Scenic Japan

Mineko and Don McClure enjoy a rickshaw ride in Sagano.
Tanuki figures near the train tracks in Sagano. Photo: McClure

Sagano, on the outskirts of Kyoto, is where many Japanese go to view the fall colors. When my husband, Don, and I, were there in October ’05 it was too early for leaf viewing.

The Tenruyji Temple complex, with its gate, moat and walls, is a favorite sight in this ancient city where time seems to have stood still. We took a rickshaw ride to sightsee, stopping for a “Kodak moment” at the Togetsukyo Bridge.

Another activity was to take the train that follows a scenic route through the bamboo forests of Arashiyama (Mt. Arashi) — right out of a Japanese fairy tale.

Statues of tanuki (raccoons) stood on the train platforms. A guide explained that the tanuki are believed to be able to turn into humans and then can do all kinds of mischief; they turn back into raccoons before they can be caught.

The guide translated his narration into English, but my husband, who speaks Japanese, was not familiar with the references the guide made to Japanese folk tales and lost part of the meaning.


Fairmont, WV