The Butterflies of Arashiyama


When we arrived in Arashiyama, the Kyoto landscape was still wearing its early spring colors, which is to say, mostly subdued monochrome gray.

 Arashiyama (嵐山) is a pleasant, touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons.

There’s a festive atmosphere here, with food stalls, restaurants, many temples and shrines. I am drawn here repeatedly by the natural beauty of the setting of the area against the river and the mountains .  I particularly enjoy wending my way further into the hills, away from the crowds.  As is usual, in most tourist spots, tourists seem to congregate in certain places and with a little determination you can manage to get away from the crowds.

I was struck by the numbers of young people who enjoy getting dressed up in kimono to spend the day here. This being the twenty-first century, selfie sticks and iPhones were always close by. Overlooking that, they looked like brilliant butterflies against the relatively still somber landscape, which is waiting to explode in a few days once the cherry blossoms start firing, into a magical kingdom.

But before the competition began from the landscape, their brilliance was the focal point!

2 Comments on “The Butterflies of Arashiyama

  1. Great pics Dianne! Good thing you’re not afraid to approach anyone.

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