go to Tenryu-ji.

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Tenryu-ji is conveniently the nearest temple from the station. Only took me about a short 10 minute walk. Or 15 minutes, because I stuffed myself with vitamin drinks at a konbini so I can last the whole day, lol.

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The maple leaves were on fire. I instantly loved Arashiyama the moment I saw this tree.

If you’re planning to go to Japan this autumn, make sure you go during the peak, which is around mid-November! I think October would be too early!

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Nature is the best background for selfies.

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I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

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Eep, so cute.

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Who wouldn’t dress up when the view is this beautiful? These girls spent about 10-15 minutes just taking selfies!

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Founded in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji, Tenryu-ji (literally “heavenly dragon temple”) is the largest, most important temple among Kyoto’s five great Zen temples. There are two entrances to Tenryu-ji, but if you enter through the front one, you’ll easily see the main hall.

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You’re required to take of your shoes in the main hall because of the tatami mats. Spent a good few minutes here just enjoying the peaceful view of Tenryuji’s picturesque Sogen Pond.

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Inside the main building you can find different structures that are just as picturesque.

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Japanese Joe Pye Weed.

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Perfect place to shoot a historical drama.

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That moment when your eyes are automatically drawn to the yellow, orange, and red leaves. Resistance is futile.

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The main hall has some sort of viewing area, similar to the one in Ryoan-ji.

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How to be as kawaii as these schoolgirls. Also, how lucky are they that they get to visit Tenryu-ji for a school field trip?

Reminds me of that time when I saw a group of kids on a school trip at the Louvre in Paris.

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I mentioned in my previous post that there are different kinds of omamori or good luck charms. This one is an academic omamori that resembles elementary school kids’ backpacks.

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The Sogen Pond, created by Muso Soseki, is one of the main features of the temple complex. Because of fires and other unfortunate incidents, some of Tenryu-ji’s structures had to be reconstructed. However, the pond has retained its original form from its initial construction.

I have to remind myself over and over again that this is not a painting. This is 100% real! The orange koi in the pond even match the orange leaves in the background. Japan, stay perfect and perpetually color-coordinated.

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Speaking of matching the scenery…

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The charm in fallen leaves.

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Around the pond are some steps where you can see Tenryu-ji from different heights.

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The view from the top.

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More Arashiyama posts coming up!

Save the date! February 7, 2015 at R Space Events Venue, Nicanor Garcia Bel-Air, Makati City. Come and see the “Ryuukou Look-Book Fashion Show”, and get updates on the latest Japanese fashion trends. EnjoyJapanPH is selling tickets here.

One of the reasons why you should go – your mere attendance qualifies you for their amazing TRIP TO JAPAN raffle, which is different from their ongoing online contest. I’m hoping and praying that one of my blog readers can experience the same magic that I have experienced in Japan. See you all on February 7th!