All posts tagged: must-go in japan

Tofukuji Temple Must-See - Autumn Colors Kyoto

Tofuku-ji Kyoto // A Must-Visit for Spectacular Autumn Colors

Tofukuji 東福寺 is one of Kyoto’s 5 greatest zen temples with a famed landscape garden designed by Mirei Shigemori. The temple garden is one of the best places to admire those gorgeous autumn colors and Japanese maple leaves — on trees or scattered to create a vibrant carpet of reds, oranges, and yellows.

Nijo Castle // 二条城

Nijo Castle (二条城) is the first castle I visited in Japan. Situated in Kyoto, this Castle is famed for its “nightingale floors” (鴬張りuguisubari) found in the corridors of Ninomaru Palace (二の丸御殿 Ninomaru goten) – a National Treasure that one has got to see, and in this instance, hear in order to experience how it must have been like to live in the 16th century where shoguns ruled the day. The Castle was built upon the order of the 1st Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) in 1603. It was completed during the reign of the 3rd shogun, Iemitsu, in 1626. The Castle served as the Tokugawa shogunate’s center of power in Kyoto. Teamed with the dramatic, stormy skies that day, Nijo Castle appeared like it came right out of a samurai movie. I could almost envision ninjas darting across roofs in a silent attempt to assassinate some officials. This white building, found at the corners of the Nijo Castle, is probably where guards would station themselves to look out for possible attacks. A wide moat surrounds …

Bamboo Groves // Arashiyama

I still recall the first time I saw this place – in a picture gleaned from the Internet. It was then, that I made a mental note that it will be one of those must-visit places if I ever set foot in Japan. And so, there I was, one cool morning, in Kyoto, Arashiyama (京都, 嵐山). Little drizzle accompanied my day in Arashiyama, but it didn’t dampen my spirits or hinder my stroll in this breathtakingly beautiful, and almost unreal place. Standing at the start of the trail into the bamboo groves (嵐山の竹林), or sometimes known as the Sagano Bamboo Forest, I was astounded with how cinematic this place looked. Towering bamboos lined both sides of the trail (竹林の小道). As you looked into each side, you see such dramatic colors – greens so fresh, yellows so vibrant, and oranges so rich that makes this all seemed surreal. Bamboo shoots were sprouting from the moist, fertile soil. Sunlight was lightly streaming in as you tilted your head to look at the leaves atop these bamboo. Yes, some rain …