A Travellerspoint blog

June 2012

Monkeys and Momiji

Concluding our road trip with Nik and Luke

Well, despite being about two months since I last wrote here I'm actually picking up again with events that took place the day after my last entry.

Having just wrapped up our island hopping trip around the Hiroshima prefecture coastline we had one stop left before heading back home; the wide river and rolling green hills of Arashiyama.

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Anyone who has been a regular reader of this blog will have seen Arashiyama before as this is about the fourth or fifth time I've been there, but it is a great spot to show off the Autumn colours to Nik and Luke. Arashiyama is a great momiji (maple leaf) spot and it has the added bonus of a monkey park as well.

The way up to the park is through a small, easily missable gate by the river and a path that winds up through the woods. I was delighted to notice that at the ticket booth they had posters up advertising the recent 'Apes' movie, 'Rise of the planet of the Apes'. I thought that was a wonderful if slightly misguided bit of marketing synergy, what message were they trying to send?? 'Love monkeys? You'll love this movie', or, 'The revolution is coming, meet your new overlords today!'. A banana in the right paw today could save your life tomorrow.

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This was my second visit to the park which is worth it not just for the monkeys, but also for the great views you can get from the top of the park where the monkeys gather. The troop of Japanese macaques that hang around here are in no way penned in or caged, they have simply learned to co-exist with the visitors in exchange for free food.

Actually, if you want to feed them it's you who has to be caged. In order to feed the monkeys you have to go inside a small shack and pass the nuts and fruit to them through the mesh windows; this is mainly to stop the monkeys from simply mugging visitors and stealing what they want.

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Once we'd had enough monkey magic we made our way back down the hill and headed over to the temple area in search of momiji. Somehow we ended up on path I'd never walked down before and ran into a small garden full of Buddhist statues.

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Passing on we soon came to the temples and, as expected, some wonderful red momiji. This year the autumn wasn't as wet as the last one so the colours were deeper and richer. The red leaves contrast sharply against the green of the non-maples to wonderful effect, most notably the soft green of the bamboo groves.

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I was glad that I got the chance to share this slice of real Japanese beauty with Nik and Luke, and they couldn't have asked for a nicer example - or a better way to end our road trip, but here it does end. Now we have to head back home and get ready for the Japanese reception party that is coming up very soon.

Posted by DKJM74 20:07 Comments (1)

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