Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chasing Autumn Leaves

             When my plan to go to Myanmar this year did not push through I decided to travel to Japan instead. I knew Japan's an expensive destination so I made sure there'd be something worth seeing. Spring was over so seeing the cherry blossoms was out of the question (at least this year). Mount Fuji isn't the Great Wall so I wasn't so interested in seeing it. Anime?, I couldn't care less about it.There was only one other thing that Japan is also famous for, (that I was interested to see) it's "koyo" or the time when leaves change to bright colors during autumn. My dilemma was the phenomenon was not gonna start until six months later. That's a very long wait for my itchy feet. I just wanted to travel abroad ASAP but I had to make a decision.If I go somewhere else before November , my Japan trip will have to take a back seat for the next few years since I only allow myself one trip abroad each year (or maybe it's my pocket that is saying that).I thought I couldn't do it next year because my passport is about to expire so if I didn't go to Japan this time I would have a new passport by next year. Presenting  a new passport with no stamps yet to the Japanese consul is not a good idea. No passport stamps means no travel history. I knew travel history was one major factor that would be considered if a visa would be granted. I knew it would take a while before I could get more stamps again so I decided to do it this year or else I have to wait for few more years(Actually I'm not sure about the whole process. I'm not sure if one could actually present an old passport along with the new one when applying for a visa to a certain country).
               Long story short I booked a trip to the land of the rising sun,the anime, the geishas, the bullet train, etc.Six months of waiting was tough but I managed. I researched for the best time to see the autumn leaves and one site mentioned mid November was the peak. WRONG! What it failed to mention was that it could actually vary with location and in Kansai where I was going the peak is actually during the third week of November.I was worried because I booked a flight a week earlier. If I didn't see those beautiful colors the trip would be pointless. I was checking forecasts (yes, it's like the weather, they have reports of these things from time to time) and the history of koyo in the past few years. I learned that the trees in higher elevations would peak earlier so I thought if I couldn't catch it in central Kyoto I would travel to the outskirts of the city.
              In the morning of my first day in Japan the first thing I saw as I got out of the airport was the street lined with trees that have turned red and I knew that I was getting what I came for.

First stop was Osaka Castle...
On my way to Osaka castle
Saw this tree within the Osaka Castle grounds

A couple had a pictorial and I stopped them for this photo which irritated their photographer
View from Osaka Castle

Next stop was Kyoto...
Even the rain couldn't stop me from my quest for the Autumn leaves
Came across this garden while getting lost in Kyoto
At the veranda of the Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto. Colors could have been more vibrant if not for the rain. Thank you rain.

I also traveled all the way to Arashiyama for this view
Tenryuji's garden in Arashiyama


  1. hoping to visit japan too, soon!

  2. Lovely autumn pictures! I hope I can soon go to Japan, too. :)

  3. Wow Autumn in Japan! Is this in Osaka? I bet Autumn in Beijing is wonderful experience too... You're lucky to experience this short season of the 4!

  4. kakainggit ka naman dami mong napuntahan!

    xo lala

  5. ganda ng autumn pictures melvin! I would love to visit a country and just stare at these beautiful colors.

    RE: passport stamps and visa processing, it actually makes a lot of sense. At least if they find out that your passport has been stamped, at least they know you're a frequent traveller. For myself, I just renewed my passport so fresh new stamps now for me. :)