TOFUKU-JI – walking on an artist’s pallette
Saturday – another early-ish morning – we are meeting in the lobby at 7.40am and then heading for the most famous and best Autumn colour location in Japan (or so the itinerary says) – Tofuku-ji.
We have checked out and our large suitcases have been organised to forward to Osaka. We will take our carry ons to the station and put in the lockers.
At the hotel – we had put our bags in the boot and when we get out at the station one of the ladies (not me) takes all the bags out – this includes the bag belonging to the taxi driver. Said driver departs and it is only when we sort out the bags and there is one left do we start to wonder why.
RL decides that he will take the kidnapped bag to the Police Station and explain what has happened and to see if they can contact said driver to let him know that his bag is no longer in the boot. Talk about a farcical situation – we are lurking outside taking photos and looking terribly suspicious – RL exits and tells us that everything will be fixed up – we will not go to gaol so let’s go.
When we arrive at Tofuku-ji there is a sign telling us what is not allowed in – we are not allowed to use tripods (grumbles from some) but due to the crowds it would be impossible to plonk them down somewhere. We have our tickets and soon we are on the pathway.
This large Zen Temple is located in southern Kyoto and was established in 1236. Due to the crowds that turn up in the Autumn, photography is restricted in certain areas like the bridges – but more about that little episode later.
With camera poised and bag securely stowed on my back it’s time to throw myself into the throng and get clicking. One good thing – it is all one way so there is no fear of getting lost – –
There are also many more stunning gardens – – this is at the beginning of the walkway – how brilliant is that red?
Even though there are loads of people everyone seems to be well-behaved. They take their photos and move on – I take my photos and move on – and so it goes.
We are heading down through a gully where we can look back up and see the colours from a different viewpoint – no matter what viewpoint it is beautiful from any angle.
The colours are everywhere as you can see – I am getting a sore neck twisting and turning and clicking away – this is such an incredible place – well worth the ‘oh so squeezy’ situation.
We are nearly at the most popular view from one of the little bridges – first I will give you the views leading to the bridge, then the last photo is taken from the bridge –
Below left is the photo of the bridge – – of course everyone wants to take their photo – and everything works out OK – – I am just amazed that the thing did not collapse.
Everyone makes sure that they have their photo (s) because once you get to the other size you cannot go back.
Time to now climb back up – but it really is not that bad. It is at a nice slow pace and of course I am surrounded by all this colour – – I am just going to put in some photos – you know where we are – you know what they are – so just enjoy – –
Now we come to another part with a ‘No Photography’ sign. I will take RL’s advice and just follow what everyone else is doing – and as long as I do not hold up the line – it should be OK – – what an incredible sight.
Maybe I should have labelled this post as Parts 1a and 1b – it is so difficult to choose what photos to use – I want to use all of them – – maybe there should be an intermission somewhere??
Next is another lovely covered walkway which spans a valley of lush maple trees. The view from the bridge is spectacular, and the walkway becomes extremely crowded when the colours reach their peak, usually around mid to late November. Yep – they got that right – but not many tourists here – YET!
I love having the trees framed by the woodwork –
I hope that you are not getting bored with all this fabulous colour – for some of you it may look all the same – but it wasn’t. Different shades and outlines – it certainly is worth a trip if you are in these parts during Autumn.
Around one of the bends in the pathway there is a secluded little garden. How wonderful and what a rest from the crowds – there is a seating area where you can just catch your breath, close your eyes and just relax.
We are now coming to the end of this part of our journey – however, several parts of Tofukuji’s temple grounds are free to enter, including the area around some of its largest and most impressive buildings.
The large sanmon gate at Tōfuku-ji is actually one of the oldest of its kind in Japan, with the current structure dating to 1425 when it was rebuilt after being destroyed by fire. Two stories and 22 meters high, the gate towers over the complex with a name plate said to have been written by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi and containing paintings by famous artists on the ceilings within. It has been a National Treasure since 26th December 1897.
At the end of this part of the day it is time to find the ladies amenities – this statue is outside standing guard to protect us – what a fearsome creature – – not too sure what it is about though.
Once we are all together again it is time to head for Komyoin Temple – – off we go