秋 (aki, autumn) is here, and the trees are changing color rapidly in Kyoto. In Japanese, 紅葉 (momiji) means the golden and ruby colors that appear on trees time of year. Kyoto is renowned for it's many wonderful momiji spots, so I decided to go check out a few recently.
Last weekend, I went up to Arashiyama for the first time this autumn, and the foliage was amazing. I picked a few spots to visit that I had never seen before, and I wasn't disappointed. I found one garden in particular that had the best momiji I've ever seen. Surprisingly, Arashiyama wasn't very crowded compared to other years, so perhaps the tourists have found new areas to seek out momiji. I still think this is a prime part of Kyoto for autumn, not just because of the colors of the leaves, but because of the natural landscape and beautiful scenery along the Hozu River.
We took a boat across the river and ate a light lunch at a riverside rest area, but this was no ordinary cafe! Boats were pulling up to the dock to buy mochi rice dumplings and roasted squid. Our lunch consisted of some small tempura fish that tasted surprisingly similar to fresh popcorn, and some freshly fried yakisoba noodles. Really excellent spot to relax and watch the boats go by. I'm really looking forward to sharing this location on tours in the future!
See you in Kyoto!