Arashiyama Travel Journal
The shining wind at Arashiyama.
Winds have many names.
The wind that blows through the vegetation just after rain
has fallen is called the “shining wind.”
The surface of the Katsura River sparkles in the sun as if
the rain that was falling just minutes ago had never happened.
Mt. Iwata is to the left. To the right,
in the distance, is Mt. Nyoigatake.
Crossing over the Togetsu-kyo Bridge,
I follow the main street and discover several souvenir shops.
People wearing colorful yukata (summer kimonos).
Even if I don’t buy anything,
it’s fun to banter with the shopkeepers.
As I make my way toward
the temple I wish to visit,
I casually wander into side roads.
Unexpectedly discovering a small Jizo
(guardian deity of children) statue,
I feel as if, somehow, I have won a prize.
Rows of lemon trees along the alleyway.
Everything that catch my eyes appears,
all of a sudden, to sparkle.
Peeping from a bland background is
the unspoiled face of Arashiyama.
The hushed grounds of a temple.
Breathtakingly beautiful gardens.
Being in places that have existed for
a hundred years,
a thousand years, or even longer,
I come to feel how tiny I am,
worrying about the slightest
increments of time.
Wandering around with easy confidence
wherever your whim may take you is surely
the best way to explore Arashiyama.
Tired from strolling around town,
I buy myself a takeaway coffee and settle beside
the river to enjoy the cool of the evening.
The throngs of tourists who filled
the town during the day have now disappeared,
scattering like birds as the dusk deepens.
Somehow, the burbling sounds of
the river echo louder.
Night comes early in Arashiyama.
After 5:00 pm,
the shop shutters begin coming down, and,
by 7:00 pm, almost all of the shops have closed.
Looking up, I can see many stars
in the sky-the night’s darkness is that deep.
In the early morning,
I walk along a bamboo forest path;
virtually no one else in sight.
Within the quiet morning sunlight,
the sight of the giant bamboo canes
reaching straight up to the sky refreshes my eyes.
Wanting to keep this scenery all to myself,
I hurry on to a spot where there is no one else around.
From there, I head to Torokko Arashiyama Station.
I buy a one-way ticket to the last stop, Torokko Kameoka.
As the trolley train passes through the tunnel,
an expanse of emerald green spreads out beneath my eyes.
This is the Hozu River,
the main course of the Katsura River.
Clinging to the carriage window,
I gaze at the receding scenery.
The further upstream we go,
the faster the river’s current flows,
and the more rugged
the rock surfaces become.
I was lucky enough to see river
cormorants resting their wings
along the riverside.
The rhythmic sound of the trolley train
is pleasing to the ears.
Enjoy the unspoiled nature
to your heart’s content.