Kyoto in Sakura season, part 1

It’s been a while since I have posted anything on this blog, and to those of you who visit from time to time I apologize. This blog was intended to be a way to share photos and thoughts about my life in Japan, and I’d like to continue doing that here. For some reason though that’s been harder mentally than I had anticipated. Maybe that’s because I am getting used to this place and feel like I have nothing much new to say or show, but I myself keep coming across things and places and people that surprise and fascinate me in a bunch of different ways. Maybe it is some more advanced stage of culture shock that robs me of motivation, or just being too damn tired, from being too damn busy so much. No more excuses! Here are some photos from a glorious spring day in Kyoto last week. Was it only last week? It feels like ages ago.

Kyoto is such an amazing city and it has been my great privilege to be only a two hour train ride away. Plus an online language circle run by a Japanese American friend enabled me to meet someone who has become a friend with whom to explore the city of her birth on several trips over the last year and a half. She and her son joined Roxi and I for the first half of a long day wandering through north eastern Kyoto.

We started out at the Kaege incline, section of a disused former freight railway line sloping down from a tunnel that still brings water into Kyoto from nearby Lake Biwa.

It’s been around three years since I have been in the presence of so many other people, and probably never among so many people taking pictures of flowers. But it was a beautiful day that also happened to be 満開 (mankai: fully open), when the cherry blossoms are at their peak, a date that is forecast on cherry blossom forecasts countrywide along with the weather.

We had planned our visit ahead of time so and got very lucky!

Nearby was the magnificent Rinzai Zen temple Nanzen-ji founded in 1291.

Running through the temple complex is the curious sight of a European style arched, brick aqueduct that used to be an essential part of Kyoto’s water supply.

From on top of the massive gate we could see blooming sakura trees everywhere.

Our guides Sakiko and Hiroki had to leave so we set off next for the Philosopher’s Path, named for the daily walks along this route made by one of the founders of the Kyoto School of contemporary philosophy. More about that in the next post.