Arashiyama II

In the morning, full of (FULL OF) that unparalled breakfast, we headed to the hills to visit some shrines and temples. Everything was so green and alive and mossy and vibrant and fresh. At the last temple, we spotted through a veil of trees what looked like a pretty active cherry tree grove (in terms of blooms).
At first we couldn’t figure out how to get into it, and were desperately starting to consider illicit fence-jumping, but we saw people in there walking around like they belonged there, so we calmed down and persisted until we found an entrance. That little grove was a hidden piece of paradise! Small trees of all varieties and colors, with loads of blossoms. We’d seen scattered trees in bloom in Tokyo and Hakone, but this gathering of full-on blooming trees was amazing – probably what a lot of the country looked like in early April, after our trip ended. This was my “Sound of Music” moment, when I could throw my head back and throw my arms out and spin around in circles under the branches. The fact that only two other people showed their faces the entire time we were there, and that there was a quietly babbling brook nearby, and a neighboring grove of cedar trees, and a gentle rain of cherry blossom petals fell from the trees throughout… and that we didn’t know it existed until we accidentally found it…all that made it all the more private and special. A living illustration of “my happy place”. The pictures can’t entirely do it justice, but I’ll share some below, mixed in with shots of the beautiful landscape, shrines, and temples of Arashiyama.

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