arashiyama, autumn (嵐山, 秋で).

15 minutes on the train from Kyoto station will take you to Arashiyama (嵐山, Storm Mountain).  I went there in the autumn-time.

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I ate beautiful 精進料理 (shōujin-ryōri, devotional cuisine, a vegan style of cooking that is unique to the Japanese Zen tradition) in a Rinzai temple; I visited the Shinto shrine where ancient princesses used to train and prepare for their lifelong custodianship of the major shrine at Ise. You can walk in bamboo groves and sacred gardens that are lush and heavy with life, and with the resonant notion, long forgotten by most in the so-called 'West', that human being is not separate from, nor different from, the rest of what we call 'nature'. The distilled, poetic wildness of a Japanese garden reminds me, always always, of our radical, sacred interconnection with all things.

It was super busy (autumn leaf viewing is serious business in Japan), and yet somehow, looking back through my photographs, I'm filled with the same sense of peace and immersion that I experienced that afternoon. Lots of photographs below...


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 A very hurried iphone shot of (a small part of) my meal.

A very hurried iphone shot of (a small part of) my meal.

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