Over the river and through the woods.

I’ve been bopping around cities and towns for the two months or so I’ve been here, it was about time I got out to the country.

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Good thing it was, you know, 20 minutes from my dorm.

This beautiful slice of greenery you see here is in an area known as Arashiyama (嵐山). Famous for the river, hiking, temples and the monkey park.

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Sunday morning we hopped off the train and were greeted by billowing clouds and chilly wind. The rain was coming, but we weren’t going to let it get us down. It was the day of the Mifune boat festival.

We got there early to see some sites, stroll through some temples and grab some food. That all sounds well and good except the sky looked like this.

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Well then.

We managed to get to a nice overlook (where picture one came from) and hike around, topping it off with Tenryouji (天領時) temple. We were weaving our way through the crowd toward the monkey park when the rain hit. It wasn’t a storm so much as very inconvenient globs of water that added to the already humid jungle-y air.

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We decided rain didn’t accommodate a proper monkey park visit so we strolled upriver to what was essentially a line of tables nestled on the riverbank. What mattered was that they had food. And a rather lovely view.

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Sloshing through puddles we met up with more friends to watch the boat festival. Huddled under the tree cover of the opposing riverbank we listened as kagura music played and the boats were floated gently in formation. They were lovely, and all those on board sported intricate traditional costumes. Quite the spectacle, despite how soggy we all were.

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By the end we were all quite ready for a hot bath, but I had fallen for this place. It’s lush jungle like flora, the smell of wet earth in the air, just how very alive Arashiyama was reminded me so much of my beloved Appalachian mountains, and home. This place had been so near all this time and I hadn’t bothered to go. I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was. I’m so ready to go back and hike all over it. I mean just look at how very green it is.

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My adventures continue as I finalize my outline for my documentary. Filming starts in June but I really need to figure out exactly what I want and how much I want of it. This is on top of juggling classes, so things are about to get interesting. See you chaps next week. じゃっ!

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